To live will be an awfully big adventure– Peter Pan
As my time living in Korea for a year has come to a close, I decided to make a list of all the great places I visited in South Korea. In case any of my readers are planning to visit Korea and want another person’s opinion on some great places in Korea, here is mine.
South Korea has many unique and beautiful places to visit. There was rarely a time when I was visiting a new city in Korea that I disliked my experience there. I have highlights, of course, but there are many awesome places to see in South Korea! Therefore, this is only a short list of many terrific places to see in South Korea. They are not in any particular order except for the first one being my favorite place that I visited in Korea.
- Seoraksan National Park
This is by far my favorite place that I visited while I was in South Korea even though it was one of the first places I visited. As I think back on all my trips, I have no doubts this was by far my favorite. The view of the mountains surrounding the park are so majestic, I cannot describe them in any other way than breathtaking. I did not visit Seoraksan any other time of the year, so I may be biased, but I think the time I went might have been the best time to go. In mid-October, the air was cool and fresh and the trees were in full fall colors, which added to the magnificent beauty of the mountains. If I were to choose one place I’d visit again and again, I’d choose Seoraksan.
Seoraksan National Park has many different hiking paths to take of varying difficulty. Many paths will lead to the top of the mountain for those eager and daring enough to pursue (I was not in the intense hiking mood at the time of my visit). I hear those views are phenomenal even if the hike is hard.
There are several places to eat and grab great souvenirs as well. There are temples and also a giant Buddha.
When I was visiting Seoraksan, I was with a travel group so I had a limited amount of time to explore the park and feel like I barely saw a fraction of what was there. But the parts I did see have caused it to be one of my favorite places I’ve ever been in my entire life so far. So please, check it out!
- DMZ Tour
The same weekend I visited Seoraksan, I also did a brief DMZ tour the day before. I recommend this experience because it was very unique and also very sobering. Seeing the memorials, the war artillery, the Fourth Tunnel, the explosive warnings, and the leftovers of war really caused the reality of the war between North and South Korea to sink in. It’s one thing to hear that there was a war, and another to see the battle grounds where some of the war took place and still see the evidence of it. Also seeing how careful the South Korean soldiers were about us being so close to the border of North Korea, it reminded me the threat has never left them.
If you would like to step into some of Korean history, I highly recommend doing the DMZ tour!
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
If you are in Korea during the cherry blossom season, I highly recommend visiting Jinhae for its Cherry Blossom Festival. It’s a beautiful festival with wonderful views of the cherry blossoms! I tried some delicious cherry blossom ice cream, bought some flower teas and a flower crown, walked through cherry blossom trees, listened to Korean traditional music, watched some traditional dances, and did some shopping in some markets nearby.
It was a blast and definitely a highlight of my time in Korea!
- Gamcheon Cultural Village
I am not 100% sure how I found out about this place, but somehow, I did, and I knew it was a place I wanted to visit. Getting there was a bit tricky for my friend and I our first time visiting, which at first left us wondering if going to the village would be worth it or not. But once we finally made it there, it was totally worth it. Gamcheon Village was refurnished by painting the buildings and houses in the village to many different colors. It was such a cute place with many cute souvenirs and many places to snap pictures. They had murals throughout the village and you will find more if you wander off the main street. If the line is short enough, take advantage and get a pic with the famous statue of the Little Prince while you are there! There are also a lot of fun street foods and cafes to check out!
This is one of the few places I visited twice, so I definitely recommend!
Speaking of great cultural places, Gyeongju is an awesome city to visit for Korean culture. It’s a small city and one can see most of it after only a few visits (maybe even one visit if you are proactive). I visited only twice, but enjoyed my time there both times I have gone. Most of the buildings are in the traditional Korean style and there are so many cool nooks and crannies. It’s a fun place to just wander around! Some places I saw were Bulguksa Temple, Tumuli Park (tombs), some museums and artisan places, and the World Culture Expo Park.
I know there are many other great places in Gyeongju to see that I failed to catch, but it’s a cool city to check out!
- Jeju Island
Jeju is probably the most popular Korean island in Korea. It’s a beautiful place to visit and has beautiful beaches! Hiking Mt. Halla was definitely one of the harder things I did in Korea, but might be worth it if you are not afraid of long hikes. I recommend bringing lots of snacks and water and the reminder that walking down feels longer than the walk up. The hardest part of the hike up was the top, and it’s definitely a muscle-burner. But the views are nice. Bring a jacket for the top because it’s quite chilly up there!
I feel Seoul has so many great places to visit but it’s obviously one of the more popular places. I visited Seoul many times and always had a great time. I recommend renting a hanbok (Korean traditional clothes) and visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village. It’s a magical experience and makes you feel like you are walking in a different time. Also, you get great photos!
I also highly recommend visiting Insadong. It’s a great place to get traditional Korean souvenirs and get some yummy tea!
Namsan tower may be another known tourist spot to check out, but I enjoyed visiting so I recommend it definitely! Especially in the evening.
The last place I recommend was a place I was not really told to go visit, but I visited just because it was nearby. However, I had a blast both of the times I went and highly recommend! Lotte World Mall is a phenomenal mall with many great cuisines, random museums, a beautiful aquarium, stores, and cool architecture! Also, there is a cool tower there to check out as well. Definitely a favorite!
As I have said before, these are only seven out of many, many more great places to visit in South Korea. However, these are some of the favorite places I visited! I hope you enjoyed taking a look through my trips in Korea!
—The Adversity Rose—
DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.
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