South Korea is an often-overlooked jewel in the crown of Asia Pacific’s numerous tourism hotspots.
It occupies the southern portion of the Korean peninsula, a mountainous neck of land extending 680 miles from the Asian mainland, flanked by the Sea of Japan to the east and the Yellow Sea to the west.
The country can be divided into four broad regions – the east, with its towering peaks and narrow coastal plains, the mountains and valleys of the south-west, the south-east, which is dominated by the Nakdong River and its broad basin, and the west, which is characterised by wide coastal plains.
Seoul is the capital city and arguably the best known attraction in South Korea. With a population of more than ten million, it’s a true megacity and is home to almost a quarter of all South Koreans.
Although it’s one of the world’s technology hubs, Seoul is also a historic and cultural mecca, having been the capital for more than 600 years. It’s a genuine city of two faces, with looming skyscrapers sharing the skyline with UNESCO World Heritage-listed royal palaces.
Away from its bustling metropolises, South Korea is dominated by spectacular scenery. Almost exactly in the centre of the country lies Mount Woraksan, which is a popular haunt for hikers, while a string of beautiful beaches in Jungmun, Naksan and Gyeongpo are famed for its relaxing sand baths and crystal clear water.