Travel Tips South Korea – Although South Korea is small (about the size of the US state of Indiana), it punches well above its weight in terms of seeing and doing. Boasting vibrant culture, incredible history, natural beauty, delicious food, and wild nightlife, it is home to both major cities and untouched nature, offering something for every traveler.
Seoul, the capital and the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the world (more than half of the country’s population of 50 million is gathered here), is a lively hub for food and partying lovers. But while getting all the attention, there is much more to explore, including 22 national parks, lush Jeju Island, and the infamous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bordering North Korea.
Travel Tips South Korea
Best of all, since South Korea is a manageable size, you can see the best part of it in a limited amount of time. Transportation here is modern, clean, and efficient, so it’s easy to get around as quickly as possible.
Hours In Seoul, South Korea
The country is also a culinary paradise, with cheap street food and delicious dishes such as bibimbap, kimchi, and the famous Korean barbecue.
This is one of my favorite countries in the world and one that I think is super under the radar and often overlooked by travelers. You never see the crowd of tourists found in other Asian countries.
This South Korea travel guide can help you plan your trip, save money, and get the most out of your visit.
The Korean capital has a little bit of everything. It is a bustling metropolis and global technology hub, with sleek and modern neighborhoods like Gangnam and iconic sights like the Lotte World Tower, the sixth-tallest building in the world. Yet there is a lot of history here too, including many museums, palaces, and temples, including five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. When you’re done exploring for the day, Seoul has a robust street food scene, countless trendy restaurants, and a fast-paced, soju-driven nightlife. You could easily spend weeks here and never get bored.
When Is The Best Time To Visit South Korea?
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separates North and South Korea and, despite its name, is the most militarized border in the world. You can only visit the Joint Security Area (JSA), which has military personnel from both sides, on a guided tour, but it is a unique experience and an important way to learn about this ongoing conflict (the war began in 1950 and was not officially completed). On the tour, you can actually stand in North Korea, visit the Third Aggression Tunnel (which North Korea dug to sneak troops across the border), see the Freedom Bridge, and see a glimpse of North Korea from the Unification Observatory. . Guided tours of the DMZ start at 80,000 KRW.
This volcanic, semitropical island is a popular domestic vacation spot. It is accessible via cheap daily flights from Seoul that are only an hour away. Known as the “Hawaii of Korea”, it is a natural paradise, home to Korea’s highest mountain (Mt. Hallasan), lava tubes, beautiful beaches, and many hiking and walking trails. Other attractions include visiting the mythical Jeju Rock Park, wandering the Yeomiji Botanical Garden, and sightseeing
Divers – women who dive without protective gear to collect underwater treasures such as clams and seaweed, which are then sold on the beach. You can visit the Jeju Haenyeo Museum as well to learn more about this cultural practice that dates back centuries.
, this is a cultural phenomenon and something worth experiencing at least once when visiting Korea. While the karaoke machine was originally invented in Japan, Koreans have adopted the pastime and made their own. Here, you rent a private room with a group of friends (instead of singing in a public bar, as is often the case in Western countries). Prices are determined by the hour, with rates varying wildly depending on the number of people, time of day, day of the week, and whether snacks and drinks are included. The average cost of group karaoke ranges from 5,000 to 15,000 KRW.
Backpacking South Korea (2023 Budget Travel Guide)
S, or traditional Korean houses, some of which date back to the 14th century. There are many such villages throughout the country, but the most popular is Jeonju, with its 800+.
S, UNESCO-designated Gyeongju Yangdong, and Bukchon, which is within the Seoul metropolitan area. While the houses in this village may be historic and many are still private residences, many others have been turned into cafes, restaurants, teahouses, galleries, museums, and even accommodation.
One of the Five Great Palaces of the Joseon dynasty, this 15th century complex in Seoul was built in harmony with the natural environment at the foot of Mount Bugaksan. Changdeokgung, or “Palace of Virtue Prosperity,” was the main royal residence for 13 kings over three centuries. The complex extends over 110 hectares, 60% of which is taken up by the beautiful Huwon Secret Garden, home to more than a hundred species of trees, flowers, and other plants (some of the trees here are over 300 years old!). The main draw is wandering outside, with restored buildings and gates, although you can also enter Injeongjeon Hall, the palace’s throne room. Admission to the complex is 3,000 KRW; The Secret Garden is an additional 5,000 KRW. There are also guided tours in English.
Korea’s second largest city is located just two hours from Seoul on the KTX high-speed bullet train. A coastal city, Busan has beautiful beaches, such as Haeundae Beach, with its miles of sand, and Gwangalli Beach, known for its sunsets. Gamcheon Cultural Village, “Korea’s mural village,” is a hillside neighborhood rich in street art and covered in murals, with almost all the houses painted bright colors. This is a great place to wander around for a few hours, visiting unique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
South Korea Budget Travel Guide (updated 2023)
If you only visit one museum in Korea, make it this one. Located in Seoul, it covers all aspects of Korean culture, art, and history, from prehistoric times to the early modern period. It also contains many national treasures and artifacts designated as having special importance and value in Korean culture and history. Some of the most important include the Bukhansan Monument written in the sixth century, detailing military expansion; sixth-century old-bronze Buddhist statues; and the 10-story Gyeongcheonsa Pagoda, which dates to the 14th century. Don’t miss the exterior garden, which features native plants, reflecting pools, and traditional Korean sculptures and lanterns. Admission to the main exhibition and children’s museum is free.
As a foodie, learning about a culture through its food is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. Korea has an incredible variety of amazing dishes to try, as well as a bustling (and delicious) street food scene. Taking a food tour with an experienced guide is one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of Korean cuisine. O’ngo Food offers a variety of tours in Seoul, Busan, Jeonju, and Jeju, with prices starting from 70,000 KRW per person.
Originally built in the 14th century by the kings of the Joseon dynasty, the palace in Seoul was used as the center of government for two hundred years until it was destroyed by fire and abandoned for a century. Since the 19th century (and still today), it has undergone renovations to restore the complex to its former glory. It is considered the most stunning of all five royal palaces in Seoul, featuring grand gates, open courtyards, and terracotta-topped buildings set against the backdrop of Mount Bugak. In addition to wandering through the complex, you can also enter many administrative halls and residential rooms arranged to resemble the palace’s heyday. You can also watch the changing-of-the-guard ceremony, every day except Monday. The National Palace Museum and the National People’s Museum are also located in the complex. Admission is 3,000 KRW.
Although cherry blossoms are often associated with Japan, the celebrations surrounding the blossoms are popular in Korea as well. Here, the season runs from the end of March to the end of April, with many festivals throughout the country. Just be prepared for crowds at more popular venues, such as the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival in Seoul.
Day First Timer’s South Korea Itinerary Under S$1k Incl. Day Trips Out Of Seoul
The original Korean martial art, taekwondo, is characterized by high kicks and punches and, like all such disciplines, emphasizes mental training. An Olympic event since 2000, taekwondo has only become popular in recent years and is a point of pride in Korean culture. Global Kang Taekwondo in Seoul offers classes for adults and foreigners that cost around 43,000 KRW for an hour.
If you want to take your knowledge of Korean food one step further, take a cooking class, where you will learn to prepare classics like bibimbap, kimchi, bulgogi, and Korean pancakes. Hello K Cooking in Seoul offers classes where you’ll learn how to cook three main dishes and one stew – recipes and skills you can take home. The class is 107,000 KRW.
Korea is an incredibly mountainous country, so hiking is a favorite pastime for locals. Be sure to immerse yourself in nature when visiting this lush land. There are even hiking spots near the big cities if not