South Korea is the cradle of ancient traditions, framed by modern technical innovations recognized throughout the world. This original country is open to tourists (up to 60 days without a visa for Russians and up to 30 days for Ukrainians) and is ready to offer everyone their own path “from the past to the future”, to surprise with the amazing nature of Jeju Island volcanoes, clean beaches and parks, to acquaint with the local religion and demonstrate the greatness of ancient structures – dolmens.
There are many unusual places on the peninsula, where to go in South Korea will be an exciting adventure, where you will visit a fairy tale in reality. But there is another side of Korean history, hidden behind high fences and armed warriors, that is also worth seeing.
When is the best time to go to South Korea
For the first time it is better to visit this country in spring or autumn. Devote this time to walks in parks with themed sculptures, trips to open-air museums. From March to June, the temperature is warm, pleasant and dry, so long hikes along the “tourist paths” will illuminate with new knowledge and impressions.
In summer, where to go in Korea, it is better to go to seaside resorts, such as Busan, Jeju Island, it is hot and humid, so not all guests can handle the local climate. Be prepared to get caught in heavy rain, because from June to September, when we recommend going on vacation abroad, monsoons often pass.
Wrapped in the warm embrace of 3 seas at once, the country can offer many places where to go to the sea in Korea: to the yellow sea with comfortable gently sloping beaches, to the deepest sea of Japan and to the especially warm South China.
Getting to know winter South Korea is no less exciting – unusual ice sculpture festivals are often held here, at ski resorts you can remember your skiing and snowboarding skills.
Transport: how to get there and how to move around the country
The flight to the central airport (Seoul) by plane will take no more than 10 hours if you go by direct flight from Moscow. You can also choose flights with transfers, which will be slightly cheaper, but longer. Incheong International Airport receives flights near the capital, where it is better to travel to South Korea on your own.
Transport in South Korea is affordable, comfortable and fast. You can take a train ride or choose a bus to see the beauty of the local nature along the way. A taxi transfer from the airport to Seoul will cost a little more.
Where to go and what to see
The summer season in Korean resorts begins in May, although the weather here warms up well since the end of March. Seaside resorts in South Korea are especially attractive to young people and couples with children, there is something for seniors to see here – sights, parks with bizarre sculptures and museums are different from traditional places where you can go on vacation in 2020 without a visa.
You can organize a vacation in South Korea for every taste. The beaches are clean, well-groomed, so they are very popular with travelers who come to carelessly soak up the sea coast. For those who cannot imagine their life without outdoor activities, you can go to Seoul to see the royal palaces, spend a day in the city of Suwon, and explore the islands.
A beach resort, Golf Island beckons with a pleasant tropical climate. This is a paradise for a beach holiday: the best places on the beaches of Pyosong, Hyeopche. In this area you can endlessly enjoy sunbathing, diving and windsurfing.
Every day promises to be unusual here: take a walk around the island, studying local traditions in a small village, climb Mount Hallasan to the volcano and Bennoktam Lake, enjoy the beauty of unusual plants in national parks, look at the temple of Sanbangulsa.
The capital is the most popular place in Korea where it is better to relax. It is worth starting your acquaintance with Seoul with traditional visits to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Many of the ancient buildings in this city stand out against the backdrop of modern skyscrapers, adding to the confusion and feeling that past and future meet here.
Excursion programs include many amazing places that you can visit on your own:
- Changgnyeong palace complex;
- TV tower Yuksam-Building, a kind of observation deck, which offers the best view of the city;
- temples (Jogyosa) and cathedrals (Jongmyo).
You can entertain children in Everland Park and the Aquarium.
Rest in the Yengpyen ski resort is for the most active tourists, lovers of snowy peaks and fast ski slopes (there are 31 of them here!). Rising on the lift, you can enjoy beautiful views, and the descents on the slopes where the Asian Winter Games were held will appeal to both professionals and amateurs. After an active day, you can relax in the sauna or in the pools, and start a new day with an exciting game of golf.
Muju is recognized as one of the most visited mountain slopes in South Korea. The area is interesting even for beginner skiers, because there is a ski school here. Tourists are also attracted by local hot springs and unique spa treatments.
Only here you can see local attractions (the ruins of the Joksansanseong Palace) from a height of 1600 m. We recommend visiting the Haeinsa Monastery, Bennyeongsa Temple.
You can learn about the most important historical and cultural heritage of Korea without leaving the city of Incheon. The largest museum in the country is open here, where you can learn in detail about the Korean War and other important events in the life of the country in an accessible form.
According to topschoolsintheusa, Incheon is a youth city, so people come here for entertainment and a noisy nightlife. A young actively developing city is good for tourists with children, because the beaches here are comfortable, shallow and clean.
The large port city of Busan attracts tourists with a large number of sandy beaches (the most popular are Haeundae, Gwangalli, Khepche), active nightlife. We recommend booking a hotel near the coast to enjoy beautiful sea views in the evening. An unusual “black” beach – Samyang, strewn with volcanic sand (behind the legend, healing).
The sights of the city will appeal to both adults and children:
- the temple complex of Pomos, the Dragon Palace, Yondusan Park, a museum and other outlandish buildings;
- take your children to a bird reservation, get to know the underwater inhabitants in the aquarium;
- go to the Chakalchi fish market and enjoy the taste of a freshly cooked purchase in a nearby cafe.
Where to stay
Wherever you decide to go in South Korea, the choice of hotels is quite large (from cheap 2* to super deluxe 5*). Local hotels are well maintained and clean, and the staff is friendly. Feel the local flair at Hanoke Traditional Guest House, Minbak Small Guesthouse and Yeovghan, a bed-free hotel.
You can choose a suitable accommodation for the night in advance by visiting the websites of local hotels. In order for the user to receive reliable information about each guest house or hotel, ratings with guest reviews are open.
Local cuisine: what is worth trying?
It is almost impossible to know all the subtleties of the local cuisine in South Korea. The abundance of dishes and their cooking traditions differ depending on the region you want to visit. Local cafes and restaurants offer fast customer service, but the taste can vary greatly. To try real Korean soups, rice or seafood, you should stay with the locals, who are always happy to welcome foreign tourists.
Local dishes can surprise you with a variety of flavors and combinations. We recommend trying:
- Chhaltok (rice chops) and pap (boiled rice);
- Chige (soups based mainly on seafood and soy);
- Kalbi, bulgogi, (beef dishes).
What to bring from South Korea?
South Korea, where it will be no less interesting for a tourist to go shopping than on an excursion, meets with bright and diverse souvenir shops, shops of inexpensive fashionable clothes. You can bring home unique wooden masks that will be an excellent authentic addition to a modern interior. Buy a tojang seal or a puche fan as a souvenir – your relatives will be happy with such a gift.
Like many other Asian countries, South Korea is famous for its special varieties of tea (for example, when relaxing in Phuket, you cannot find such herbal combinations of drinks), so tourists are often offered to bring tea leaves or drinks from ginseng or local medicinal herbs from vacation.
Traditional women’s outfits – hanbok will help recreate the atmosphere of a Korean village at home. But local cosmetics will be appreciated by beauty fans: all kinds of natural masks and creams are very popular here.