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Location

The Korean peninsula extends southward from the eastern end of the Asian continent. The peninsula is roughly 1,030 km (612 miles) long and 175 km (105 miles) wide at its narrowest point.
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 has created breathtaking landscapes of scenic hills and valleys. The mountain range that stretches the length of the east coast plunges 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.
The Korean peninsula is divided just slightly north of the 38th parallel. The democratic Republic of Korea in the south and communist North Korea are separated by a demilitarized zone.
South Korea's 99,500sq.km is populated by 47.9 million people (2003).
Administratively, the Republic of Korea consists of nine provinces ; the capital Seoul; and the six metropolitan cities of Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon and Ulsan. In total, there are 77 cities and 88 countires .

Whether
Four Distinct Seasons
Korea's climate is regarded as a continental climate from a temperate standpoint and a monsoonal climate from a precipitation standpoint. The climate of Korea is characterized by four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Spring
Spring lasts from late March to May and is warm. Various flowers, including the picturesque cherry blossom, cover the nation's mountains and fields during this time.
Summer
Summer lasts from June to early September. It is a hot and humid time of the year.
Autumn
Autumn lasts from September to November, and produces mild weather. It is the best season for visiting Korea.
Winter
Winter lasts from December to mid-March. It can be bitterly cold during this time due to the influx of cold Siberian air. Heavy snow in the northern and eastern parts of Korea makes favorable skiing conditions.
Culture
Korean culture has blossomed during her long history. Though affected by other Asian cultures, its roots lie deep within the creative Korean psyche, and it has tended to spread rather than be encroached upon. Japan especially has adopted many Korean ideas and customs. The delicate styling and fine craftsmanship of celadon pottery illustrates the refinement of the culture well, even from as far back as the Three Kingdoms period. Korea has also spawned some great inventions: its first printing systems predate Gutenberg's, the famous 'Turtle Ship' was the first ever iron-clad battleship, and the Korean alphabet, devised by a group of scholars in the 15 century, was so effective that it remains largely unchanged today. The reasons behind Korea's rapid economic development can be found in this innate creativity.
Cultural Attractions
Buddhism has played a powerful role in Korean art. A large number of excellent examples of Korean artwork and architecture can be found in Buddhist temples and paintings. During the Choson Dynasty, Confucianism became a leading inspiration for the noblemen to whom the arts of calligraphy and painting were essential. They have left a legacy of fine brushwork from which contemporary artists have benefited from.
Traditional Art

Korea has a long and distinguished cultural history. The current trend in Korean art is the harmonious combination of traditional and modern styles, revealing the historical roots and influences of Korean art.

Painting
Tomb murals from the Three Kingdoms Period are the earliest examples of Korean painting. Mythological beasts such as dragons and flying horses show an imaginative and creative spirit. Throughout the Unified Shilla and Koryo Periods, Buddhism prevailed in every field of life, thus leaving a rich collection of icon paintings. In the late Koryo Dynasty, ink and brush paintings of the four "noble plants", (cherry blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo), which symbolized traditional virtues, became popular. Artists of the Choson Dynasty produced innovative masterpieces embodying the Korean spirits and perspectives. There are humorous animal pictures, scroll paintings of dreamlike, mist-clad mountains, and insightful sketches of everyday life done in brush and ink. Paintings with folk custom and nature themes flourished in the latter half of the 18th century. Shin Yun-bok was a celebrated master of this genre.

Calligraphy
Calligraphy, the art of brush writing, is a traditional art form in Korea, which has exerted a strong influence on social and cultural life and is still highly respected today.
Architecture

Four factors have shaped traditional Korean architecture: religions, the availability of materials, the natural landscape, and an aesthetic preference for simplicity. Gently sloping rooflines and sturdy, undecorated pillars characterize its simplicity, harmony, and practical utility. Korea has many original wooden and stone structures, some dating back over a thousand years. There are also many skillful reproductions. Traditional architectural designs are also incorporated in many modern buildings throughout the country.

Pottery
One of the most significant achievements in Korean art, the perfection of celadon, was accomplished during the Koryo Dynasty. Korean artisans developed a superbly controlled glaze that was both beautiful and unique because it fully utilized the properties of Korea's rich clay. The highest praise is given to the color of the glaze - a delicate kingfisher green celadon inlaid with a pictorial underglaze which is called sanggamch'ongja and occupies a central position among Koryo celadons. The motifs and decorations found on the celadon are additional reasons for its great popularity among art lovers.
Modern Art

With its characteristic blend of the traditional and modern arts and the balance of influences from the east and the west, Korean contemporary art has surged in popularity. Most artists try to be accessible to their audience, and there are many exhibitions and galleries in any major city, the largest collections of which are in Anguk-dong and Taehangno areas in Seoul.

Museums
Visiting the museums of a country is a valuable opportunity to see its historic treasures and cultural legacies. As in other countries with long histories, many national, municipal and university museums, as well as a number of private institutions, preserve Korea's colorful past.

Traditional Performance
Koreans have always had a deep love for music and dance. Traditional Korean dance and musical performances can be a memorable part of visiting Korea. These performances can be seen regularly each Saturday at the Korean Traditional Performing Arts. Some examples of things you might see are:
Court music
Traditional Korean music can be classified as court or folk music. Court music is slow, solemn and complex. It is performed regularly at the National Theater.
Painting
Tomb murals from the Three Kingdoms Period are the earliest examples of Korean painting. Mythological beasts such as dragons and flying horses show an imaginative and creative spirit. Throughout the Unified Shilla and Koryo Periods, Buddhism prevailed in every field of life, thus leaving a rich collection of icon paintings. In the late Koryo Dynasty, ink and brush paintings of the four "noble plants", (cherry blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo), which symbolized traditional virtues, became popular. Artists of the Choson Dynasty produced innovative masterpieces embodying the Korean spirits and perspectives. There are humorous animal pictures, scroll paintings of dreamlike, mist-clad mountains, and insightful sketches of everyday life done in brush and ink. Paintings with folk custom and nature themes flourished in the latter half of the 18th century. Shin Yun-bok was a celebrated master of this genre.
P'ansori
This narrative folk song tells a long, dramatic story.
Folk songs
Folk songs express the emotions of the working class people.
Samulnori (farmers' dance)
Four music instruments are used in Samulnori: Buk (drum), Ching (gong), Chang-gu (hourglass drum) and Kkoenggwari (a type of a gong).
Sandaenori (mask dance)
Korean mask dances are silent folk dramas that satirized the high society prevalent when they were developed, over 200 years ago. They contain many Buddhist and Shamanism elements.
Madangnori
performances are similar to the Western-style musical.
Traditional dance
Traditional Korean dance is divided into three main types: court, folk and religious. Among all Korean dances, the best known are the fan dance and the drum dance.
[Sujech'on,] the most famous composition of court music, performed on wind instruments Sujech'on is a type of chong'ak, literally "proper or correct music", which is comprised of both instrumental and vocal pieces which were generally cultivated by the upper class literati of the Choson society.
[T'aep'yongmu,] The Court Dance One of the many court dances, Taep'yongmu originates with Han Son-jun (1874-1941), who founded the Choson Dance Institute in 1933. The lone female dancer is dressed in the rhythms of Shamanistic music. T'aep'yongmu has been designated an Intangible Cultural Asset in order to assure its preservation.
[Kayagum,] a twelve-stringed zither The Kayagum is similar to the Chinese cheng and the Japanese koto in structure but is played differently and has a different timber. The Kayagum dates back to the sixth century during the rule of King Kasil of the Kaya Kingdom. The thumb, index finger and middle finger of the right hand pluck the strings, while the index and middle fingers of the left hand press on the strings of the left side of the movable bridges.
[Geomungo] It has 6 lines and 16 flats called 'Goae'. In view of the mechanism that allows it to produce sound, it is similar to guitar, in that the pitch is decided by the flat location of a finger. The left fingers are placed on the Goae to control pitch and the right hand grasps a stick called 'Sul-Dae' and plucks the strings. The sound of the Geo-Mun-Go is less clear and sharp than most string instruments, but nevertheless it can fully convey the feeling of people.
Langauage
The Korean language is classified as a Ural-Altaic language, a group that also includes Mongolian, Hungarian, and Finnish. The Korean character system, "Hangul", is completely different from and independent of Chinese and Japanese. 'Hangul' was developed by a group of scholars under the patronage of King Sejong in 1443. It is composed of 10 vowels and 14 consonants. This unique phonetic alphabet is well known for its scientific syllabic system that allows great freedom of expression. The chart above presents the 24 Hangul letters and their romanized equivalents. This romanization system is based closely on the McCune-Reischauer(M-R) system. M-R romanization differs substantially from that of English and may take a little while to get used to. (There are some vowel and consonant sounds that English does not have.)
Living in Korea
Transportation
The most economical way of getting around in Korea is by bus or subway. The Subway is the typical public transportation which can take you to anywhere in Seoul. It is convenient to use subway because in Seoul there are many cars and the roads are usually jammed. There are 8 subway lines in Seoul and it is easy to recognize them because of they're marked in different colors. Line 1 is red, line 2 is green, line 3 is orange, line 4 is blue, line 5 is purple, line 6 is orchid, line 7 is olive green and line 8 is pink.
Bus
There are about 400 bus routes and over 8,500 buses in Seoul. The more detailed routes of the buses than the sub way help you get closer the place you want. But it is hard to know all the routes exactly and since the information is not in English you might miss your stop.
Taxi
There are two types of taxis: common taxi and, deluxe tax(Mobom taxi). The deluxe taxi is more expensive than the common taxi but the services are better. You should know exactly where you want to go because not all the taxi drivers can speak English.
Common Taxi
The rates are calculated depending on the distance and time. The first 2 km is 1,300won and every 210m after that 100won is added to the basic rate. If it is impossible to go even 15km/hour because of traffic jam, then the meter adds 100won for every 51 sec. The rate from the airport to Seoul downtown is usually about 10,000won. From midnight to 4am rates are increased by 20%.
Health
Good Health can generally be maintained in Korea by taking a few sensible precautions. Medical and emergency services are available for un expected upsets.
Water
Most drinking water in Korea is safe, but people rarely drink it directly from the tap. Most expatriates boil their drinking water, or they buy bottled water. Koreans generally drink barley tea(boricha) in place of water.
Food
Some smaller restaurant do not have a high standard of hygiene and it is probably best to avoid such food as raw fish unless you are uncertain that the restaurant has a spotless reputation. Try to eat hot foods always, as the heat will kill bacteria on dishes that have not been washed too well. Cold noodles(Naengmyun)can result in if the dishes are not washed properly. At home, it is important to wash fruit and vegetables carefully, rinsing them often in water. Because of pesticides and herbicides, Koreans always peel apples and pears before eating them.
Doctors
Most Korean doctors have some knowledge of English, and those who hav studied abroad are quite fluent in English, Japanese or German. There are many very well qualified doctors, but it is not always easy to find them . The best way is by word of mouth recommendations from friends. While doctors at most clinics usually have some command of English, the staff can rarely communicate in English.
Clothing
Clothing worn in Korea are quite similar to those worn in Western countries, although styles tend to be more conservative and a bit more sophisticated in the west. Since Korea has four distinct seasons, you will need clothes from for full range of climates. Heavy coates, boots and gloves are necessary in the winter, and Korea's hot humid summer requires lightweight clothes. If you tall or big, please bring your clothing instead of planning to buy them here. Especially, two items expatriate may have more difficulty buying in Korea are underwear and shoes.
Cost of living in Korea
Cost of living in Seoul is about the same as big cities in the US, which means it is little higher than most places in North America. Smaller cities in Korea have slightly lower cost of living. It is fairly easy to save money because the housing is paid for by employer, and with being taken care of, your main expense will be food, utilities, and phone bills.
* Resource from Koreainfogate and tour2Korea