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Things to do in South Korea

Things to do in  South Korea

Welcome to South Korea

Nicknamed the Land of Morning Calm, South Korea is a nation of extremes. Major cities like Seoul and Busan are abuzz with bright lights and a 24-hour lifestyle, while the pace of life in sleepy rural communities ticks by the same way it has for centuries. Seasonal weather changes see glorious sunshine, heavy monsoons, clear skies, and harsh humidity as the months pass, and South Koreans swing between their traditional hearty cuisine and the latest international fast-food chains. Travelers to South Korea can find new discoveries round every corner, with activities and adventures to suit all tastes and ages. In the capital city, Seoul, visitors can explore UNESCO World Heritage–listed landmarks such as Changdeokgung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace on sightseeing tours, and experience the bustling markets of Gwangjang, Insadong, or Namdaemun, where locals shop for everything from fresh produce to valuable antiques. Savor the diverse flavors of Korean cuisine on a food and craft beer walking tour, or visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where the tension between North and South Korea is palpable. In the countryside outside Seoul and Busan, day-trippers can rub shoulders with locals along popular hiking trails around Mt. Geumgangsan, Mt. Hallasan, and Mt. Taebaeksan, or relax in sunshine as the waves roll in on Jeju Island, South Korea's popular paradise retreat.

Top 10 attractions in South Korea

#1
DMZ

DMZ

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Nowhere is the tension between North and South Korea more palpable than in the no-man's-land known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. As a divided nation, only 2.5 miles (4 km) separate the North from the South at what is the most heavily armed border on earth. The 150-mile (241-km) zone has served as a buffer since the 1953 cease-fire agreement between the United Nations and North Korea that put the Korean War on hold.More
#2
Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach

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Busan’s proximity to the sea is one of its charms, and Haeundae Beach is perhaps the most famous beach in South Korea. Nearly a mile long (1.5 kilometers), this stretch of coastline is lined with some of Busan’s top international hotels, as well as an assortment of restaurants, shops, and the Sea Life Busan Aquarium.More
#3
Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

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Head to the top of Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower) in hilly Namsan Park, the largest in Seoul, for some of the best panoramic views over the South Korean capital. The 777-foot (237-meter) tower offers three observation decks and half a dozen restaurants where you can soak in the views, day or night.More
#4
Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Arguably the most beautiful and easily the biggest of Seoul’s five main palaces, Gyeongbokgung (also known as the Northern Palace) is one of South Korea’s must-visit attractions. Built in the 14th century, this is the oldest Joseon Dynasty palace in the nation, and it’s right in the heart of Jongno-Gu, the most culturally happening part of Seoul. Come for 600 years of history—and one brilliant changing of guards ceremony.More
#5
Third Tunnel of Aggression

Third Tunnel of Aggression

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The Third Tunnel of Aggression is one of four known tunnels situated within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North Korea and South Korea. Located more than 70 meters beneath the ground and at 265 meters long, the Third Tunnel of Aggression is a highlight of any DMZ tour.The tunnel was built by North Korea in the 1970s, who initially denied its existence when South Korea discovered it later. The North were then said to have claimed it was a coal mine, before it was revealed that they had dug the tunnel in order to launch a surprise attack on Seoul. The South eventually took control of the tunnel, blocking off the demarcation line with the North via concrete barricades.Although the Third Tunnel is now very much a tourist site (there’s even a gift shop near its entrance), it still remains guarded and taking photography is forbidden once inside. The tunnel passage is dark, long, and narrow, and it’s a steep incline to access it.More
#6
Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Fish Market

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Visitors come from all over to sample the fresh seafood at Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan. The largest seafood market in the country, Jagalchi is unique in that it’s run largely by women—a tradition dating back to the Korean War, when many of the men were off fighting and their wives took over the family businesses.More
#7
Gamcheon Culture Village

Gamcheon Culture Village

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Gamcheon Culture Village spills down a hillside in a riot of colors just outside Busan. The village, nicknamed “Santorini on the South Sea” and “the Machu Picchu of Busan,” was once an enclave for refugee members of the Taegeukdo religious movement. Today, the neighborhood attracts visitors with its steep cubicle houses, galleries, and cafés.More
#8
Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

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Flanked by Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace—two of Seoul’s Joseon Dynasty palaces—Bukchon Hanok Village comprises hundreds of traditionalhanok houses that today are home to restaurants, teahouses, cultural centers, art galleries, and B&Bs. It’s one of the best places to experience a taste of old Seoul.More
#9
Insadong

Insadong

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Insadong is Seoul’s cultural and artistic hub, as well as the place to shop for local crafts, visit a traditional Korean tea shop, or catch an impromptu street performance. The neighborhood, located in the Jongno-gu district, offers one of the largest antiques and craft markets in the country, with many shops and cafés housed in historic buildings.More
#10
Dae Jang Geum Park (MBC Dramia)

Dae Jang Geum Park (MBC Dramia)

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Previously known as MBC Dramia, Yongin MBC Daejanggeum Park is owned by Munhwa Broadcasting Company (MBC) and Yongin Municipal Office. This outdoor historical film set covers a vast area. It opened to tourists and the general public to visit in 2011.Fans of Korean drama are in for a treat, as series such as Jumong, Dong Yi, Queen Seondeok, Goryeo, and many more dramas, documentaries, and films were shot here. The park features permanent sets that consist of ancient buildings and villages, with architecture imitating that from the Korean Three Kingdoms era. In fact, Daejanggeum Park was created based on historical records and so accurately reflects the buildings, villages, and culture of ancient times.There are of course plenty of photo opportunities here, with a number of different sets to explore. There’s also a coffee shop and snack bar on­site.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul

How to Choose a DMZ Tour

How to Choose a DMZ Tour

Top activities in South Korea

Recent reviews from experiences in South Korea

star-5
Delicious, fun and amazing
Zenobia_H, Feb 2021
Fun & Informative Mokpo Food Virtual Tour in Korea
It makes me wish I was there already to see Korea and to try the food!!
star-4
Very good
BrandiyM, Dec 2019
Layover Tour from Incheon Airport to Seoul
Although the temperature was only 25 degrees Fahrenheit that day we still got to see enough of Korea to make a second visit.
star-4
DMZ was exceptionnally closed so went to NLL.
tristan_s, Nov 2019
Morning DMZ-Infiltration Tunnel Tour with North Korean Defector
The DMZ was closed because of the pig flu so we went to see the frontier in another area : the northern limit line.
star-5
Excellent tour!!
Alexia_D, Aug 2019
No Shopping DMZ Half Day Tour from Seoul
The guide spoke excellent English and told us so many interesting stories about Korea.
star-5
Great experience
Jet65852797588, Aug 2019
No Shopping DMZ Half Day Tour from Seoul
It was quite emotional to see the families in north and south being separated.
star-5
Very Informative
Dora_M, Jun 2019
DMZ Small Group Tour from Seoul Including Dora Observatory
I got to know many things that I did not know about Korea, we have visited many different sites for a short time but it was enough to see the most important things.
star-4
A must see
Akua N, May 2019
Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Half-Day Tour from Seoul
If possible, try to see the JSA as well.
star-4
Interesting to see
Chuforden, Apr 2019
No shopping Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul
Very interesting to see the DMZ, view the border with N.
star-5
Great korean city experience
Trail12774794613, Apr 2019
Small-Group Seoul Morning Royal Palaces Tour
we went on this tour in springtime and we’re sweating.
star-5
Great service
Robert G, Apr 2019
Small-Group Korean Night Food Tour
Guide very polite and proficient in English.
star-4
Just great.
kahee_c, Mar 2019
No shopping Full Day Korean DMZ Tour including the War Memorial of Korea
For those who wanted to know more about the korean war and also wanted to visit the DMZ this is for you.
star-5
Once in a lifetime experience
Ross_D, Oct 2018
DMZ Small Group Tour from Seoul Including Dora Observatory
The DMZ is an amazing place to visit.
star-5
Love this tour. Great selection...
Olivia K, Aug 2017
5-Day South Korean Cities Tour from Seoul Including Gongju, Busan, and Yeosu
Great selection of places visited|Comfortable pace|Great tour guide and driver|Highly recommend this tour The best time to visit Sth Korea is mid April
star-5
Our guide was very knowledgeable...
Monarose_B, Jan 2018
Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Half-Day Tour from Seoul
We were given just a small time to visit some sites but it was understandable since this is only a half day tour.
star-4
Schedual is very tight and should...
Janne P, May 2018
DMZ Past and Present: Korean Demilitarized Zone Tour from Seoul
Schedual is very tight and should have more time in some attractions.
star-5
My tour guide was Ben. It was my...
Greg_V, Apr 2018
Best Walking Tour- City Adventure All in Oneday
Ben's English is very good.
star-5
Our tour guide was Libby K. Libby...
Hoda A, Aug 2017
No shopping Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul
You'll get to see N.
star-5
Thank you to our tour guide...
MOHDASHRAF_Z, Feb 2018
Fully Customizable Private Tour From Seoul to Gyeonggi
Looking forward to visit Seoul again.
star-4
Friendly and best English speaking...
Kanlaya_M, Jun 2018
Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage Sites and History Full-Day Tour with Lunch
Friendly and best English speaking guide in Korea.
star-5
Awesome tour! It's an excellent way...
Mary M, May 2018
Busan Tour with Gamcheon Culture Village
It's an excellent way to see the highlights of Busan if you're on tight schedule.
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