Korea has its origin from the name “Corea”, a name attested in English as early as 1614.The Republic of Korea is a small country on the eastern far end of Asia. While considering the country in terms of its land area, it is in 109th place, whereas, it is far ahead of other countries in economic activities, culture and arts. During the early 20th century Korea was a colony of Japan, and had a most horrible occurrence of the Korean War during 1950-53. But, the recovery and growth in a comparatively shorter period was really incredible which earned the nickname “the Miracle on the Han River”. Korea is known as Hanguk in South Korea and Choson in North Korea. The population of Korea is about 73 million which includes North Korea 23 million and South Korea 50 million. Although Korea is chiefly populated by a highly homogeneous group, Koreans who speak Korean language, the country is a home for more than one million foreigners.
Korea being a peninsula jutting out from the world’s largest continent, Korea’s geography has contributed greatly to the development of uniquely Korean characteristics. A combination of traits associated with continental and island peoples Korea has been successful in setting up a strong foundation for the country’s culture and arts. The location of Korea is on the Korean Peninsula in North-East Asia. The Amnok River, also called as Yalu River separates Korea from China to the Northwest, and the Duman River (Tumen River) separates Korea from China and Russia to the Northeast. The west side of the Peninsula is surrounded by Yellow Sea, the south side by the East China Sea and Korea Straight, and the east side by the Sea of Japan. The prominent islands are Jeju Island (Jejudo), Ulleung Island (Ulleungdo) and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo). The population of Korea is about 73 million which includes North Korea 23 million and South Korea 50 million. Although Korea is chiefly populated by a highly homogeneous group, Koreans who speak Korean language, the country is a home for more than one million foreigners.
KOREA A SHOPPER’S PARADISE
Offering a wide variety of items at a very reasonable price Korea is widely known as a shopper’s paradise. Popular shopping items include jewellery , ginseng, furs, silk, antique chests, ceramics, brassware, embroidery and many more unique Korean products.
TEXTILE AND TRADITIONAL MARKETS
If you are looking for buying clothes in Korea, the wholesale markets concentrates in Dongdaemun should be your destination. These shops attract many night shoppers as they remain open until daybreak. Traditional markets in Korea give a certain feel of the customary Korean shopping culture. These markets consists of one-story buildings selling small handicrafts and other interesting goods. It is unlikely that these shops may accept foreign currency or credit cards. So it is better to carry foreign currency. Gyeongdong, Kwang Jang and Namdaemun are the most popular markets in Korea.
DEPARTMENT STORES AND DISCOUNT MARTS
Korea is famous for its department stores which has sales in each of the four seasons. Each department store has a two week sale period in January, April, July and October respectively.
The discount marts offer a similar variety of goods as that of the department stores but at discounted prices. The only factor differentiating the discount marts from the department stores is the brands. The discount marts typically don’t carry luxury brands of clothing. The famous discount marts in Korea are E-mart, Homeplus, Kim’s club, Lotte Mart.
The Antique shops of Korea has its roots in Itaewon since 1960’s. Itaewon is a shopping paradise for visitors and foreign residents. Itaewon hosts many unique items thus attracting trendsetters and fashionalists.
Myeong-dong is like a 24×7 shopping district full of excitement from dawn to dusk. It has all sorts of things right from street vendors to small shops and even department shops. Myeong-dong is a place which undoubtedly will serve all our shopping needs without even a minute of boredom.
DONGDAEMUN & NAMDAEMUN MARKETS
Dongdaemun and Namdaemun markets are certainly two of the most crowded centers in Korea. Unlike other shopping centers these markets are cramed with both visitors and locals in search of great bargains. The mouth watering smell of food coming from the food carts lining the alleyways will make one even hungrier after a long day of shopping.
Insa-dong is the place to go to see and feel traditional Korea. The streets are filled with various art works, Korean antiques, traditional teahouses and restaurants where you can experience the unique culture of Korea. There are also many souvenir shops that have traditional gifts.
In the present day, Korea has elevated its status as an Industrial Country having its name in the list of world’s bests in the field. Its semiconductor, automobile, ship building, steel making and IT industries are having a significant edge in the global market. The achievement of this small country in the field of sports also is outstanding. Korea hosted the Olympics at Seoul in 1988 and the FIFA World Cup in 2002 jointly with Japan. The cultural activities are catching the attention of the Asian countries and even world level. Generating a “Korean Wave”, nowadays Korean Dramas, movies and music are attracting many listeners in Asian Countries and beyond. Korea now has the International reputation of becoming the first Asian Country to chair the G20 in 2010 and host the G20 Seoul Summit.