South Korea is growing in popularity as a travel destination. More and more people are heading to the glittering metropolis of Seoul and its surrounding areas. From the militarized border at the DMZ to the lively beaches of Busan and the slower pace of life on Jeju Island, a South Korea holiday is an opportunity to delve into some of the world’s most fascinating cultural sites. In this article, we’ll discuss five of the best things to do and places to visit in South Korea.
South Korea Holiday Highlights
Visit the DMZ
The hostilities between North and South Korea need no introduction. The countries were at war in the 1950s and a precarious peace is maintained today, with aggressive flare-ups still common every few years. As a result, the Demilitarized Zone is a 2.5-mile wide buffer between the two countries. Consequently, this border is heavily fortified and guarded. One of the most exciting things to do on a tour of South Korea is to visit the DMZ.
Don’t forget to take a peek into the secretive state of North Korea from the Dora Observatory. You can also venture into the Third Tunnel of Aggression. This tunnel was discovered in 1978 by the South. It is thought that the North constructed the tunnel with the plan of launching an invasion. However, no attempt to invade was ever made. Take our advice and book your DMZ trip with a trusted operator. Sometimes it’s even possible to meet with a North Korean defector on your South Korea holiday. What better way to learn even more about the reclusive country from someone who’s been there themselves?
Tour the Sights of Seoul
Seoul is the capital of South Korea and one of the most populous cities in Asia. It is also the biggest drawcard to South Korea, with a plethora of attractions to explore. Climbing to the top of Namsan Mountain is a great way to enjoy panoramic views over the city and of the iconic N Seoul Tower, whilst the Blue House is the presidential palace and one of the main landmarks in the city. Other attractions include the grand Gyeongbokgung Palace and the bustling Gwangjang Market. Moreover, you can sample an array of traditional Korean food.
If you fancy some retail therapy then you’ll want to head to Dongdaemun, a gigantic shopping complex that is open 24 hours per day. This shopping center should provide even the most outrageous shopping needs. For a spot of culture, you may wish to spend a night in a traditional Korean jjimjilbang. Basically, a bath and sleeping house where you can enjoy a therapeutic onsen bath. on a South Korea holiday.
Hike Seoraksan National Park
After a few days in the hectic chaos of Seoul, you may be after some tranquil peace and quiet. Seoraksan National Park, on South Korea’s east coast. Specifically, this is a great place to visit if you want to immerse yourself in nature. A variety of rare plants and animals can be found here. These include the Chinese Sparrowhawk and Korean goral.
There are also a variety of ornate temples to discover and trekking opportunities aplenty in the scenic landscape. Ulsanbawi Rock offers picture-postcard views over the park and is worth walking to if you have the time to spare on your South Korea holiday trip.
Explore Bustling Busan
Busan is South Korea’s party capital and one of the best places to visit in the country. If you’re after a few drinks and a good time then you’ll want to head to the Haeundae beachfront, the heart of Busan’s nightlife. Other attractions in the city include South Korea’s biggest seafood market, where you can try a variety of fresh dishes.
The Marine Cable Car is also a thrilling experience, as you ride over the seafront and the city in glass-bottomed cable cars, before disembarking at the top of a cliff overlooking Busan. For some more cultural experiences, you’ll want to visit Busan Tower and Haedong Yonggung, a beautiful Buddhist temple located right on the beach.
Visit Jeju Island
Off the southern coast of South Korea lies the oval-shaped island of Jeju. Easily reached by airplane from Seoul, it is the perfect way to round off a trip to the country, being one of the best places to visit in South Korea. Highlights of Jeju Island include the stunning treks to Hallasan Mountain and Sunrise Peak, as well as the Jeju Olle Trail, which takes in the picturesque scenery of the entire island.
A visit to the Haenyeo women divers is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To enumerate, many of the women are in their eighties and continue to dive for minutes at a time in search of shellfish, seaweed, and other marine produce which they sell at the market. For families, the Teddy Bear Museum provides a delightful day out for the kids, with bears from all around the world on display.
South Korea Holiday Recap
Finally, a South Korea holiday can offer something to everyone. Well-protected nature, bustling cities, and soothing beaches combine to make South Korea one of the top countries to visit in Asia. It may well not have been one to make your bucket list before. Nonetheless, it is a country well worth visiting and a unique travel destination worth considering for adventurous travelers.