There’s something for everyone
South Korea is a land of contrasts. It is home to the latest technological innovations as well as ancient traditions. It boasts of cosmopolitan cities such as Seoul and Busan beside the quiet countryside. It is dotted with historical attractions, picturesque islands, and surrounded by a beautiful and extensive coastline. The wide array of experiences on offer makes South Korea ideal for all types of travellers, especially couples and families. Scroll down to discover some of the fun things to do in this fascinating country, whether with your partner or your entire family. The first trip after the lockdown is finally over, should be special, right?
Enjoy water sports at your own pace
South Korea has a sprawling coastline of 2,413 kilometers. Whether you are into extreme water sports like diving and surfing or are looking for something lighter like snorkeling and paddling, you will be spoilt for choice. Jeju Island is known for its welcoming waves and warm beaches. The Seogwipo city here is famous amongst divers with a host of colorful temperate fish and dolphins. But it doesn’t stop there. Go canoeing or kayaking down the Naerincheon Stream in Gangwon Province. If you just want to relax, then work on your tan on a yacht for the day in Jeju Islands.
Insider Tip: Walk the seabed in Jeju Island and feed the fish. Soak in the gentle sunshine and simply unwind.
Don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Sites here
South Korea is home to not less than 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – all of them worth a visit. The 800-year-old Haeinsa Temple in Gayasan National Park, for instance, is one of the Three Jewel Temples of South Korea. Made of more than 80,000 woodblocks, it is a repository of ancestral wisdom regarding the protection of cultural assets. It is also an important source of information about technological developments through the ages.
You could also explore a historical village in Gyeongju or Hahoe and stay in a hanok – a traditional Korean house. For a great day out, wander around the stone-walled streets of ancient villages and interact with the friendly locals.
Insider tip: If you are interested to learn about the lifestyle of monks, you can live as one in a Temple Stay.
Hit up the big city life – Dive into K-culture
Cosmopolitan Seoul is the perfect place to experience modern-day life in South Korea. Experience the Korean Wave in all its myriad forms. Catch a K-pop performance. Go on a gastronomic adventure trying out Korean cuisine (the vegetarian spread is surprisingly vast!). Absorb the nuances of Korean drama. Indulge in haute couture in the many stores and fashion outlets downtown in Myeong-dong and rest your tired legs while you eat at a themed café (a popular concept here). Every possible concept is available from the Princess Diaries to a banana tree!
Visit the posh Gangnam District, a popular area dotted with high-end stores, eateries, and clubs. Go ahead and pose in front of the ‘Gangnam Style’ statue modeled after the signature horse-riding hand motion featured in the K-pop track ‘Gangnam Style’. When you’ve had your fill of urban charms, dive into history by visiting the many palaces: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and the Deoksugung. Want something truly unique? Go glamping and enjoy a night out in one of the city’s many oases of greenery.
Insider Tip: Want to shop away from the tourist areas? Head to the underground shopping center at Gangnam Station for high-quality clothes and cosmetics available at reasonable prices.
Sightseeing can get hectic! Unwind in a Korean Spa
One word: Jjimjilbang. These are traditional Korean public bath and sauna houses. Here you will find kiln saunas, heated salt rooms, massage tables, ice rooms and even sleeping quarters. The bath experience is something different altogether. You can look forward to soaking in various pools and tubs maintained at different temperatures. You can either try that or go for the ‘seshin’, a full body scrub, ideally pre-booked.
When done with the bath, you can head to the sauna. Also known as hanjeungmak, these are clay or stone kilns where you can relax on mats. Since the temperature is rather pleasant, you start sweating only after around 15 minutes. A short nap in the warm chamber is possibly the quickest way to rid yourself of all the stress accumulated in your body.
Insider Tip: Pamper yourself to something different like a red ginseng treatment or a collagen spa package!
Up for a thrilling ride? Plenty of amusement parks to choose from
Bring your inner child alive and for those travelling with their kids, say hello to days filled with playful adventures. South Korea has an array of iconic amusement, theme, and water parks. Get an adrenaline rush with the Gyro Swing at Lotte World, which reaches 70 meters high! This theme park has the largest indoor amusement park. If you don’t feel like a thrilling ride, then go ice skating or wander in the folk museum. Want to ride the steepest ride in the world? Head to Everland for the T Express. This park is an hour-long journey from Seoul but worth it. The lush colourful landscape will make you feel you are in a whimsical town. Watch your favorite K-pop artist perform in the Live Hologram Theatre or take your kids on an animal safari.