Home to over 50 million people, there is more to South Korea than meets the eye. Despite a turbulent, short history, the modern Republic now boasts a burgeoning economy and internally-created society exclusiveness, all observable from our convenient South Korean serviced accommodation.
Occupying the southern half of the Korean peninsula in East Asia, South Korea’s only bordering country is North Korea. Its 38,600 square mile landmass juts out onto the Sea of Japan and the Yellow and East Chinese Seas though, making foreign maritime access and trade easier. If you visited a South Korean island every day from now, it would take over nine years to see them all, with around 3,300 declared islands adjacent to the 5,300-mile long coastline. Almost a fifth of the total land and population is enclosed in the capital Seoul, South Korea’s business and cultural hub. This is also where the highest concentration of serviced accommodation lives, making it a prime location for business travel.
The land of Korea has an essentially tribal history, operated by centuries of kingdom and dynasty leadership. Specifically, though, South Korea’s history did not begin until 1945. After the Japanese lost its Korean territory following its World War II defeat, the US and Soviets granted Korea independence but divided the territory into pro (North) and anti-communist (South) regions. Of course, dividing a country by extremely contrasting views was never going to be efficient, and the 1950 Korean War was evidence of that. The South Koreans, with US support, fended of North Korea’s military intentions to rule the entire peninsula. Over two million deaths later, an armistice and demilitarized zone (DMZ) was agreed, leaving an ongoing division. Despite its globally recognised ‘noisy’ neighbour, South Korea has enjoyed great modern prosperity, creating its own flourishing economy and distinctive society.
South Korea’s economic growth in recent years is a modern-day phenomenon. Considering its troubled past, the resurgence of the national economy has been remarkable, now ranked amongst the fifteen largest in the world. Spectacular performance was due to late twentieth-century macroeconomic stability and reformation, guiding the country through global recessions. Its trade is also essential, ranking as the world’s fifth and ninth largest exporter and importer respectively. Significant trade relations with China and the United States ensure successful exportation of electrical, vehicle, shipment and computer products, to name a few. South Korea takes no shame in its former aid recipient status either, leading to present day contributions in global economic organisations and setting an example to poorer countries of economic transition.
With economic success comes increasing foreign investment. The business environment in South Korea is highly developed, ranked 4th according to World Bank regarding ease of doing business. In fact, in 2017, South Korea was the world’s twentieth top host for foreign direct investment inflows (FDI). A key facilitator of these global standings was the introduction of the Foreign Investment Promotion Act in 1998, promoting expanded tax incentives and regulation of overseas investment restrictions. The welcoming attitude of the South Korean economy is evident when observing their free-trade agreement (FTA) figures, showing partnerships with fifty-two countries, forming the third largest trade market worldwide. High praise also goes out to both the country’s digital and transportation infrastructure, deemed exceptionally enabling according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Ultimately, the framework is already there for beneficial business conducting in South Korea and staying in SITU’s serviced accommodation only makes your trip simpler.
There are one hundred and seventeen states whose residents who can enter South Korea visa-free. These include all European Union, US and Australian citizens for up to ninety days. Visas are predominantly required for most African and South Asian residents. For the specifics though on South Korean visa policy, visit www.visitkorea.or.kr.
South Korea’s legal system and social standards are relatively straightforward too. One thing worth considering though is the nonflexible attitude towards foreign currencies. Having plenty of the national currency, the South Korean Won (KRW), helps avoid this problem. For Won exchange rates, visit www.xe.com. Its also always important to bear in mind the weather, particularly chances of natural disaster. A typhoon season is said to run between June and November. Despite its often limited impacts, it is still something worth considering before you travel. On the ground though, the people are regarded as very welcoming and accommodating of foreign tourists.
Driving in South Korea gets mixed reviews, but trusting you have the right documentation and follow the standard procedures, the experience can be satisfying. Thankfully, changes to the Korean Traffic Law in 2018 has made driving as safe as it’s ever been. Citizens drive on the right, and in order to join them, you will require both your driving license and International Driving Permit (IDP). Be aware of both toll roads and the vast amount of speed cameras too. If you don’t fancy travelling the country by car, you can always alternatively use the numerous taxis that function pretty much everywhere relatively inexpensively. The taxis you will use will most likely either be Ibans (grey, white or blue) or Mobeoms (black and yellow).
When you think about the South Korean capital, the first thing that comes to mind is the mixture of technological advancement with profound traditionality. This is evident when visiting either Seoul’s Dongdaemun Market or Myeong-dong shopping district. Whatever you need, whether its traditional products or top international brand items, these vibrant shopping centres are hubs for foreign tourism. Equally popular is the Seoul Tower, which functions as an observation tower, providing the perfect way to end a busy day exploring this captivating city. In contrast, the Gyeongbokgung Palace is a core element of Korean history. As the first royal palace of the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung is well worth a visit for a great sense of South Korean heritage and culture.
Corporate accommodation in South Korea is also extensive outside the capital too. South Korean’s islands are popular for widespread travellers of the country, particularly Ganghwado and Jeju islands. Both are beautiful and include stunning national parks. Jeju island is home to South Korea’s tallest mountain, Hallasan, whilst Ganghwado boasts incredible scenery and amazing vestiges of the time it was the national capital throughout the thirteenth century. Exploring mainland Korea could lead you toward one of the country’s national treasures, the Bulguksa temple. Built in 528, the temple had dynastical importance, but its present-day beauty and impressive endurance make it one of the great Asian sights. Overall, however way you wish to make the most of your business or leisurely travel to South Korea, serviced accommodation is always on hand to aid.
South Korea has so much to offer. Its exclusive business climate, culture and history are attractive to business travellers, and SITU understanding its popularity as a tourist destination.
Serving the country’s capital Seoul, Incheon Airport is the largest in the country, handling over sixty million passengers every year.
The airport is located thirty miles west of Seoul, and this journey can be completed with the help of Korean Train Express services, a variety of bus operations or the impressive Maglev transportation.
The national railway operator in South Korea is Korial, providing arguably the best mode of transport for long-distance travel. You can visit www.letskorail.com for current train schedules and prices.
The fastest trains in South Korea are run by Korean Train Express (KTX), followed by Saemaeul and Magunghwa trains. Be aware though that these do cost more, but you could get a ‘KR Pass’ if you plan to be a frequent user of South Korean trains.
Metro systems in South Korea serve six major cities; Seoul, Busan, Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju and Incheon.
The majority of the national system and its seven million daily ridership are handled by three companies, Seoul Metro, Korail and Metro 9. Travelling by subway may be the most convenient way of getting around urban locations, and signs in both English and Korean make the system foreigner-friendly.
It would be impossible to mention every bus operator in South Korea, with regional providers dominating the country. In fact, buses in cities such as Seoul are differentiated by colour depending on their speed and length.