50 Fascinating Facts about South Korea

South Korea is a country that is located in East Asia. The official name for the country is the Republic of Korea. A population of over 51 million makes this the 27th largest country in the world based on population. The country has a total area of 38,690 square miles. The country has a unitary presidential constitutional republic government with a president and a prime minister. Seoul is the country's capital, and it is also the most populous city in the country. Over half of South Koreans do not have a particular religion, and over one-quarter are Christian. The official currency is the South Korean Won. The country's flag is red, white, blue, and black.

South Korea Facts

South Korea has a GDP of $1.378 trillion.
The nominal GDP per capita is $37,900.
South Korea’s primary industries are electronics, telecommunications, and steel.
South Korea’s crops include rice, barley, and root crops, and agriculture is just about 2% of the nation’s GDP.
In terms of land area, South Korea is roughly the size of the state of Indiana.
Approximately 90% of the world’s seaweed used for consumption (think sushi) comes from South Korea.
In South Korea, you must be 19 to smoke, drink, or vote.
Park Geun-Hye is South Korea’s first female president. She was voted into office in 2013.
South Korea is known as the world’s capital of plastic surgery.
Adultery is legal in South Korea. It was legalized in 2015.
Mandatory military service of 21 to 24 months is required for South Koreans.
In South Korea, a person’s blood type is believed to contribute to their personality and characteristics. Many South Koreans believe that people are compatible based on their blood types.
South Koreans believe that a person is one year old at birth, since they spent almost one year in their mother’s womb, which can make birthdays a little confusing for foreigners.
Speaking of birthdays, a traditional birthday dish is seaweed soup.
In South Korea, the average alcohol consumption is 12.3 liters per year, putting this country as the 17th in the world for most alcohol consumption.
South Koreans celebrate White Day on March 14. It is similar to Valentine’s Day but is reserved for women. Men receive the gifts and treats on Valentine’s Day.
The United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon is from South Korea. Forbes has listed him as one of the most powerful men in the world.
The number 4 is considered to be an unlucky number in South Korea and other parts of Asia. In hotels and other buildings, there is no 4th floor, much like the number 13 in the U.S.
It is tradition to purchase household supplies like toilet paper and laundry detergent for a person’s housewarming gift.
Live octopus is frequently consumed by South Koreans.
South Korea, on average, has the fastest internet speeds in the world.
Want to dine in? No problem. South Korea has multiple restaurants that offer delivery, including McDonalds. Most delivery drivers drive a motorcycle when delivering food. Even better, many places even will retrieve the dishes when you’re done.
Many South Korean homes aren’t outfitted with vents that blow out heat. Instead, homes are heated through the floor.
Samsung, one of the world’s biggest technology companies, is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.
It is not uncommon for South Korean men to wear makeup.
South Korea is on the cutting-edge of most technology, but its sewer system isn’t the best. Because the system is so delicate, toilet paper is meant to be disposed of in a bin beside the toilet – not flushed.
Kimchi is a staple dish in South Korea, and there are 250 different types.
Contrary to popular belief, dog is not a traditional meat consumed in Korea. Only a very small percentage of South Koreans have tried it, and there are many people who speak out against consumption of dog meat.
Soju is the most popular type of alcohol in South Korea. It is around 19% alcohol – very strong – and is a grain or potato-based vodka.
It is not uncommon for a South Korean to ask, “Have you eaten well?” instead of “How are you?”
The island of Jeju, South Korea, has the tallest mountain in the country, which measures in at 6,398 feet.
Korean is the official language of South Korea.
English is often taught as a second language in South Korean schools.
A high-speed rail service travels between Seoul and Busan. It was constructed in 2004 to aid with traffic congestion.
South Korea’s government is a multiparty democracy.
Prior to the Korean War, 75% of residents lived in rural areas. Now, 82% of residents live in urban areas.
South Korea has the second lowest percentage of obese citizens in the entire world
Free Wi-Fi is available practically everywhere in South Korea. It is not uncommon to see everyone – including homeless people and very small children – surfing the internet on mobile devices like phones and tablets.
Cyber sports are very popular in South Korea. Stadiums with big screen televisions are used for competitions in video games.
Being a teacher is one of the most prestigious and well-paying jobs in South Korea. On average, teachers earn about $2,500 per month. Teachers that work at universities and private schools can earn much more.
South Korean students must take a university entrance exam known as the sooneung. On the morning of exams, a crowd of supporters flock to the local high schools to give out well wishes and candy.
The South Korean flag is known as Taegukgi and incorporates symbols and philosophies of Buddhism and Taoism.
South Koreans do not believe that you should write a person’s name in red ink. Traditional beliefs say that this means that a person is dead or about to die.
Jeju, the largest island in South Korea, houses large stone statues. It is believed that touching these statues, known as dol hareubang, aids in fertility.
The people of Seoul are some of the most sleep-deprived in the world, clocking under 6 hours per night.
Online shopping and banking in South Korea must be done through Internet Explorer. This is a law.
Some families in South Korea still have arranged marriages.
Cheomseongdae Observatory, the world’s first astronomical lab, is located in South Korea. It was constructed in the mid-600s.
The most popular sport in South Korea is taekwondo, which is believed to have originated around 2,000 years ago.
Over 20% of South Koreans have the last name Kim. Other common last names are Park and Lee.