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About Korea

Information on Korea (Time, Exchange rate, Transportation)

1. Republic of Korea

Republic of Korea Country Name : Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Capital City : Seoul

National flag : Taegeukgi

National flower : Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon)

Currency : Won (₩)

Language : Korean (Written form: Hangeul)

Location Location : Strategically located at the crossroads of Northeast Asia. Korea lies between Japan, the Russian Far East and China.

Territory : 223,170km2 (South Korea: 100,032km2)

Time : Standard Time is nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+9). Korea does not use daylight savings time.

Climate Climate : Temperate with four distinct seasons. Seoul belongs to the Temperate Zone featuring four distinctive seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. The average temperature in the early November in 2010 was approximately 9.2°C.

Major cities : Seoul (10.0 million), Busan (3.5 million), Incheon (2.7 million), Daegu (2.5 million), Daejeon (1.5 million), Gwangju (1.4 million), Ulsan (1.1 million)

Population : 48.50 million (2010)

Population increase rate : 0.31% (2008)

Religion : A 2005 census showed that half of the population actively practices a religion. Among this group, 10,726,463 Buddhists, 8,616,438 Protestants and 5,146,147 Catholics comprise the three dominant religions.

Political System
Political System : Constitutional democracy with president elected to a single 5-year term by direct popular vote. Division of power among the executive, legislature (unicameral National Assembly) and judiciary

President : Lee Myung-bak since 2008

Suffrage : Universal at 19 years of age

Aid : In 2008, Korea provided a total of 797 million USD (preliminary figure) of ODA and plans to expand the volume up to 0.15% of its Gross National Income (GNI) by 2012, and 0.25% by 2015.

Peacekeeping : South Korea began participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations with the dispatch of a battalion of military engineers to Somalia in 1993. It has since joined peacekeeping efforts in India, Pakistan, Liberia, Burundi, Sudan, Georgia, East Timor, Lebanon and Afghanistan and sent the Zaytun forces to Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region.

Education : Education in South Korea is regarded as crucial to financial and social success, and competition is consequently fierce, with many participating in intense outside tutoring to supplement classes. In the 2006 results of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment, South Korea came first in problem solving, third in mathematics and seventh in science.South Korea's education system is technologically advanced and it is the world's first country to bring high-speed fibre-optic broadband internet access to every primary and secondary school nation-wide.

Gross Domestic Product : $986.2 billion (2009)

Per Capita GNI : $19,231 (2008)

Major Industrial Products : Semiconductors, automobiles, ships, consumer electronics, mobile telecommunication equipment, steel and chemicals

FTAs : Korea has actively engaged in FTA negotiations with over 50 countries. So far, FTAs with Chile, Singapore, EFTA, ASEAN, India and Peru have entered into force and the Korea-EU FTA has been provisionally applied since July 1, 2011. The Korea-U.S. FTA was signed in June 2007 followed by an agreement in December 2010, and currently it awaits approval for ratification in the Korean National Assembly. Korea is currently negotiating FTAs with GCC, Australia, New Zealand, Columbia, Canada, Turkey and Mexico.

Longest rivers : Amnokgang 790km, Nakdonggang 521.5km, Dumangang 521km, Hangang 481.7km

Major cities : Seoul (10.0 million), Busan (3.5 million), Incheon (2.6 million), Daegu (2.5 million), Daejeon (1.5 million), Gwangju (1.4 million), Ulsan (1.1 million)

World Heritage World Heritage
Haeinsa Temple Janggyeongpanjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks (1995)

Jongmyo Shrine (1995)

Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple (1995)

Changdeokgung Palace Complex (1997)

Hwaseong Fortress (1997)

Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites (2000)

Gyeongju Historic Areas (2000)

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes (2007)

Joseon Dynasty's royal tombs (2009)

II. Currency and Credit Card

The unit of Korean currency is the Korean Won (KRW) Coin denominations are 10Won, 50Won, 100Won, and 500Won. Bank notes are 1,000Won, 5,000Won, 10,000Won and 50,000Won. Foreign currency and traveler’s checks can be exchanged into Korean Won at most banks in Korea as well as at the airport. The exchange rate is subject to market fluctuation. One U.S. dollar is equivalent to about 1,183 KRW as of October 7, 2011.

Major credit cards, including VISA, American Express, Diners Club and MasterCard are accepted at most hotels, department stores, and restaurants.

Denomination

Bills
Bills

Coins
Coins

Ⅲ. Tipping and Taxes

No tipping is required at major tourist spots. Value Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods at a standard rate of 10%. In major tourist hotels, a 10% VAT plus a 10% service charge is added to the bills for rooms, meals, and other services.

Ⅳ. Business Hours

Business

Weekdays

Weekends &
National Holidays

Banks

9 am - 4 pm

Closed

Government Offices & Organizations

9 am - 6 pm

Closed

Post Offices

9 am - 6 pm
(Central Post Office: 9 am-8 pm)

closed
(Central Post Office:
9 am- 1 pm)

Foreign Diplomatic Missions

hours vary, please see the following link for more information:

closed

Department Stores

10:30 am - 8 pm
*Typically one day a month (usually a Monday) department stores are closed to the public. However, closings will vary according to each store.

* Time: Standard Time is nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+9).

Ⅴ. Transportation

  • Subway: Subway is the quickest, easiest and most convenient way to travel around Seoul. Station names and route maps are written in English. Fares depend on whether you are paying by cash or T-Money (Transportation Card). Subways are around 1000 - 3100 won per trip depending on how far you travel.

    - Ticket Purchase
    Please buy your ticket to use the train. Standard tickets can be purchased at ATVM (Automatic Ticket Vending Machine).

    There are two kinds of tickets. One is prepaid transit card which is a rechargeable allowing passenger to use them until the balance on the card is exhausted and add value afterwards. It will give you a transfer discount as well. The other is a one-time use ticket which you can receive a 500 Won refund when you arrive at the destination. It requires an additional 100 Won to the prepaid transit and there will not be a transfer discount.

    Ticket

  • Taxi: There are taxi stands in most busy city areas, and taxis can also be hailed on the streets. As well, certain taxis can be requested by phone though the fare for these special call taxis is somewhat higher than regular taxis. The fare system is based on both distance and time. Fares are ₩2,400 for the first 2 kilometers and ₩100 for each additional 144 meters.

Regular Taxi

Deluxe Taxi (Mobeom Taxi)

2,400 won for the first 2km and 100 won for each additional 144m. Between midnight and 4:00 am, additional 20% is charged.

4,500 won for the first 3km and 200 won for each additional 164m. It offers a higher quality of service. Recognized by their black color.

  • Bus: The buses are categorized into four colors. Blue (arterial buses) are the routes which connect outlying areas with the downtown area and run along a north-south and east-west axis. The Green (local) buses operate within a specific district. These buses will also make stops at subway stations. These routes usually operate in local areas for passengers transferring to blue buses or subways. Then there are the Red (express buses) which link downtown Seoul with satellite cities. Finally, there are the Yellow (downtown circular) buses, which you might not see as often but these buses run short routes in major downtown areas. Buses are around 900 - 1000 won per trip depending on how far you travel.

Ⅵ. International and Domestic Call

  • Room to Room Call
    - + Room Number
  • Cell Phone and Public Phone
    - 001 + Country Code + Area Code + Phone Number
    - Pre-paid cards are available at the front desk (1F) and shops
    - Incoming calls are free for the cell phone.
  • Paying Method
    - Pre-paid cards are available at the gift shop (1F) and convenience stores. (5,000 won, 10,000 won)

Ⅶ. Electricity supply

Electricity supplyThe standard electricity supply is 220 volts AC/60 cycles. However, outlets for 110 and 220 volts are available at the hotel.










Fun Fun Korea
(Tourist Attractions, Shopping, Useful Korean language)

Seoul Seoul is a remarkably safe city. Violent crime rates are exceedingly low compared to other major cities around the world. Generally speaking, you can walk around just about any part of town at any part of the day and not feel threatened in any way. Seoul has tons of great walking courses that will put visitors in touch with the city’s history, culture and vibrant lifestyle. This section introduces just a few recommended courses to get you started.

Seoul Walking Tour Guide

Seoul is a safe city. Generally speaking, you can walk around just about any part of town at any part of the day and not feel threatened in any way. Seoul has tons of great walking courses that will put visitors in touch with the city’s history, culture and vibrant lifestyle. This section introduces just a few recommended courses to get you started.

1. Tourist Attractions

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
    Gyeongbokgung Palace Of the five royal palaces located in the heart of Seoul, Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first palace to be constructed (est. 1395). It is known for its scale and architectural beauty, particularly the symmetric central part connecting the gates of Gwanghwamun, Heungnyemun, and Geunjeongmun. In part because of its expansive grounds, Gyeongbokgung Palace is said to be the ideal place for visitors to bask in the elegant grace and luxurious essence of the royal palace culture.


    * Directions
    - Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3), Exit #5
    - Ganghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), Exit #2, 400 meters

  • National Museum of Korea
    National Museum of Korea The National Museum of Korea is a cultural space dedicated to exhibition and research, education and international cultural exchange, and the collection and preservation of Korea's unique cultural heritage. Eye-catching both inside and out, the museum features six permanent exhibition galleries, special exhibition galleries, a children’s museum, and an outdoor gallery showcasing Korean fine art and Asian cultural assets.

    * Directions
    - Ichon Station(Subway line 4 & Jungang line), Exit #2

    * Operating Hours
    - Tue, Thu, Fri: 9:00 - 18:00 / Wed, Sat: 9:00 - 21:00 / Sun, Holidays: 9:00 - 19:00

    * Closed
    - New Year’s Day, Every Monday

  • Cheonggyecheon
    Cheonggyecheon Through the newly revitalized Cheonggyecheon, with its fountains and waterfalls, one can see the magnificent restoration of this important water way in downtown Seoul. At the Cheonggyecheon Cultural Center you can see images from Cheonggyecheon’s past and present that are on display.

    * Directions
    - City Hall Station (Subway line 2), Gwangwhamun Station (Subway line 5) and Dongdaemun culture and history park Station(Subway line 4).

  • Insadong
    Insadong was originally two towns whose names ended in the syllables "In" and "Sa". They were divided by a stream which ran along Insadong's current main street. Insadong began 500 years ago as an area of residence for government officials. The area became a focus of South Korea's artistic and cafe life 60 years ago. Insadong-gil is "well known as a traditional street to both locals and foreigners" and represents the "culture of the past and the present" now.

    * Directions
    - Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit #6. 1min walk.
    - Jonggak Station (Subway Line 1), Exit #3. 3min walk.

  • Gangnam Subway Station
    Truly as a shopper's paradise, each area in Gangnam a different atmosphere as well as a variety of resources, catering to the diverse population of the city. Noted as the fashion haven for the hip and trendy, this area of Seoul is lined with famous 'Fashion Streets' and regions that offer elegant shopping establishments as well as chic boutiques and small bargain shops.

  • N Seoul Tower
    N Seoul Tower N Seoul Tower, often called Namsan Tower after the name of the mountain it is located on, is the most identifiable landmark in the Seoul City skyline. One can get a glimpse of this impressive structure jutting into the heavens from many places all around Seoul. While looking up at it is impressive, it doesn’t compare to the view from the tower looking down especially when that view is of Seoul all lit up at night.

    * Directions
    - A circulating bus (Yellow Namsan circulating bus number 02)
    1) Chungmuro Station (Subway lines 3 and 4) exit #1 (in front of Daehan Cinema)
    2) Dongguk University Station (Subway line 3) exit #6.


    Operating hours and intervals

    Every 5-8 minutes, from 8:00 a.m. to 12 a.m.

    Bus Fare

    800 KRW for cash and 700 KRW for transportation card.



  • Dongdaemun Fashion Town
    Dongdaemun Fashion Town houses Korea's largest clothing wholesale market, wedding goods market, Gwanghee Market which specializes in fur and leather, flea market, and modern fashion malls such as Doosan Tower, Migliore, and Freya Town. At the modern fashion malls you can enjoy various events such as fashion shows, festivals and hip-hop dance contests in addition to shopping.

    * Directions
    - Dongdaemun Station (Subway line 1, 4,) Exit #8, 9

  • Namdaemun, Myeongdong
    Namdaemun, Myeongdong Namdaemun and Myeongdong, in addition to being Korea's "shopping heaven," are full of youthful personality and the hustle and bustle of city life. Amidst the surging crowds of Namdaemun Market you'll find an endless number of things to see and buy. Myeongdong, meanwhile, was a symbol of youth and romance during the 1970s. Even now, it's downtown Seoul's most thriving district and a neighborhood rich in culture. If you stroll to the end of Myeongdong-gil, Korea's No. 1 spot for fashion, you'll come to Myeongdong Cathedral, a symbol of Korean Catholicism and the nation's only Gothic-style building.

    * Directions
    - Namdeamun: Subway line 4, Hoehyun Station, exit #5.
    - Myeongdong: Subway line 4, Myeongdong Station, exit #6.

  • COEX Mall (Samseong station, line 2)
    COEX Mall (Samseong station, line 2) COEX Mall is the largest underground shopping center in Asia. It is located in the basement of the Korea World Trade Center, located in Samseong-dong. Visitors can find major international brands of leisure and sports clothing in a section of COEX mall.





Quintessential Korean Food

김치 Kimchi
Spiciness:

김치 Kimchi Description: Cabbages and other vegetables are soaked in salt water, then seasoned with different spices before being fermented. There are many different types of kimchi, such as cabbage kimchi (the mos common), cucumber kimchi radish kimchi, cubed radish kimchi, green onion kimchi, and more. It is a health food filled with vitamins, minerals, and more.



비빔밥 Bibimbap (Rice Mixed with Vegetables and Beef)
Spiciness:

비빔밥 Bibimbap (Rice Mixed with Vegetables and Beef) Description: A dish made by mixing rice with various other cooked vegetables. Great for experiencing different vegetables, pleasing to the eye, and full of nutrients. Jeonju's variation of bibimbap is most famous.







불고기 Bulgogi (Beef in a Soy sauce Marinade)
Spiciness:

불고기 Bulgogi (Beef in a Soy sauce Marinade) Description: Beef or pork is sliced thinly then marinated in seasoning before being grilled.







삼계탕 Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken soup)
Spiciness:

삼계탕 Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken soup) Description: A young chicken is cleaned out then stuffed with various ingredients befor being boiled to draw ou a delicious broth.







막걸리(탁주) Makgeolli (Takju)

막걸리(탁주)  Makgeolli (Takju) Description: Makgeolli is unique to Korea. It is made by mixing steamed glutinous rice, barley, or wheat with nuruk, a fermentation starter culture, and water, and then leaving the mixture to ferment. It has a milky, opaque color and a low alcohol content of 6%-7%. You can try makgeolli almost anywhere in Seoul, particularly recommended are the traditional Korean taverns in the downtown Insa-dong or Myeong-dong areas.









Useful Korean Language

Useful Korean Language
  • Hello?: Annyoung hasimnica?
  • Good Bye:
    Annyounghee gasipsiyo.
  • Thank you: Gamsa hamnida.
  • How much is this?:
    Eulma imnica?
  • Excuse me: Sil-rye hamnida.
  • I am sorry: Mian Hamnida.
  • Let’s go to (Millennium Seoul Hotel).
    : (Millennium Seoul Hotel) ro gajuseyo.