Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So, where do we live... exactly?

{For more images follow my Korea Pinterest board} 

South Korea is officially called the Republic of Korea or ROK and is located in the southern portion of the Korean peninsula. 

The peninsula is flanked on the west by the East China Sea followed by China and on the east by the Sea of Japan followed by Japan. North Korea (and more of China) is of course to the North and the Korean Strait and East China Sea is to the south at the tip of the peninsula.

Foot path on the South Korean coast

We are about 6,500 hundred miles from OK, TX and NM where many of our friends and family live. 

The border between North and South Korea is termed the demilitarized zone or DMZ and it is the most heavily militarized border in the world. The buffer between North Korea and ROK is about 155 miles long and 2.5 miles wide and is largely inhabitable by humans due to the area and heavy concentration of land mines. Because of this it is now the most well preserved natural habitat in the world and home to dozens of rare and endangered plant and animal species including tigers, leopards, bears and cranes. There are tours of the DMZ border that we'll visit and blog about in the near future. 

South Korean border guards (photo courtesy of 1stopkorea)

ROK has a population of about 50 million - 10.3 million living in the capital city of Seoul - which also happens to be the second largest city in the world only behind Tokyo, Japan. In case you were wondering Mexico City is third and New York City is the fourth largest.  

ROK is among the safest places in the world (including for foreigners) with extremely low crime rates. It is also among the most wired in the world with free wi-fi available in most areas (there are plans in place to have free wi-fi in all areas by 2015).

Mountainous city view of Seoul, South Korea

Street level view of Seoul, South Korea


ROK has four distinctive seasons of spring, summer autumn and winter. The yearly average temperature is 54 degrees but can reach up to 101 degrees in the summer and as low as 2 degrees in the winter. The summers are hot and humid.

Seorak Waterpia hotsprings in Gangwon-do Sokcho-si, South Korea 
The rise and fall of the Siberian high-pressure system drops temperatures lower here than in other regions at the same latitude. The rise and fall of the same system often causes a typical cycle of 3 cold days followed by 4 warmer days. 

Muju Ski Resort

The beaches here (that we can't wait to get to) are supposed to be beautiful!

And the region is very mountainous so there are hundreds of national parks and beautiful places to get to during our time here!

Cheju Island with the country's highest mountain range which is also an extinct volcano - Hallasan

Seventy percent of the annual rainfall is concentrated in the monsoon period which is the rainy months of June through September. Autumn is supposed to be especially beautiful in ROK. 

Autumn at the Secret Garden in Seoul

ROK has been called the jewel of assignments by the friends we've known that have been stationed here and everything we have experienced leads us to believe that is completely true. We are so excited to continue to explore this beautiful and inviting country! 

There are more beautiful and interesting images of the country here, on my Korea Pinterest board.