interesting facts about South Korea

69 Key Facts about South Korea

South Korea is surrounded by North Korea, the East Sea, the East China Sea, and the Yellow Sea, and occupies the southern piece of the Korean peninsula.

The country is recognized by its lush alpine scenery, old Buddhist temples, coastal fishing villages, sub-tropical islands, and high-tech cities. Whether you plan to visit the country, have an interest in speaking Korean, or you’re just into K-Pop and K-Dramas, here are 69 fun facts about South Korea that you’ll surely find noteworthy…

Geographical stats…

  1. South Korea is a beautiful and vibrant country in East Asia.
  2. It has a single border with North Korea to the north.
  3. If you fancy a bowl of Kimchi amongst the many delicacies this wonderful country has to offer, head for the coordinates of 37.5500°N, 126.9667° E.
  4. The terrain here is mostly hilly and mountainous in the north and east, whilst the west and south feature wide coastal plains.
  5. The total land area of South Korea is 38,321 square miles (99,250 square kilometres)…
The South Korean Flag

South Korean Flag

  1. …that’s slightly larger than Portugal.
  2. South Korea’s population was 51.71 million in 2019…
  3. …that’s around 5 times the population of Portugal!
  4. It’ll come as no surprise that residents here are known as… Koreans!
  5. The capital is Seoul; it covers an area of 234 square miles (605 square kilometres) and had a population of 9,774,000 in 2015.
  6. Koreans enjoy a temperate climate with cold winters and wet but warm summers.
  7. If you’re visiting, be sure to pack your binoculars as South Korea is home to black bears, brown bears, tigers, lynx, goats, deer, voles and many different species of bird.

Social intricacies

  1. The official language of South Korea is Korean, although English is widely spoken.
  2. South Korean Won is the official currency here.
  3. The average life span here is 80 years.
  4. Fancy a mud massage or a spot of mud wrestling? Conceived in 1998, the Boryeong Mud Festival runs for 10 days each year and offers people the opportunity to take part in all manner of mud related activities!
  5. Koreans believe that blood type has a bearing on personality and it is apparently not uncommon for prospective partners to ask each other what blood type they are!
  6. In South Korea, babies are considered to be 1 year old at the time of birth, meaning that 1 year after birth they are considered 2 years old (rather than 1!).
  7. Taxis in South Korea are color coded by what level of service they offer! ‘Standard taxis’ are generally orange, white or silver, whilst ‘deluxe taxis’ are black with a yellow sign on top – very swish!
  8. Kimchi, a delicious spicy vegetable dish, is eaten with most meals in South Korea.
Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul, South Korea

  1. In terms of the education system and knowledge, South Korea is constantly ranked the world-best according to PISA tests and the World Top 20 Poll.
  2. South Korea was one of the poorest countries on earth, back in the late 50s.
  3. South Korea turned into one of the richest nations and heaven for tech junkies.
  4. When children are born in South Korea they are considered “one year old”, and will turn two on the next Lunar New Year.
  5. South Korea is the world leader in internet connectivity and they boast of the world’s fastest average connection speed.
  6. 100% of South Koreans have broadband access.
Incheon at night, South Korea

Incheon, South Korea

  1. In terms of the education system and knowledge, South Korea is constantly ranked the world-best according to PISA tests and the World Top 20 Poll.
  2. South Korea was one of the poorest countries on earth, back in the late 50s.
  3. South Korea turned into one of the richest nations and heaven for tech junkies.
  4. When children are born in South Korea they are considered “one year old”, and will turn two on the next Lunar New Year.
  5. South Korea is the world leader in internet connectivity and they boast of the world’s fastest average connection speed.
  6. 100% of South Koreans have broadband access.
Andong, South Korea

Andong, South Korea

  1. In South Korea, taekwondo is a national sport invented approximately 2,000 years ago.
  2. Red ink is considered bad luck and writing a person’s name with red ink means that the person is dead, or will die soon.
  3. The number 4 is also considered bad luck because it’s written as the Chinese character for death, and is often replaced with the letter “F”.
  4. A usual greeting in South Korea is “Have you eaten well?” as opposed to “How are you?”
  5. One of the most respected and well-paying jobs in the country is teaching, on average, teachers make $2,500 per month.
  6. South Korean students are obligated to take a university entrance exam, and on the morning of the test, friends, and family assemble at high schools to give out candy and wish students good luck.
Bowl of Kimchi, traditional dish of South Korea

Bowl of Kimchi

  1. Online banking and shopping in South Korea must be done through Internet Explorer, that’s the law!
  2. South Korea is home to the world’s first astronomical lab, Cheomseongdae Observatory.
  3. South Koreans are preoccupied with faeces. They’ve got turd-shaped cookies, phone charms, and even an entire museum devoted to poop.
  4. Toilets across South Korea have pleasant flushing sounds, background music, and colored water.
  5. Only 3.2% of South Koreans are overweight.
  6. South Korean men spend close to 900 million USD a year on makeup, or a quarter of the world’s men’s cosmetics.
Food for sale, Namdaemun Market, South Korea

Namdaemun Market, South Korea

  1. It’s perfectly legal to drink alcohol in public in South Korea. People carry open containers of their favourite alcoholic beverage.
  2. South Korea is famous for its practice of crime re-creation.
  3. South Koreans believe that leaving an electric fan on overnight will kill the person sleeping directly below it.
  4. The South Korean company Samsung makes the microchips for Apple’s iPhones.
  5. On South Korea’s largest island, Jeju there are giant stone statues known as dol hareubang (old grandfather) along the beaches. If newlywed women touch the statues’ long, phallic-looking noses, it’s believed that they’ll be blessed with fertility.
  6. More than 2 billion people have viewed the “Gangnam Style” music video of Korean K-pop artist Psy since 2011.
Cherry blossom in South Korea

Cherry blossom in Korea

  1. US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have mimicked the Gangnam dance.
  2. South Korea is the largest market for plastic surgery per capita in the world.
  3. In South Korea, eyelid surgery is one of the most common plastic surgeries.
  4. For their 16th birthday, most wealthy young South Koreans receive double-eyelid surgery as a gift to make their eyes appear more Western.
  5. Group blind dating in South Korea is a very popular way for young students to meet over dinner and drinks.
  6. Seoul residents, get the least amount of sleep of any residents of major cities in the world, less than 6 hours a night.

interesting facts about South Korea

  1. South Koreans enjoy presenting their relationship publically, by holding hands, kissing, and even wearing matching outfits.
  2. South Koreans love potato chips flavored with honey and butter from France, known as Honey Butter Chips. On eBay the chips can sell for up to US$100 a bag. For a while, even McDonald’s sold honey butter-flavored French fries in South Korea.
  3. South Koreans adore sweet potatoes and flavor every possible dish with it.
  4. In 2012, a prison in the South Korean city of Pohang became home to the world’s first robotic prison guards.
  5. South Korea also uses robots to guard the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.
  6. South Koreans love shopping, and the country has some of the biggest shopping malls in the world. You can shop until 4 in the morning, while most restaurants, bars, and cafes are open only until 11p.m.
Gyeongbok Palace, South Korea

Gyeongbok Palace, South Korea

  1. South Korea’s Yoido Full Gospel Church has the biggest congregation in the world. 200,000 devoted members of the congregation join 1 of 7 services and an additional 200,000 to 300,000 watch on TV and in satellite churches, on any given Sunday.
  2. The name for baseball in South Korea is yagu, and the teams are named after big corporations.
  3. At birth, South Koreans are classified according to their blood type, a custom that originated in Japan and has become very significant in South Korean culture and may even determine who gets to marry whom.
  4. Do the houses smile? It certainly looks that way – all South Korean roofs are curved at the ends giving a smile impression.

Industry insights…

  1. This Eastern country grows rice, barley, vegetables and root crops; they also rear cattle and catch fish.
  2. Its industry consists of automobile production, electronics, chemicals, steel, shipbuilding and textiles.
  3. South Korea exports machinery and equipment, electronic products, steel, ships, motor vehicles and textiles.

Do you know any fun facts about South Korea?  Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on October 21, 2021. Suggest an edit

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