LIFE IN KOREA

Experience And Discover
Korea

KOREA at a glance Brief Facts About KOREA

South Korea , Republic of
Brief Facts About KOREA
National Flag

Taegeukgi

Taegeukgi
Country Name

Republic of Korea
(South Korea)

Population

51.40 million (2015)
* Seoul : 10.10 million

Currency

Won

Capital City

Seoul

Language

Hangeul

Time Zone

UTC+09:00

Religion

50%
practice religion
(2010 census)

People in Korea are diverse in their religious beliefs, with 50% of the population practicing religion.

  • Protestant : 11.0 million (21%)
  • Buddhist : 10.80 million (22.%)
  • Catholic : 4.9 million (7%)
  • Other : 0.24 million (0%)

Education Stats

Korea boasts one of the highest levels of education anywhere in the world.

  • Tertiary Gross Enrollment Ratio 103% (UNESCO, 2010)
  • Adult Literacy Rate (15 and older) 97.9% (CIA, 2014)
  • GDP on Education 7.64% (OECD, 2014)

Major Industrial Products : Mobile telecommunications, automobiles, ships, consumer electronics, semiconductors, steel, and chemicals

  • Economy

    • $1.6
      trillion

      2019 GDP - World bank

    • 5th

      Ranking in easiest countries
      to do business - World bank

    • 1st

      Bloomberg innovation
      index

    • 3.8%

      Unemployment 2019
      – OCDE

    • 0.6%

      Inflation

  • Life Quality

    • 0.906
      22nd

      Human Development
      Index - UNDP

    • 0.6
      13th

      Homicide rate
      (homicidesper 100k
      habitants) – UNODC

    • 82.8 years

      Life expectancy - UNDP

    • 88%

      Adults aged 25-64
      w/secondary
      education - OCDE

FOOD

Korea has enough eats to satisfy any foodie’s appetite. Seoul, the capital of Korea, is a city brimming with more restaurants than you could ever imagine. Following is a list of must-eat dishes and drinks in Korea. Click a photo for more information!

  • SOJU

    Soju is the most popular liquor in Korea and among the best-selling liquors in the world. Of Korean origin, it is a clear, colorless distilled beverage made from rice and grains. It is usually consumed neat and out of small glasses. Its alcohol content varies from about 16.8% to 53% alcohol by volume (ABV)

  • Bibimbap

    Bibimbap is one of Korea’s most well known dishes. It is a dish that is very much in line with the overall Korean food philosophy, as it is both delicious and nutritious. Depending on the ingredients used, Bibimbap can be a meat-based or vegetarian dish. The dish has changed over the years – most notably with today’s practice of using chili paste instead of soy sauce as in ancient times –likely in order to better savor the taste of each individual ingredient.

  • Bulgogi

    Bulgogi is a Korean dish that usually consists of grilled marinated beef. It is listed at number 23 on World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011. Bulgogi is served in barbecue restaurants in Korea, and there are Bulgogi flavored fast-food hamburgers sold at many South Korean fast-food restaurants

  • Makgeolli

    Makgeolli is a traditional malt liquor made from a mixture of wheat and rice, which gives it a milky, off-white color, and sweetness. It is made by fermenting a mixture of boiled rice, wheat and water, and is about 6–8% alcohol by volume. This traditional drink – extremely popular in recent years – goes well with most Korean foods, but it goes especially well with Kimchi or Pajeon.

  • Yangnyeom Chicken

    Yangnyeom chicken is a uniquely Korean take on American-fried chicken, which was first introduced into the country after the Korean War and extremely popular by the 1980s. By the following decade, Korean restaurateurs began experimenting with their own versions of the dish, coating the chicken with a sweet and spicy sauce, and Yangnyeom chicken was born. Yangnyeom is now a popular late-night snack and typically served with beer.

  • Kimchi

    Although kimchi, Korea’s signature dish, can be found almost everywhere in the world, the most authentic varieties are surely still in Korea. Kimchi is a must in a Korean meal, so much so that no restaurant in Korea will charge extra for it. There are over 200 variations of kimchi today, with both regional and seasonal variations determining which ingredients will be used. The dish is made by mixing together Korean cabbage, radish, pumpkin, onion, and other vegetables with chili powder, crushed garlic and salted seafood, which is then left to ferment.

Sports

Korea offers a wide range of sporting and recreational activities. It has hosted some of the world’s biggest sporting competitions― the 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, 2011 IAAF World Championships, and 2018 Winter Olympics. Taekwondo is the national sport

  • Golf

    Location
    ~ 500 golf courses (mostly in Gyeonggi province)

    Golfing is a very popular sport in Korea, and many Korean golfers have had huge success internationally. As such, there are a large variety of golf courses in Korea.

  • Ski

    Location
    ~ 20 ski resorts (mostly in Gangwon province)

    As it's a mountainous country, Korea boasts many great ski resorts. Often with spas and nearby accommodations, Korea's ski resorts are a great place for a winter getaway.

  • Soccer

    Korea hosts a professional league (K League) with 22 teams distributed in 2 divisions. The country co-organized the 2002 World Cup with Japan. Moreover, Korea is home to former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung and to Son Heung Min, current Tottenham Hotspurs’ star and one of the best forwards in the world

  • Baseball

    Baseball is the most popular team sport in Korea. The KBO League has 10 franchises who play 144 matches per season! Yearly attendance to matches adds up to more than 8 million people. Some Korean players have made their way to Major League Baseball, including Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, Texas Rangers’ right fielder Choo Shin-soo, and Colorado Rockies’ pitcher Oh Seung-hwan

Arts, museums and festivals

World class museums and galleries await you. Korea hosts many festivals throughout the year. Ride the Hallyu! (Korean wave)

  • K-Pop

    First gaining popularity in East Asia, K-Pop entered the Japanese music market towards the turn of the 21st century, and grew from a musical genre into a subculture among teenagers and young adults of East and Southeast Asia. Currently, bands such as BTS, EXO, and Girls’ Generation are popular all around the world.

  • Korean Drama

    The success of dramas such as Dae Jang Geum; That Winter, the Wind Blows; and My Love from the Star, led to the increased global popularity of Korean dramas. Subsequently, the price for the distribution rights of Korean dramas skyrocketed. The 2016 TV drama, Descendants of the Sun, was sold to 27 countries including the United Kingdom, France, United States, Japan, and China.

  • Korean Film

    Host of one of the largest Film festivals in the world (Busan International Film Festival), Korea holds outstanding international reputation in the filmmaking industry. Directors such as Kim Ki-duk, Yeon Sang-ho and Boon Joon-ho have created globally renowned masterpieces. In the 2020 Academy Awards, ‘Parasite’ received 4 Oscars, including Best Movie and Best Director.

  • Insadong’s Favorite ‘Ssamziegil’

    Location
    Jongro-gu, Seoul

    Ssamziegil’s highest attraction is the numerous galleries located within the buildings walls. Ssamziegil’s architecture itself is credited to be a modern contemporary work of art, and proudly stands in its uniqueness along the main street of Insa-dong.

  • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA)

    MMCA displays work by Korean and international modern artists, as well as work by those contemporary artists currently making waves in the art world.FIND OUT MORE

  • Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA)

    Location
    Jongro-gu, Seoul

    Ssamziegil’s highest attraction is the numerous galleries located within the buildings walls. Ssamziegil’s architecture itself is credited to be a modern contemporary work of art, and proudly stands in its uniqueness along the main street of Insa-dong.

  • Jarasum International Jazz Festival

    Period
    Early Octobe

    Location
    Jara Island(Jarasum), Gapyeong

    Well established as a significant international festival, every year, over 100,000 people visit this particularly popular festival.

  • Seoul Lantern Festival

    Period
    November, 1 ~ November, 17

    Location
    Cheonggyecheon Stream, Seoul

    During the festival, hundreds of lanterns, each with a unique design and story, will be lit along the Cheonggyecheon Stream.

  • Boryeong Mud Festival

    Period
    July, 18 ~ July, 27

    Location
    Daecheon Beach, Boryeong

    Visitors can enjoy mud wrestling, mud sliding, a mud marathon, mud painting, swimming in a mud mega tub, and mud massage.

Society

Koreans are a proud nation and have a very strong sense of belonging to their communities. In 1997, some 3.5 million people joined in the campaign to collect gold to help the government repay the fund borrowed from the IMF. A total of 227t of gold were collected. The world marveled at the Korean people’s voluntary participation in the determined effort to repay its national debts.

South Korea has long been a culturally homogeneous society, but the number of migrant workers and foreign students has increased rapidly since the beginning of the century. According to the Population and Housing Census conducted in 2017, there are around 1.5 million foreign nationals, accounting for 3% of the total population.
The government launched an office dedicated to providing support for foreign citizens’ social activities within the country and enacted the Multicultural Families Support Act. Under said act, multicultural family support centers (www.liveinkorea.kr) have been opened in 217 places around the country to provide the following services: Korean language education sessions designed to help foreigners adapt to life in Korea; psychological counseling; events showcasing the cultures of foreign spouses; and employment support programs with affiliated agencies like new job centers.

Transportation

Public transportation in Korea is well integrated, rapid and convenient. All major cities in Korea, such as Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, and Incheon have subway systems. In addition, the KTX — Korea's high-speed rail service — can take you to many other fun destinations around Korea. In particular, Seoul has an extremely convenient, clean public transportation system, with information provided in various languages.

FIND OUT MORE

Medical Facilities

Korea offers universal healthcare and is provided by the National Health Insurance (NHI) system. Every resident in Korea is eligible regardless of nationality or profession, with foreigners receiving the same medical benefits and services as Korean nationals. In addition, Korea has numerous private world class medical facilities that are staffed by providers who boast international medical certifications and equipped with the latest technology and medical equipment.

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Communication System and Internet Facilities

Korea has very advanced communication systems. Having the world’s fastest internet connection speed, Korea is the leader in internet connectivity. Korea offers wireless broadband -- LTE, Wibro and HSDPA being the most common -- which makes it easy for people to use the internet, telephone and mobile phones everywhere. In addition, it is very common to find restaurants and cafes that offer free Wi-Fi internet during hours of operation.

24/7 Facilities

Korea is a country that never sleeps. In Seoul, many people are out well past midnight. In fact, many of the city's night owls start the party around then, with most clubs and bars staying open until 6 a.m. That said, late night fun isn't all about partying. With people out at all hours, it is common to find shops and restaurants that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These hours of operation also apply to some shopping malls, movie theaters, cafes, karaoke spots, and jjimjilbangs (Korean-style sauna).