13 Fun Facts About South Korea You Should Know About Before You Visit!

13 Fun Facts About South Korea You Should Know About Before You Visit!

Better know your blood type for your SK trip!

TripZilla has published dozens of articles about South Korea. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you consider yourselves experts of South Korea by now. Most of us already have a list of travel goals when it comes to the Land of the Morning Calm. But aside from the places to go and things to do in this beautiful country, are you aware of the fun facts about South Korea? Some of these you may have already heard about, while other facts remain relatively unknown. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1. Koreans are one year older when born

fun facts south korea

Image credit: modernseoul

You’ve probably heard of the notion that South Koreans will always be older than everybody else because they consider themselves a year old the moment they come out of the womb. South Koreans celebrate their birthdays on the date they were born just like everyone else, but their age won’t “change” until the New Year, which is every first of January. 

If you want to know your Korean age, you just need to subtract your year of birth from the current year, then add one. It’s best to take note of this when someone asks for your age in South Korea because you’ll need to distinguish between your international age and Korean age!

Also read: All the Dos and Don’ts in South Korea That Locals Wish You Knew!

2. There’s WiFi almost everywhere in South Korea

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Social media lovers are going to worship South Korea’s Internet culture since the country boasts of having the fastest Internet in the world. As if this wasn’t enough, you can connect to WiFi basically everywhere in Seoul. Speaking from my own experience in Seoul, I was overwhelmed when I saw that I could connect to the WiFi of random places in the city while our tour bus was moving. Quite literally, there’s WiFi connectivity as you move from one spot to another, and oftentimes, you can connect for free!

3. South Korea has the biggest drinking culture in Asia

Image credit: Samia Liamani

If you haven’t heard about this fun fact about South Korea, then here’s the lowdown: Koreans love their alcohol, so much so that they’ve beaten out every other Asian nation in the drinking scene. Based on a 2017 study conducted by the World Health Organization, South Koreans over the age of 15 drink an average of 10.9 litres of alcohol in a year. They celebrate almost every holiday with soju, which is their local fermented rice drink that has 19% alcohol content. 

Sometimes though, they enjoy it a little too much. A friend of mine who currently works in South Korea told me about a drunken Korean who was so intoxicated that he was crawling in the streets. Luckily, Korean restaurants are well prepared for overindulgent drinkers and offer what Koreans call haejangguk — a special soup that helps beat the hangover!

4. Men are spoiled on Valentine’s Day instead of women

fun facts south korea

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This has got to be one of the most unique fun facts about South Korea, because Valentine’s Day is usually a day to pamper women around the world. Apparently, it doesn’t work like that in the Land of the Morning Calm. There, they spoil the man in the relationship with flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day. So, if you’re a guy who’s planning to travel with your partner on V-day, get yourselves to South Korea and witness the magic happen. 

Ladies, no need to feel upstaged. South Korea has a special day for the woman in the relationship too. Koreans call it White Day, which basically has the same concept of Valentine’s Day, except that it’s celebrated for the ladies on 14 March every year. 

5. There’s a special day for “singles”

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Here’s the thing: The tradition of celebrating the day of hearts twice also exists in Japan, which gives South Korea and Japan a unique thing in common. But South Korea takes it up a notch by offering single people a special day too; or at least a day where they can comfort themselves amidst their singleness. This event is called Black Day, celebrated on 14 April each year. 


Black Day is when single Koreans supposedly gather dressed in black and eat jjajangmyeon, which are noodles covered in black bean paste. There are even jjajangmyeon eating contests where singles can drown their sorrows and obtain some level of pride if they emerge victorious from the competition. Cafes witness an increase in black coffee sales and even matchmaking services allegedly take advantage of this national gloomy day. Singles, this peculiar event might be what you need. 

6. Twenty percent of Koreans share the same surname

fun facts south korea

Image credit: kim881231

If you know your oppas and unnies, you might have already guessed that a lot of Koreans share the same surname. The most common one is Kim, with 10.6 million Koreans bearing it as their last name, followed by Lee, Park, Choi, and Jung. 

The reason for these common surnames go way back in Korean history during the reign of the Silla kingdom from 57 BCE to 935 CE. I’ll leave you to dig up the history behind Korean surnames. But in case you were wondering: No, not all Kims are related; nor are the Koreans with other similar surnames for that matter!

7. South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world

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When it comes to fun facts about South Korea, this one’s the most popular or the most notorious, depending on how you see it. While still taboo in other Asian countries and the western world, plastic surgery is embraced in South Korea and parents even encourage their children to get it before starting university. 

South Korea is said to place the Caucasian look in high regard, which means they usually have surgeries to get double eyelids, a longer nose, and pointier chin. This look was popularised by Korean celebrities first, then everyone else followed. Getting plastic surgery in South Korea is as normal as going to the dentist to get your braces. So don’t be surprised if most Koreans you meet have gone under the knife!

8. There are more than 200 types of kimchi in South Korea

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You will never see a Korean restaurant that doesn’t serve kimchi. Kimchi for Koreans is like rice for Filipinos. They love their kimchi so much that they’ve come up with 200 documented types of kimchi to date, all with their own different flavours. Koreans don’t just serve it as a side dish or banchan in South Korea; they’ve innovated by incorporating it in burgers, pizza, and even pancakes! 

Kimchi isn’t just a food indulgence either. It also has nutritional value thanks to its fermentation process. This fermented vegetable basically contains lactic acid bacteria that helps improve digestion, fight bacteria, strengthens the immune system, and prevents the development of cancer. The most popular types of kimchi in Korea are reportedly cabbage, radish, water, and cucumber kimchi. Try them out!

9. Men wearing makeup is normal in South Korea

fun facts south korea

Image credit: Emma Bauso

Regardless of their gender, Korean men normally wear makeup just as much as Korean women do. It’s no secret that the cosmetics and skincare industry in Korea has quickly paved its way into the world stage. But their products were never made for women alone because in Korea, everyone wants to look their best. 

Koreans often reach for BB or CC creams and pinkish lip colour to keep themselves presentable outside. There isn’t any discrimination against men wearing makeup in South Korea at all, which is quite liberating. 

10. South Korea doesn’t like beards

Any form of facial hair is detested in South Korea. It’s most probably because Koreans don’t grow a lot of facial hair to start with, so the beauty standard for men was contained to a shaven, clean, and smooth youthful complexion. A man who grows his beard and chest hair in South Korea is perceived as unkempt and even barbaric. Bizarre as this fun fact about South Korea may sound, but the truth is, having facial hair can even hinder Koreans from landing a job!

11. Four is an unlucky number

In East Asia, number four sounds very similar to “death,” which is why you’re going to find that a lot of elevators in malls and hotels don’t have number four in them. Koreans even avoid putting the number four in their addresses; if a property does have four in it, it’s probably valued lower because of the cultural belief that four brings bad luck. Tetraphobia is real in South Korea. 

12. Red ink also alludes to death

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In Korean culture, red ink is used to write the names of the dead and is hardly acceptable to be used on any other occasion — unless you want someone dead. That means you should just stick with black or blue pens when you’re travelling to South Korea. Heck, use any other colour to write except for red, because Koreans might misinterpret your intentions if they see you writing their names in red ink!

13. Knowing one’s blood type is a big thing in South Korea

fun facts south korea

Image credit: bakjow

On this list of fun facts about South Korea, this one may shock you the most. Outside of East Asia, nobody really cares about their blood types unless they’re looking for blood donors of a certain kind. But in Japan and South Korea, the blood type is believed to be an indication of an individual’s personality. Hence, some Koreans also look at blood type compatibility when they’re dating or looking for a romantic match. Zodiac signs, move over. 

Also read: 12 Flower Fields in South Korea That Look Straight Out of A Storybook [Updated 2021]

South Korea is indeed full of surprises, or should we say, fun facts? These fun facts about South Korea sure keep us curious about the home of K-dramas and K-pop idols. If we missed anything, feel free to drop us a comment on our Facebook page

Featured image credit: Daniel Bernard | Unsplash; FB featured image: The Creativv | Unsplash

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.


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