South Korea Travel Guide : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach

You can find about travel advice such as public places & services, best restaurants, activities, sightseen and other key facts of the South Korea .

Korea, or the Korean Peninsula, is a region in East Asia. Since 1945 it has been divided into the two parts which soon became the two sovereign states: North Korea (officially the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea") and South Korea (officially the "Republic of Korea"). Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. It is bordered by China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast. It is separated from Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan (East Sea).During the first half of the 1st millennium, Korea was divided between the three competing states of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla, together known as the Three Kingdoms of Korea. In the second half of the 1st millennium, Silla defeated and conquered Baekje and Goguryeo, leading to the "Unified Silla" period. Meanwhile, Balhae formed in the north, superseding former Goguryeo. Unified Silla eventually collapsed into three separate states due to civil war, ushering in the Later Three Kingdoms. Toward the end of the 1st millennium, Goguryeo was resurrected as Goryeo, which defeated the two other states and unified the Korean Peninsula as a single sovereign state. Around the same time, Balhae collapsed and its last crown prince fled south to Goryeo. Goryeo , whose name developed into the modern exonym "Korea", was a highly cultured state that created the world's first metal movable type in 1234. However, multiple incursions by the Mongol Empire during the 13th century greatly weakened the nation, which eventually agreed to become a vassal state after decades of fighting. Following military resistance under King Gongmin that ended Mongol political influence in Goryeo, severe political strife followed, and Goryeo eventually fell to a coup led by General Yi Seong-gye, who established Joseon in 17 July 1392.

The first 200 years of the Joseon era were marked by relative peace. During this period, the Korean alphabet was created by Sejong the Great in the 15th century and there was increasing influence of Confucianism. During the later part of the dynasty, Korea's isolationist policy earned it the Western nickname of the "Hermit Kingdom". By the late 19th century, the country became the object of imperial design by the Empire of Japan. After the First Sino-Japanese War, despite the Korean Empire's effort to modernize, the country was annexed by Japan in 22 August 1910 and directly ruled by it until the end of World War II in 2 September 1945.

In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender of Japanese forces in Korea in the aftermath of World War II, leaving Korea partitioned along the 38th parallel. The North was under Soviet occupation and the South under U.S. occupation. These circumstances became the basis for the division of Korea by the two superpowers with two different ideologies, exacerbated by their inability to agree on the terms of Korean independence. The Communist-inspired government in the North received backing from the Soviet Union in opposition to the pro-Western government in the South, leading to Korea's division into two political entities in 1948: North Korea, and South Korea. Tensions between the two resulted in the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. With involvement by foreign troops, the war ended in a stalemate in 1953, but without a formalized peace treaty. This status contributes to the high tensions that continue to divide the peninsula. Both governments of the two Koreas continue to claim to be the sole legitimate government of the region.

Foods in South Korea :
(1) Kimchi :

This signature Korean dish has been around for more than 2,000 years, dating back to the Shilla Dynasty. Kimchi consists of Korean cabbage, radish, pumpkin, onion, ginger, and scallion with chili powder, crushed garlic and salted seafood, which is then left to ferment.With more than 200 variations available in Seoul, this traditional cuisine is eaten on its own or with white rice, and added into porridges, soups, and rice cakes. Kimchi is also the basis for many derivative dishes such as kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae), kimchi pancake (kimchijeon), and kimchi fried rice.

(2) Bibimbap :

Another must-try during your visit to Seoul is bibimbap, a filling and nutritious dish that’s widely available in restaurants, food courts, and street markets. Depending on region and ingredients used, bibimbap can be served as a meat-based or vegetarian dish.The most common bibimbap consists of warm rice topped with mixed vegetables, beef or chicken, and raw egg, as well as soy sauce and a dollop of chilli pepper paste for seasoning. Ideal for seafood lovers, there’s a variation of this Korean mixed rice dish called hoedeopbap, which replaces meat with raw seafood such as salmon, tuna, or octopus.


(2) Red rice cakes (tteokbokki) : 

Tteokbokki is a traditional Korean street food that’s made with thick slices of garaetteok (boiled rice cake), fish cake, onions, diced garlic, salt, sugar and assorted vegetables that are stir-fried in sweet red chili sauce. Distinguished by its bright red-orange ensemble, this popular snack is usually sold at street vendors and independent snack bars.

(3) Bulgogi : 

Bulgogi consists of thin slices of marinated beef sirloin that are cooked alongside sliced onions, green peppers, and garlic using a charcoal burner, resulting in a distinctive smoky flavour. Prior to grilling, the meat is marinated between 2 and 4 hours in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, ginger, and sugar to enhance its flavour and tenderness.This dish is also served with a side of leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, which is used to wrap a slice of cooked meat, often times along with ssamjang (spicy paste) and kimchi.

(4) Korean stew (jjigae) : 

There are many different varieties of jjigae in Seoul, but this Korean stew usually contains meat, seafood or vegetables in a broth seasoned with hot pepper paste (gochujang), fermented miso (gaenjang), soybean paste, or salted fermented shrimp (saeujeot). Usually served as a palate cleanser between heavier dishes, jjigae has a similar consistency to a western stew.One of the most popular jjigae dishes in Seoul is budae jjigae (army stew), which incorporates bacon, sausages, and Spam meat as well as ramyeon noodles and rice cakes mixed with gochujang paste for a spicy flavour.

(5) Jajangmyeon : 

A Korean-Chinese fusion dish, jajangmyeon uses thick handmade wheat noodles topped with raw cucumber slices and a mixture of salty black soybean paste, diced pork and vegetables. Priced from 5,000 won onwards, this hearty noodle dish is great for when you need a quick meal that doesn't break the wallet.It s also usually eaten by singles on Black Day, which takes places each year on April 14th. Those who do not receive gifts during Valentine’s Day wear black attire and gather to consume black-coloured food such as jajangmyeon.


(6) Samgyeopsal : 

Samgyeopsal is another staple Korean dish that requires little culinary skills, where chunky slices of pork belly are cooked on a grill at the diners’ table. It's then wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaf with dipping sauces and accompaniments such as button mushrooms, green chili peppers, green onions, raw onions and garlic, as well as kimchi.

Weather & geography in  South Korea :
South Korea has a temperate climate characterized by sweltering humid summers and chilly winters but the all-too-brief spring and autumn are just about perfect. ... This usually lasts just a few weeks until mid-November, when temperatures drop and winter begins to take over.South Korea consists of the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, which juts out from China’s northeast toward Japan’s southern islands. Flanked by the Yellow Sea to the west and the Sea of Japan (or the East Sea, as the Koreans would prefer everyone called it) to the east, and bordered to the north by the tightly sealed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates it from North Korea, South Korea is effectively an island itself. With a total area of around 100,000 square kilometers (38,600 square miles), the country is about the same size as Hungary or Portugal. Some 70 percent of the peninsula is covered by mountains, which make for some inspiring scenery but also leave little land to cultivate or settle on; hence the population is largely clustered in a few dense cities.The largest of these agglomerations is the capital, Seoul, which lies in the northwest just a few dozen kilometers from the inter-Korean border. Seoul is hemmed in by mountains and bisected by the broad Han River, which flows through the northern stretch of the country before emptying into the Yellow Sea near the west coast city of Incheon, a major port and industrial center.Other major waterways include the Nakdong, which stretches from the country’s center to the southeastern port of Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city. With its seaside perch and many hilltop homes, Busan enjoys one of the country’s more unique locations; it is the nexus of the southern industrial heartland, which also encompasses the nearby towns of Ulsan and Daegu. This region developed a reputation for grit and pollution in the rapid urbanization of the 1970s and 1980s, but tighter environmental regulations have improved things greatly. The northeastern province of Gangwon, by contrast, was and still is known for its green spaces and the alpine vistas of the Taebaek mountain range.The lush coastal plains of the west serve as South Korea’s agricultural center, a place characterized by wide expanses of rice fields, orchards, and tea plantations, as well as sizable cities such as Gwangju and Jeonju.Much of the South Korean coast is rocky and windswept, though the southeast in particular boasts a few pleasant sand beaches. Scattered in the surrounding oceans are dozens of picturesque islands, the most renowned of which is Jeju, an oval-shaped outcrop 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the peninsula that draws holidaymakers with its balmy temperatures and distinctive geological features, including a network of lava caves and cone-shaped Mount Halla, a dormant volcano that is the country’s highest peak.

Per day Cost in South Korea :
You should plan to spend around ₩118,323 ($103) per day on your vacation in South Korea, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, ₩30,541 ($27) on meals for one day and ₩17,227 ($15) on local transportation.

History of South Korea :

The history of South Korea formally begins with the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945. Noting that, South Korea and North Korea are entirely different countries, despite still being the same people and on the same peninsula.Korea was administratively partitioned in 1945, at the end of World War II. As Korea was under Japanese rule during World War II, Korea was officially a belligerent against the Allies by virtue of being Japanese territory. The unconditional surrender of Japan led to the division of Korea into two occupation zones (similar to the four zones in Germany), with the United States administering the southern half of the peninsula and the Soviet Union administering the area north of the 38th parallel. This division was meant to be temporary (as was in Germany) and was first intended to return a unified Korea back to its people after the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and China could arrange a single government for the peninsula.

The two parties were unable to agree on the implementation of Joint Trusteeship over Korea because of 2 different opinions. This led in 1948 to the establishment of two separate governments with the two very opposive ideologies; the Communist-aligned Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the West-aligned First Republic of Korea – each claiming to be the legitimate government of all of Korea. On June 25, 1950, the Korean War broke out. After much destruction, the war ended on July 27, 1953, with the 1948 status quo being restored, as neither the DPRK nor the First Republic had succeeded in conquering the other's portion of the divided Korea. The peninsula was divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the two separate governments stabilised into the existing political entities of North and South Korea.

South Korea's subsequent history is marked by alternating periods of democratic and autocratic rule. Civilian governments are conventionally numbered from the First Republic of Syngman Rhee to the contemporary Sixth Republic. The First Republic, arguably democratic at its inception, became increasingly autocratic until its collapse in 1960. The Second Republic was strongly democratic, but was overthrown in less than a year and replaced by an autocratic military regime. The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Republics were nominally democratic, but are widely regarded as the continuation of military rule. With the Sixth Republic, the country has gradually stabilized into a liberal democracy.Since its inception, South Korea has seen substantial development in education, economy, and culture. Since the 1960s, the country has developed from one of Asia's poorest to one of the world's wealthiest nations. Education, particularly at the tertiary level, has expanded dramatically. It is said to be one of the "Four Tigers" of rising Asian states along with Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Language in South Korea :
How many languages are spoken in South Korea? There is one official language spoken in South Korea, with five different dialects. Seoul dialect is the standard version that is used in speeches and used on news reports. Some other commonly spoken languages in South Korea are English, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian.

Culture of  South Korea :

Despite the political unrest that resulted in the division of the region, these two countries still share the same culture and traditional values. Korea is divided by boundaries, but still united by culture.Korea is greatly influenced by the Chinese and Japanese cultures. This influence can be seen by Confucianism, which established many traditions that can be seen in modern Korea today. These traditions include the ethical code of conduct in social life and showing respect to the elders and family.Koreans also believe in sincerity and loyalty and follow certain codes of conduct while meeting, eating, praying and even celebrating. At times when many other cultures would shake hands, Koreans bow. They bow as a sign of gratitude and respect to the person they are meeting.

Place to visit in South Korea :
(1) Seoul Tower

(2) Lotte World

(3) Jeju Island

(4) Dadohaehaesang National Park

(5) Jeonju

(6) Seoraksan National Park

(7) Gyeongju

Hotel in South Korea :
(1) Fairfield by Marriott Seoul

(2) Signiel Seoul

(3) Sunset Business Hotel

How to reach in South Korea :
Air travel is the best way to travel to South Korea from India. All major metro cities have direct or layover flights to Incheon International Airport that is close to the capital city of Seoul and just an hour away via bus to the third largest port city of South Korea, Incheon. The shortest flight to South Korea is from the capital city of India, i.e., New Delhi, because direct flights are available via Asiana air. However, the airway can be quite steep at an approx. Of INR 37,000 per person. The cheapest airfare is available from Kolkata and Cochin; the prices average at an approx. Of INR 29,000 per person. However, it takes 10-15 hours one way, and the carrier has layovers in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and other major cities. Although a layover means that you could always to a break journey on your way back to India and include another destination in your travel plans. Air India and all many other International carriers have daily flights from various cities in India to South Korea. If you plan, you are bound to get great deals and enjoy huge savings. Here is an approx. Overview of travel time and airfare from six major cities in India. * Frequent flight names * Biggest airport. 

Travel Guide for South Korea : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach. – Published by The Beyond News (Travelling).