South Korea Travel Itinerary: 5 Must See Destinations
I had not planned to travel to South Korea, as part of my around the world trip, as I thought it was just another expensive destination I could not afford to visit.
Having spent an incredible time in the country I want to share my experience of visiting South Korea; why I recommend people should consider a trip here; and my suggested 5 must see places to visit from my own South Korea travel itinerary.
Depending on your schedule and budget I think this country offers an affordable and refreshingly different experience for those planning a low cost trip in Asia.
Why you should consider a trip to South Korea
Having spent well over a year travelling around Asia, South Korea is one of my top recommended places to visit in Asia. If you’ve visited Asia before I would say it is a little similar to Japan, but a whole lot different, and definitely cheaper.
What makes South Korea such an appealing place is the warmth and generosity of South Korean people, who will make you feel incredibly warm and welcome. Despite the conflict with North Korea, I felt incredibly safe whilst visiting the country, with people being genuinely friendly and helpful.
When in a restaurant or bar people would chat and offer you introductions to the local cultural and cuisine with no ulterior motive other than to share their pride in South Korea. I can honestly say, as a world traveller, I’ve never felt so welcomed in any other country I’ve ever visited. It is incredibly easy to communicate here as there is a strong US influence in the country, and very high educational standards, so many people speak English.
The country has a rich history offering a strong cultural past which is reflected in the excellent Korean museums and art galleries all around the country. There are also some more exotic and bizarre museums reflecting the South Korean’s infectious and hilarious sense of humour (remember Gangam Style) in their “love museums” and even a large museum dedicated to toilets!
Korean food is of an excellent quality and wide variety of food dishes are available to suit every palate. The world famous Korean barbecue is a speciality there, with lashings of beef and pork thinly sliced and placed on a griddle, cooking your own food to your particular requirements.
Served with pickled vegetables and then wrapped in green leaves this is a particularly interesting dining experience. Staff in restaurants are extremely helpful and will initiate you into the best eating practices.
Great seafood is available throughout the country due to its geographical location. So if you’re a foodie you should visit to experience the unique cuisine offered in South Korea.
Top 5 Must See Places to Visit In South Korea
I’ve listed five Korean destinations that I would highly recommend people planning a trip to South Korea place on their travel itinerary.
1/ SPEND THREE OR FOUR NIGHTS IN SEOUL.
The capital city of this wealthy and modern democratic economy is the showcase centre for all things Korean, and no trip to South Korea would be complete without exploring this friendly city destination. Spend a few days at the beginning and end of your tour to enjoy this clean and well planned city.
Seoul is full of contemporary architecture, excellent shopping opportunities which are sympathetically set against ancient buildings and temples which remain impressive sights for tourists. Tourism is done very well in Seoul with excellent English speaking tourist information staff walking the city and located in kiosks at popular places around Seoul.
Seoul has many first class restaurants, hotels and bars, but also has many affordable places to eat whatever your budget. The life blood of Seoul is centred around the canal which has been restored and is a great place to walk of evening to enjoy the street entertainers and watch the Korean’s party after a very hard day’s work.
There is always something happening in Seoul so no matter what time of the year you visit you are sure to be kept entertained with some exhibition, festival or event.
2/ HIRE A CAR FOR A DRIVING TOUR OF GYEONGJU
This is the place to really discover Korea’s rich heritage with excellent museums and tombs depicting the kings of a bygone era. The area is recognised by UNESCO. If you don’t like driving use the local buses which are cheap and very clean.
3/ EXPLORE THE ROMANTIC ISLAND OF JEJU
The island has a romantic feel and a popular destination for honeymooners and also families. It has many tourist attractions to keep children and visitors busy. It also has some stunning UNESCO sights which make it worthwhile visiting. We’d recommend flying here as flights are relatively cheap and it saves time when your only visiting Korea for a short time.
4/ SEE WHAT FESTIVAL S AND EVENTS ARE TAKING PLACE IN JINJU.
Jinju is a fascinating place with its fort and river. However, some great events take place here at certain times of the year. Including the Jinju lantern festival, and the National Bullfighting competition (don’t worry this isn’t the same as Spanish bull fighting).
5/ TAKE A DMZ TOUR AND A TRIP TO THE JOINT SECURITY AREA.
If you want to learn more about the Korean conflict, and take a glimpse at North Korea this tour will fill your heart with joy in anticipation for the desire for peace and reunification of the two countries. The tour is very popular and you need to ensure you book in advance as security checks need to be made, a minimum of five days notice should be OK. Therefore, it’s essential you book in advance if you want to include this tour on your schedule.
If you have the time I would recommend you include the following destinations when planning your South Korea travel itinerary. Planning a trip to South Korea is part of the fun, but you’ll experience so much more on your travels around this tourist friendly country.
Written by WorldFlashPacker