South Korea is located in East Asia, on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, flanked by the Yellow Sea and the East Sea. The country is one of the most mountainous regions in the world.
The slopes of Korea’s granite and limestone base create a stunning landscape of scenic hills and valleys. Because of successful reforestation programs and the declining use of firewood, most of South Korea’s hills are now amply covered with foliage. At the southern and western coasts the mountains descend gradually to coastal plains.
According to legend, the mythical figure Dan-gun founded Gojoseon, the first Korean Kingdom, in 2333 BC. During the Joseon dynasty, Korea’s dominant philosophy was a strict form of Confucianism. People were separated into a rigid hierarchy, with the king at the top. While the Joseon dynasty ceased to exist in 1910, its legacy lives on in Korean culture: education and hard work are valued above all else, and some people still struggle for equal treatment.
Substantial Chinese influences are evident in traditional Korean culture. However, fundamental differences remain and Korea has managed to build a distinct cultural identity. Koreans are very proud of their heritage and their resistance to outside domination.
As early as the 1960s, the Korean economy has relentlessly shown signs of exponential growth. As such, the country currently is one of the most modern in the world.
Though Asian tourists have been flocking to Korea since the Korean Wave, it is still largely off the radar of most Western tourists.