The Korean Peninsula is located in North-East Asia. It is bordered by the Amnok River (Yalu River) to the northwest, separating Korea from China, and the Duman River (Tumen River) to the northeast which separates Korea from both China and Russia. The country itself is flanked by the Yellow Sea to its west and the East Sea to the east. There are several notable islands that surround the peninsula including Jeju-do, Ulleung-do and Dok-do (Liancourt Rocks).
The Korean peninsula is roughly 1,030 km (612 miles) long and 175 km (105 miles) wide at its narrowest point. Korea's total land area is 100,140 sq km, and it has a population of 48.7 million people (2009).
Because of its unique geographical location, Korea is a very valuable piece of land and an international hub of Asia.
Mountains cover 70% of Korea's land mass, making it one of the most mountainous regions in the world. The lifting and folding of Korea’s granite and limestone base create a breathtaking landscape of scenic hills and valleys. The mountain range that stretches along the length of the east coast falls steeply into the East Sea, while along the southern and western coasts, the mountains descend gradually to the coastal plains that produce the bulk of Korea’s agricultural crops, especially rice.
Korea has four seasons, with a wet monsoon/summer season in the middle of the year, and a cold winter from November to March. The island of Jeju off the southern coast is the warmest and wettest place in the country. The ideal time to visit Korea is during the autumn months (September-November). During this time, the country experiences warm, sunny weather, skies that are cobalt blue and spectacular foliage that is perhaps the biggest draw. Winters are cold and dry and are a good time to visit if you are interested in winter sports as there are numerous ski resorts. Spring (April-May) is also beautiful with all the cherry blossoms in bloom. However, it is very busy and one needs to book in advance to ensure accommodation is available. The summer months are muggy and hot, and rather crowded. It is also when the monsoon season begins so many activities are subject to the fluctuations of heavy rain.
Often referred to as the “Land of the Morning Calm,” Korea has a population of 48.74 million (2009) and a total land area of 100,032 ㎢ (2008). Located at a major crossroads of Northeast Asia, it has also achieved the “Miracle of the Han River .” As early as the 1960s, when the country's five-year economic development plan was first implemented, the Korean economy has relentlessly shown signs of exponential growth. From 1962 to 2005, the country's GNI surged from US$2.3 billion to a staggering US$786.8 billion. The 1997 East Asian foreign currency crisis was only a temporary set-back for the Korean economy. The GNI stagnated at US$340.4 in 1998 but soon began to advance again, soaring to US$955.8 billion by 2007.
Years of rapid economic development propelled the country into becoming the world's 12th largest trading partner. Korea's industrial base shifted from agriculture to manufacturing and is now shifting to services. A global force in a number of significant industries, including automobiles, petrochemicals, electronics, shipbuilding, textiles, and steel, Korea 's GDP expanded 5.0% in 2007 and 2.5% in 2008. GDP in 2007 totaled US$969.8 billion, making the country the 14th largest economy.
Visitors to Korea will discover a wide array of unique and delicious Korean food.
Korea was once a primarily agricultural nation, and since ancient times rice has been cultivated as Koreans' staple food. These days Korean food also contains a large variety of meat and fish dishes along with wild greens and vegetables. Various preserved Korean food, such as kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), jeotgal (seafood fermented in salt) and doenjang (fermented soy bean paste) are particularly popular due to their distinctive flavor and high nutritional value.
In Korean food all the dishes are served at the same time. A typical meal normally includes rice, soup, and several side dishes, the number of which vary. Traditionally, lower classes had three side dishes, while royal families would have twelve.
In Korea, like in neighboring China and Japan, people eat with chopsticks. However, a spoon is used more often in Korea, especially when soups are served. Formal rules have developed for table setting, which can vary depending on whether a noodle or meat dish is served.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for the issuing of visa. You can find details on the application, the application process, the time you are allowed to stay and furthermore information on Visa details on the page of the MOFAT(in english).
The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) has published a Guide to help you get started in Korea. The guide gives you information on:
The guide can be downloaded and the website of KOTRA.
The Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT), in co-operation with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), Hi Korea and GT GlobalTech Korea, have developed the Gold Card system.
The GoldCard system is available to high-tech professionals working in 8 high-tech areas; e-commerce (enterprise information system, e-business), new materials, transportation equipment, digital electronics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, environment and energy, and management of technology. The GoldCard system offers extended Visa periods and special terms and conditions. You can find further informations on the GoldCard page.
You can also find a guide on "How to adapt to korea in 10 weeks" on the webpage. This guide gives you information on: