7 locations you’ll be able to’t miss in South Korea

South Korea may be pint-sized in comparison with close by giants China and Russia, however this small peninsular nation holds its personal with regards to all kinds of pure, cultural, and leisure sights.

It is South Korea’s small dimension, together with its ultra-reliable public transit system, that makes all of it so accessible. Vacationers can go from mountaintop to beachside or from village to megacity – and again once more – in a single day. Not that we advocate you rush. With so many distinctive locations to go to in South Korea, vacationers might dedicate a whole journey to at least one spot. Right here’s a information to the very best locations to go to in South Korea.

Seoul is probably the most visited place in South Korea © Wonseok Jang / Getty Photographs

Keep out all night time in Seoul

Residence to half of South Korea’s inhabitants, Seoul can also be the most-popular metropolis for vacationers to go to. The capital hums with a thrum that’s all its personal — at any hour of the day or night time. Between the town’s low-key watering holes, high-end cocktail lounges and always-fun noraebang (karaoke bars), Seoul has one thing to supply each late-night reveler.

A number of the latest trendsetting bars are positioned in Euljiro, whereas many longstanding favorites are within the tried-and-true nightlife neighborhoods of Gangnam, Hongdae and Itaewon. Gangnam is the place the costliest golf equipment are concentrated, whereas Hongdae is a extra reasonably priced choice for budget-conscious college college students. Itaewon has a fame for drawing a world crowd.

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Various fish stalls and colourful umbrellas at Jagalchi seafood market, Busan's most famous tourist attraction
South Korea’s second metropolis, Busan, combines coast, temples and wonderful meals © PixHound / Shutterstock

Dive into maritime tradition in Busan

Located on the southern coast, South Korea’s second metropolis, Busan, overflows with a maritime tradition as vigorous as it’s assorted. Setting the tone is Busan Port, the oldest and largest within the nation (and in addition the sixth busiest on this planet), dealing with some 80% of South Korea’s container cargo. The close by Nationwide Maritime Museum tells the story. From there, up and down the shoreline are any variety of lovely seashores, parks, observatories, villages and even a temple, Haedong Yonggungsa, one of many nation’s solely oceanside temples.

At Jagalchi, South Korea’s largest fish market, the day’s catch is organized in stall after stall of fish, eel, crabs, sea squirts, abalone, and extra. Customers can choose their seafood on the bottom stage after which take it as much as one of many eating places on the flooring above, the place the employees will expertly de-scale, de-shell, intestine or filet after which prepare dinner it for you. For different delicious seafood bites, search for eating places alongside the seashore specializing in jogae gui, grilled shellfish served with a wide range of dipping sauces like chogochujang (vinegar crimson pepper sauce), soy sauce with wasabi, and melted butter with onions.

A shrine at the Bulguksa Buddhist temple in Gyeongju, South Korea
Gyeongju affords guests a peek into South Korea’s historical previous © Mirko Kuzmanovic / Getty Photographs

Uncover historical treasures in Gyeongju

Because the capital of the Silla Kingdom, when the town was known as Donggyeong (“jap capital”), Gyeongju is a treasure trove of historical relics, spiritual to royal. Gyeongju Nationwide Museum homes a good variety of them – together with ornate jewellery, earthenware jars, prayer bells and Buddha statues – however much more artifacts lie past. Gyeongju is named South Korea’s museum with out partitions.

See the royal tombs of Tumuli Park; the oldest astrological observatory in East Asia, Cheomseongdae; the Buddhist grotto of Seokguram; the picturesque palace of Donggung; and the temple halls, pagodas and bridges of Bulguksa. Woljeonggyo, a coated wood bridge with putting crimson columns, inexperienced roof beams and two finish towers, may be the prettiest bridge in all of South Korea – much more so at night time when it’s illuminated with lights.

Get schooled in a up to date historical past lesson in Gwangju

Considered the birthplace of Korean democracy, Gwangju was the location of the 5.18 Democratic Rebellion of 1980, the 10-day-long armed resistance in opposition to Chun Doo-hwan’s authoritarian army regime. After the brutal repression of some 600 college scholar protesters, the folks of Gwangju stood up and joined in revolt, leading to state bloodbath and torture. Regardless of the motion’s suppression, it’s seen as a turning level in South Korea’s battle for democracy.

To grasp the historical past, go to the 5.18 Memorial Park and 5.18 Nationwide Cemetery. You may also stroll down Chungjang-ro, a now-converted procuring and leisure avenue that was as soon as floor zero of the rebellion.

Jeju Island is for seashores, waterfalls and aquamarine waters

South of the Korean mainland within the Yellow Sea, Jeju Island is blessed with a balmy subtropical local weather, making it the nation’s hottest trip vacation spot. The island is in such excessive demand that the flight between Seoul and Jeju Metropolis is the busiest air route on this planet. Only one glimpse of Jeju’s glittering white-sand and black-sand seashores, crystal-clear waters and volcanic topography of calderas, cones and tuffs, and it’s simple to see why so many mainlanders flock to the island for a little bit of R&R.

Whereas Jeju’s seashores make the proper pure setting for lounging oceanside with a e book and a cocktail, the island has lots extra to do than simply loosen up. Other than climbing the nation’s tallest mountain, Hallasan, outside journey seekers can log on at Woljeongri or Jungmun seashores, snorkeling and scuba diving at Munseom, spelunking within the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System, waterfall chasing at Jeongbang or Cheonjiyeon, or tewoo rafting aboard a standard Jeju boatcraft on the Soesokkak Estuary.

Gangwon Province goes all out in winter

The location of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Gangwon Province is dwelling to the very best ski resorts in South Korea. For snowboarding and snowboarding, head to top-rated Yongpyong, the nation’s oldest and largest ski resort, or Excessive 1, that includes a on line casino and revolving restaurant. Different common choices are Phoenix Park, Vivaldi Park and Alpensia.

The frosty enjoyable doesn’t cease there: Gangwon additionally hosts plenty of winter festivals, together with the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Pageant, the place members can attempt ice fishing, curling or sledding, and the Taebaeksan Snow Pageant, which places on huge ice sculpture and ice fountain shows.

Locals perform a traditional Korean mask dance in Andong's hahoe village
Folkloric festivals that includes conventional wood masks are the large pull in Andong © NothingIsEverything / Shutterstock

Andong celebrates people traditions

The capital of Gyeongsangbuk Province, Andong can also be known as “the capital of Korean spirit”. It’s the nation’s Confucian tradition capital, the place you’ll discover conventional wood masks and soju, the Korean nationwide drink. At Andong’s Unesco-listed Hahoe People Village, probably the most well-known people village in South Korea, guests can immerse themselves within the previous Joseon-era lifestyle. Peek contained in the village’s workshops and its particular choga properties, distinguished by their straw-thatched roofs, and even e book an in a single day keep in a guesthouse.

On the Hahoe Masks Museum, you’ll be able to view the area’s quintessential masks, carved into animated expressions to painting characters like aristocrats, servants and monks. Each fall on the Andong Maskdance Pageant, you’ll be able to see them in motion in play performances. You may also tour notable Confucian academies, attempt conventional soju on the Andong Soju Museum or a neighborhood restaurant, and pattern Andong’s signature soy-braised hen dish, jjimdak.