South Korea is a country of contrasts between ultra-modern cities and a highly advanced economy and a history which stretches back thousands of years. The historical sites in the south have been much better preserved than those in the north, with a wealth of world heritage sites to explore the country's rich history. Notable sites include the Jongmyo Shrine, Changdeokgung Palace and Hwaseong Fortress. It's Buddhist heritage is also evident in numerous temples and most particularly the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks, an astonishing 80,000 wood carvings of the Buddhist text. Explore in depth highlights of South Korea.

Travel Information for South Korea
Time zone:GMT +9 (Korea standard time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:Korean
Currency: South Korean won (KRW)

1 = 1247, $1 = 1117, £1 = 1486

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.krInternational Dialling Code:    82

For help planning your trip to South Korea including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our South Korea trip planning page.

Further information on South Korea

Discover more about South Korea - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of south_korea

Total area: 98,480 sq km (290 sq km under water)

Coastline: 2,413 km (Sea of Japan, Yellow Sea)

Neighbours (border lengths): North Korea (238km)

Climate: Temperate climate with cold, dry winters and humid summers when rainfall is concentrated. Autumn and Spring are generally mild and dry.

Highest mountain: Halla-san (1,950m)

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for South Korea from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldFree -
Democracy IndexFull democracy 21/167
Economic FreedomMostly Free 29/179
Press FreedomNoticeable problems 59/179
ILGA LGBT rightsLimited rights -
Corruption PerceptionsLow corruption 43/174
Overall Ranking:    46/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Republic of Korea (ROK)     Status: Independent Country

Population: 49,039,986 (rank: 26/196)     Density: 497.9 people/sq km (rank: 13/196)

Ethnic groups: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)

Religions: Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3% (1995 census)

GDP (PPP): $1666 billion       GDP per capita: $33,200 (rank: 29/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.