The Korean Peninsula extends about 1,000 km from the Asian continent into the Pacific Ocean with more than 3,000 islands dotting the coastline. Mountains cover almost 70 percent of the land mass, making the country one of the most mountainous regions in the world and offering abundant forest resources. Administratively, Korea consists of nine provinces with 77 small cities and 88 counties.
The autumn season in Korea lasts from September to November. The weather is cool and crisp, and the sky is blue with few clouds. Autumn is also a season of beautiful falling leaves. Ginkgo trees and maple trees throughout Korea change their hues to yellow and crimson. During this time, Koreans love to go hiking in the mountains to enjoy the picturesque landscape created by autumn leaves. In addition, Seoul Street Art Festival (Hi Seoul Festival), one of Seoul’s major festivals, is held during this period. In addition, during this time, Changgyeonggung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace are also open to the public in the evenings, as well as the Seoul Lantern Festival, which lights up the streets at night, offering many spectacles.
Hangeul (한글), Korea’s official alphabet, was first invented by King Sejong during the Joseon Dynasty. Originally called Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음), the language was conceived in 1443, and further promulgated by the King in 1446. At the time of its inception, the language consisted of 17 consonants and 11 vowels however, since then, 3 of the originally established consonants and 1 vowel have fallen into disuse bringing the total number of characters to 24. Syllables are formed by the selective combination of vowels and consonants to create words.
When Indicating Korea Time: Present Time (GMT+9) / No daylight savings time
Government office hours are usually from 9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays. Banks are open from 9:00 to 16:00 on weekdays. Most stores are open every day from 10:30 to 20:00, including Sundays.
Service charges are included in your bill for rooms, meals, and other services at hotels and upscale restaurants. Koreans occasionally do tip when they are especially pleased with the service they receive. Foreign tourists can receive nearly 10 % VAT refunds for purchases at Duty Free shops. Goods must be taken out of Korea within three months of purchase to be eligible for a tax refund. Visitors can receive a refund on a receipt for a minimum purchase of KRW 50,000 (around USD 43). To receive this refund, present receipts with the purchased goods at the customs clearance desk at Incheon International Airport when departing.
The standard electricity supply is 220 volts AC/60 cycles. Most hotels may provide outlet converters for 110 and 220 volts. Participants are recommended to check with the hotel beforehand.