Korea has a long history dating back to the Stone Age. From then onwards, Korea had continuously achieved scientific and social advances until the annexation of Korea to Japan. After the liberation of Korea from the Japanese occupation in 15 August 1945, Korea’s freedom was still not long lasting. From June 1950 onwards due to ideological differences, South Korea was invaded by North Korea.
The bloody war lasted 3 years with over 474,000 death recorded by the allied forces and between 1,190,000 - 1,577,000 death from the Communist forces. (Source: Korean War Stuff) The war ended in ceasefire at the end of July 1953 with the peace agreement signed at Panmunjeom, located in the DMZ. After the war, Korea started to modernize rapidly especially in the seventies and the rest as they say is history.
Korea has four very distinct seasons, each with its own special characteristics: spring from mid-March to the end of May; summer from June to August; autumn September to November; and winter from December to mid-March. Of course the actual weather doesn’t always fit these neat categories. (Source: Lonely Planet)
In my opinion the best time to visit Korea is during the spring or autumn. Summer in Korea (my city Daegu, as an example) is excruciating humid. This is also the time when I escape back to my hometown for summer vacation. Winter in Korea is dry but often bitterly cold and the further north you go, the colder it will be.
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. (Source: Korean Tourism) Since Koreans are primarily from one distinct race, Korean language is used in everyday lives. In the past, English was not widely used or spoken but these days, there’s a huge improvement in English usage now. Nevertheless, in big cities like Seoul, Busan or Daegu we can easily find good English speakers.
Korean food always consist of a variety of side dishes or banchan (반찬) besides the main dish. In the free time, Koreans usually love eating Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) or roasted pork belly (Though I find it as too unhealthy..) and they will accompany the fatty slices of roasted pork belly with a couple of bottles of Soju (소주) or Makgeolli (막걸리).
Bibimbap too is among Korean’s famous dishes. The best Bibimbap (비빔밥) is said to be from Jeonju. Korean foods are usually served according to seasons. In the summer, Naengmyeon (냉면) or “Cold Noodles” can be served while in the winter, it can be Bugeoguk (북어국) or Pollock Soup.