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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
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
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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
#6
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
#7
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
#8
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
#9
Seokguram Grotto

Seokguram Grotto

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Known for being home to one of the finest Buddha shrines in the Asia, South Korea’s Seokguram Grotto looks out to the East Sea from Mount Tohamsan near Gyeongju. Commissioned in 742 AD by the Silla Kingdom’s chief minister, Kim Daeseong, it was built in honor of Daeseong’s parents from a past life.If you’re feeling fit, one of the best ways to get to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is by hiking under the canopy of trees from Bulguksa Temple, past tumbling waterfalls and wildflowers, to the top of the mountain where Seokguram Grotto sits.Pay the small entry fee and head inside, where the 3.5-meter tall granite Buddha sits on his lotus throne. Surrounded by panels of bodhisattvas and guardians, Buddha peacefully sits with his legs crossed in the bhumisparsha mudra position. The only structure to survive fully intact from the Silla era, look up at the ceiling -- it’s beautifully decorated with half moons and a lotus flower. For a truly special experience, come at dawn to see the sunrise over the East Sea in the distance.More
#10
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

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul

Top activities in South Korea

Private DMZ Peace Tour: N.Korea 3rd Invasion Tunnel and Suspension Bridge
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Seoul City Private Full-Day Tour Including Lunch
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Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour in Seoul
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Private DMZ tour
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Private DMZ tour

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USD190.00
2-Day Busan City Tour Package

2-Day Busan City Tour Package

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From
USD318.98

Recent reviews from experiences in South Korea

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Great tour with Nancy
Madeleine_M, Apr. 2022
Best Half Day DMZ Tour from Seoul (No Forced Shopping)
Even for non-native English speakers it was easy to follow.
star-4
Very interesting tour.
Roger_C, Apr. 2022
Best Half Day DMZ Tour from Seoul (No Forced Shopping)
Our tour guide Nancy really brought the history to life, and explained everything very well in very good English.
star-5
Amazing place Amazing guide
Rossana_H, Apr. 2022
Private DMZ Peace Tour: N.Korea 3rd Invasion Tunnel and Suspension Bridge
I would 100% recommend this to all my family and friends planning to visit Korea
star-5
Wonderful day with the best guide !!
Rina_K, Jan. 2022
Private Busan Highlight Tour with Gamcheon Culture Village and Beomeosa Temple
He speaks fantastic English and went the extra mile to show us different areas of Busan.
star-5
Great Tour and Guide!
Valeria_B, Dec. 2021
DMZ Small Group Tour from Seoul Including Dora Observatory
The tour guides English was great and she told us many interesting interesting facts about the DMZ and North Korea.
star-5
Great private tour & wonderful guide! Highly recommend for a thoughtful and curated trip!
Luxi_P, May 2022
Fully Customizable Private Tour of Jeju Island
We ended up doing Hallim Park, Osulloc tea plantation, and Jeongbang and Cheonjiyeon waterfalls.
star-5
Just book it!
Chelsea_W, Apr. 2022
Seoul City Private Full-Day Tour Including Lunch
Dave is super knowledgeable about the history and can speak English well.
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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-5
Excellent
Alejandra_V, Feb. 2022
Best Half Day DMZ Tour from Seoul (No Forced Shopping)
The guide was so nice, she is really nice she can speak English, she explain us a lot of things about Korea, we are really happy for the tour, we wanna back soon!
star-5
Great tour with a great guide!
l0uhan, Oct. 2019
Day Trip to Nami Island with The Garden of Morning Calm
He speaks perfect English (lived in Australia) and a super nice guy.
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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.
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A must see
Akua N, May 2019
Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Half-Day Tour from Seoul-No Shopping
If possible, try to see the JSA as well.
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Interesting to see
Chuforden, Apr. 2019
Korean DMZ Half-Day Tour from Seoul - No shopping
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.
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Just great.
kahee_c, Mar. 2019
Korean DMZ Full-Day Tour including the War Memorial of Korea - No shopping
For those who wanted to know more about the korean war and also wanted to visit the DMZ this is for you.
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Great day!
Joel_C, Jan. 2019
Seoul Land Theme Park One Day Admission Ticket
Because it was winter, there were almost no people.
star-5
My friends and I had a fun time...
Cindy L, Jan. 2018
Traditional Cooking Experience in Korean Style House in Seoul
Chef/guide(Minseon) was proficient in English and we easily understand the lesson.
star-5
Really nice tour, highly recommend...
LamVi_L, Feb. 2018
DMZ Past and Present: Korean Demilitarized Zone Tour from Seoul(No Shopping)
Really nice tour, highly recommend to whom want to explore the history of the Korean War or just want to see the famous DMZ in the world.
star-5
The guide was very knowledgeable and...
Piotr L, Oct. 2017
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Korean Folk Village Day Tour from Seoul
There was a lot to see at the Fortress but best part was Villagers performance at Korean Folk Village and I highly recommend seeing that.
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