Introducing ROK: Land of Modern Miracles and Ancient Traditions
by Delia Toh
South Korea, known officially as the Republic of Korea, is considered to be a ‘Land of Modern Miracles & Ancient Traditions’. South Korea has a long history dating back to the Jeulmun Pottery Period (8000-1500 BCE), thus allowing Korea as a civilisation to develop a rich and vibrant culture. It is a society that prides itself on upholding Asian traditions such as fillial piety and family cohesiveness. At the same time, Korea is also economically and technologically developed; its market economy ranks 15th in the world by nominal GDP. South Korea also boasts scientific and techonological achievements such as the development of humanoid robots and ranks 5th in the world in terms of R&D.
South Korea is hence an attractive tourist location that proudly showcases both its rapid developments and its traditional history. Its capital city Seoul best reflects the country's economic, political and cultural prosperity as it ranks among the top 10 global cities of 2010. The shopping district in Seoul is also a highlight-Apgujeong, Cheongdam and Gangnam being the three most popular shopping districts in the city. The famous Lotte World is also a major tourist attraction, being the largest and most well-known indoor and outdoor themepark in Seoul.
South Korea also has treats in store for nature-lovers. Jeju Island, Pusan and Mount Sorak are but a few of many locations that showcase the fine works of mother nature. Apart from the sightseeing, visitors can also experience the cool climate of Korea. The O2 ski resort brings the cool climate to a higher level-it is built atop the peak ofTaebaek City, Gangwon Province. It is a perfect place for skiers as it receives the first and longest season of snowfall in Korea.
Food is also a large part of the Korean culture. Korean cuisine, which had been popularised by the famous Korean TV drama “Jewel of the Palace”, is largely celebrated and showcases the frugality yet commendable culinary skills of the Koreans. In Korea, tourists can savour the daily meal of a Korean family-a simple yet delicious combination of pork, rice, seaweed, anchovies and vegetables. They will also have the chance to taste famous traditional Korean dishes like ginseng chicken and kimchi. South Korea is also famous for thousand-year ginseng, its industry having a large range of merchandise like ginseng candy and ginseng honey.
Finally, visitors to Korea can also experience a time-travel to the past and experience the lives of native Koreans atKorean Folk Villages. Visitors can explore the homes and experience the daily lives of Korean families. Koreans also engaged in a variety of traditional activities like farming, animal-raising, pottery making and bamboo crafting.