The Korean Peninsula extends about 1,000 km from the Asian continent into the Pacific Ocean with more than 3,000 islands dotting the coastline. Mountains cover almost 70 percent of the land mass, making the country one of the most mountainous regions in the world and offering abundant forest resources. Administratively, Korea consists of nine provinces with 77 small cities and 88 counties.
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 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.
Hangeul (한글), Korea’s official alphabet, was first invented by King Sejong during the Joseon Dynasty. Originally called Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음), the language was conceived in 1443, and further promulgated by the King in 1446. At the time of its inception, the language consisted of 17 consonants and 11 vowels however, since then, 3 of the originally established consonants and 1 vowel have fallen into disuse bringing the total number of characters to 24. Syllables are formed by the selective combination of vowels and consonants to create words.
When Indicating Korea Time: Present Time (GMT+9) / No daylight savings time
|Seoul, Tokyo (Korea Time)||1:00||4:00||7:00||10:00||13:00||16:00||19:00||22:00|
|Taipei, Manila, Hong Kong,
Kuala Lumpur, Singapore
|New Delhi, Kolkata||21:30||0:30||3:30||6:30||09:30||12:30||15:30||18:30|
|Hamburg, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam||18:00||21:00||00:00||3:00||6:00||9:00||12:00||15:00|
|Rio de Janeiro, S`ao Paulo||13:00||16:00||19:00||22:00||1:00||4:00||7:00||10:00|
|New York, Montreal, Toronto||12:00||15:00||18:00||21:00||24:00||3:00||6:00||9:00|
|Chicago, Houston, Bogota||11:00||14:00||17:00||20:00||23:00||2:00||5:00||8:00|
|Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco,
Government office hours are usually from 9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays. Banks are open from 9:00 to 16:00 on weekdays. Most stores are open every day from 10:30 to 20:00, including Sundays.
Service charges are included in your bill for rooms, meals, and other services at hotels and upscale restaurants. Koreans occasionally do tip when they are especially pleased with the service they receive. Foreign tourists can receive nearly 10 % VAT refunds for purchases at Duty Free shops. Goods must be taken out of Korea within three months of purchase to be eligible for a tax refund. Visitors can receive a refund on a receipt for a minimum purchase of KRW 50,000 (around USD 43). To receive this refund, present receipts with the purchased goods at the customs clearance desk at Incheon International Airport when departing.