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South Korea is an ancient country with a rich culture. But unless you were deeply interested in the Eastern traditions and cultural heritage, up until about a decade ago there was probably not much you knew about Korea. This changed when the so-called Korean Wave, or Hallyu, hit the West. 

The surge started with music and extended into TV shows (commonly called dramas), movies, skincare, and fashion. This, as a result, brought interest to the Korean language and other more traditional aspects of the culture. Understanding the benefits this could bring to the overall economy of the country, the government of the Republic of Korea continued supporting the promotion of their popular and traditional culture in the world. Today, you have heard about K-pop and at least one Korean drama even if you live under a rock. 

But of course, South Korea, also known as the Land of the Morning Calm, is much more than just its entertainment. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a vibrant city that houses multiple corporations and historical monuments. It is a gateway to getting acquainted with the country, but if you want to learn more about South Korean culture, you should travel around the country, get to know the local people, and experience a lot of things firsthand.  

For this article, we collected a bunch of fun facts about South Korea that will help you understand the country a little bit better and maybe even inspire you for a trip. Share these facts with your friends and let us know in the comments which ones you found most fascinating.

#1

Plan to the gate of an airport on the back of the ticket Airports in Seoul provide a map of your gate on the back of your boarding pass.

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#2

Nap zone room There are rooms filled with couches for anyone to take a nap in at the airport while waiting for their flight.

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#3

Monitor that shows how crowded the wagon is New Seoul subway trains tell you how crowded each cell is by color.

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#4

Mini libraries in a subways Some subway cars in Seoul have a mini library.

YamhillScrub , Thejustjames Report

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🇺🇦 PrincessPatton 🇺🇦
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As a person of small stature, I appreciate that they also have handles that are low so I could comfortably hold on without flying like a rag on a stick :)

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#6

Man with a scooter standing near a pedestrian crossing with a red light under him South Korea puts traffic lights on the ground so that people who are looking at their phones can still see the light.

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Cristian Gonzalez
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think just ahve people put their phones away while walking. See? problem solved.

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#7

Water sprinklers on the road lanes in the middle of the road Self-cleaning road technology is used in South Korea, in warmer seasons water is used and sand in winter.

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#8

Man looking down and counting money South Korea supports young people who are having a hard time interacting with the world outside the comfort of their homes. If you make an effort and start attending school or going to work, you will receive a monthly allowance of $500 on top of that.

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sweetrottenpeaches
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I guess this is because of the "hikikomori syndrome" really became a thing, and not only in Japan.

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#9

Person sitting in the train with a tv and lots of leg room An intercity bus, complete with chargers, a table, and a footrest.

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Roan The Demon Kitty
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

some buses/trains where I am have this, in the UK, but the charging ports are always full of chewed up gum e_e and the tables aren't this fancy, we don't have footrests like that, either. or a screen...

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#10

Three separate holes for recycling in Dunkin Donuts Spot to pour your drink out before throwing it away.

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#12

Basket full of coffee grounds in plastic bags Starbucks in Seoul is offering used coffee grounds for gardening.

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🇺🇦 PrincessPatton 🇺🇦
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I make my coffee in a mocha pot and then dump coffee grounds into the garden beds around the house. They say it also repels moles and slugs and maybe that's true because there are none in the places where I put the grounds.

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#13

Multiple covered from paint Apartment complexes in South Korea were being painted, so the painters shrouded all the cars in the parking lot to protect them from splatter.

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#14

Socks and flower bouquets vending machines Korea has a lot of vending machines to help us out in any scenario, for example, a sock or a bouquet vending machine.

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#15

Toilet paper section where you can try the paper in the store Supermarkets in Korea offer toilet paper samples for you to test paper's softness.

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Headless Roach
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Testing on the spot? Sounds a bit awkward, but okay... *obligingly dropping my pants*

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#16

Tablet with diagrams on it It took South Korea only about 20 years to turn from one of the poorest countries in the world back in the ’50s to one of the richest nations. While the political leader of the country who enforced this growth is often regarded as a dictator, the economic leap is still among one of the most impressive in the world. And of course, the bulk of the credit goes to the hardworking people.

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#17

Kimchi in a small jar with chopsticks besides Back in the old days, fermented cabbage was practically the only choice for the poor population to survive harsh winters. Since then, kimchi has become a staple food and somewhat of a symbol for the national cuisine.

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sweetrottenpeaches
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It is so good it builts up some kind of an additcion. I can eat it even on its own. This stuff is special really. Kimchi made of fresh green onions is so good as well. It is a treasure considering the taste and the nutritional facts. ❤️

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#18

Air hoses to blow off yourself from the park South Korea has air hoses at parks to blow the dust off your shoes when you leave.

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#19

Multiple lit up candles on a cake If you are born in Korea, you are already one year old. Also, you add a year not on your actual birthday, but as soon as the year starts. However, on June 28, 2023, South Korea will convert to the international age-counting system, which means from June 28, every Korean will become one year younger!

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#20

Multiple people with protest signs in the street When Koreans took to the streets to protest against the then-President Park Geun-Hye, the only thing they took with them was candles. Non-violent mass protests against the lack of responsibility over the Sewol ferry disaster and overall corruption brought the result people wanted: the president was impeached and stepped down.

Choe Sang-Hun , Jjw Report

#21

Robot helping people in the airport South Korea offers helpful robots that wander Incheon Airport, Seoul, that you can use to check flight information.

stirredturd Report

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Roan The Demon Kitty
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

ngl these are also kind of terrifying. Imagine one of these chasing you through the airport lmao

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#22

Massive movie theater with a long slide near the stairs Some movie theaters in Seoul have slides inside.

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Firstname Lastname
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Do you have to buy a movie ticket or can you just go in for some sliding fun? :)

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#23

Two people sitting on the phone in the bathroom For the past decade, the Korean entertainment industry has been steadily conquering the world scene. From music to dramas to movies to fashion and beauty, it is gaining more and more fans. The first Korean movie to win an Oscar for best film was none other than Parasite.

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R.A. Haley
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My brother-in-law is into that stuff. I am very grateful for his introducing me to the "Detective Kim" trilogy. So funny!

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#24

Woman holding a bouquet of flowers and a gold medal in her hands Ice skater Kim Yuna is a national hero in South Korea. Throughout her career, she has won every possible ice skating competition and prize. She is also considered to have played a huge role in bringing the Olympics to South Korea.

Keun Hwa , en.wikipedia.org Report

#25

Small sausage with a encouragement written words on them Some sausages in South Korea come with pictures and words of encouragement written on them.

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#26

Jinro Soju bottle on the table Whatever you think is the best-selling alcohol in the world, that’s not it. Jinro Soju has been topping alcohol sales for years. This is not all that surprising when you realize Koreans are also one of the world’s biggest consumers of hard liquors.

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Sean Matherne
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not to mention it is dirt cheap in Korea. Maybe a couple of bucks, even in restaurants.

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#27

Massive temple with a bell in the middle Koreans might be big on entertainment but they are even bigger on respect and observing the rules. You will rarely see them violating traffic rules or doing something that will disturb others. This is a big part of the nation’s cultural identity.

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Sean Matherne
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I lived in Korea for 8 years. Traffic rules were constantly violated. Lane markers were suggestions, red lights constantly ignored, and speed limits hardly ever observed. The difference is that it was pretty consistent, so as long as you expected craziness while driving, you were fine.

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#28

Mouth was dispenser in a public bathroom A free mouthwash dispenser in the mall restroom in Seoul, Korea, to always keep your breath clean.

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Headless Roach
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Omg, for a moment I thought the black button was the actual dispenser nozzle. I'm not worthy of Korean innovations. Half asleep as this at least.

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#29

Multiple people looking at a computer screen Several worldwide studies constantly place South Korea in top positions when it comes to education. Not only is their education system considered to be one of the best, but also 68% of Koreans between the age of 25 and 34 have graduated from a university or a similar institution.

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#30

Room filled with gaming stuff for an eSports event If you are into eSports, South Korea should be on your traveling list. From huge computer rooms where people come to play to huge eSports events on the beach, South Korea can offer it all to fans and players alike.

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R.A. Haley
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Your career ends because you go into the military? Elvis Presley, anyone?

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#31

Grandchildren showing something to a grandma on the phone A new study discovered that South Korean women born after the year 2030 are expected to live longer than 90 years. That will give them the longest life expectancy in the world.

Charlotte Edmond , thelancet.com Report

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#32

Person putting his passport in the backpack Almost half of the Korean population has one of these three last names: Kim, Lee, or Park, with Kim being the most widespread one among the three. This is a relic of Korean merchants trying to grow in power in the 18th century.

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Zoey Rayne
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That kind of defeats the purpose of last names. (Btw, I had professor name Dr. Song, another very popular Korean surname)

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#33

Person closing door of a room Since it is not uncommon for young Koreans to live with their parents or in a dorm (even past student time), love motels are a booming business. Ranging from basic to luxurious, they are not only for one-night stands. People who are in a steady relationship but don’t have a place of their own can also spend time there.

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#34

Korean BBQ table all set up In Korea, when someone asks you about your well-being, it is very common to say “Have you eaten?” Food is a big part of the cultural identity, with tons of restaurants and eateries open on every corner. Koreans follow food trends and even have televised events of people eating various foods.

Hae-Kyung Chung Report

#35

Person sleeping in bed Koreans are not big fans of sleeping in a closed room with a fan on (pun intended). There is a widespread belief that this might be a cause of an untimely death. The origin of this anxiety is unknown, but it is strong even nowadays.

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Sean Matherne
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All portable fans have timers on them for this reason. I've been in offices in schools that were nice and cool because of AC and someone would open the window to let the hot summer air in because the AC "removed the oxygen."

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#36

Mirror on door in public bathrooms Public toilets in Seoul have a face mirror when you sit down, for a more convenient looking at your face.

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Roan The Demon Kitty
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

not, all, because some public toilets in Seoul (and the rest of Korea) are still the ol' squat type. Though just like in Japan, these are becoming rarer and are more often in older buildings or more rural areas.

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#37

People fishing inside of a building Like fishing but not a big fan of the outdoors? There are bars in South Korea that offer indoor fishing. In some of them, you can even get them to cook whatever you catch.

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#38

Two women doing a surgery with face masks on South Korea has the world’s leading industry in plastic surgery. With ¼ of the nation having had plastic surgery of some kind before, it was only a matter of time before the industry would develop to offer incredible results.

en.wikipedia.org Report

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