15 Fun Facts about South Korea – did you know that?

kimchi in South Korea

Time for some fun facts about South Korea! Having spent 3 weeks there, I learned some random facts that I would like to share.

Fun Facts about South Korea

Korean Age

In most countries your age starts with the moment you were born. In Korea this is a bit different as they count the year in your mothers belly already as one. So, you basically always have to add one more year. For example, if I am 29 years old in Europe, it would be 30 in Korea. 

Also, every year no the 1st of January, you will need to add another year. So, basically you have to add one year for the time in your mums belly, and one year once the new year started on the 1st of January each year. Are you confused?

Koreans always add one more year to their age
Koreans add one more year to their age

Korean Names

Another fun fact about South Korea is regarding their names. A lot of South Koreans share the same family name. It is either Kim, Lee or Park.

Jaywalking 

We all have done it and pleadue guilty. However, in South Korea you will not find people jaywalking, even if the street is clean or if they have to wait multiple minutes for the light to turn green. Koreans are very respectful of pedestrian laws and traffic. 

Blood type 

Just like in some countries people ask for your horoscope to get an idea about your personality, in Korea they will ask you for your blood type. Below you can find some character traits per blood type:

  • Type A: Conservative, Responsible, Cautious, Punctual 
  • Type B: Unpredictable, passionate, confident, impulsive
  • Type AB: Understanding, organised, rational, cool
  • Type 0: Natural leader, ambitious, confident, sociable 

So, in case you are asking someone for their horoscope signs, don’t be surprised when they answer with their blood type instead.

blood type personalities according to South Koreans
Blood type personalities

Criminals have to re-create their crime

Here comes another fun fact about South Korea and their crimes. In South Korea it is common for criminals to re-create their crime. They usually are led in handcuffs by the police to the crime scene, then then the press is invited to take photos and publish details about it. Be ready for public humiliation!

Men and Make up

In South Korea it is very common for men to put on make up on a daily basis. Around 20% of men do so and spend around $900 million in total per year. The cosmetic industry for men in South Korea is huge.

Color of cars 

I don’t know how applicable this still is nowadays, but apparently the colour of the car states your society/life status. For example, if you drive a white car, you belong to the labour class, a grey car to the middle class and a black car to the fancy high class. 

The same applies for taxis. White or grey taxis offer basic service with an inexperienced driver, while black taxis are more luxurious with an experienced driver.

car colors in Korea tell about social status
The car colour tells about the social status

Food delivery and shopping

South Koreans are addicted to shopping. Therefore, some of the biggest shopping malls in the world are located in this country and some even open until 4am.

Regarding food, you will find restaurants being opened until very late or even 24h. Most restaurants even have a food delivery, so you can still continue watching your movie, while food is on its way at almost any hour of the day.

Relationship status

It is very common for South Koreans to show off their relationship status in public. They hold hands, kiss or even dress up in the same outfits.

Chopsticks

Here comes another fun fact about South Korea and their chopsticks. When in Korea, you may notice that the chop sticks are different than for example in China or Japan. They are rather flat and often made out of metal instead of round and made out of wood. 

According to some sources the chopsticks are made out of silver because back in the days people had to check their food for poison and the metal would react and change colour if there was poison in the food. 

It is also believed that metal is more durable, sustainable and sanitary than wood.

South Korean metal chopsticks
Korean metal chopsticks

Red colour and Number 4

The colour red and number 4 both are associated with death and considered very unlucky. In case you are writing a Korean name, make sure no to use the colour red. The same goes for number 4 (same as in China). Often, you won’t find buildings with a 4th floor or room numbers including 4. They take this very serious!

Even Santa Claus does not wear red, but blue in South Korea.

Plastic surgery is very normal and common 

While plastic surgery has a rather negative image in the western world, Koreans totally embrace and accept it. Apparently, 1 out of 3 Korean women undergo plastic surgery at least once in their life. 

Therefore, South Korea has the largest market for plastic surgery in the world. Often, parents even gift their children surgeries for their birthdays, such as a “double eyelid surgery” in order to appear more western. Common areas are eyes, nose and chin.

plastic surgery in South Korea
Double eye-lid surgery

Internet addiction

Apparently 15% of young Koreans, between 9-12 years old, have an Internet addiction. Therefore, a Korean law has been passed that bans anyone younger than 16 from online game sites.

14th day of each month

Every month on the 14th day, Koreans celebrate a love day. For example, on the 14th of December is Hug Day, on the 14th of June is Kiss day, on 14th of March is White Day and so on. The 14th of April Is known as Black Day, and single Koreans eat sticky, black noodles while they mourn their lack of love.

Kimchi

Kimchi is fermented vegetables of which more than 250 variations exist. In every restaurant you eat, you will be served kimchi as an appetiser. 

When Koreans take a photo, they say “kimchi” instead of “cheese”.

kimchi in South Korea
Kimchi

I hope you enjoyed those fun facts about South Korea and might visit soon. Feel free to share more facts!

Also check out Fun Facts about Barcelona, Fun Facts about Amsterdam and Fun Facts about Lisbon as well.

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