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South Korea Cruises

Inhabited half a million years ago, South Korea has long been a centre of power in Asia, and continues to hold a strong position today. 

Officially titled the Republic of Korea, South Korea has a fascinating history, a rich cultural heritage and the bustling capital city of Seoul, one of the largest in Asia. Since the war with North Korea in the 1950s, South Korea has made great strides economically and socially, and enjoys relative stability and growth in a rapidly changing region of the world. 

From the 7th through to the 17th centuries, South Korea enjoyed more than a millennium of peace, and this long seclusion allowed the nation’s art and traditions to flourish. Buddhism and Confucianism have had major influences on both. On a cruise to South Korea, you’ll get to witness architecture, art, cuisine and language that’s lasted thousands of years.

Top 5 interesting facts

  • ‘Korea’ comes from the ancient Kingdom of Goguryeo, also called Koryŏ. 
  • Korean tea ceremonies are notable performing arts.
  • Almost half the population of 51 million live in Seoul.
  • Korea is the 20th most visited country in the world.
  • There are 250 types of kimchi (pickled cabbage).
 

Highlights

The largest

South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, is home to the world’s largest department store, Centum City. Filled with local and international outlets, you could definitely spend some serious money in here. At the other end of the stimulation spectrum, Busan is also home to Korea’s largest beach, Haeundae.  

The South Korean island of Jejudo is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 600-foot high Seongsan IIchulbong volcano only takes 20 minutes to climb and offers great views of the skyline from up high. The Geomunoreum lava tube system is a fascinating sight, with multi-coloured carbon decorations lighting up the underground caves.  

Shrines

Culture vultures will enjoy the pagodas, gates, temple halls and shrines of Beomeosa Temple, and the fascinating Beomeosa Market.

Korea is the home of the martial art taekwondo, which after many centuries finally became an Olympic sport in 2000. Other Korean martial arts include taekkyeonhapkidoTang Soo DoKuk Sool Wonkumdo and subak. As you travel the country, you’ll see them all in the streets, on the TV and in professional displays. 

 

The future

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South Korea has changed greatly in the last 50 years, transforming itself from a rural farming-based economy to a mainly urban, technology-driven nation.

Possibly related to this change, a 2014 study found that South Koreans drink the most alcohol on a weekly basis, as compared to the rest of the world. 

South Korea is home to the fastest taxis and internet in the world and Seoul now has more Starbucks than New York City. It’s a fast-thinking, fast-paced city that anyone would be fascinated to see. 

The South Korean Government is in the middle of a gigantic green-growth project, aiming to increase energy efficiency and green technology. Besides this push to preserve natural spaces, South Korea has taken extremely good care of its architectural treasures, so they’re there for you to see for years to come. 

 

Ports in the country

 

Cruises visiting South Korea

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