South Korea Facts

Interesting Facts for Kids

South Korea: Seoul and Water PavilionSouth Korea: Seoul and Water Pavilion

Here are some interesting South Korea Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

South Korea Facts at a Glance

South Korea FlagSouth Korea Flag
  • Population: Almost 52 million people live in South Korea (2022). The majority of the people live in the province surrounding Seoul in the north west of the country.
  • Capital: Seoul with 10 million inhabitants 
  • Name대한민국  Republic of Korea (ROK)
  • Government: Presidential Republic
  • Official Language: Korean
  • Literacy: More than 95% can read and write.
  • Religion: Main religions are Christianity (27%) Buddhism (15%), however many practise Confucianism regardless of their religious beliefs
  • Currency: 1 South Korean Won equals 100 Jeon
  • National Anthem: Aegukga ('Patriotic Song')
  • National Symbols: Taegeuk (yin yang symbol). The national emblem Gukjang includes the yin yang symbol and the national flower combined. The National Flag is called Taegukki, the national colours are red, white, blue and black.
  • National Flower: Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus syriacus) 
South Korea national emblemNational Emblem
  • National Animal: Siberian tiger 
  • History: For many centuries, South Korea was an independent kingdom, but after 1905 the country was ruled by the Japanese. After Japan surrendered to the USA after the Second World War in 1945, Korea gained independence again, but the country soon was split between South Korea (which is largely supported by the USA) and communist North Korea along the 38 degrees latitude. Since 1953 South Korea's economy expanded successfully, while the people in North Korea are very poor and the relations between the two Koreas are very strained.
  • National Holiday: 15 August (Liberation Day)
  • President: Moon Jae-in (since May 2017; Next elections will be in March 2022)

Where is South Korea? - South Korea Map

South Korea is located in Eastern Asia and sits on the southern half of the Korean peninsula. The only land borders are with North Korea with which South Korea shares the Korean peninsula. 

The Korean peninsula is surrounded by the West Sea/Yellow Sea, the South Sea/East China Sea and the East Sea/Sea of Japan.

Map of the Korean peninsulaMap of the Korean peninsula

South Korea has a coastline of about 2413 km/ 1500 miles in length. The capital city of South Korea is Seoul.

South Korea is roughly the size of England or Portugal and about ⅓ of the size of Germany. South Korea is slightly smaller than the US state of Pennsylvania or seven times smaller than Texas!

South Korea Geography

South Korea is a mountainous country, with about 70% of the land covered by hills and mountains. Nam-san or Nam mountain overlooks the capital city of Seoul.

Seoul skylineNam-san overlooks the city of Seoul

Seoul is the largest city of the country with about 10 million inhabitants.

The highest mountain of South Korea is Halla-san, also called Mount Halla, with a height of 1950 m/ 6400 ft.  Halla-san is a shield volcano and one of three volcanic mountains on the Korean peninsula. South Korea sits on the 'Ring of Fire' where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Halla-san is an active volcano, however, it has not erupted in many centuries. The mountain is located on the island of Jeju. 

Crater lake on Hallasan mountainCrater Lake on Hallasan mountain

Jeju is the largest South Korean island and located to the south of the peninsula. It has a moderate climate and is a popular holiday destination. There are more than 3000 islands mainly off the southern and western coastlines of South Korea.

Jeju Island in South Korea aerial view of resort and beachJeju Island in South Korea

Nakdong River is the longest river in South Korea. It is 510 km /320 miles long. The river passes through the cities Busan and Daegu in the southeastern part of the country.

Chungju Lake is the largest lake in South Korea. This lake in central South Korea is not a natural lake as it has been created by flooding of the valleys after the construction the Chungju dam.

Chungju Lake in South Korea - aerial viewChungju Lake in South Korea

The biggest cities in South Korea are:

  • Seoul - 10 million inhabitants
  • Busan (Pusan): 4.5 million inhabitants
  • Incheon (Inch'on): 2.8 million inhabitants and
  • Daegu (Taegu): 2.3 million inhabitants 

South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries and the educational standards are high. Below you see a photo of Incheon, which is the third populous city in South Korea. The city's international airport is the largest in South Korea and one of the busiest transport hubs in Asia. 

Incheon Songdo Central ParkIncheon Central Park

South Korea experiences a temperate climate with cold winters and mild summers with often heavy rainfalls.

South Korea for Kids
Attractions

Seoul is the country's capital and largest city. It is situated by the Han River. A quarter of South Korea's population live in Seoul and the surrounding area. Myeong-dong, the main shopping district of the capital city, is a busy shopper's paradise with glittering lights and billboards. In the background you can see Korea's tallest building, the Lotte World Tower.

Seoul on the Han River with Lotte World Tower at TwilightSeoul on the Han River

Bukchon Hanok Village, on the other hand, is the preserved old quarter and traditional Korean village you simply must see. Here you will also find Gyeongbokgung Palace. The former main royal palace was built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty.

Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul/ South KoreaGyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul/ South Korea

Jeju island, or Jeju-do in Korean, is the country's largest island and one of the most popular Korean holiday destinations. With a mild climate and numerous possibilities to go hiking in the mountains, many come to visit the island, marvel at the rock cliffs and see the famous landmarks Halla-san or Sunrise Peak. Or one can enjoy lazing at the fabulous beaches, as there are lots of activities for the whole family. 

Jeju Island and Sunrise PeakSouth Korea's Jeju Island and Sunrise Peak

Busan is a large port city in the southern part of the country. In South Korea's second biggest city, you can do your shopping and temple tours but also relax at some stunning beaches. 

Busan beach resort with skylineBusan beach

And there you will be close to fascinating mountains too! The national park surrounding Koreas second highest mountain Jiri-san is only about three hours from the city of Busan.

Jiri-san view point in Korean national parkViews from Jiri-san National Park

Another great place to marvel at nature is Seorak-san National Park for its breathtaking mountains with its snowcaps. There is also the huge Great Unification Buddha statue which weighs over 108 tons and is 14.6 metres /48 ft high.

Great Unification Buddha statue in KoreaGreat Unification Buddha

Pyeongchang is a winter resort in the north eastern region of South Korea. The city hosted the Winter Olympics 2018.

Pyeongchang winter resort - image by Alexander Khitrov/Shutterstock.comThe winter resort Pyeongchang
Soohorang image by scharfsinn/shutterstock

The city is a popular winter holiday resort and has all kinds of sports activities to offer and accommodation options are varied and plentiful. Did you know that the Olympic mascot, a white Siberian tiger, was called Soohorang?

People who visit Seoul can travel to Pyeongchang via the Korean bullet train.

Korean high speed trains in stationKorean high-speed trains

South Korea Facts | Korean People

Most Koreans (81%) live in urban areas of the country. The lowlands around the capital city Seoul and Incheon are home to the majority the South Koreans.

The people in rural areas are still much poorer and many live a simple life. 

Many Koreans practise Confucianism which is an old tradition in many Asian countries. Confucianists follow the teachings of Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius who told his pupils to lead a simple life, do good and respect each other.

Confucius statue in Incheon South Korea - image by  Chaiyapak Mankannan/shutterstock.comConfucius statue - image by Chaiyapak Mankannan

South Korea Facts | Lunar New Year

Koreans celebrate the new year twice! The New Year celebration are on 1 January as most countries do and for Lunar New Year which is celebrated in February each year. 2021 was the year of the ox, 2022 will be the year of the tiger and 2023 the year of the rabbit. Read more facts about Chinese New Year here.

Children always look forward to the Lunar New Year celebrations which are three days long. Over the new year children get gifts, often money wrapped in red envelopes or red packets, from family and friends. People in Korea will wear their traditional costumes, such as the hanbok, for national and regional cultural festivals.

Korean hanbok dressTypical Korean hanbok dress

South Korea Facts | Music

Korean pop music, also called k-pop, has become famous worldwide especially after PSY's 'Gangnam Style' YouTube hit in 2013. Gangnam refers to the city of Seoul.

Psy at Rockefeller Centre - image by Debbie Wong/Shutterstock.comPsy and his gangnam style

South Korea Facts | Korean Language

Although Korean (also called Hangul) is the official language, in many regions people speak Korean dialects. Children learn Korean and English in school and most people speak English fairly well. Some schools offer Chinese Mandarin classes as well.

Korean Language Flashcards

The Korean alphabet has 24 letters and the language does not have any articles and does not follow a word order. The language is similar to Mandarin and Japanese in that that it is written and read from top to bottom and from left to right.

Korean is the language of both countries: South Korea and North Korea. Apart from using a slightly different accent and some dialects, the Koreans can understand and communicate with each other.

South Korea Facts | Economy

South Korea is one of the biggest economies in Asia and among the four 'Asian Tiger Countries' which also includes Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong.

The main trading partners are China, USA, Japan, Germany and Vietnam. Big Korean companies are Samsung, Hyundai, LG Electronics and Lotte Group.

Coal, graphite and lead are among the main natural resources of South Korea.

South Korea Facts | Landmarks

Apart from the famous Korean landmarks we have already mentioned above, the Gyeongbokgung palace, the Confucius statue and Jeju island, there are also these six Korean landmarks that you should know about as well.

Lotte World Tower is the tallest building in Korea. With 123 storeys and is the fifth highest building in the world.

Seoul Lotte World Tower at nightSeoul skyline and Lotte World Tower

The Sungnyemun city gate is part of the old Fortress wall of Seoul. This is South Korea's National Treasure No. 1. The Southern Gate is one of the eight gates of the old fortress wall and also referred to as Namdaemun.

South Korean Fortress Wall and ancient city gate in SeoulFortress Wall and ancient city gate in Seoul

Another national treasure, the huge Emille bell was cast in 771 AD to honour King Seongdeok. This bell is the largest bell in Korea and weighs almost 19 tons! It is displayed today in the National Museum of Gyeongju.

Korea_bellofkingseongdeok_wikicommons_image by Steve46814Bell of King Seongdeok

King Sejong the Great was another famous historic figure in Korean history. The fourth monarch of the Joseon dynasty ruled in the 15th century. The statue is one of the most iconic landmarks of Seoul and stands next to the Gyeongbokgung palace complex.

Seoul Statue of King Sejong the GreatStatue of King Sejong the Great

The water pavilion in the Palace gardens, called Gyeonghoeru in Korean, is a famous sight and landmark of the country.

South Korea: Water Pavilion at Gyeongbokgung Palace Gardens in Spring timeWater Pavilion at Gyeongbokgung Palace Gardens

Dongdaemun Design Plaza has a very futuristic design and was planned by famous architect Zaha Hadid. This is the cultural hub of Seoul's Fashion district and includes part of the fortress wall, various exhibition halls, the history museum and art galleries as well as sports facilities.

Dongdaemon Design Plaza in Seoul - image by Trabantos/shutterstock.comDongdaemon Design Plaza in Seoul

South Korean Facts | Korean Food

Many Korean dishes are rice, vegetable, soya and meat based. 

Sesame seeds, chillis, kimchi and rice products are the most common ingredients in Korean dishes. Koreans mainly eat with spoons and metal chopsticks. The spoon is used for rice, stews and soups only. Here is some typical Korean dishes:

South Korean KimchiSouth Korean Kimchi
  • Kimchi: traditional dish made with fermented vegetables such as cabbage or leafy greens and chillis
  • Dak Galbi: spicy chicken stir-fry with sweet potatoes, rice cakes and vegetables
  • Bulgogi: grilled meat and vegetable dish
  • Jajangmyeong: very popular street food consisting of noodles, vegetables, fried pork or seafood in a thick black bean sauce.
  • Bibimbap: mixed rice with four to six different vegetables and often served with an egg that might be fried and sunny side up or raw as is shown below.
Korean food Bibimbap - image by ShutterstockBibimbap

South Korea Facts | 
Korean Animals

amur leopardAmur leopard

There are many endangered animal species living in South Korea. Among them are the Siberian tiger, the Amur leopard, the golden eagle, the lynx and the Siberian musk deer.

Below you see animal statues at Heading Yonggungsa temple in Busan. These animals depict the twelve Zodiac signs

Busan temple in Korea with animal statuesTemple in Busan

South Korea Facts | Resources

  • Life in Korea. "Cultural Spotlight." Life in Korea. Last accessed 7 February 2022
  • Russell Holloway. "Korean Culture." Korean Language. Last accessed 7 February 2022
  • Mimsie Ladner. "10 Animals native to South Korea and where to see them. Culture Trip. 22 June 2017. Last accessed 7 February 2022
  • Central Intelligence Agency. "South Korea." CIA World Fact Book. Last updated 25 January 2022. Last accessed 7 February 2022.
  • Ministers of the Interior and Safety. "National Symbols." South Korean Government. Last accessed 7 February 2022

Please bookmark our page if you are interested in South Korea Facts for Kids as our page will be updated regularly. Feel free to contact us if you or your school would like to join in our schools project and provide more South Korea Facts. Looking forward to hearing from you! And enjoy learning more great South Korea Facts soon:-)

Picture credits in main text on South Korea Facts:  shutterstock.com; image of Dongdaemon by Trabantos/shutterstock

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