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South Korea

Travel Guide
Bongeunsa Temple which includes outdoor art and a garden

With a landscape as diverse as its culture and cuisine, this breathtaking region of East Asia is a feast for the senses.

With forested mountains, ancient temples, traditional villages and large modern cities, South Korea fascinates visitors with its diversity. Shop in designer boutiques, travel through underground caves, drink tea with the locals and embark on mountain hikes.

Seoul straddles the Han River and is surrounded by mountains. The country’s business, cultural and economic hub has been South Korea’s capital for more than 600 years. Well-preserved ancient palaces, temples, shrines and monuments stand alongside modern skyscrapers, mega shopping malls and entertainment complexes.

Explore the many historic sights of this modern city. Tour the 14th-century palaces of Gyeongbok Palace and Changdeok Palace. The Great South Gate is one of the main gates of the old city. Shop for handcrafted souvenirs and antiques on the streets of Insadong. Enjoy a steaming mug of omija cha in one of the neighborhood’s traditional tearooms. Browse upmarket boutiques in Gangnam, the district made famous by the global hit song, Gangnam Style. Dine in European-style cafés and restaurants serving Asian cuisine in the Samcheong-dong district.

Seorak-san National Park is a vast protected area of mountains, forests, beaches and temples, a 3-hour drive from Seoul. Hike on trails that take from under an hour to three days to complete. Look for the park’s wildlife, such as the long-tailed goral and musk deer. Relax in the therapeutic waters of Osaek Hot Springs.

Visit Busan, the country’s second-largest city, to sunbathe on its beaches. Go on a guided tour of the Demilitarized Zone, the fortified border between North and South Korea. Venture through lava tubes in the volcanic Jeju Island’s caves formed by flowing lava.

Although South Korea has airports in several cities, most international flights arrive at Seoul’s Incheon Airport. To get between cities, use the efficient and extensive bus and train networks. Some major cities have metro and light rail systems. Alternatively, rent a car.

With great natural diversity, modern cities and a rich culture and history, South Korea offers the traveler numerous choices.

South Korea Travel Guide Video

Popular cities in South Korea

Seoul which includes a city, a skyscraper and a river or creek
Seoul
Known for Shopping, Dining and Castles
The South Korean metropolis has some of Asia’s busiest markets and nightlife districts alongside tranquil teahouses and palaces surrounded by gardens.

Reasons to visit

  • N Seoul Tower
  • Hongik University
  • Olympic Park
Dongpirang Village featuring general coastal views, a house and a bay or harbor
Busan
Known for Dining, Shopping and Seafood
Unwind on long beaches, relax in a multistory spa and explore the breathtaking coastal forests of Korea’s most popular summer destination.

Reasons to visit

  • Lotte Department Store Busan Main Branch
  • Busan Citizens Park
  • Pusan National University
Suwon which includes night scenes
Suwon
Known for Theme Parks, Adventure and UNESCO Site
Find UNESCO World Heritage-listed treasures and royal relics contrasted with a modern skyline in this city, famed as one of the last of its kind in South Korea.

Reasons to visit

  • Everland
  • Korean Folk Village
  • Seoul Land
Incheon featuring a garden, a city and a skyscraper
Incheon
Known for Dining, Shopping and Coffee
Korea’s third-largest city is a fascinating mix of political history, modern shopping malls and entertainment districts, and remote outer islands. 

Reasons to visit

  • Songdo Central Park
  • University of Incheon
  • NC Cube Canal Walk
Jeju City showing a city and a park
Jeju City
Known for Shopping, Seafood and Hiking
Love hiking, sightseeing, and marinas? Get away to Jeju City!

Reasons to visit

  • Jeju Loveland
  • Paradise Casino
  • Maze Land
Seogwipo
Seogwipo
Known for Gardens, Waterfalls and Museums
Staggering coastal views, cascading waterfalls and a laid-back yet quirky city center welcomes nature-lovers to Jeju Island’s second-largest city.

Reasons to visit

  • Soesokkak Estuary
  • Jeongbang Waterfall
  • Seongsan Ilchulbong

Popular places to visit in South Korea

South Korea