South Korea is an East Asian nation of some 51 million people located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula, which borders the East Sea (Sea of Japan) and the Yellow Sea. The United States and Soviet Union divided control over the peninsula after World War II, and in 1948 the U.S.-supported Republic of Korea (or South Korea) was established in the capital city of Seoul.
South Korea is a traveler’s paradise divide by a fierce border. However, the south-east nation offers its visitors a wide variety of experiences, breathtaking landscapes and an unmatched cultural and historical journey. The Korean flag Cleary symbolizes the countries separation from the former nation of Korea, but the blue and red circle on the flag is also an indication of how the country has embraced a modern lifestyle all the while preserving its ancient traditions. On the one hand, Korea is commonly referred to as the “Land of the Morning Calm,” and on the other hand, its capital city of Seoul is a busy metropolitan with a constant hustle and bustle. The city is operational 24*7, and at every corner, you will find a taxi or subway station, cafes and restaurants and information booths. As a tourist its very unlikely that you will feel lost here.
South Koreas efficient public transport system and compact size ensure that you are within easy reach of peace and tranquility should you wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. South Korea has on offered numerous national parks enclosing beautify mountain ranges, gorgeous ski slopes, remote islands and serve villages where you can visit rice paddy fields and sleep in traditional wooden houses as guests of the local in the area.
And just when you thought that South Korea couldn’t possibly offer you anything else, you learn that the country has a packed social calendar filled with numerous festivals and events and realize that the locals are always celebrating something or the other. There are numerous things to do in South Korea, and there is always something for everyone. South Korea tourism has seen an influx of tourist from India in the last ten years and it can be quite daunting to plan a South Korean holiday as it’s still a new travel destination for Indian. But all you have to do is refer to the Korea tourism guide for all your travel related queries and kiss goodbye to all your questions and concerns.
On the whole, the country has had a rich history, where various rulers and kingdoms have dominated throughout the ages. Their reigns are still visible in the ruins and restored palaces scattered throughout the country. South Korea has an interesting cultural landscape to boot; the nation is rich with festivals, cultural events and tasty food.
1. Ganghwado Island
Located in the West Sea, Ganghwado Island is brimming with history. It has been occupied since prehistoric times and even enjoyed a period when it was the capital of Korea in the 13th century. In the 19th century, the island was used strategically to defend against the French and Japanese. Aside from historical sites, Ganghwado Island offers impressive scenery, with several trails leading around the island; including Manisan Mountain with its expansive sea views. Only a short 90
2. Pocheon Art Valley
This area near the city of Pocheon was once a working quarry which was closed to the public. However, in what was Pocheon’s first environmental restoration project, the quarry was transformed into a beautiful park. The turquoise lake lies in sharp contrast to the rock cliff’s sheer faces, and is visited by thousands of tourists a year. There is an outdoor stage located next to the water where the art center sometimes hold performances, with numerous events held per year, as well as daily art workshops.
3. Jindo Sea Parting
South Korea has its own modern version of the famous biblical story of Moses. Every year, visitors from around the world flock to Jindo to witness this natural phenomenon of the ‘sea parting’. However, it is not as magical as it might first appear; the natural bridge is the result of a yearly accumulation of pebbles and sand which have collected due to the tide. In total, the sea parting is 2.8 kilometers long, and at low tide, 40-60 meters wide. A number of exciting exhibitions and programs take place for the duration of the festival; including parades and cultural events.
4. Jeonju Hanok Village
The roads of Jeonju Hanok Village are lined with street-food vendors and restaurants carrying dishes that are traditional to Jeonju. One such dish is Jeonju bibimbay; it was considered a royal dish during the Jeonju dynasty. Besides the culinary aspects, the town is famous for its many hanoks: traditional Korean houses which pay considerable attention to the positioning of the house. The ideal hanok would feature a mountain in the back and a river out front. They typically utilize a courtyard to retain heat within the house, especially the floor, since Koreans traditionally sit on the floor to eat and entertain.
5. Gamcheon Culture Village
Colorful, terraced houses that look seaward characterize Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan. Before 2009, Gamcheon was a slum; home to refugees from the Korean War. However, various government agencies undertook an initiative to redevelop the area as a tourist attraction and artistic hub. As such, the city received funding to beautify their town. Artists flocked to the area and now art lives around every corner, whether it’s outdoor statues or street art. Today, the best way to experience the city is simply to lose yourself in the colorful alleyways of this unique town.
6. Boseong Tea Fields
The beautiful, rolling green hills of Boseong Tea Fields are the only fields of their kind open in Korea, and are just begging for a photo. There are many walking trails and viewing points where you can take in the beauty of the verdant gardens and watch the skilled workers selecting the best tea leaves. Tea is an integral part of Korean culture and you can experience a traditional Korean tea ceremony while you are here. It is a great way to dive into learning about Korean culture and get a chance to sample some fresh tea too. Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the beautiful bamboo forest on the outskirts of the fields.
7. Hallasan National Park
Hallasan National Park is home to South Korea’s tallest mountain: Hallasan Mountain. Traditionally, Hallasan Mountain was called Mount Yeongjusan, meaning ‘the mountain high enough to pull the galaxy’. The park is situated in South Korea’s Jeju Island. There are trails suited to every fitness level snaking around the area. Even the hike to the summit of Mont Hallasan is pretty relaxing, and suited to intermediate level hikers. This mountain was once an active volcano; at the summit, you can find evidence of this in the form of a stunning crater lake.
8. Hwaseong Fortress
This marvelous fortress is a true testament to Korea’s unique history and military might. Built to surround the town of Suwan by King Jeongko between 1974 and 1976, it has received many battle scars since then. King Jeongko built the fortress to honor his father, who was murdered by his grandfather. The complex features an elaborate palace, almost six kilometers of fortress walls, and various gate towers. Every autumn, the Suwan Hwaseng Cultural Festival takes places; featuring reenactments and other cultural events and exhibits.
9. Huwon Secret Garden
Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul was the principal place of residence for a number of powerful kings and their royal families throughout history. It is one of the best-preserved palaces in South Korea at this moment. However, the Huwon Secret Garden is one of the stars of the property. This huge garden features an incredible array of plants, trees, rivers, lotus ponds, pavilions and sitting areas. Some of the trees on the property are over 300 years old. The garden was granted its name because it had an air of mystery about it; it was a place where no one but the royal families were permitted to enter without permission.