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South Korea is a nation located in East Asia and it is limited to the southern part of the Korean peninsula. The northern part belongs to the North Korea country, a very different country compare to South Korea but on located on the same stretch of the peninsula. South Korea is surrounded by seas except on its northern border. East Sea of Japan is located on the east of South Korea; the East China Sea is on the south while to the west is the Yellow Sea. A small island belonging to Japan, the Tsushima Island, on the Korean Strait separated these two countries.
Human inhabitations on the Korean Peninsula started somewhere during the Lower Palaeolithic period, around 2.6 million to 300 thousand years ago. The history of Korea starts with the foundation of Gojoseon, an ancient Korean kingdom, in 2333 BC by the legendary King Dangun. There were three Kingdoms in the old Korea; the Baekje, Silla and Goguryeo. These three were, later on, became one as the Kingdom of Silla conquered the remaining two in 688 AD. Korea was ruled by the Goryeo Dynasty from 918-1392 AD, followed by the Joseon Dynasty from 1392 to 1910. Starting in 1910, Korea was under the ruling of the Japanese Empire. The occupation of Japanese onto Korea began with the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910, in which Korea became a protectorate of Japan and the country was not given any rights for the administration of their internal affairs. The treaty was never actually signed by the Korean Emperor at that time, Emperor Gwangmu of the Joseon Dynasty. The occupation of Japan in Korea ended at the end of World War II in 1945 when the US and the Soviet Union occupied the peninsula.
The occupations of the US and the Soviet Union divided the country into two; the US controlling the south of the peninsula, while the Soviet Union had the north. A Soviet-US Joint Commission was established to help and union these two parts of Korea but failed as the Cold War between the Soviet and the US made progress. In September 1947, United Nation declared that free elections in Korea should be held and foreign troops should be withdrawn. In May of 1948, the South held a general election and this produced the ‘Republic of Korea’, which formally took over power from US Military in August of the same year. In the North, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was declared in September of 1948. These did not bring peace to any of the countries and due to the conflicts rose along the border, this had led to an invasion of the North Korea into South Korea, thus triggering the Korean War. Korean War lasted for three years, with an estimation of total casualty just a little over 1.2 million lives including armies from the US, China, and United Nations apart from the North and South Koreans. The fighting ended with a signed armistice and the agreement of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land across the peninsula. This zone divided the peninsula in half and it serves as the buffer zone between the two countries. The Korean War officially ended in April of 2018, when both leaders from the North and South Korea's signed a treaty at the demilitarized zone.
Ever since the armistice, South Korea has progressed into a developed country with the high-income economy. Currently, it is a global leader in industrial and technological sectors. South Korea also has been booming in their entertainment industry with a cultural phenomenon known as the ‘Korean Wave’ sweeping across many Asians countries and even to the Western countries.
South Korea official language is the Korean language, which is not related to Chinese languages despite a number of words belonging to the Chinese in origin. Most linguists have classified the Korean language as a language isolate meaning that it does not share any ‘genetic’ relationship with any other language. The writing of their language uses a native writing system, Hangul, that was created in 1446 by King Sejong as an alternative to the Classical Chinese Hanja characters that do not fit the language perfectly. The Chinese Hanja characters are still used in some legal documents and print media. There is five dialects group in the Korean language with the standard dialect is known as Seoul, after the capital city.
The capital city of South Korea is Seoul; officially known as the Seoul Special Metropolitan City. It is the largest metropolis in South Korea. It is located in the northwest of the country. It is part of the Seoul Capital Area, that includes the Incheon metropolis and the Gyeonggi province. The Seoul Capital Area contains about half of the country’s population.
A ticket from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Incheon International Airport in Seoul starts from as low as RM 404, one-way. The flight will take about six hours and thirty minutes. A Malaysian passport holder does not require a tourist visa to travel to South Korea, provided the maximum stay in the country does not exceed 90 days. The Incheon International Airport is located on the west side of the Incheon city centre on a man-made island between the Yeongjong and Yongyu Islands.
The airport is connected to the mainland by the Yengjong Bridge and the Incheon International Airport Expressway.
Travelling to the city centre from the Incheon International Airport is easy as there are a number of public transportations available. There are airport buses known as the limousine buses. These buses travel to the Sanjeong Station and the Gimpo Airport, both located on the mainland and in Seoul.
The Airport Railroad Express in the Transport Centre of the Incheon International Airport. It provides services to Gimpo International Airport and Seoul. Stations along the line also provide connections to subways in Incheon and Seoul.
Historical attractions are the major tourist spots in South Korea. The historical places in South Koreas are not only limited to Seoul Metropolitan but also in other provinces in the country. In the capital itself, there are more than ten historical places to visit including the Gyeongbokgung, the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. The Gyeongbokgung served as the King's’ home, the households together with the government. It continued serving until it was destroyed during the Imjin War. The palace was restored two centuries later, in the 19th century. It was later destroyed again by the Imperial during their occupation in the country. Since then, the palace complex was gradually restored to its original form. The royal family is no longer resides at the Gyeongbokgung and today, it houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum. The Gyeongbokgung is regarded as the most beautiful and grandest out of all five. The Gyeongbokgung is located in the heart of Seoul.
The Namiseom Island is a small, half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, some 54 kilometres away from Seoul. The island was formed when it was flooded by the rising water of the North Han River, resulting from the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944. A tour company had developed the Namiseoum Island into an amusement park with a merry-go-round, shooting range, and other fun activities such as water-sports, roller-skating and camping sites. There are no visible telephone or electrical poles on the island as all of the wirings had been built underground to keep the natural beauty of the island. The island is scattered with chestnut and poplar trees throughout that enhance the mesmerizing charm of the place.
The Maru is a hostel, perfect for those who are backpacking in the country or simply, staying on a budget. It is located in the heart of the metropolitan, just 400 meters away from Seoul train station. The hostel provides free breakfast and internet connection for all guests staying there. It offers six types of rooms, starting from as low as RM 50 a night. The hostel offers a shared dormitory but it is only for women. The rooms inside the hostel are all air-conditioned. Basic in-room amenities such as a small refrigerator and a coffee/tea maker set, are also available in every room including the shared dormitory. Bathrooms are available in each room
This is a bed & breakfast in Seoul. It offers six types of rooms, including a dormitory for women, and all of this starts from just RM 113 a night. The rate of the rooms already includes free breakfast and free internet connections. This bed & breakfast is strategically located in Seoul, near to the fast food restaurants and a 24-hour convenience store. Though the rooms are small compared to most bed & breakfast rooms in the world, they are cosy and comfortable. All of the rooms are fitted with an air conditioner, and they even have a refrigerator in the room. Private bathrooms in all of the rooms.