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South Korea

Background

South Korea

An independent Korean state or collection of states has existed almost continuously for several millennia. Between its initial unification in the 7th century - from three predecessor Korean states - until the 20th century, Korea existed as a single independent country. In 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, Korea became a protectorate of imperial Japan, and in 1910 it was annexed as a colony. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II, a Republic of Korea (ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. President LEE Myung-bak has pursued a policy of global engagement since taking office in February 2008, highlighted by Seoul's hosting of the G-20 summit in November 2010. Serious tensions with North Korea have punctuated inter-Korean relations in recent years, including the North's sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010 and its artillery attack on South Korean soldiers and citizens in November 2010.

About

South Korea (한국, 韓國 Hanguk) , formally the Republic of Korea (대한민국, 大韓民國 Daehan Minguk) is a country in East Asia. South Korea occupies the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea to the north, China across the sea to the west and Japan a short ferry ride to the southeast.

Read more about South Korea in our South Korea travel guide »

Featured journals from

South Korea

The Truest Rebellion

by crazyspade72

Jul 2016 - Aug 2016  »  United States | South Korea

Vietnam/Cambodia

by schultz132

January 2011

Jan 2011  »  South Korea | Vietnam

Featured hotels in

South Korea

South KoreaSheraton Incheon Hotel 

6-9 Songdo-dong Yeonsu-gu
Incheon 406-840
South Korea

Price (US$): $144 - $397 / night

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Location. Sheraton Incheon Hotel is located in Incheon's Songdo neighborhood and connected to the airport. Incheon Munhak Stadium, Incheon Dohobu Cheongsa, and Incheon Civil Stadium are local attractions. Other area points of interest include Freedom Park. Hotel Features. In addition to 4 restaurants, Sheraton Incheon Hotel offers a snack bar/deli and a coffee shop/cafĂ©. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool,… more »

South KoreaThe Suites Hotel Gyeongju 

110-9 Bukgun-dong
Gyeongju 780-280
South Korea

Price (US$): $177 - $178 / night

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Location. The Suites Hotel Gyeongju is located in Gyeongju, close to Bunhwangsa Temple and Gyeongju National Museum. Additional area points of interest include Banwolseong and Cheomseongdae. Hotel Features. The Suites Hotel Gyeongju features a restaurant. Recreational amenities include a sauna. This Gyeongju property has event space consisting of banquet facilities and conference/meeting rooms. Additional property amenities include self parking. Guestrooms. 34 guestrooms at The Suites Hotel… more »

South KoreaInterContinental Pyeongchang Resort Alpensia 

225-3 Yongsan Ri
Daegwalnyeong-myeon
Pyeongchang 232-952
South Korea

Price (US$): $209 - $399 / night

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Location. InterContinental Pyeongchang Resort Alpensia is a business friendly resort located in Pyeongchang, close to Yongpyong Ski Area. Regional points of interest also include Odaesan National Park. Resort Features. InterContinental Pyeongchang Resort Alpensia features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include a golf course. Also located on site are an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. Wireless Internet access (surcharge) is available in… more »

South KoreaBanyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul 

San 5-5, Jang Chung-Dong 2-Ga
Jung-Gu
Seoul 100857
South Korea

Price (US$): $371 - $577 / night

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Location. Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul is a business friendly hotel located in Seoul's Jung neighborhood, close to National Theater of Korea, Dongdaemun Market, and National Museum of Korea. Additional points of interest include Gyeongbok Palace and N Seoul Tower. Hotel Features. Dining options at Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul include 3 restaurants. A swim up bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary hot and cold… more »

South KoreaThe Shilla Seoul 

202 Jangchung-dong 2-ga
Jung-gu
Seoul 100202
South Korea

Price (US$): $301 - $461 / night

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Location. The Shilla Seoul is a business friendly hotel located in Seoul's Jung neighborhood, close to National Theater of Korea, Dongdaemun Market, and Gyeongbok Palace. Additional points of interest include National Museum of Korea and N Seoul Tower. Hotel Features. Dining options at The Shilla Seoul include 5 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a children's pool, a health… more »

Browse more hotels in South Korea »

South Korea

Full name
Republic of Korea
Capital
Seoul
Location

Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea

Geographic coordinates

37 00 N, 127 30 E

Area comparative

slightly larger than Indiana

Border countries

North Korea 238 km

Coastline

2,413 km

Climate

temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter

Terrain

mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south

Lowest point

Sea of Japan 0 m

Highest point

Halla-san 1,950 m

Natural resources

coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential

Population

48,636,068 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)

Religions

Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3% (1995 census)

Languages

Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school

Government type

republic

Independence

15 August 1945 (from Japan)

National holiday

Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)

Chief of state

President LEE Myung-bak (since 25 February 2008)

Head of government

Prime Minister KIM Hwang-sik (since 1 October 2010)

Internet country code

.kr

Internet users

39.4 million (2009)

Airports

116 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Inch'on, P'ohang, Pusan, Ulsan, Yosu

Other countries in the region