South Korea Country and Tourist Information

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South Korea Country and Tourist Information

Post  Princess_Louis on Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:20 pm

Location
Northeast Asia.

Area
99,313 sq km (38,345 sq miles, excluding demilitarised zone).

Population
49 million (2009).

Population Density
493.4 per sq km.

Capital
Seoul.
Population: 10.3 million (Seoul Metropolitan Government 2005).

Government
Republic since 1945.

Language
Korean, with English widely taught in school and generally understood in major centers.

Religion
This is one of the world's most homogeneous populations, but faith is divided largely between Christianity (14%) and the country's traditional faith of Buddhism (50.7%), with 34.3% choosing no religion. Confucian philosophy is generally followed out of generational habit, while Shamanism and the belief in ghosts and spirits are also strong. Cheondogyo is a Korean faith that has grown up out of Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity, and there is a small Islamic population.

Time
GMT + 9.

Electricity
110/220 volts AC, 60Hz. Government policy is to phase out the 110 volt supply and many hotels now have a 220 volt supply.

Head of Government
Prime Minister Chung Un-chan 2009.

Head of State
President Lee Myung-bak since 2008.

Recent History
Lee Myung-bak, the candidate for the conservative GNP party, won the presidential elections in December 2007 and took over in February 2008.

He replaced President Roh, whose popularity swooped dramatically up and down, and his plans to move the administrative capital to a purpose-built new city called Sejong met with mixed reactions. One thing has stayed firm however - his ‘peace and prosperity' policy towards North Korea. It seeks the elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons through Six-Party Talks involving Russia, China, US, Japan and the two Koreas, while offering energy aid, food and political incentives, easing the way to a gradual unification process.

North Korea tested a missile in October 2006, but decommissioned a nuclear base the following July as part of a February 2007 disarmament deal. The two sides have made great strides in reconciliation projects and cross-border economic exchanges. They held their second-ever summit in October 2007. South and North Korea are still technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

Telephone
Country code: 82.

Mobile Telephone
Roaming agreements exist with a few mobile phone companies - check before departure. You may still have to hire a relevant Korean handset even though your SIM card works. Pre-booking for handset hire is recommended.

Internet
Internet is widely available in Korea. The country is the sixth highest user of Internet in the world; according to the OECD, Korea is the fourth-most connected broadband country of all OECD countries. There are Internet cafes around the country in public places such as airports, train stations and bus terminals in Korea. ‘PC bangs’ are rooms full of computers, predominantly started for people to play games. They are cheap and many open 24-hours with snacks available.

Media
There are four major national terrestrial networks that dominate TV viewing in South Korea. Many Koreans are connected to cable TV services and digital satellite TV service and there are more than 100 daily Korean Cable/Satellite TV Networks. Arirang TV provides a fairly slick and comprehensive series of public service programming in English and is usually available in hotels. There is also patchy reception on the US forces station AFN, which broadcasts American-orientated TV such as news, sitcoms, drama and movies.

Post
Airmail to Western Europe takes up to 10 days.

Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1800. Gwanghwamun main post office in Seoul: Mon-Fri 0900-2000; Sat-Sun 0900-1800.

Press
• English-language national daily newspapers include The Korea Herald, The Korea Times and JoongAng Ilbo, published as a daily insert in the International Herald Tribune. • Other newspapers include The Hankyoreh, which has a good English-language online presence (website: www.hani.co.kr), as does Chosun Ilbo (website: http://english.chosun.com).
• Seoul Selection is a useful English-language lifestyle magazine.
• Go to Bandi & Luni’s Bookstore at the COEX Mall in Seoul for an excellent selection of English-language newspapers, magazines and books about Seoul.

Radio
• Public operator Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) operates six networks.
• Public operator Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation operates MBC Radio and music-based MBC FM.
• Seoul Broadcasting System operates SBS-FM.
• Buddhist Broadcasting System (BBS) is a Buddhist network and Far East Broadcasting Corporation (FEBC) also has religious content.
• American Forces Network Korea (AFN Korea) is a station aimed at US military personnel.

Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2010-December 2011 period.

Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2009-December 2010 period.

2009
1 Jan New Year.
25-27 Jan Sollal (Lunar New Year).
1 Mar Independence Movement Day.
1 May Labor Day (not an official public holiday but many companies and financial markets close).
5 May Children's Day.
9 May Buddha's Birthday.
6 Jun Memorial Day.
15 Aug Liberation Day.
2-4 Oct Harvest Moon (Chuseok).
3 Oct National Foundation Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.

2010
1 Jan New Year.
Jan/Feb* Sollal (Lunar New Year).
1 Mar Independence Movement Day.
1 May Labor Day (not an official public holiday but many companies and financial markets close).
5 May Children's Day.
28 Apr Buddha's Birthday.
6 Jun Memorial Day.
15 Aug Liberation Day.
Sep/Oct* Harvest Moon (Chuseok).
3 Oct National Foundation Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.

*Date to be confirmed.

Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2010-December 2011 period.
1 Jan New Year.
13 Feb
15 Feb Sollal (Lunar New Year).
1 Mar Independence Movement Day.
1 May Labor Day (not an official public holiday but many companies and financial markets close).
5 May Children's Day.
21 May Buddha's Birthday.
6 Jun Memorial Day.
15 Aug Liberation Day.
21 Sep
23 Sep Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival).
3 Oct National Foundation Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.
1 Jan New Year.
2 Feb
4 Feb Sollal (Lunar New Year).
1 Mar Independence Movement Day.
1 May Labor Day (not an official public holiday but many companies and financial markets close).
5 May Children's Day.
10 May Buddha's Birthday.
6 Jun Memorial Day.
15 Aug Liberation Day.
11 Sep
13 Sep Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival).
3 Oct National Foundation Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.

Contact Information:

Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the UK
60 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AJ, UK
Tel: (020) 7227 5500 or 5504 (consular section).
Website: www.koreanembassy.org.uk
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1730, 1000-1200 and 1400-1600 (consular section).

Korea Tourism Organization in the UK
3rd Floor, New Zealand House, Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TE, UK
Tel: (020) 7321 2535.
Website: www.tour2korea.com

Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA
2370 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Consular section: 2320 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 939 5656 (consular section).
Website: www.koreaembassyusa.org

Korea Tourism Organization in the USA
2 Executive Drive, Suite 750, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, USA
Tel: (201) 585 0909 or 1 800 868 7567.
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Princess_Louis

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