15 Things To Do When Traveling to South Korea:
Most people are familiar with the Korean Wave known as Hallyu. With celebrities like Psy and K-Pop bands such as BTS, Blackpink and EXO, this wave is sweeping through Asia and now has a following in many countries around the world.
The thing that most people don’t know about Korea is that it is also one of the safest places to visit on earth. Not to mention, the country is full of aesthetics too.
If you are looking to explore the culture, here are 15 things to do when traveling to South Korea.
1. Visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace
This palace was built in 1394. It used to be one of the five main palaces until it was destroyed during Japanese occupation. The palace itself is surrounded by a huge wall and houses different buildings like the throne hall and the main gate.
Today, Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the most popular tourist spots in Seoul. It’s especially beautiful during autumn when the leaves change color.
2. Check out their Street Food (Candied Strawberries, Fried Chicken & Beer)
Who doesn’t love street food? The thing about South Korea is that their street food isn’t only delicious but also affordable. It won’t cost much to get a decent meal.
If you are looking for something sweet, try candied strawberries or fried honey bread. For something spicy, eat golbaengi muchim (콩밥 추가) or spicy rice cake (dduk boki 떡볶이). If you’re not big on Korean food, there are lots of Korean fried chicken restaurants around the city. And of course, no trip to South Korea is complete without trying some Korean beer.
3. Visit a Hanok Village
There are many traditional villages in South Korea but my personal favorite is Hanok Village in Jeonju. This village has preserved the traditional way of life for over 600 years and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The best way to get there is by getting on a train at Seoul Station and taking it all the way to Jeonju. You can also just take a bus from Nambu Terminal but keep in mind that the buses run less than 10 times a day and run only during certain hours of the day.
4. Check out K-drama sites
Korea is the birthplace of K-dramas and the industry has been booming for the past few years. If you are a fan of K-dramas, you will definitely want to visit some of the filming locations.
Some of my favorite sites are Namsan Tower in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and the Han River. You can also visit the sets of popular dramas like Goblin and My Love From Another Star.
5. Get a traditional Korean massage (spa day)
Massages are a big part of Korean culture and you can find spas all over the country. A traditional Korean massage is known as “hanbang” and is said to be very therapeutic. It’s a bit more expensive than your average massage but it’s definitely worth the experience.
If you don’t want to spend too much, most of the major cities have spa towns where you can get a day pass for a few hundred won.
6. Visit the DMZ and learn about North Korea
The demilitarized zone or DMZ is a strip of land between North and South Korea. This place has been known as one of the most dangerous places in the world due to the high tension levels that have existed for decades.
But today, it’s open to tourists who are interested in checking out the monuments that commemorate the Korean War.
During your visit, you will also learn about how North Korea became a communist country and why this was such a big deal back then.
7. Shop for Korean fashion at Myeongdong
If you want to check out popular clothes by your favorite K-pop stars, Myeongdong is the place to go. This area is full of fashion stores and you can find everything from clothes to accessories.
The best part is that the prices are really affordable, especially compared to Japan or Hong Kong.
8. Visit a theme park
Korea has some of the best theme parks in Asia. You can find theme parks all over the country but some of my personal favorites are Everland, Lotte World, and Seou Land (formerly Dosan Fairytale Land).
Everland is probably Korea’s biggest amusement park and there are lots of different rides for people of all ages to enjoy. Lotte World also has a lot of rides and attractions but it’s also a popular shopping destination for people who want to check out luxury brands. Dosan Fairytale Land is perfect for families with young children because there are lots of kiddie rides that won’t cost too much to go on.
9. Visit Jeju Island
Jeju Island is a volcanic island that’s located about 2 hours away from Seoul. This is a popular tourist destination for South Koreans and foreigners alike because of its natural beauty.
Some of the top tourist attractions on Jeju Island include Halla Mountain, Manjanggul Cave, and Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak).
10. Eat a BBQ
Korean BBQ is definitely one of the best things to eat when traveling in South Korea. The meat is usually marinated and then cooked on a grill that’s built into the table.
You can find BBQ restaurants all over the country but my personal favorite is Yangjae-dong, which is located in Seoul.
11. Try kimchi (fermented cabbage)
Kimchi is a staple Korean side dish and it’s made by fermenting vegetables like cucumber, radish or scallion.
It might not look too appetizing but one thing’s for sure – it tastes great as a side to rice or as a topping on some bibimbap.
12. Drink soju
Soju is a distilled beverage that’s made from rice, wheat or potatoes. It’s usually around 20% alcohol but it can go up to 40%.
Soju is the most popular alcoholic drink in South Korea and you can find it in almost every convenience store. You can also find it in restaurants and bars where you can drink it straight up, mixed with various drinks like juice or soda, or as a cocktail.
13. Be prepared to spend big bucks on cosmetics
South Korea is known for its love of beauty products and has some of the best ones in the world. From face creams to lipsticks, you can find just about any type of cosmetic product in Korea.
And the best part is that the prices are really affordable – especially compared to products from luxury brands like Chanel or Dior.
14. Visit a traditional village
There are lots of traditional villages located all over South Korea. These villages date back to the Joseon Dynasty and are a great place to learn about the country’s history and culture.
Some of the most popular traditional villages include Namsan, Gyeongju, Andong, and Buyeo.
15. Go to a sauna
Korean saunas are one of the best places to relax in South Korea. You will not only be able to sweat out all of your stress but you may also meet some really cool people while there.
Many hotels have their own spa facilities that include saunas and hot tubs so you can enjoy them for free. But there are also public saunas that you can visit, like the one in Gangnam (near Exit 6) where it’s 100 won to enter.
Many of the things you can do when traveling to South Korea are free, but many others will cost a pretty penny. If you plan on buying cosmetics while there, it’s best to be prepared for hefty prices that might make your eyes water (in more ways than one). But if you’re not in the mood to spend money and just want some cheap thrills like BBQ or kimchi, then this article has got what you need!
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