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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 KoreaSeoul Palace Hotel 

63-1 Banpo-dong Seocho-gu
Seoul 137-804
South Korea

Price (US$): $184 - $273 / night

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Location. Seoul Palace Hotel is a business friendly hotel located in Seoul's Seocho gu neighborhood, close to Seoul Arts Center, National Museum of Korea, and Seolleung Park. Additional points of interest include War Memorial of Korea and Chung Ang University. Hotel Features. In addition to 3 restaurants, Seoul Palace 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 a sauna and a… more »

South KoreaCheongdam Human Starville 

5-25 Cheongdam-dong Kangnam-gu
Seoul 135-100
South Korea

Price (US$): $107 - $369 / night

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Location. Cheongdam Human Starville is located in Seoul's Gangnam neighborhood, close to Apgujeong Rodeo Street, COEX Convention and Exhibition Center, and Bongeunsa. Nearby points of interest also include Seolleung Park and COEX Mall. Hotel Features. Recreational amenities include a fitness facility. Guest parking is complimentary. Additional property amenities include laundry facilities, a grocery/convenience store, and self parking. Guestrooms. Air conditioned guestrooms at Cheongdam… more »

South KoreaHyatt Regency Jeju 

114, Jongmoongwangwang-ro
72 beon-gil
Seogwipo 697-130
South Korea

Price (US$): $148 - $281 / night

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Location. Hyatt Regency Jeju is a family friendly resort located in Seogwipo's Jungmun neighborhood, close to Jeju Teddy Bear Museum, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, and International Convention Center. Other area points of interest include Pinx Country Club and Jeju World Cup Stadium. Resort Features. Dining options at Hyatt Regency Jeju include 7 restaurants. A swim up bar, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The resort serves hot… more »

South KoreaThe Shilla Jeju 

3039-3 Saekdal Dong
Chungmun
Seogwipo 697-130
South Korea

Price (US$): $272 - $977 / night

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Location. The Shilla Jeju is a business friendly hotel located in Seogwipo's Jungmun neighborhood, close to Jeju Teddy Bear Museum, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, and International Convention Center. Other points of interest are Pinx Country Club and Jeju World Cup Stadium. Hotel Features. Dining options at The Shilla Jeju include 4 restaurants. A swim up bar, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an indoor… more »

South KoreaSeacloud Hotel 

287 Haeundaehaebyun-Ro
Haeundae-Gu
Busan
South Korea

Price (US$): $207 - $208 / night

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Location. Seacloud Hotel is located on the beach in Busan's Haeundae neighborhood, close to Busan Aquarium, Haeundae Beach, and BEXCO. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Busan Museum of Modern Art and Gwangan Grand Bridge. Hotel Features. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Guestrooms. 411 guestrooms at Seacloud Hotel feature air conditioning. Bathrooms feature hair dryers. The following fees and… 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