South Korea is the land of K-pop, Kimchi and a whole lot more. It is a fascinating place to visit and can also seem culturally very different from other parts of Asia. That may get you curious about interesting facts about South Korea.
For those who are curious about Korean culture, history and all things that have to do with South Korea, here are some interesting facts about South Korea to pique your curiousity.
Interesting Facts about South Korea
South Korea is divided up into nine provinces. These are Jeju, North Jeolla, South Jeolla, North Chungcheong, South Chungcheong, Gangwon, Gyeonggi, North Gyeongsang and South Gyeongsang.
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There are more than 4,000 islands in South Korea. One of the most famous of the islands is Jeju Island, which is also known as the Hawaii of South Korea.
Jeju Island is the site of the first World Natural Heritage Site in South Korea.
Korea has its own alphabet known as Hangul. This was invented by King Sejong (1397–1450) and there is even a day that celebrates the Korean alphabet. Known as Hangul Day, it is celebrated on 9 October in South Korea.
Hangeul is composed of 14 consonant letters (ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ) and 10 vowel letters (ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ).
The tradition Korean dress or clothes is known as a hanbok. Hanboks can be worn by both men and women.
The most common last name in Korea is Kim. Other common last names found in South Korea are Lee and Park.
More Interesting Facts About South Korea
South Koreans used to be considered one year old from the time they are born. According to Korean age, a newborn baby is considered one year old at the time of birth. However, this has changed with the passing of a new law that will take effect in June 2023.
South Koreans are amongst the heaviest drinkers in Asia. There is a strong drinking culture in the country and you will often find South Koreans downing alcoholic drinks, especially in social settings.
North and South Korea are still technically at war. Although the Korean War ended in 1953 with a truce between the two countries, they never formally signed a peace treaty. Hence, the two Koreas are still technically at war with each other.
A Demilitarized Zone or DMZ separates North and South Korea. The DMZ stretches 240 km along the Korean peninsula and follows the 38th parallel.
There is abundant wildlife in the DMZ. As practically no one enters into the DMZ, wildlife has a chance to flourish within the DMZ.
Army Stew is a dish in South Korea that has its origins from the Korean War. Koreans woudl trade with American troops for çanned spam and then turned this into a hearty stew known as Army Stew. Even though the war has been long over, Army Stew still remains a staple dish in South Korea.
Kimchi is synonymous with Korean cuisine. However, there is more to kimchi than the red fermented cabbage that you normally associate with the dish. In fact, there are more than 250 different types of kimchi available.
Not for the squeamish is sannkji. This Korean dish is made up of live octopus that has been chopped up and served raw. You have to chew it thoroughly as it can still wriggle about and even suction itself to your throat if you are not careful.
Samsung is big. In South Korea, the huge company contributes to as much as a fifth of the country’s economy. The conglomerate makes everything from phones to TVs to military equipment.
Plastic surgery is normal. Many South Koreans are obsessed with beauty. Therefore, it is common for both men and women to turn to plastic surgery to attain the standard of beauty they desire.
Video games are considered a legitimate sport in South Korea. There are gamers that can make a career out of playing video games.
The Korean peninsula was once home to tigers that used to roam freely through the mountains. The tiger symbolises power and strength.
The national flower of Korea is the Mugunghwa or Rose of Sharon.
The national flag of South Korea is known as the Taegeukgi. It was first used as a national flag when the Korean Empire was proclaimed in 1897.
Originally, the national anthem of South Korea was sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.