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Over the past few years South Korea has been a trending international travel destination. However even though tourism has been on the rise and the country is welcoming more and more foreign visitors each year, there is a lot we still do not know or understand about South Korea’s cultural traditions and unique customs.
We did a bit of scouting around to come up with our own top 5 cool facts and quirks about South Korean culture, so you are better prepared on what to expect when you visit the country. Knowing these cultural facts is not only fun and fascinating, they can help you to better understand South Korea and conduct yourself in a socially acceptable manner during your visit.
Beauty and external appearance is a big deal in South Korean society. Both women and men are super conscious of their looks and go to great lengths to maintain what is considered a perfect appearance. Cosmetic surgery is quite common and some stats suggest that South Korea is the hub of cosmetic surgery in the world. It is also reported that eyelid surgery is the most common cosmetic procedure that most South Korean women go in for. As for many South Korean men, using makeup as part of their daily routine is not uncommon at all.
Whether it their healthy diet or genetics, South Korea along with Japan can be proud of the fact that majority of its citizens are fit. These are the only two countries in the world with the least number of obese people.
A clear drink that is somewhat similar to vodka, soju is the national drink of South Korea. Public consumption of alcohol is totally permitted in South Korea so don’t be surprised to find many South Koreans carrying cans of their favourite alcoholic drink and sipping it while on the go.
South Koreans are crazy about shopping and it is something of a national past time. Testimony to this is the fact that the country has some of the largest shopping malls in the world. This also explains why bars, cafes and restaurants in South Korea close by 11 pm whereas shops and stores stay open until 4 am for the convenience of die-hard shopaholics!
Taekwondo is a roughly 2000 year old martial art that originated in South Korea and is even today the country’s most popular sport. In 2002 taekwondo was officially adopted and recognised as an Olympic sport. This martial art form is believed to have come about because of an ancient Korean warrior who developed a weapon-free style of combat using his bare hands and feet. Hence the name taekwondo which translated literally means “way of the fist and foot”.
Food is also an integral part of the culture of South Korea. While in the country don’t forget to try some authentic South Korean dishes such as tteokbokki which is a dish of red rice cakes, japchae or stir-fried glass noodles, gimbap or Korean-style sushi rolls and South Koreas’s famous iced desserts. A visit to South Korea will help you discover that there is so much more to traditional South Koran food than the national dish kimchi.
Before you pack your bags and set off on your South Korean adventure, make sure that you buy travel insurance. Having travel insurance for South Korea is essential. Overseas travel insurance is a necessary safeguard to protect you financially while travelling abroad. Just in case you find yourself in an emergency situation, such as being down with an illness, involved in an accident, or if your luggage or passport gets lost or misplaced or even if your trip itself gets cancelled, your travel insurance policy will kick in to cover the losses and cushion you from the financial impact. To know more about South Korea simply click here for our South Korea travel guide.
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