20 things to see and do in South Korea other than attending the Olympics
Tourists will be flocking to South Korea this February for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games being held in PyeongChang. Here are 20 things to see and do there other than watching international athletes compete at the highest level.
Explore the capital of Seoul
No visit to South Korea is complete without a stop in its capital, Seoul. It’s the largest city in the country and features many attractions that represent the duality between modern and traditional Korea. From markets and parks to museums, palaces, and temples, you could easily spend several days exploring the city.
Discover the island of Jeju-do
The island of Jeju-do is one of the most popular attractions in South Korea. The volcanic island is often referred to as South Korea’s Hawaii—people go there to relax and take in the panoramic views of the mountains and spectacular waterfalls.
Visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
The Korean Demilitarized Zone, also known by its acronym, DMZ, is the strip of land that separates South Korea from North Korea. It is a well-protected, four-kilometre-wide (2.5-mile) border that will give you a better grasp of the situation between the two countries. You can easily book an excursion with one of the many tour operators that travel there.
Spend a day at Lotte World and Everland amusement parks
Lotte World and Everland amusement parks will excite young and old alike. Lotte World is one of the largest indoor amusement parks in the world and is located in downtown Seoul. Everland is a more traditional amusement park, often compared to Disneyland. More adventurous travellers can visit Jeju Loveland, an erotic-themed amusement park.
Experience K-pop music
K-pop music (short for Korean pop) is an integral part of Korean culture. It is very much pop music, but with a few elements that are unique to the country—you have to see it to truly understand. Attend a concert to get the full experience.
Check out Jeongdongjin
Sometimes described as one of the most surreal villages in South Korea, Jeongdongjin has a train station on the beach (probably the world’s closest station to the ocean) and a hotel in the shape of a cruise ship perched on a cliff. The town is also famous for its exceptional sunrises.
Try some local dishes
Korean cuisine is a must-try. Among the most popular authentic dishes are barbecued meat (completely different than North American BBQ), kimchi (a popular side dish), and bibimbap (a rice, meat, egg, and vegetable dish).
Visit the island of Ulleung-do
While the island of Jeju-do is one of the most popular destinations in the country, the volcanic island of Ulleung-do is lesser-known and offers similar spectacular panoramas that will suit travellers who like to be far from the madding crowd.
Explore Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park is named in honour of the highest mountain in the country with the same name. People flock there primarily for the fauna—which is simply spectacular. The park is also very popular with hikers and photographers.
Stroll through Damyang bamboo forest
Damyang Forest, filled with bamboo, is ideal for strolling. It’s also a wonderful place to discover hanoks, traditional Korean houses.
Take the Hallyeosudo gondola
The Hallyeosudo gondola, in Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park, is almost two kilometres (1.2 miles) long—the longest in South Korea, and takes you to the summit in nine minutes. From there, you can descend on foot or by gondola.
Discover Seoul’s five palaces
Among the many attractions in the capital of Seoul, there are five ancient imperial sites: the largest palace, Gyeongbokgung (often compared to the Forbidden City in Beijing), Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and the Jongmyo Shrine, all of which have different stories to tell.
Experience tea culture
Tea culture is often associated with China and Japan, but it is equally important in South Korea. Visit Boseong and Hadong green tea plantations or check out the Insadong quarter in Seoul to discover the tea houses.
Check out the Dosanseowon Confucian Academy
The Dosanseowon Confucian Academy was established in 1574 by the disciples of Yi Hwang, also known by his pen-name Toegye, who died in 1570. Today, it is a historic site where visitors can learn about Korean spiritual culture.
Visit the temples
There are many temples in South Korea. Among those that tourists are allowed to visit are Haedong Yonggungsa, on the ocean, Bulguksa, located in Gyeongju National Park and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Guinsa, headquarters of the Cheontae Order of Korean Buddhism.
Discover Jeonju Hanok Village
To experience Korean life before technology, visit Jeonju Hanok Village. There you’ll find more than 800 hanoks, traditional Korean houses, plus a cathedral, an ancient Confucian academy, authentic restaurants, and much more.
Spend an afternoon at the Independence Hall of Korea
The Independence Hall of Korea will give you a deeper understanding of the Japanese occupation of South Korea, one of the most difficult periods in the country’s history. The memorial, featuring seven exhibition halls, was built to commemorate the victims who were killed during the conflict.
Check out the Trick Eye Museum
People who love unusual tourist attractions will adore the Trick Eye Museum in Busan, Seoul, and Jeju. In these museums, you can actually play with art—visitors are encouraged to “participate” in the pieces, making it seem like they are part of the art works.
Busan is a major port city in South Korea. Among its most popular tourist attractions are Gwangan Bridge (also known as the Diamond Bridge), which is illuminated at night, and the very popular Haeundae Beach. An international film festival takes place there, and the Jagalchi Fish Market is not to be missed for seafood lovers.
Attend the festivals
South Korea is renowned for its many festivals. Just about any time of year you choose to visit, you can attend one of the numerous events that are taking place. Among the most popular and unusual is the Boryeong Mud Festival, which is held at the end of July.
Source: Read Full Article