South Korea’s population is 51 million and it's capital Seoul is a major world city. 50 percent of the country’s population live within the Seoul Capital Area which includes Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi-do. The capital is situated in the north-west region of the country.
The Republic of Korea has immense potential for medical tourism with futuristic hospitals, sophisticated technologies, and advanced procedures. The government is taking all measures to make the country a top medical tourism destination. By 2022, it is looking to receive 998,000 medical tourists into the country.
Tourists from the USA, UAE, and Japan travel to Korea for affordable treatments. Some medical institutions in South Korea offer price packages, especially for plastic surgery and help the medical tourist to save up to 40 percent on the treatment, even after adding travel and accommodation costs.
The Country has 27 accredited JCI-certified state-of-art hospitals. Severance Hospital, Seoul National University Hospital, and JK Plastic Surgery Centre are the most renowned hospitals within South Korea for medical tourism. The Doctors are well-educated to international standards of certifications and training.
The country is popular for treatments and procedures in several medical specialties, with an excellent track record for success and survival rates. Cancer treatment, plastic surgery, cardiovascular procedures, orthopedics, and preventive health check-ups are the top five areas for medical tourism in Korea.
Popular Parts of South Korea
South Korea is much more than just Seoul as it is home to modern cities, relaxed and traditional folk villages, breath-taking landscapes and beautiful beaches. The following are some interesting and noteworthy places to visit:
Seoul – The capital city is a mix of pop and party culture, modern architecture, scenic parks, and glittering promenades and it is also rich in history and culture. The National Museum, War Memorial, Changdeokgung Palace, and Bukchon Hanok village are some of the key attractions in Seoul.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – DMZ is one of the most important places in South Korea as you will get a better knowledge of the troubles between North and South. When you book a DMZ 3rd tunnel tour, make sure it includes the tram ride up and down the tunnel, or you will be in for a long walk. You can also get a glimpse of North Korea from the Observation Post in DMZ.
Busan - Is the second largest city of South Korea and is well known for hosting Asia’s biggest International film festival. It is also a unique blend of modern skyscrapers, majestic mountains, picturesque beaches, and magnificent Buddhist temples. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Jagalchi fish market are some of the popular sites.
Jeju Island –Has beautiful white sandy beaches, volcanic craters and lava caves, and the botanical gardens will take your breath away. Hyeopjae & Hamdeok beach, Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls, and Seongsan Sunrise Peak are some of the interesting places on this island.
Gyeongju –This coastal city has a large collection of cultural and historical sites dating back a thousand years. It gives you a peek into its cultural roots through the UNESCO World Heritage site, Bulguksa Temple, and the National Museum.
Seoraksan National Park, Incheon, and Pyeongchang County are a few other places to visit in South Korea.
Weather and Climate in South Korea
South Korea has a mild climate with four seasons.
Summers are from June to August and are hot, humid and rainy. There can be heavy rainfall in July and August.
Winters are from late November to mid-March. During winter, it is freezing cold in the north and the interiors, and mild along the southern coasts and snowfalls is rare.
Spring is from mid-March to May. It is cold at the beginning of the season and gradually becomes milder. Rainfall becomes more frequent with the formation of low-pressure systems.
Autumn is from September to late November and this is a pleasant season and during October the highest temperature is around 68 to 72°F. Rainfall is considerably less than in spring.
The average temperature in Seoul in January is around 73.4 to 81.5°F and in July its 71° to 75°F.
Getting Around in South Korea
Incheon International Airport at Seoul handles many daily flights from North America. Many of which are non-stop from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Korean Air, United, and Delta Airlines operate a lot of these flights. Seoul is also reachable from its other Asian neighbors, Europe, and the middle-east. Other international airports in South Korea are located in Busan, Cheongju, and Jeju.
Gimpy International Airport, also in Seoul, handles domestic flight operations. You can connect to the Seoul Subway System, and to Incheon Airport by the Arex Train System.
Train travel is the most convenient and economical way to get around in South Korea. You can buy a KORAIL rail pass when you arrive at the airport. South Korea’s high-speed bullet train, the KTX, connects Seoul to Busan within 3 hours and It also connects to the other major cities within South Korea.
The Seoul Bus Terminal and the Central City Terminal operate buses to all of the cities. Bus travel is inexpensive and efficient, and fairly empty traveling to the smaller cities. Renting a car is also an option, but expensive.
Tourist Visas in South Korea
South Korea has an agreement with 117 jurisdictions for a visa-waiver. Visitors from countries under the visa-waiver program, such as the USA, Japan, EU countries and New Zealand can enter the country without a tourist visa. Tourists can stay for up to 90 days with a valid passport. Canadians can enter visa-free and stay up to 180 days.
Citizens of most Asian countries like India and China and Russia need a tourist visa to travel to South Korea.
Korean Republican Won (KRW) is the currency of Korea. One US dollar converts to 1149.00 KRW.
You can exchange most of the major currencies to KRW in banks and currency exchanges. US dollars and Euros are the easiest to convert.
You can withdraw money from the many ATMs. Or you may even use credit cards for payments in South Korea.
Korean and Korean Sign Language are the official languages of South Korea. Hangul is the formal script.
56.9% of the people are non-religious. Among the religious population, the majority are Christians. Others follow Korean Buddhism.
The culture of South Korea is a blend of ancient Korean culture with ancient Chinese and Japanese cultures. Respect for elders is an important aspect of their culture.
New Year Day (falls in February as per lunar calendar), The Birthday of Buddha (early May), Independence Day (March 1), Memorial Day (June 6), Constitution Day (July 17) are a few important holidays in the Republic of Korea.