Cherry blossom season is an enchanting time in Korea. The winter chill fades away and the country re-emerges in a display of beautiful colours and scents. Cherry blossom trees, known locally as beot-kkot (벗꽃), are found all over the country. They’re a symbol of spring and represent purity and beauty. Cherry blossoms in Korea only …
South Korea could be considered a far eastern country with an exotic blend of ultra-modern commerce and ancient tradition. It is a country of temples, skyscrapers, beaches, and major cities.
It is also a country of fascinating political intrigue, situated right next to a neighbor that is also a geopolitical adversary. South Korea’s “Western” way of thinking, paired with its traditional Eastern context, perfectly envelopes the country’s remarkable capacity for welcoming tourists.
The country shares its culture and heritage generously, which includes broad influences of Buddhism, Confucianism, and technology. There’s also the intrigue of the region’s cuisine and history, the strong presence of Western cultural influences (mainly from the US), and the warm and friendly people.
This is a country that I have had the absolute pleasure of visiting, and these articles share some of what I recommend you see and do in South Korea.
The Importance of Planning Your Visit to South Korea
The range of options may feel intimidating when visiting a foreign country. That’s why I like to create an itinerary.
For example, 14 days in South Korea can easily be too short or too long. It all depends on what you plan (or don’t plan) to do. That’s why an efficient and well-thought-out South Korean itinerary is excellent for keeping your checklist on track.
When to Visit South Korea
One highly recommended time to visit Korea is when cherry blossoms or Sakuras are in bloom. Cherry blossoms in Korea carry an extraordinary significance — they symbolise purity in Korean culture. The thing is that the flowers only bloom for about two weeks, around the end of March. So plan your trip accordingly.
If you don’t make it for the blossoms, don’t worry. These flowers aren’t the only natural beauty to be found in Korea. There are, in fact, dozens of beautiful places in South Korea worth seeing. The 26 I found are just the tip of the iceberg.
Notable Towns and Cities to Visit
Undoubtedly, much of your visit will be spent in one of South Korea’s great cities or tourist destinations. As mentioned, they offer a unique blend of the modern and ancient. This is where cutting-edge technology and architecture blend with old-world philosophy, tradition and culture. Here are a few to consider.
As South Korea’s capital and cultural centre, planning an epic Seoul itinerary makes total sense. It’s also the first city you are likely to find yourself in, so you may as well make the most of your time here. Fortunately, it is fascinating and central to many activities tourists may want to partake in.
Between the super-impressive skyscrapers and urban developments are similarly breathtaking Seoul boutique hotels awaiting your patronage. Many of them are also in fantastic neighborhoods that are well worth exploring.
Tip: Another great way to get to know the country from Seoul is through one of the many Seoul day trips on offer.
Myeongdong isn’t its own city but rather a district within Seoul. It is a shopper’s paradise. Basically, if you run out of items to buy or things to do in Myeongdong, you are probably a thousand years old and have seen everything there is to see in life.
You can often attend one of several annual festivals that happen annually in the Myeongdong area.
Nine out of ten people probably know the 2012 worldwide smash hit Gangnam Style by Korean artist PSY. The Gangnam in question is a very wealthy suburb in Seoul. This is considered Seoul’s economic driver and many major corporations base their headquarters here.
Not surprisingly, there are some really fun (and sometimes pricey) things to do in Gangnam, including shopping. Think designer stores, high-end eateries, and general luxury. You could refer to this district as the Beverly Hills of East Asia.
Side note: Gangnam is used colloquially to refer to the upper class in Korea.
Are you heading to the coast? Busan is an excellent bet for a beautiful seaside vacation. As I mentioned before, a Busan itinerary will be helpful so you can catch all of the essential bits.
That way, you’ll be able to plan enough time to enjoy the area’s beaches, museums, restaurants, and temples without feeling like you’re running out of time or ideas.
This is an opportunity to be spoilt for choice regarding where to stay in Busan as well. There are several excellent hotels and neighbourhoods to pique your interest.
The island of Jeju is more than just popular with tourists. It also happens to be where many Koreans choose to go on holiday. So, it does provide a slightly “local” feel to your getaway, if that makes sense. Because of this, the island has fewer English-speaking citizens than in more tourist-friendly areas of the country.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of things to do in Jeju for English speakers, too. The island offers natural beauty born from a volcanic origin and beaches to enjoy, of course.
To help, here’s a handy Jeju itinerary to help you get the most out of a three-day trip to the island paradise.
Here’s an interesting observation: many of the things to do in Incheon seem to be free or close to free. At least, it seems more so than in most other tourist cities. It’s unclear why this appears to be the case or whether it’s objectively true. The city just seems to feel that way.
I know that Incheon is less busy than Seoul despite being a city of nearly three million people.
Side note: Incheon has an International Airport. Despite being less known than other major airports, it remains one of the busiest in the world.
Daegu is the third-largest city in South Korea and sits in the North Gyeongsang Province. Remarkably, Daegu’s origins date back to around 60 BCE. It is often called the Textile City or Apple City.
Among the top things to do in Daegu are visiting Medicine Street and Kim Kwang Seok Street. You can also opt for day trips like those to Jeonju for a look at the beautiful mountains and temples in the region.
Planning a trip to Korea? It is a fascinating country that is truly foreign. There are so many beautiful places in South Korea – from the Hanok buildings of Jeonju to the coastline of Jeju Island to the palaces of Seoul. Come explore beautiful Korea! 26 Beautiful Places in South Korea Beautiful Places to Visit …
Seoul is the heart of South Korea. Korea’s capital expresses everything that makes the country successful and enduringly interesting. So you can definitely bump it to the top of your list of places to visit when vacationing in South Korea. Seoul’s blend of modernity with history and culture makes it so fascinating. As the capital …
Busan is a thriving, lively city on the coast. South Korea might not be known for its laid-back lifestyle and easy-going culture. But in Busan, there is definitely a happy ease to daily life. Perhaps it’s the beach, or the wonderful museums, or the popular beer houses and karaoke rooms. Likely a combination of them …
Jeju, South Korea’s largest and most beautiful volcanic island is nestled on the South Coast. This South Korea island boasts stunning beaches, lush countryside, an abundance of museums, coastal walking trails, and delectable cuisine. If you’re looking to plan a trip to South Korea, you should certainly add Jeju Island to your list, together with …
Heading to South Korea for a visit to Seoul? Just a heads up, you’ll be landing in a paradise of trendy fashion, superfine cosmetics, mouth-watering foods, and famous K-pop stars. Myeongdong translates to ‘bright town’ and is considered one of the best places to go Jung-gu, Seoul. As the name suggests, it’s a neon-lit, bustling …
Whether you’re having a layover at Incheon International Airport or looking to explore the city with a day-trip from Seoul, there are plenty of places to visit in Incheon and loads of things to do near Incheon Airport. Many things to do in Incheon are free, making it an ideal option for short trips and …
Busan is an exciting, energetic city. Throughout South Korea there is an aliveness to the days and nights, and no more so than in this city on the water. Busan has rather distinctly separate areas, and they all cater to different wants and needs. When it comes to where to stay in Busan South Korea …
Gangnam, the trendy area in Seoul, is well-known and loved for many different reasons. From the countless exclusive designer stores to the viral “Gangnam Style” dance, stepping into the streets of the district is quite a surreal experience. If your Seoul itinerary doesn’t base you in Gangnam Korea, then it will most certainly take you …
Putting together a Seoul Itinerary 5 Days? If you are planning a trip to discover South Korea, you most likely have Seoul on your desired destination list – it is an important stop on any Korea itinerary. As the capital of the country, Seoul is the main point of entry into South Korea and boasts …