About Seoul

Seoul, the Capital of Korea

Seoul is a fast-moving modern metropolis and one of the largest cities in the world. Home to over 10 million citizens, it is a friendly city that is easy to get around. Here are some tips to make your trip to Seoul more convenient and comfortable.

Seoul has been the capital of Korea for about 600 years since the time of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Seoul was referred to as "Han Yang" during the Joseon Dynasty, but, the newly founded Republic of Korea officially changed its capital city's name to Seoul in 1945. Seoul has developed into a bustling metropolis, acting as the hub for political, economic, social and cultural matters.

The Hangang River runs through the heart of the city. The river divides the city in two; the northern part of the city is a focal point for culture and history, while the southern part is well known for its business district.

Seoul has hosted many international events including: 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Olympic Games and 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup. The success of these events has shown people that Korea is truly an international city.

[Photo credit: Korean Tourism Organization]

About Korea

Country Name Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Capital City Seoul (population: 9.75 million as of 2019)
Size 1,012km from north to south and 165km from east to west
National Flag Taegeukgi
Language Korean (writing system: Hangeul)
Country Dialing Code +82
National Flower Mugunghwa
Population 51.7 million (as of 2019)
Time Zone GMT +9 (Korean Standard Time KST)

The Republic of Korea (herein after Korea) is a country visited by approximately ten million international travelers every year. With its long history in culture and tradition, the country has a lot to offer to travelers. Continue reading to learn general information about Korea before visiting.

 

Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in oriental philosophy. The circle in the center is divided into two equal parts, where the upper red responds to the active cosmic forces of the yang; conversely, the lower blue section represents the passive cosmic forces of the yin. The flag's background is white, representing Korean’s desire for peace and purity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner, characterizing continual movement, balance and harmony. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements (heaven, earth, fire, and water).

The national flower of Korea is mugunghwa, or rose of Sharon, which comes into bloom from July to October every year. Profusions of the blossom gracefully decorate the entire nation during that time, providing a view which has been loved by all Korean for many years. It is also favorite plant of the people as the flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word ‘mugung’, meaning immortality. This word accurately reflects the enduring nature of Korean culture, and the determination and perseverance of the Korean people.

Aegukga literally means 'a song expressing one’s love towards their country' in Korean, and that was the exact reason this anthem came to be born. Since its creation, the song has undergone several versions of transition; however, it remained focused on praising the sense of loyalty to the country. Maestro Ahn Eak-tai (1905-1965) is credited with having made the present form of the song in 1935, which was then adopted by the Korean Government (1948) officially as the national anthem and began to be used at all schools and official functions.

Tourist Attractions

Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first and largest of the royal palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty...

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Lotte World Tower is one of Korea's architectural crown jewels...

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The Deoksugung Stone Wall Path is filled with modern-style buildings that reflect the historic background...

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Hongdae's Pedestrian-Friendly Street was selected as one of Korea's 100 representative...

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Anyoung Insadong is a cultural and entertainment shopping complex with many galleries, cafes, and shops...

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Cheonggyecheon is an 11 km long modern stream that runs through downtown Seoul. Created as part of an urban renewal project...

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[Photo credit: Korean Tourism Organization]

Useful Information

Currency

The unit of Korean the currency is the Won (₩). Coin denominations are ₩10, ₩50, ₩100 and ₩500. Banknotes are ₩1,000, ₩5,000, ₩10,000 and ₩50,000. The exchange rate is approximately US$1 to KRW 1,195 as of July 2020.

+VAT

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is included in the retail price. In tourist hotels, this 10% tax applies to rooms, meals and other services and is included in the bill.

Climate
Four distinct seasons in Korea:
  • Spring (March ~ May)
  • Summer (June ~ August)
  • Autumn (September ~ November)
  • Winter (December ~ February)
  • The temperature in Busan in November ranges approximately between 10-20 ℃ degrees.
Emergency
  • 119: Emergencies for Fire, Rescue & Hospital Services
  • 112: Police
  • 02-1339: Emergency Medical Information Center
Electricity

In Korea, 220 volt outlets are most common. Some hotels provide 110 volt outlets for shavers. Please check the power supply before use.

Useful Websites