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Want to know more about South Korea? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about South Korea that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these South Korea facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

One of the least obese population in the world

Only 3% of the population is considered obese. Compare this with countries such as the US, where more than 60% is considered obese.

Along with Japan, South Korea is one of the least obese countries in the world. 

At least 20% of South Korean males use makeup

While makeup is becoming more popular among men worldwide, I think it’s safe to say that South Korean men are way ahead when it comes to makeup.

At least 20% say that they use makeup on a daily basis, and the annual spend for all males and makeup products is estimated to be as high as 900 million US Dollars: 

They drink twice as much alcohol as Russians

You probably didn’t see this one coming, at least I didn’t before visiting. South Koreans have a long tradition of drinking alcohol, and they’re “magical” drink is known as soju. 

Of course, other types of alcohol is consumed as well, but Soju is by far the most popular. Soju is a distilled colorless beverage that can be as strong as 53% down to 16.8%

Soju

Photo: Shutterstock

It’s one of the biggest economies in the world

It’s quite fascinating how this country has risen from war and poverty, and become one of the major economies in the world. The South Korean economy is now ranked at the 11th largest economy in the world and the 4th in Asia. 

K-Pop is the country’s third largest export

K-Pop, also known as Korean Pop has taken the world by storm in recent years. First out was Psy with his world hit “Gangnam Style”, which is btw the most viewed video ever on Youtube!

After Psy, numerous K-Pop bands have delivered hit after hit. Both girl and boy bands are popular, and many of them now offer international concerts.

However, the largest market for K-Pop is obviously still South Korea, where the K-Pop idols are considered superstars!

One of the many interesting facts about South Korea!

Kim, Lee, and Park are the most common Korean names

If you guess that a South Korean is named Kim, you have a 20% chance that you’re right. At least 20% of the population is named Kim. 

Lee and Park are another two common names. 

K-beauty is loved by both women and men

As already mentioned, a lot of Korean males make sure to look good. This is true for women as well, and they are famous for their beauty routines. K-Beauty brands like Innisfree and various brands offering snail products have all taken the beauty world by storm. 

If you have wondered what the secret about their flawless skin is, now you know, it’s called K-Beauty!

Korean Facts

Photo: Shutterstock

Sympathizing with Kim Jong-un is illegal

The North Korean leader is not someone to cherish. In fact, according to the law, it’s illegal to sympathize with him and the North Korean regime. Doing so could even land you in jail. 

Cherry blossom can be seen in plenty in South Korea

Japan is famous for its cherry blossom, and it’s quite funny because South Korea has a great share of the wonderflower as well. If you want to escape some of the crowds in Japan, then you should come here during Cherry blossom season instead. 

Cherry Blossom South Korea

Photo: Shutterstock

Jaywalking is NOT a thing

One thing that you will notice (at least if you come from a country where jaywalking is common practice), nobody, and I mean 99,9% of the people will NOT walk when it’s red. It doesn’t matter if there is no car in sight for 5 minutes. 

People will generally remain on their side of the crossing, and start walk only when the light turns green. As a Swede, this can be quite frustrating, especially in places with less traffic. 

However, it is one of the fascinating facts about South Korea, and something that’s good to know before you go there. 

There are 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites

This is also a country full of history, and with history often come interesting World Heritage Sites.

South Korea has a total of 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and some of the most famous include Changdeokgung Palace Complex, Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong, and Gyeongju Historic Areas.

Changdeokgung Palace Complex

Photo: Shutterstock

They eat dog meat in South Korea

While this is true, I also want to clarify that far from every Korean eat dog meat. It’s far more common to eat chicken, pork, and beef for example, but in some places, they do eat dog meat as well. 

Plastic surgery is both accepted and common

Did you know that as many as 1/3 of all women is said to have done at least one beauty procedure? Unlike many other countries in the world, plastic surgery is widely accepted here and even encouraged in some cases. 

Plastic surgery

Photo: meunierd / Shutterstock.com

It is common to force criminals to recreate their crime for the press

This is definitely one of the strange facts about South Korea, and it’s typically common for high-profile crimes. The police force the criminals to reenact the crime scene, and the press is allowed to take photos and make a video. 

There’s an annual mud festival

Every summer, for 14 days, there is a mud festival in Boryeong. The final weekend of the festival is normally on the second weekend in July, and this is where most people attend the festival. 

It’s very popular among the western population of the country, but many locals attend as well. The festival started as a commercial stunt to sell cosmetic products containing mud from the area. 

Mud festival

Photo: ST_Travel / Shutterstock.com

5 x Fun Facts about South Korea

  • 60% of South Korean families use professionals to find a name for their babies
  • When taking a photo, South Koreans say “kimchi” instead of “cheese
  • They believe that your blood type is related to your personality traits
  • Most restaurants offer delivery service, and they even bring the food with real plates
  • Toilet paper is usually kept outside of the stalls
Korean food delivery

Photo: Shutterstock

5 x South Korea Facts for Kids

  • Babies are considered to be one year old at birth
  • The Siberian tiger is the national animal
  • Cybersports are very popular. Stadiums with big screen televisions are used for competitions in video games
  • Taekwondo can be considered as the national sport
  • The number four is considered unlucky
national animal of South Korea

Photo: Shutterstock

General Facts about South Korea

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about South Korea that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population: 51,47 million people
  • Capital: Seoul
  • Life expectancy: 82,02
  • Highest Mountain: Halla-San (1950 meters)
  • Land area: 100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi)
  • Largest Lake: Chungjuho Lake
  • National Day: 15 August
  • Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
  • President: Moon Jae-in
  • Currency: Korean Republic won (₩) (KRW)
  • Official language: Korean
  • Religion: 56.9% Not religious, 27.6% Christianity, 15.5% Korean Buddhism
  • Member of Nato: No
  • National song: Aegukga “애국가 (愛國歌)
  • Time zone: UTC+9 (Korea Standard Time)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +82
  • Country Code: KR
Seoul

Photo: Shutterstock

The Biggest Cities in South Korea

If you’re looking for facts about South Korea, it might also be interesting to know which are the biggest cities. Here’s a list of the top 10 biggest South Korean cities ranked after population.

SeoulBusan
IncheonDaegu
DaejeonGwangju
SuwonUlsan
ChangwonSeongnam

Flag of South Korea

south korea flag

Map of South Korea

You can see the country’s territory in the map below, marked in yellow. 

South Korea Map

Photo: Shutterstock

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How many of these South Korea Facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!