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South Korea is well known for the nation’s love of shopping, and Seoul is the undisputed capital when it comes to shopping. Make sure you try this at least once during your time in Seoul. Things to Do in South Korea, Asia: See Tripadvisor's 843,644 traveller reviews and photos of South Korea tourist attractions. Very well written. The food is amazing, for sure. Once a famous street for Korean artisans dating back as far as 1392, Insadong today continues that trend as a bustling market for people wishing to buy locally made arts, crafts, and souvenirs. Surprising when you consider that it is one of the continent’s most visited cities with tourism to Seoul booming in recent years. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. Peace Park which is home to the World Cup stadium is east of Hongdae. I had trouble keeping this list to just 40 things you should do in South Korea. That being said there are a number of quiet back alleys offering some awesome Korean food. It goes without saying that Seoul will be a highlight of any trip to South Korea, and if you’ve only got 4-5 days to spend in the country – you’d be best advised to spend it all in the capital. Our list of the Best Things to Do in Seoul, South Korea, Take a Break from Palaces, Shrines and Temples and Eat at Insa-dong, Take in Awesome Views of Seoul from Namsan & the N Seoul Tower, Take a Night Time Stroll Around Deoksugung, Shopping, Eating and People Watching in Myeong-dong, The Best Hostel in Seoul – ZZZIP in Hongdae, Best Budget Accommodation for Couples in Seoul – Mini Hotel Insa in Insadong, Best Mid-Range Hotel in Seoul – DH Naissance Hotel in Dongdaemum, Best Luxury Hotel in Seoul – Lotte Hotel Seoul in Myedong, sign up for a traditional Korean cooking class, 8 Amazing Things to Do in Jeonju, South Korea (2020 Guide), Life Experiences While WWOOFing In South Korea, The Perfect 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary (2020 Edition). The Japanese occupation of South Korea remains arguably the darkest period in the nation’s history, surpassing even the horrors of the Korean War in the eyes of many. It wouldn’t be a visit to South Korea without paying a visit to the mark on the map that makes it necessary to differentiate between ‘North Korea’ and ‘South Korea’. Here are 18 things to do in South Korea to keep you busy exploring the exciting landscape it has to offer. There truly is nowhere else like Seoul. Seoul isn’t all palaces and parks, and there are certainly things for the more adventurous to discover if they’re willing to get off the beaten path. Whether your bucket list is populated with cultural immersion, extreme adventures, breathtaking views, or fascinating history – there’s something for everybody on the Korean peninsula. South Korea has been on my bucket list for quite a while now, and I am just in the decision stage if I will go there later this year. I was never a huge fan of Insadong, but I’ve actually worked it in in place of Gangnam haha. Please try again. Success! Tasting something like a weaker vodka, soju is surprisingly palatable when served up with a mixer, and goes down a treat with some twigim (fried street food), tteokbokki (chewy, spicy rice cakes), or late night toasties. Find what to do today, this weekend or in January. There is no shortage of unique things to do in Seoul. Ulleungdo remains relatively off the beaten path, with many tourists overlooking its natural splendour in favour of more crowded Jejudo. Not sure if the song “Mayfair Style” would sell as well. South Korea fascinates me. The museum takes you on an in depth tour from Korea’s feudal beginnings right through to the end of the Joseon Dynasty in 1897, the countries last. South Korea’s largest seafood market, Jagalchi Market in Busan is a must-see if you like your seafood fresh. Things to Do in South Korea, Asia: See Tripadvisor's 843 644 traveller reviews and photos of South Korea tourist attractions. Richelle and I try to sneak some Korean into our diet whenever we can. As you can see, there is a wealth of options when it comes to things to do in Korea. I guess you could argue a case for bulgogi, but the marinated beef just hasn’t proved as popular outside of Korea as bibimbap, kimchi, and BBQ have. Getting to the DMZ is also high up on my list. I was happy to travel to South Korea and I ended up truly loving it! Lotte World is a massive indoor recreation complex that includes a theme park, shopping malls, luxury hotels, a folk museum, entertainment, and much more. Perched on top of Namsan is the N Seoul Tower, one of Seoul’s most iconic sights. While it has seen hard use over the centuries (especially during the Korean War), it remains as one of Korea’s most beloved historic sites. FOLLOW me on my journey!!! The traditional way to eat is to grill the meat, dip it in the sauce and then wrap it in a lettuce leaf, absolutely one of the best things to do in Seoul. It’s a little touristy these days, but the Insadong district of Seoul is a popular stop with tourists wanting a glimpse of Korean culture beyond its modern image. When World War 2 ended in 1945 it still wasn’t an independent nation. There is no shortage of unique things to do in Seoul. There are plenty of these in Seoul, however the price for day time rates and night time rates is likely to differ. Whether you’re a young adventurer looking to see and do remarkable things,  history junkie wanting to see ancient temples, a foodie looking to indulge, or traveling with kids – there’s bound to be something below for you to enjoy. 4 hours. Roads and raised highways were torn down and replaced with walkways, waterfalls, footbridges and public artworks. K-Pop (Korean Pop) is another fascinating element of Korean culture. Even if you’re not clipping your own lock onto the pile, it’s a fun photo opportunity. Hell, it might not even be in the top ten. Lotte is one of South Korea’s most recognised and respected brands. We have reviews of the best places to see in South Korea. But travelers going to Jeju expecting to get leid, sunbathe, surf, and eat at buffets are going to be disappointed. Although the mission was unsuccessful the area still remains under tight security, due to the fact the presidential palace is so close. Still, no matter what time you visit, you’ll still fall in love with all the top things to do in Seoul! While South Korea isn’t quite as glamorous or exciting as Japan or China, there’s definitely a lot going on if you’re willing to look. Some Seoul activities can be found just about anywhere in the city. The festival’s somber roots aren’t immediately apparent, as the riverside is transformed into a festival of food, drink, and amusements until the main attraction – a procession of gigantic, inventive lanterns that proceed down the river each night in dazzling style. Great pictures! DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Myedong is home to a fair few places, but if you’re looking for a quieter area this may not be for you. It also means that getting to Seoul is very easy from most major cities in East and South East Asia. South Korea wasn’t high up on my list before. If K-Pop is what you’re after, and with the an ever growing fan base you wouldn’t be alone, check out the best spots online. Book tickets and activities online with our best price guarantee! Frequented almost exclusively by locals, jjimjilbangs are a cheap and interesting way to learn a bit more about modern Korea. A combination of traditional dance and music, Norimadang is a colourful display of Korean culture that is a great introduction for those who might not have the time to explore more deeply. Every student in the United Kingdom learns French, German or Spanish until at least 14 and that certainly does not translate into adulthood. The best part? Whilst English is taught in all primary and secondary schools in Korea, DO NOT expect everybody to speak English. Kimchi is a spicy picked Korean food that contains cabbage, red peppers, onions, scalions, garlic and salt. The cherry blossoms each spring are just lovely, and the fall colours in places like Seoraksan are amazing too. The Lantern festival, mud festival, cheery Blossom festival, hiking till national park all have fascinated me much. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. For instance the famous blossoms that Japan does every spring never existed in Japan. Create your own tour of the city and see why this it's one of a kind. It is believed that their spirits reside in the special hole bored into the wooden tablets. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. There’s the Raccoon Cafe, where you can sip coffee and then pet a little Rocket of your own or the intriguing Owl Museum where you can see art inspired by (you guessed it) owls. However the chances of you finding such a place through a google search is pretty slim. Interestingly up until the 1970’s it was actually North Korea that was more developed, a far cry from today. These do have a reputation for being seedy (understandable when you describe it). The nearer you get to Myeng-dong’s neon nucleus the wider the variety of food. We have reviews of the best places to see in South Korea. Highly rated budget-friendly activities in South Korea: The top cheap things to do. Summers swelter and winters freeze, outside of these two seasons it’s generally very pleasant. With a huge variety of Seoul hotels to choose from, it’s a destination that works for budget travelers all the way through to high-end luxury types. Seoul, South Korea, is a huge city with many things to do. Yeah – the Chinese and Japanese stole lot of cultural, natural,and artistic wonders during occupation and claimed it as theirs. A very timely article to come across right now, thank you so much! Although it’s not quite at the level of Gangnam, there are still plenty of opportunities to splash the cash. It’s true that China has it all over South Korea when it comes to historic landmarks. The perfect way to walk off an amazing meal and certainly a unique idea for what to do in Seoul! Known as ‘Korea’s Hawaii’, there are certainly similarities between this tropical, volcanic island and the US state. There is an excellent rail and bus network with internal flights between the countries major cities. Goryeo (greenware) remains one of Korea’s most distinctive artistic mediums. Do be aware that there are some points where photos are not allowed. Baseball is far and away the most popular team sport in South Korea, and most major cities are home to a KBO franchise. The Korean War doesn’t get as much international recognition as The Vietnam War or even the Gulf War, but it’s very much a part of the fabric of the nation. Come with an empty stomach and be prepared to stagger back home, because eating really is one of the top Seoul tourist attractions. Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour. For more traditional theme park enthusiasts, Everland is a massive Disney-esque park located 30-60 minutes from Seoul. But all those historic buildings. Think Kensington or Mayfair in London. What a fabulous list. If we’re being brutally honest, South Korea probably isn’t at the top of your Asian itinerary. Seoul is blessed with a huge range of accommodation options, everything from dorms to 5 star luxury. You can read all about my experience at the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival before planning your own trip to see the flowers in bloom. I moved to South Korea to teach back in 2007 and it prompted my folks to come and visit me. Understandably this has been a big hit with the people of Seoul with summer and is especially popular with families. Through the art of storytelling and photography, we help our readers explore the globe with us, and aim to get you on the road as well. Learn how your comment data is processed. Bakeries are dotted all over Seoul and serve some fantastic sweet options. As Busan was one of the only places in South Korea not to fall to North Korea during the Korean War, Haedong Yonggungsa also has the selling point of being one of the oldest temples in the country. Now check your email to confirm your subscription. It’s also a hugely popular destination for hiking, and its location near Seoul makes it remarkably accessible for those on shorter visits. The heavily guarded border between the two nations is regularly the subject of worldwide speculation, and a visit to the tense frontier is definitely an experience you’ll remember for a long time. South Korea is one of my favourite places to revisit, even after two and a half years living there. This is an amazing list. It’s directly connected to Euljiro 1-ga subway station making travel around Seoul extremely convenient. Wow, amazing photos and a great list of tips about what to do in South Korea. Completionists may wish to add Changdeokgung, Cheonggyeonggung, Deoksugung, and Gyeonhuigung to their ‘to do’ list – with each palace offering its own unique history and its own beauty. Not to be confused with J-Pop, K-Pop is a dizzying mixture of soda-pop, fashion, hyper-sexuality, bubble bath, and just a little R&B. Jejudo is undoubtedly beautiful, but it’s not on par with Hawaii or Southeast Asia when it comes to beach escapes. Head south of the river to find more ideas for what to see in Seoul, Korea! While beer was undoubtedly my drink of choice, it would be criminal to leave South Korea without subjecting yourself to the nation’s national spirit: soju. Highly rated activities for adrenaline seekers in South Korea: The top thrilling things to do. There are plenty of restaurants that do not have English menus, which can lead to truly memorable exchanges! The top of the mountain even offers a view of Japan! Thanks for sharing this awesome post. Things to Do in South Korea, Asia: See Tripadvisor's 843,700 traveller reviews and photos of South Korea tourist attractions. Do be aware that this place can get very busy with tourists who are in the area visiting Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. Definitely one of the more fascinating glimpses into the Korean cultural tapestry. The rice is topped with freshly cooked vegetables, meat and a sunny side up egg. One probably doesn’t immediatley think of wetland when they think of Korea, but the Upo Marsh is a stunning sanctuary of more than 5,500 square kilometres. A lot of good information. For those wanting a glimpse into Korean life before the high rises and factories, the Hanok Village in Jeonju is a great way to step back in time. Similar to Japan, a private room can be the same price or even cheaper than two dorm beds. We have reviews of the best places to see in South Korea. Don’t take my word for it – check out the picture above and let it do the convincing! I recently wrote an article about which is better Seoul or Busan, would be great if you could check it out: https://boundforbusan.com/?p=1191, […] out this South Korea bucket list for more amazing things to […], […] China bucket list, South Korea bucket list, and Australia bucket list (in addition to my 1,000 item bucket list) are among the most popular […], I think seeing the DMZ would be such a unique experience. These restaurants range from small joints down an alley way, to huge chains. These 10 things to do in South Korea offer the best of nature, culture, and modern lifestyle. If that’s not your thing then there are plenty of fashion brands and expensive restaurants that have made Gangnam their home. Served either in a bowl or a hot stone bowl that cooks the egg in front of you, it is a delicious treat enjoyed all around the world. One of Korea’s more instantly recognisable dishes, bibimbap (mixed rice) is a bowl of rice decorated with a variety of vegetables, a fried egg, and spicy gochujang sauce. It’s not hubris that the nation is sometimes known as The Land of the Morning Calm. South Korea was not a signatory to this ceasefire and a formal peace treaty between the two Korea’s and their allies was never formally agreed meaning that the two sides are technically still at war. Sort of. From North To South Jeju Highlight Private Tour. There was an error submitting your subscription. This temple is home to the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and as a result is particularly spectacular around major buddhist festivals. READ MORE: Check out our mini-guide to the best hiking in South Korea! The best day trips from Seogwipo according to Tripadvisor travelers are: Private Full Day Tour of UNESCO Heritage Sites in East Jeju Island. Bring your passport. South Korea’s beaches might have nothing on those you could find in many places in South East Asia, but for East Asia, they’re quite nice. Korea’s signature dish, kimchi, is one of those things that grow on you over time. The DMZ is well worth a look. You won’t regret it! A volcanic island jutting out of the dark seas between Korea and Japan, Ulleungdo is an island of quiet fishing villages, sweeping vistas, and breathtaking volcanic terrain. Alternatively you can ask your guesthouse or hotel for a recommendation. Built originally as a government building for the government-in-exile in China, the Independence Hall was relocated to Cheonan in Korea after the nation was liberated from its Japanese invaders. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine on a tour with Get Your Guide. The War Memorial of Korea is a somber tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for the freedom that Kim Il-Sung sought to snatch away from them, as well as to Koreans who have lost their lives in subsequent conflicts. Dongdaemun has some excellent jazz and blues clubs whereas Hongdae is the place to go for Indie. It doesn’t resonate culturally with me the way that Japan or China do (probably because it’s barely ever portrayed in media), but it has a real appeal that keeps me coming back. All this for a very wallet friendly price. You can pick your fish from one of the many stalls and watch as they cook it up right in front of you. If you plan on traveling to South Korea, I highly suggest you include many if not all of these places in your itinerary. A pub crawl in Seoul can be a fun way to meet new friends and mingle with the locals. This village, situated in between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung is home to roughly 900 Hanok (traditional Korean homes). In addition its central location means that there are plenty of awesome sights within walking distance. Initially the North made spectacular gains, partially thanks to weaponry and support from the Soviet Union. While sitting at the kitchen table with my hosts, I share a word, the theme. A simplistic definition for one of South Korea’s most defining dishes. Clinging to craggy rock at the edge of often rough seas, Yonggungsa is a serene communion between sea and land. The palace of Illustrious Virtue has a strong claim to being the most beautiful of Seoul’s palaces. Especially since the Korean War bulldozed so much of the ancient nation’s history. Thanks for your support, kind friend! Combine all of this with a little noraebang (Korean karaoke) and you’ve got  recipe for one hell of a night and one hell of a hangover. After seeing your pics, especially of the blossoms and the lantern fest, I really want to go. We have reviews of the best places to see in South Korea. NOMADasaurus is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Naturally prices are cheaper than in restaurants and most have some kind of outdoor seating, although it can be very busy so you may be looking for a seat for a while. Poopoo Land is, as you might have guessed, an indoor poop-themed museum. Whether you choose Lotte World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, or the more traditional outdoor thrills of Everland (located a short drive from Seoul), you’ll find rides for young and old alike. I find South Korea is very rarely on people’s radars, so it’s nice to read that I’ve given you some motivation to someday explore the Land of the Morning Calm. But to exclude South Korea from your Asian adventure would be a grave disservice to you. Seoul is a very popular short break destination for Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese tourists. A place of sublime serenity, Damyang (not to be confused with Danyang) is close to Gwangju’s transport hub, making it an easy day trip from almost anywhere. All nighters can sometimes work out cheaper than a hotel, and you will feel fresh as a daisy the next morning. It was him who informed me that Gangam was actually a very fancy, upmarket area in Seoul. Seonyudo Park is built on an island in the middle of the Han River that was formerly home to a water filtration plant. The city skyline of Seoul, peppered with little hills and mountains and the winding Han river, is absolutely breathtaking. I think I’d include Insadong and the Yeon Deung Hoe (the lotus lantern festival and parade) in Seoul. Both market districts are named for the gates that stand nearby (Namedaemun was burned down in 2008 and has since been restored), and both sport a mixture of souvenirs, boutiques, malls, and street food. Head over to Northern Seoul for another day of exploring in the South Korean city. Expect to find a number of American bars and burger joints in this part of town. This was the city’s last line of defence, and some of the views of the surrounding countryside and Seoul itself are particularly stunning. Home to some interesting museums, various Olympic memorials and venues and some lovely walking trails this is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. Speaking of places for the kids, Seoul’s two massive theme parks are themselves fun additions to your trip. Visiting a Jimjilbang is one of the best things to do in Seoul. Public travel within Korea is generally very good. If you’ve had your fill and your pennies are running low then this is an excellent place to people watch. The war raged from 1950 until 1953 when an armistice agreement was signed between the USA, China and North Korea. A city where the palaces of bygone dynasty’s stand alongside giant skyscrapers, K-Pop and night markets compete for pennies and attention and the Jaebeol’s are in and out the press (more often than not for something unpleasant). This post does that! A combination of spicy chicken, sweet potato, cabbage, and chewy tteok rice cakes – dak galbi is available across the country, but is best exemplified by Chuncheon. Located 140m from Sungshin Women’s University Subway Station it has excellent transport links in spite of the fact it’s a little further away from the centre than most. South Korea occupies the southern tip of a tiny peninsula and is one of the world’s most densely populated nations, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an abundance of gorgeous landscapes to be explored. A great place to to take a break between the sights above. This is definitely one of the most unique places in the world, let alone in Seoul. A big reason for this is that the fact that there is an American military base close by. For times check out their website here. Whilst dumplings have definite similarities with dumplings served in both China and Japan the pancakes are a very special Korean treat. During Chinese New Year and the October National Holiday flight and hotel prices can jump as Chinese tourists swarm to sightsee and shop. Schedules vary between the summer and winter months but there are a number of English tours on offer. If you are looking for a market to stuff your face with amazing Korea street food then then this is the place! Bibimbap is a traditional Korean rice dish. Despite its popularity it is very easy to find moments of zen, especially if you visit early in the day. One of the weirder festivals out there, the ‘Moses Miracle’ festival (sometimes known as the Miracle Sea Road Festival), sees thousands of people descend on the quiet little town of Jindo to shuffle across a temporary land bridge that connects the main island to a smaller island nearby. Oh, you’re going to have such a great time! The hall today stands as testament to the Korean nation’s indomitable desire to be free of oppression, with seven exhibition halls dedicated to different facets of Korean history and their long feud with their warlike neighbours. . Located in downtown Seoul, the park is especially popular with kids but has plenty to entertain grown-ups too. You can check out some of the outer buildings by yourself however to explore the core of the palace and its gardens then you will need to join a guided tour. 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