South Korea has a population of about 49 million people, as of 2009. This country is considered one of the densest in Asian and world standards, with 494 people per square meters. The majority of Koreans live in the western and southern parts of the country. Ever since the 1960’s, urbanization has been a trend, and a majority of the people are emigrating from rural to urban areas for better living opportunities.
South Korea comprises the southern part of the peninsula of Korea. North and South Korea are separated by a two-and-a-half demilitarized zone. South Korea covers about 99,000 square meters of land or about 44 percent of the total area of Korea. The most prominent island in South Korea is the Jeju Island, with a land area of 1,825 square meters. Two other major islands are Ganghwa and Ulleung.
The geography of South Korea is ideal for the production of tungsten, graphite, coals and lead and has enough resources to provide hydropower. Additionally, there is enough rainfall throughout the year for the cultivation and development of agriculture and, unlike many neighboring countries, typhoons are not that frequent.
According to early history, Korea was discovered back in 2333 B.C. During this time, both North and South Korea were united by the son of the god spirit Hwanung. The Korean War, however, divided Korea into two separate states, each with their own governments and very different political systems.
During the following years, South Korea had alternating governments, going from autocratic to democratic. During the 6th Republic, South Korea was able to attain a liberal democracy and gradually became a stable country. In the 1950’s South Korea received financial support from the United States, who attempted to strengthen the Southern state in counter to its northern sister.
Today, South Korea has come a long way and has progressed greatly. It is socially active among Asian countries and is economically doing well. In fact, it now ranks 11th on the list of the most economically progressive countries in the world. The diligent inhabitants of South Korea contribute much to its rapid progress.
One of the largest emerging aspects of the South Korean economy is its tourism. In fact, today, it is truly one of the hottest destinations in the world, and very popular with Americans who want to discover the beauty of this Asian country. It has gained much popularity ever since it started progressing economically. Some famous attractions include:
1. Jeju-Do— this place has become a popular destination especially for honeymooners. The people of Jeju have maintained a long list of traditions that have long disappeared from the mainland of South Korea. The climate in the Jeju Island is relatively warmer and more humid than the rest of South Korea.
2. The Korean Folk Village— this place gives tourists a complete view of the Korean folklore, ideal for those who do not have much time to explore the whole of South Korea. It has a Buddhist temple, a Confucian school, blacksmiths and traditional farmhouses, weaving and pottery workshops.
3. Kyongju— this is a museum without walls, and was designated by the UNESCO as one of the 10 most historical places in the world. Many traces of early temples and palaces still remain in this destination.
Nightlife in Korea is all about excitement and has a certain magic to it. There is fascinating entertainment and music for everyone. There are restaurants and bars that cater to all ages, and a whole range of activities are available from the young to even the elderly. Today, however, restaurants are required to close before midnight.
Additionally, Koreans are lovers of music, and this ranges from folk to rap, pop to rock. South Korea also has a fun way of celebrating the New Year, which beckons more and more tourists to visit this fun-filled country. The nightlife in South Korea is comparable to the best in Asia.
Korean society gives much importance to the value of family and, additionally, puts heavy emphasis on a vibrant and rich artistic community. There is a prevalent culture of creative dancing, art, music, drama, theatre, poetry and literature. The Korean culture is inspired by Confucianism, which is evident in the belief system, housing, architecture and the way of life. Although traditional, South Korea is able to cope with and integrate international trends and cultures, while still maintaining its unique identity.
Unlike many other Asian countries whose cuisines are influenced by other cultures, South Korean cuisine has developed its own varieties of flavors that suit its climate, characteristics and history. Its distinct seasons have influenced the flavors of their dishes. Koreans believe that food, although flavored with strong spices, should be in harmony and balanced. They are also concerned about overall health, which explain why the cuisine includes a heavy combination of fresh vegetables, meats and fish. One typical Korean meal is called pekpan, which consists of rice, soup and side dishes such as kimchi. On a side not, South Koreans are very particular about table settings and food preparation.