South Korea is still a very un-traveled country. This can often make it hard for people to get around or know where to go. After living there for over a year I explored a lot of the country and have compiled a list of cities that are worth visiting. The great thing about this list is that the last five cities are all very near each other – so if you plan it right you can get from one city to the next in as little as an hour. See – you can see more in this country than you thought!
Some countries capital cities are only good for flying into and then getting out. Not Seoul. Seoul is a destination in itself and you definitely want to make sure you give yourself ample time to explore as it is one of the largest cities in the world. There is so much to do here from morning until night- literally throughout the night.
2. Jeonju Hanok Village
This is a traditional area in Korea and the village is laid out in traditional fashion. The Hanok Village allows visitors to try many types of traditional Korean food, view different Korean traditions and even walk the cobblestone streets wearing a traditional Korean Hanbok. This is the place to be if you want to get a crash course on Korean culture and to pick up some cool souvenirs along the way.
3. Jeju Island
Jeju is actually an island and is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and Japanese. Koreans refer to it as the ‘Hawaii of Korea’…but take that with a pinch of kimchi. Nevertheless, it is an absolutely beautiful place with a dormant volcano that can be seen throughout the island. Jeju-Air offers cheap flights but be careful during holidays because flights book up fast.
Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and less of a concrete jungle than Seoul. Whether looking high or low you will always find something to do in this coastal city- from the huge beaches to the lush mountains. In Busan you will get your perfect dose of the city life while enjoying a touch of nature and culture.
When you first drive into Gyeongju you will see massive green rolling hills- however, you are not in the Shire – those are actually Tombs of past Kings. Gyeongju still holds so much history and all building are still made in traditional Korean style – even the Starbucks! Gyeongju used to be the capital of South Korea- but you wouldn’t know based on the size of this small city.
Daegu is a city that is known for fashion. Head to the windy downtown streets and walk around checking out all the cute (and cheap) boutiques. I think this is the most fashionable city in South Korea.
At night the streets turn into a party as all the bars open up.With the bars to close together it is ideal spot for bar hopping. Daegu also has a large student population – giving this city a young and carefree feel to it.
If you want some adventure you can also check out the fun high-ropes course.
In between Gyeongju and Busan, Ulsan is worth checking out for it’s beautiful parks. It’s a metropolitan city but the best part of Ulsan is actually the nature. With parks, beaches and mountains this city has a lot to explore. Just bear in mind that it is a large city that is extremely spread out so depending on where you are staying some destinations will be a trek to reach.
Pohang is not on the map for many people visiting South Korea. To be honest it doesn’t look that different from many other South Korean cities. But I have always had a great time in Pohang and thought that it was worth putting on this list just for the fact that it has this awesome dragon temple (Daewonsa Temple – 대원사)!
This it the coolest temple that I have ever seen and it is definitely worth checking out. Since it is off the beaten path you will probably be the only people there. Located near the ocean you can also treat yourself to a beach day.