- South Korea
Korea Travel Guide, Yin and yang: the blue and red circle at the heart of the South Korean flag neatly symbolises not only the divided Korean peninsula but also the fluid mix of ancient and modern aspects of the country officially called the Republic of Korea (ROK). For the vast majority of visitors a trip to this part of the world means spending time in South Korea. Unfairly overshadowed by the headline-grabbing antics of its bad-boy neighbour, South Korea is a dream destination for the traveller, an engaging, welcoming place where the dazzling benefits of a fully industrialised, high-tech nation are balanced alongside a reverence for tradition and the ways of old Asia.
Academics still quibble over whether the Land of the Morning Calm (a term coined by travel writer Percival Lowell in 1885) is an accurate translation of the old Chinese characters by which all of Korea was once known. Dive into Seoul, powerhouse of Asia's third-largest economy, and calm is likely the last thing you'll feel. This round-the-clock city is constantly on the move, its 'work hard, play hard' population the epitome of the nation's indefatigable, can-do spirit.