The Republic of Korea lies between 38ºN and 33ºN latitude and 126ºE to 132ºE longitude. The country has a continental climate of very cold, dry winters and very hot, humid summers.

Winters are influenced by westerly winds from Siberia and the Mongolian plateau, while summers are generally characterized by an oceanic climate due to moist, warm winds from the Pacific Ocean.

Korea has four distinct seasons, though spring and autumn tend to be short.
Spring comes in early April and lasts throughout May.

The hot and humid summer begins in June and lasts about four months. The summer rainy season lasts from the end of June to mid-July.

Summer ends in late September, giving way to crisp, clear autumn days that last until the end of October. It becomes colder in November, and a very cold, bleak winter sets in during December and lasts until the end of February.


South Korea's topography consists mainly of hills and mountains but there are large coastal plains in the western and southern parts of the country. The highest point in South Korea is Halla-san, an extinct volcano, which rises to 6,398 feet (1,950 m).

South Korea faces Japan across the East Sea and China across the Yellow Sea. To the north, across the DMZ, is North Korea.

The Taebaek Range referred to as the backbone of the Korean Peninsula stretches along the east coast and slopes steeply into the East Sea. Along the western and southern coasts, the mountains descend gradually onto the coastal plains, and large rivers wind through the area. The relatively wide plains stretch far from the mid-and downstream sections of the rivers.

Many of Korea's highest mountains are part of the Taebaek Range. The most famous and picturesque is Mt. Seoraksan. The Taebaek Range has a branch trending southwest and culminating at the Mt. Jirisan massif. This is the Sobaek Range. The highest mountain in the Republic of Korea is Mt. Hallasan, a dormant volcano at the center of Jejudo Island.

The largest rivers in South Korea are the Hangang River, Geumgang River, Yeongsangang River, Seomjingang River, and Nakdonggang River. The annual precipitation of Korea is 1,245mm, which is 1.4 times the global average, but the per capita precipitation is only one-eighth of the world average. Water management in Korea is difficult, especially because more than 60% of annual precipitation is lost as runoff during floods and torrential rains, while rivers dry up in the dry season. Exacerbating matters, water consumption has been increasing sharply due to population growth, economic development, and changes in lifestyle.


Korea is a peninsula. The Yellow Sea is to the west, the East Sea to the east, and the South Sea to the south. To the south of Korea's largest island in the East China Sea. The west and south coasts have heavily indented ria coastlines where the tidal range is enormous, and the relative flatness of land means that the tideland is very wide. Dotted with so many islands, it is called Dadohae, meaning 'sea of many islands.' The east coast, in contrast, is very straight, the water is deep, and the tidal range is narrow. Along the coast are sand dunes and lagoons, and the volcanic islands of Ulleungdo and Dokdo are far to the east on the East Sea.