Visit ancient temples, explore beautiful beaches, and sample delicious local cuisine...it's all available in South Korea! Beomeosa Temple is considered as one of the important temples to visit in South Korea. Although lots of brands we know from home are available here, we have discovered that they very seldom are the same as the products we know and love. I cannot figure out what side of the sidewalk to walk on, or how to turn aside appropriately when a Korean person is coming straight towards me. Find out more, The Telegraph values your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Donggung Palace And Wolji Pond Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond is a Silla-era complex that was built during King Munmu’s reign back in 674 CE. For someone that wants a unique experience and to visit an often overlooked Asian country, South Korea can be … Easy to get around thanks to an efficient public transit system and also pleasantly walkable depending on where you are, Seoul is a city made for laid-back exploring. 5. As I may have mentioned, we don’t exactly blend. From everything I read, I thought we’d encounter a ton of really spicy food here. This is seen as a strategy to increase Korea’s cultural and economic influence in the world. The spring and fall are absolutely mesmerizing in Korea. Instead, it’s a society that overall believes that COVID is a real disease that poses a real threat, and everyone is bought into stopping it. Most rides on the bus or subway cost $1,250 KRW, which is equivalent to just over $1 USD. Although interestingly, more than a quarter of these were Chinese citizens who are ethnically Korean. Korean employees average 2,069 hours per worker annually, the second-highest among the Economic Cooperation and Development states. If you plan on traveling to South Korea, I highly suggest you include many if not all of these places in your itinerary. Prices at the grocery store, however, are not so cheap. On most visits I buy one new thing to try, and other than that I stick to my list so I don’t get overwhelmed. Jejudo forms part of the country’s roster of 12 Unesco World Heritage Sites. I’ve written about some of this before, but I think it bears repeating. We’d heard that in Seoul especially, we’d likely encounter lots of Koreans who spoke good English and would want to practice their English rather than expecting us to speak Korean. Things to Do in South Korea, Asia: See Tripadvisor's 843 722 traveller reviews and photos of South Korea tourist attractions. What’s happening with COVID-19 in South Korea? Top South Korea Attractions Find what to do today, this weekend or in January. In the United States, the average is 1,783 hours annually. This service was perfected in South Korea. One of the best things to do when visiting South Korea, is to treat yourself to the fabulous shopping that exists in the country. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. However, we have yet to encounter a food here we can’t eat due to spiciness, though some have tested us a bit. This temple is easily accessible by train to … Find what to do today, this weekend or in January. With the backdrop of a war of words between North Korea and the US, 2016 saw a year-on-year fall of 4.1 million in overseas arrivals to South Korea – the first dip after years of growth. In 2011 Jejudo was named among the “New7Wonders of Nature”, though there were accusations that its selection was down not just to its beauty, but also the readiness of tourism and marketing organisations to stump up cash – including taxpayers’ money – to support its campaign. A lot of it is improving my ear training as the Korean language is spoken really quickly, and many basic words sound similar to each other. One of the best things about our little apartment is that there are stations for two different subway lines within a five-minute walk. Seriously – the motorbikes are so fast I can’t even catch them in action! Ubiquitous testing is the key to making such determinations quickly. Based on my experiences at home in Philadelphia, it seemed impossible that any country was able to keep the virus from spreading rapidly, hospitals below capacity, and the death rate low. Those are the best seasons to visit Korea, as the weather lets you enjoy the beauty of nature to the fullest. There are lots of American flags displayed at these protests. Since the game launched in 1988, nearly half of all the games have been sold in South Korea. That meal cost 30,000 KRW/person, about $26.50 USD/person. There is not a huge focus on U.S news in Korean media. The report showed South Korea’s average broadband adoption rate to be 26.1 megabits per second, putting it ahead of Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong and Switzerland. Hallyu, the “Korean wave” that includes exports of K-pop, movies, TV shows, and cuisine, is revered for the international attention it has brought to Korean culture. Discover the best top things to do in South Korea including Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Jeonju Hanok Maeul. A common sight: people of all ages sleeping on the Seoul subway. Even when numbers went up in September, restaurants were still open for indoor dining. Busan (부산) is a ‘must-visit’ for all travelers to South Korea! While large gatherings are currently not allowed, lots of small actions including one to ten or so people take place every day. Korean food has been making waves across the globe, with kimchi, among other dishes, popping up on restaurant menus everywhere. Visitor's Guide to Busan, South Korea Top Things to Do in Busan. Discover the top cities & best places to visit in South Korea! Why? From stylish clothes, cute knick knacks, fantastic skincare, and more – Korea is home to affordable and exciting shopping opportunties! Actually, we’ve been more surprised that the level of sweetness in many foods is greater than expected. When I lived in Seoul I had the opportunity to explore every inch of the city and I feel I have become sort of a Seoul expert. Hard to beat! We speculate that this is how everyone catches up on their missed sleep. Many Koreans also work 6 days/week and spend more than 8 hours/day in the office. Mostly, I try to find someone walking ahead of me and follow them as closely as I can without being weird! Sunset is often accompanied by the gentle strum of local kids playing the guitar. We spotted these signs near a military zone in Anmyeondo. Such is the ongoing obsession that Incheon Airport was once reportedly considered installing a plastic surgery clinic in one of it terminals. Different areas of Busan offer unique experiences that are once in a lifetime. You can reach it by hiking over the Geumjeongsan temple or reach Beomeosa subway station and then take a 15 min bus ride to the temple. The subway and bus systems are integrated, making transfers between transit lines simple. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. This definitely seems to be a more night-centric culture, as we have found anytime we go somewhere before 10am we are liable to have the place to ourselves. Too much noise with music playing, registers beeping, helpful ladies at the end of every aisle calling out for shoppers’ attention to sample a product… Add to that the number of products on crowded aisles I don’t know or understand, and visits to the store were overwhelming for a good while. Although we eat some spicy foods, I would classify our tolerance as “moderate.” We are not most likely to bite into a chili pepper. Jeju is the capital of an island, Jejudo, which might just be the most popular holiday destination you’ve never heard of. Not only am I not scared anymore, but now I think it’s kind of fun to go. This mystery is equally perplexing when someone on a bicycle, scooter, or motorbike is headed towards me, and they are as likely to be on the sidewalk as on the street. The pond itself is an artificial pond that is surrounded by landscaped gardens and reconstructed pavilions. Trail Challenges at Seoraksan National Park, Seoraksan National Park: Best Adventures for the Whole Family. Others, though, focus on the military role of the U.S. in South Korea, with some favoring deeper U.S. involvement and others advocating for the U.S. to turn over more control of military operations to South Korea. Thanks to the size of it, the normal delivery takes just 2 days. For one thing, South Korea has been home to some of the world’s best breakdancers for years after it was introduced to the country in the Nineties by American soldiers. There are arrows at many crosswalks specifying which side goes left and which right, but almost no one observes them. The nearly mile-long white sand beach is just a 40 minute train ride from Busan Station and an hour away from the nearest international airport. Online shopping. Expo ’93 showed off Daejeon’s innovative side with ultra-modern pavilions, a maglev train and solar-powered vehicles. This could place U.S. policy at odds with Seoul, however, as the national government currently favors deeper engagement with Kim Jong-un. I am happy to report that although it took many weeks, I can now visit the grocery store without stress. South Korea historically has been known as a culturally and ethnically homogenous country, although the number of foreigners living in Korea is on the rise. 15 Best Things to Do in Daejeon (South Korea) A city of science and technology at a meeting point in South Korea’s road and rail networks, Daejeon was announced to the wider world in 1993 by an international exposition. This is a work hard/play hard culture! Artful Seoul: Sites in the City and Around. In 2004, South Korea opened a high-speed rail line called Korea Train Express (KTX), which ia based on the French TGV. By some measures, a country is considered a multicultural society when the number of foreigners exceeds 5%, meaning that South Korea still has not met this threshold. There are plenty of mountains, including eight that surround the capital. Indeed, every time we have traveled overseas something unexpected has happened. When we walk into a store or restaurant, it is just as likely that no one will speak English, and we’d better have our Korean phrases handy! Whether you’ve traveled extensively in Asia or are looking to take your first trip to the continent, South Korea is an ideal place to learn about history, get active in nature, eat delicious food, and shop ‘til you drop. It seems that if I go right, so do they, and if I go left, so do they. It is one of the best-selling games for the personal computer in history. The city of Busan is definitely worth a visit and possibly even a return visit at a later date. From parks to restaurants to stores, there is a ton to do. South Korea boasts an impressive transportation network making every area available for exploring and you can access all corners of the country on a day trip from Seoul. Read our community guidelines in full, The latest offers and discount codes from popular brands on Telegraph Voucher Codes, The capital Seoul is enclosed by mountains, A customer at a Samsung Gear VR showroom in Seoul last year, Gangnam, the upmarket financial district of Seoul, South Korea's Unesco-listed Gyeongbokgung Palace by night, The Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea is home to the world’s best breakdancers, A scene from Okja, starring Tilda Swinton, national treasures include royal palaces, tombs, shrines and well preserved hanok villages, Beyond kimchi: How to eat your way around South Korea, 11 reasons to visit South Korea as it basks in Oscars glory, The original Love Island (and the most popular destination you've never heard of), My walking holiday along the world's most notorious border, A day trip to the world's most hostile border, Why South Koreans are sending themselves to 'prison' to escape their hectic lives, Selfies in the Korean DMZ – and other unusual border travel experiences, Why Graham Bell won't return to South Korea after the Winter Olympics, Beyond kimchi in South Korea: How to eat your way around the Winter Olympics host nation, 'They won't do anything. Even I, the directionally challenged, have now taken multiple subway and bus lines by myself, and because Naver is so helpful even transfers don’t freak me out. About 6% of the 2.5 million were classified as Americans. Quarantine: It’s day 8 of 15, but who’s counting? The most fashionable capital in Asia, Seoul, embodies the absolute modernity that the world envies.Its keen sense of experimental architecture, its connected shopping centers, and its surging K-Pop wave have taken the Korean megalopolis to the summit of glory. (Expounding on my feelings about the motorbikes driving on crowded sidewalks would take more space than this post will allow!) Halla Mountain, at 1,940m above sea level, is South Korea’s highest peak, while the cone of Seongsan Ilchulbong, or “Sunrise Peak”, is particularly spectacular. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in January. South Korea is an East Asian country that is known for having a combination of highly populated, modern cities like Seoul as well as ancient temples and rural fishing villages. I did not anticipate that trips to the grocery store would cause me more panic than nearly any other activity. Most visits are trouble-free.”. We have reviews of the best places to see in South Korea. Some 30,000 people died as a result of the uprising, with a further 40,000 fleeing to Japan, and the atrocities are remembered at the 4.3 Peace Park memorial. It’s not often that we can witness the marriage of state-of-the-art technology and reserved Confucius values, which makes the best things to do in South Korea very unique. There has been a big push from the Korean government to teach the Korean language (Hanguk-eo) around the world. We occasionally see some pretty hilarious translations of Hangeul to English. Meanwhile, COVID concerns have caused tourism numbers to nosedive. I order food, electronics, clothes, well basically everything online, and it saves me tons of … These national treasures include royal palaces, tombs, shrines and well preserved hanok villages (hilly settlements packed with traditional Korean houses). Seoul from the middle ages to the space age. We have reviews of the best places to see in South Korea. It is the 280-mile hop from Seoul to Jeju International. A recent report from Statistics Korea cites the need for the country to make more intentional efforts to end discrimination against non-Koreans, especially for non-Korean children in the Korean education system. Before we arrived in South Korea, I couldn’t visualize how in the world they were managing COVID successfully. One of the best places to learn about the history of the country as well as see some really interesting things, is at the National Museum of Korea. However, by 2040 it is anticipated that nearly 7% of South Korea’s population may be non-Korean. You may remember the Mandu Beef and Vegetable Stew we had at a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in Seoul? The capital is home to some truly striking architecture, including Zaha Hadid’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza, with its curvaceous metallic façade, and the 1,819 foot Lotte World Tower, which opened last year. Some of the best beaches in all of the country are in the buzzing city of Busan. Some things would probably be cheaper if we bought them at a traditional market. More than 26 million passengers use Jeju airport each year - that’s more than any UK airport bar Gatwick and Heathrow. Everything else is allowed to stay open unless found to be unsafe. Because we are planners, we did a lot of research about what to expect and how to acclimate to life here. Villagers, including women and children, were massacred, and as recently as 2008 mass graves were still being uncovered. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. Check out this list of things to do in Seoul if you don’t believe me. In general, it’s not expensive! Far from shutting the economy down, most businesses here have never been closed. The gardens, free showers and sauna probably helped. It has a wide coastline and shallow bay, making it ideal for swimming or lounging under a beach umbrella. It’s not using magic. Just as with any major life event, we approached our Seoul adventure with a certain set of expectations. After living here for a year they are my recommendation for some of the best things to do in South Korea. Dear People of Korea, you earned my deepest respect. There is a strong social family feeling. However, the majority of U.S. news in Korean media seems to focus on the impact of U.S. policies on North Korean/South Korean relations and Chinese trade agreements. To fit in with the culture you need to show interest in the language. There are plenty of mountains, including eight that surround the capital. 1. Indeed it is so unusual now to see non-Koreans even in Seoul that when we see other people who are clearly non-Korean, we sometimes catch ourselves staring! And these the most expensive meals we’ve eaten here. Beyond the skyscrapers, South Korea boasts a spectacular natural landscape, 64 per cent of which is covered in forest. But there’s more to the country’s music and dance scene than K-pop. We don’t think we are imagining that we get some stares, especially in crowded places like the subway. Find fun things to do in Seoul or explore attractions & popular tourist destinations like Nami Island. A T-Money card can be pre-loaded with funds to use on all transit vehicles, including taxis. 02 of 12 Have Yourself a Merry, Distanced Christmas! Beyond the skyscrapers, South Korea boasts a spectacular natural landscape, 64 per cent of which is covered in forest. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. And while Seoul offers visitors vast itineraries that could take weeks to fulfill, it’s only a … Unesco-listed, and billed as South Korea’s answer to Hawaii, it's pure Instagram gold, and home to dramatic volcanic landscapes, underground caves, hiking trails and scenic beaches. The subway and bus systems are integrated, making transfers between transit lines simple. - … The photos below were all taken in our neighborhood, typically after the vehicle pictured had just hurtled past me on the sidewalk. Some favor the presumed Biden policy, which would be “working-level diplomacy” with greater attention to sanctions, denuclearization, and North Korea’s human rights violations. Depending on the distance you’re traveling, you can generally get multiple transfers for this price or just a little extra. After China and Japan, South Korea is the third biggest in Asia and also the seventh largest exporter in the world, with its top products being integrated circuits (including computers, phones and other electronics) and cars. It will truly leave you speechless. This means you have to pay very close attention so as not to miss your stop. In 1948 and 1949, the South Korean government brutally put down an attempted uprising on the island. South Korea danced its way onto the world map with ‘Gangnam Style’ back in 2012. You need to be a subscriber to join the conversation. It cost a total of 52,000 KRW, about $45.50 USD. Each temple has unique tributes to Buddha that include statues, meditation halls and ceremonial tearooms. Seoul, South Korea offers something for everyone where sights and attractions are concerned. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. The National Museum of Korea is the largest museum in the country as well as being one of the largest museums in all of Asia. There were a staggering 64,991 departures between these two airports in 2017 – that works out at around 178 a day. Maybe because we live in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, we regularly see political action in the form of public protests. Some revere the U.S. as the main ally who came to South Korea’s aid during the Korean War, and others are still angry that the U.S. played a prominent role in dividing the Korean Peninsula along the 38th parallel after WWII. He says they are much less salty, sweeter and less cheesy in Korea. One of the must things to do in South Korea for all travelers is to visit one of the 900 Buddhist Temples that reside around the country. Last year, however, Seoul's metro network announced it would be banning plastic surgery adverts across its stations. Many Koreans want to leave not because South Korea isn’t a politically free place, or because they face hardship or hard times finding good jobs. 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