South Korea is a fascinating country with plenty of places for travellers to explore. Whether you love getting lost in the mountains, chilling on the beach or scoping out the best restaurants in a big city, you’ll never run out of things to do in the land of the morning calm. Best of all, Korea’s small size means you’re rarely more than 5 hours away from where you want to go, making weekend travel easy and achievable.
These are 10 places that you must visit in South Korea!
The Best Places for Nature Lovers in South Korea!
Did you know that mountains cover 70% of South Korea? It should come as no surprise then that hiking is one of the nation’s most popular pastimes! For the best hiking in South Korea, you need to travel to the Gangwon province in the North East of the country and get yourself to Seoraksan National Park. There are various hikes of different lengths and difficulties and even a cable car for those who just want to enjoy the views!
Boseong Green Tea Fields
No matter how big a tea fan you are, you can’t help but be taken aback by the beauty of Boseong’s Green Tea Fields. Rows and rows of tea plants line the mountains making it a great place for a photoshoot with your friends. Don’t miss the chance to sample some green tea ice cream or pick up some matcha powder straight from the source.
Awesome Cities for Foodies in South Korea!
When it comes to foodie destinations in Korea, the historical city of Jeonju is regarded as one of the best. Food vendors line the street making it a great place to sample the new trends in Korea’s innovative food culture. The biggest pull, however, is the city’s traditional speciality, Jeonju bibimbap, a dish of rice, red pepper paste, and a huge variety of vegetables topped with an egg and an optional helping of raw beef.
When you’re finished stuffing your face, don’t miss the famous hanok village and the chance to dress up in traditional Korean clothes.
The capital city of Gangwon-Do is known throughout the country as being the birthplace of dalk-galbi. Dalk-galbi is a delicious dish made with chicken cooked in a red pepper paste along with vegetables and some rice cakes. At most places the dish is served, call over your server when you get close to the bottom, and they will bring you a bowl of rice and help you make some spicy fried rice. The city’s other speciality is mak-guksu, a spicy cold noodle dish that’s perfect on a hot summer’s day.
Being close to the mountains, Chuncheon is also a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Camping and kayaking on the lake are both popular things to do here!
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Historical Cities to Visit in Korea
Gyeongju Is often nicknamed “The Museum with No Walls” and when you visit, you’ll understand why. This laid back city is the perfect place to spend a couple of lazy days, cycling around, visiting tombs and temples and sampling some traditional Korean banquet food.
Suwon is a small city outside Seoul famous for its fortress wall, palace and toilet museum. The 5.2km fortress was built in the late 18th century, at the height of the Joseon dynasty and is a must see for history geeks. As you walk along it, you can see some of the military equipment that was used during that era.
To really immerse yourself into history, don’t miss the chance to take an archery lesson at the bottom of the wall.
The Best Cities for Urban Junkies in South Korea
As one of the biggest cities in the world, Seoul is sure to have something to entertain you. The city is home to a huge variety of both Korean and international restaurants but Gwangjang market is the best place to try some famous street foods like maki kimbab (seaweed and rice rolls) and bindatteok (mung bean pancakes.)
There’s a lot of fun things to do in Seoul, for both tourists and locals alike. First timers shouldn’t miss watching the sunset from Namsan Tower. Or they can catch the train out to The DMZ to peek into North Korea.
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If you love city life with a side helping of the beach, you’re going to fall hard for Busan! Haeundae Beach, the city’s most famous beach, often sees up to 1million visitors in a single weekend through the summer months. During this time, the beach is filled with umbrellas and you can even get fried chicken and beer delivered to your sun-lounger.
Other places to visit are Spaland, Asia’s biggest indoor spa; Gamcheon Culture Village, a pastel coloured mountainside village; and Jagalchi Fish Market, the perfect place to try hwae, Korean style sushi.
The Best Places for Beach Bums and Island Lovers in South Korea
The volcanic island of Jeju was recently named as one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world. Beach bums are spoiled here and can choose from small quiet beaches like Hamdeok Beach and Hyeopjae Beach or large popular beaches like Jungnum Beach. When you get tired of lying around in the sand, you can go on a quest for waterfalls, visit one of the island’s many museums or conquer the country’s highest mountain, Hallassan.
Due to South Korea’s long, slender shape, the mainland is full of beaches. However, for the best in the country, you should head to the Southern Coast. Namhae Island is the fifth largest island in the country and is connected to the mainland with a bridge. Much like Jeju Island, it has a huge choice of beaches to choose from with Sangju Beach being one of the best.
Interestingly, Namhae is also home to a German Village with a unique history. This is one of the most special places to visit on the island and you shouldn’t leave without sampling at least one German beer and a currywurst. When you climb to the top of this mountainside village you’ll be rewarded with an outstanding view of Namhae’s gorgeous coastline.
Korea has so many unique places to visit and this list only scratches the surface. No matter whether you love mountains, beaches, clubbing, shopping, history or simply eating your way through the country, you’ll find lots to do on the peninsula. It has to be one of Asia’s most underrated destinations!
Let us know, have you been to Korea before? What’s your favourite place to visit?