Top 5 Must Do's in South Korea

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In South Korea, must do's range from city tours to island jaunts and from national parks to Buddhist temples. If you want to make the most out of your trip to South Korea, here are 5 must do's that you must not miss!

Seoul

The capital of South Korea is a bustling place with plenty to see and do. Take the elevator to the top of the 63 Building for a great view over the Han River, and then head down to the river itself for a cruise. Visit the War Museum and the 5 palaces within the city limits for a taste of Korean history. You can also head to the top of Seoul Tower for fantastic views over the city. Venture toward Itaewon for some western culture, or to Hongdae for the latest in dance clubs. Insadong is the best place for picking up those Korean souvenirs, while Myeong-dong is great for shopping.

Jeju

Head south to Jeju Island for a tropical-style getaway. You can scale the tallest mountain in Korea or lie on the white sand beaches. There are waterfalls, volcanoes and cliffs to explore, not to mention the famous lava tubes at Manjanggul. Swim in the crater lake or go fishing or scuba diving in the sea. There are museums and folk villages that are also worth a visit.

Busan

Also in the south of Korea is the port city of Busan. Here you can visit the UN Cemetery or Geumgand Park. Go shark diving at Busan Aquarium or head out to any of the local restaurants for some amazing fish, including sushi. Beomeosa and Seokbulsa Temples are not to be missed, and if you're lucky enough to be visiting in October you can enjoy the International Film Festival.

Temple Stay

You can head to many of the temples in South Korea for a half-day, 2-day or 3-day excursion. You'll start off with a brief orientation (there's always a monk on hand who speaks English) and then have a bit of free time. Your stay will include vegetarian meals and a tea ceremony, as well as a glimpse into a Buddhist monk's daily life. Expect to rise early for 4:30 a.m. services, practice some Zen meditations and pay respects with 108 bows a day--a sometimes difficult task.

Seoraksan National Park

Start off with a visit to the giant bronze Buddha at the park's entrance, then take the cable car (or hike!) to the top of Seorak mountain where a Buddhist temple with great views sits in solitude. You can hike other areas of the mountain to see some beautiful waterfalls and great landscapes, or go off in search of the giant boulder that rocks but never falls. Don't forget to try some of the food made from local wild mushrooms and to sample the wine made from mountain berries.

 

- Tiffany M Parker

 

 

There are so many things to do and see in South Korea that it is hard to just focus on just a few “must do's”. Here are the top 5 things not to be missed.

1. Gyeongbok Palace

Gyeongbok Palace was built in 1395 built by Korea's King Taejo of the Joseon dynasty. This is one of the biggest palaces in Korea and worth seeing. In 1592 it was left in ruins after it burned during the Japanese invasion. King Gojong restored the palace to its former beauty in 1868. The architecture of the buildings is incredible and the gardens are pristine. Hours are from 9:00 to 5:00 or 6:00 during tourist season. It costs 3,000 Korean won for adults and 1,500 for children to enter. You can walk to it from stop 26 on the city bus route. It is closed on Tuesdays.

2. The Folklore and Natural History Museum

The Folklore and Natural History Museum is another must see in South Korea. It is near downtown Cheju city and displays folklore relics and plants and animals found on the Cheju Island. Three exhibition halls are divided into special resources, natural history of the area and folklore. It is open 8:30 to 6:30 daily.

3. Songup Folk Village

Songup Folk Village is on Cheju Island. Interestingly, most of the island inhabitants are female and known for their diving ability. They can dive around 20 meters deep and have the ability to stay underwater for over five minutes to search for clams that contain pearls. Songup Village will give you a good idea of what real island life is like.

4. Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is in Seoul and shouldn't be missed. Here you can shop 10 acres and over 1000 shops for souvenirs that won't go in your closet or drawers and be forgotten. Here you will find knock off brands of purses that look like the real thing and the price is dirt cheap. You can also find clothing, shoes, vegetables, tableware, toys and jewelry. Wholesalers are open midnight to 6:00 am and retailers open at 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Some Sundays the market is closed.

5. Lotte World

Lotte World is an amusement park that will exhilarate the senses. This is a theme park on the order of Disney World in the United States. They have rides, ice skating rink, parades, a lake, and there is a folk museum on site. There is an Adventure theme inside the building but outside is Magic Island theme. There are all kinds of activities and shows along with restaurants with cuisine of different countries. It is open 9:30 am to 11:00 pm every day. Admission runs around 36,000 won for adults for a day pass and 26,000 for young children. 

South Korea offers a look at a world pass, the culture of today and gives you a little magic along the way – a perfect place to vacation.


Contributors
January 28, 2010 change by tiffanymparker
February 02, 2010 change by schitti
January 19, 2010 new by sequoia maner

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