10 Facts About Korea 

Today I share 10 (or more) interesting facts about South Korea gleaned from my experience and Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. Thanks Wikipedia!

Situated on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, the Republic of Korea is commonly referred to as Korea. The name Korea is derived from the ancient Kingdom of Goguryeo, also known as Koryŏ.  

Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan in 1910, after whose surrender in 1945, it was divided into North and South Korea. A North Korean invasion led to the Korean War (1950–53). 

Highly urbanized at 92%, South Koreans lead a distinctive urban lifestyle with half of them living in the Seoul Capital Area, the world’s third largest city with over 25 million residents and the fourth largest economy.

There are so many nice looking high rise apartment buildings and many more under construction .

Busan is South Korea’s 2nd largest city with a population of 3.5 million inhabitants, but within the greater metropolitan area live more than 4.6 million. 

Busan is home to the world’s largest department store, the Shinsegae Centum City.

Taken from an outdoor garden area at Shinsegae Mall.

South Korea is known for high quality brands like Samsung, the world’s leading smartphone and TV maker, LG and Hyundai-Kia. South Korea was named the world’s most innovative country in the Bloomberg Innovation Index.

According to Wikipedia Korea has the world’s fastest Internet speed and highest smartphone ownership.

The transportation hub of Busan Station.

Busan has an efficient and extensive public transportation system with a 5-line metro and many bus lines.

Busan is very pedestrianized and has less car and scooter traffic than Chiang Mai, Thailand.

We are staying in an area called Oncheondong (marked with the blue dot) – one metro stop away from the lively Busan National University neighborhood.

Busan is the largest port city in South Korea and the world’s fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage.

Busan has Korea’s largest beach and longest river.

Looking northeast up Haeundae Beach.

Looking southwest along Haeundae Beach.

Koreans remove their shoes before entering their homes and churches. Our motel room has a entryway area to leave your shoes and provides slippers.

Historically, Koreans sit and sleep on heated floors and squat to prepare food and wash dishes. Some restaurants and motels still offer the Korean style, but modern apartments have kitchens and counters. Apparently, beds are modernized too, or are they?

Modern beds are now 24″ off the floor but still hard and heated. Choose the color of your bed surface. Just like kitchen counters, they come in granite, marble, or leather. The “stone mattress” is covered with a thin mattress pad (no other bottom sheet) The mattress pad “sheet” on our motel bed (top right) covers a hard mattress although not a stone one. Our friend said “Koreans like to sleep with heat on their back.” The Flintstones come to mind…

For years Koreans have been actively encouraging English study, but we see very little English comprehension.



Hangul, is the unique phonetic alphabet consisting of 24 letters created by Sejong the Great in 1446. Before its invention the majority of Koreans were illiterate.

“A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.”

We are in Asia, and although we see some similarities to Thailand, there are just as many differences. Meet You in the Morning next time with more from Busan, South Korea.

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