10 Best Places to Visit in South Korea

by Taehyung Joon
Seoul city skyline, South Korea

South Korea is located on the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. South Korea is a truly contemporary, interesting, and exhilarating tourist destination, completely separate and autonomous from its northern neighbour. Cities like Seoul, with its pulsating nightlife and access to cutting-edge technology, provide everything an urban traveller might want from a major city.

But if you need a break from the fast pace of life, South Korea also has beautiful national parks and other locations to relax and take it easy. It would be impossible to exhaust the possibilities for adventure and discovery during a visit to South Korea, which range from the tranquil islands off the coast to the dangerous border zone in the heart of the Korean Peninsula.

10. Suwon

Hwaseong Fortress, a historic fortress surrounding Suwon City, South Korea

Discover the magnificent Hwaseong Fortress, an architectural marvel from the Joseon Dynasty. Image source: FenlioQ/Shutterstock.com

Suwon, the capital of Gyeonggi Province, is located about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Seoul. It’s simple to get there from Seoul by either vehicle or rail, but few visitors bother to stop there.

Big Bird, also known as the World Cup Stadium, held the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and may be seen if you go there. If you’re not into soccer, you can always visit the Hwaseong Fortress, which dates back to the 18th century and has beautiful architecture and even an archery range.

9. Chuncheon

Chuncheon cityscape in Gangwon-do, South Korea.

Explore the picturesque cityscape of Chuncheon in Gangwon-do, South Korea. Image source: Kampon/Shutterstock.com

Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province, is located between beautiful lakes and high mountains. Many tourists visit Chuncheon in the hopes of seeing the locales from the popular Korean soap series Winter Sonata, which is set there.

People from all over the world visit Chuncheon for the cuisine since it is widely acknowledged as a culinary heaven. Dakgalbi Street is the place to go after seeing significant sights like the Soyang Dam, Statue Park, or Cheongpyeong-sa Temple. Dakgalbi, a dish of grilled chicken, spicy veggies, and rice, is a specialty of this area. There are dozens of eateries along the strip, all serving somewhat different versions of the same famous meal.

8. Busan

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan, South Korea

Experience the serenity of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a stunning seaside temple in Busan. Image source: CJ Nattanai/Shutterstock.com

Busan, the country’s second-largest metropolis, is a major economic and cultural hub. Beautiful beaches, hot springs, and plenty of outdoor activities all contribute to the city’s reputation as a major port. Located on a slope above the lake, Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan is sometimes referred to as “the Santorini of Korea” for its vibrant colours and picturesque setting.

You may also visit various temples in Busan, the most well-known of which is Beomeosa Temple. Haeundae Beach, Taejongdae Park, and the gorgeous Nakdong River Estuary Migratory Bird Sanctuary are some of the city’s most visited tourist destinations, along with the shops and museums one would expect from a metropolitan region of its size.

7. Jeonju

Jeonju Traditional Korean Village

Step back in time with a visit to the charming Jeonju Traditional Korean Village. Image source: Guitar photographer/Shutterstock.com

Jeonju served as the Joseon Dynasty’s spiritual capital during its golden age. There are many museums and temples to see in modern-day Jeonju, making it a top tourist destination in South Korea. Visit the Jeonju Hanok Village to immerse yourself in Korean history and culture.

It is possible to see a traditional residence from the early 20th century, learn how to create Hanji paper, or sample locally produced soju. The Jeonju National Museum has a mind-boggling assortment of relics and is another one of the city’s most visited landmarks. Bibimbap, a staple of the Korean diet, may be traced back to Jeonju.

6. Seoraksan National Park

Naejangsan National Park in autumn, South Korea

Witness the vibrant colors of autumn at Naejangsan National Park in South Korea. Image source: coloursinmylife/Shutterstock.com

Seoraksan National Park is a must-see if you’re in South Korea for any of the following reasons: trekking, seeing the most famous mountain range in the country, or just getting some very breathtaking photographs. Pine woods, rugged mountains, beautiful lakes, and glistening streams may all be found within the park’s borders.

More than 2,000 animal species call Seoraksan National Park home as well. Pick up free English and Korean language maps at the National Park Visitor Centre before setting off on your adventure. Then, take advantage of the park’s extensive network of well-marked hiking paths.

5. Andong

Andong Folk Village in autumn, Andong, Korea

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Andong Folk Village during the vibrant autumn season. Image source: Sanga Park/Shutterstock.com

Andong’s long history has earned it the title of “Capital City of Korean Spiritual Culture.” Andong Hahoe Folk Village, where local culture is maintained and shared with tourists, is one of the city’s most popular destinations.

Still, those with a passion for good cuisine will find Andong to be a paradise. One of the city’s most well-known dishes is jjimdak, a noodle and chicken dish. Soju, a unique form of Korean alcohol, originates in Andong; sample some before you leave the city.

4. Jeju Island

Songaksan Mountain on Jeju Island, South Korea

Discover the natural splendor of Songaksan Mountain on the picturesque Jeju Island. Image source: AzmanMD/Shutterstock.com

Jeju Island, the only Special Autonomous Province in South Korea, is located off its southern coast. Jeju, often known as the Island of the Gods, is a popular honeymoon and holiday destination in South Korea due to its subtropical climate and divine reputation. Jeju is home to a plethora of exciting activities and amusement parks in addition to its stunning beaches, lava tubes, and verdant landscape.

Visit the Seongeup Folklore Village to learn about the region’s history, or take in the sights of Glass Castle, a theme park dedicated to glass sculptures. Loveland, a theme park with romantic and adults-only activities, is one of the most unusual and contentious places to visit on Jeju.

3. DMZ

Freedom Bridge at the DMZ, South Korea

Reflect on the historical significance of Freedom Bridge at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Image source: sungju kim/Shutterstock.com

North and South Korea are separated by the demilitarised zone (DMZ). An armistice has been declared in this area. Visitors are welcome in the DMZ, but safety should be considered before venturing out. One tiny section of the DMZ, the Joint Security Area (JSA), is accessible to the general public.

Physically standing in North Korea at the JSA is possible, although inside a structure that also houses South Korean troops. In addition, there is a gift store where you may purchase North Korean stamps, wine, and cash. Keep in mind that the Demilitarized Zone may only be visited by those on a sanctioned and guided tour.

2. Gyeongju

Illuminated pavilions of Anapji Pond in Gyeongju, South Korea

Experience the enchanting ambiance of the illuminated pavilions at Anapji Pond in Gyeongju. Image source: Joshua Davenport/Shutterstock.com

In the past, the Silla Kingdom called Gyeongju its capital. This means the age of the city exceeds two thousand years. The city of Gyeongju is a fantastic travel destination due to the abundance of its religious buildings and cultural events. The Bulguksa Temple, built in the eighth century and home to priceless works of Buddhist art, should be your first stop. Hike up from the temple to the Seokguram Grotto, where you may see even more Buddhist relics and architecture.

The Covered Market is a must-see for every visitor to Korea, with its array of stalls offering anything from Silla trinkets to freshly prepared local specialties.

1. Seoul

Seoul city skyline, South Korea

Behold the dynamic cityscape of Seoul, the vibrant capital of South Korea. Image source: ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

Seoul is the most populous city in South Korea and a popular tourist destination in East Asia. There is a high probability that you will go to Seoul during your stay in the country. There is no shortage of things to do in Seoul, but many tourists begin their explorations at one of the city’s numerous palaces.

Gyeongbok-gung and Changdeok-gung, both from the 15th century, are two of the most impressive palaces in all of Korea. You’ll also find some of Asia’s finest food here, along with historic temples and shrines, gorgeous public parks, cutting-edge design, and cosmopolitan retail complexes.

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