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Despite neighboring the world’s most isolated country, South Korea feels like a world apart from North Korea. With its top-class economy and technology, South Korea is currently one of the world’s most advanced countries. The country is a potpourri of majestic cityscapes, stunning mountains and national parks, friendly people, rich cultures and traditions, mouth-watering delicacies, and numerous festivals. This is the land of popular K-pop music. Though Korean dramas and movies are equally famous worldwide.
Seoul is the heart of South Korea. This forward-thinking city is a blending of technology and traditional culture. Since Seoul is truly a 24/7 city, it offers vibrant nightlife. Street food and markets in the city are also worth exploring. City views from N Seoul Tower (236m) and Lotte Tower (556m) are just amazing. Along with modern infrastructure, the city also flourishes with some historic UNESCO-listed heritage sites like Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine. Bukchon Hanok Village is another highlight of Seoul. This well-preserved historic village will give you a great perspective of the rich history of Korean culture and tradition. The refreshing stream of Cheonggyecheon in the middle of Seoul becomes a lively place during the annual lantern festival. Built in the late 14th century, the Gyeongbokgung Palace is the city’s other historic building. Adjacent to Seoul’s outskirts, Bukhansan National Park offers excellent hiking and rock-climbing opportunities on its mountainous landscape. About 55km north of Seoul, DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) is a frequently visited place in the region. You can have a glance at North Korea from its many observation spots. Keep in mind that the place is heavily guarded with armed militaries from both (North and South Korean) sides. The country’s third-largest city Incheon can also be visited as a day trip from Seoul. The seaside modern city is a major transportation hub and a great place to explore concession-era architecture and eat tasty food. Suwon is another popular day trip destination from Seoul. The UNESCO world heritage listed the 18th-century Hwaseong Fortress as its prime highlight. Ganghwado Island (also known as Ganghwa Island) in the Yellow Sea can also be visited as a day trip from Seoul. The island is known for its hilltop temples and rich history.
The landlocked and mountainous Chungcheongbuk-do is home to South Korea’s third-largest national park: Sobaeksan National Park. The park is famous for its rich flora and fauna. It offers some great skiing and hiking. The adjacent resort town of Danyang is known for many outdoor activities and beautiful landscapes. The Chungcheongnam-do region is, on the other hand, known for the Boryeong Mud Festival. The festival takes place at the popular Daecheon Beach. Other than that, Chungcheongnam-do is home to some beautiful towns like Buyeo and Gongju. Both the towns possess historical importance and are surrounded by verdant landscapes. The region also contains popular national parks like Taeanhaean National Marine Park and Gyeryongsan National Park.
In the northern region of the country lies the Gangwon-do province. The majestic Seoraksan National Park is the focal point of this province. This UNESCO biosphere reserve-listed park has a few Buddhist temples, snow-capped mountains, and ample wildlife. Taebaeksan Provincial Park is another attraction. Watching the sunrise from Jeongdongjin beach is one of the best experiences that one can have in Gangwon-do. Gyeongsangbuk-do province in eastern Korea is known as the cultural hub of the country. The well-preserved Hahoe Folk Village in Andong is a UNESCO world heritage site. South Korea’s fourth-largest city Daegu is known for its historic heritage and traditional-medicine market. With historic Buddhist monuments, rock carvings, and tombs, Gyeongsangbuk-do’s another attraction Gyeongju justifies its nickname ‘the museum without walls.
Located in the southern part of the country, Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea. The city is famous for its skyline, beaches, mountains, hot springs, and Buddhist temples. Busan International Film Festival is a world-class film festival. The colorful houses of Gamcheon Culture Village is another must-watch sight in Busan. The Jirisan National Park in Busan’s adjacent Gyeongsangnam-do province offers the best hiking in South Korea.
Jeju-do is the largest island in the country. Best known for its beach resorts and volcanic landscape. The island houses the country’s highest mountain peak: Halla-san, which is a part of UNESCO world heritage listed Hallasan National Park. Dol Hareubang statues also attract visitors. Jeju-do’s other highlight is the coastal city of Seogwipo. The place is known for its great diving and hiking opportunities. The small Jeollabuk-do province, on the other hand, is famous for the great foods of Jeonju. The city was titled as the ‘City of Gastronomy’ by UNESCO for its delicious cuisine. Maisan Provincial Park is the province’s other highlight. Lastly, the Jeollanam-do region is where you should go if you want to know how Korea was a few hundred years ago. The verdant region is hardly touched by any modern developments.
South Korea is an amazing country with plenty of historic landmarks, rich culture and tradition, and high-tech cities. Book a trip today and check South Korea off your bucket list.
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