15 Underrated Places in South Korea To Visit in 2022
Do you want to see something different from Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island? Check out these 15 underrated places in South Korea for your travels in 2022!
Gwangyang Maehwa Plum Village
The Gwangyang Maehwa Festival is one of the most beautiful spring festivals in South Korea. The Maehwa trees bloom about a month before the cherry blossoms start blooming, making the Gwangyang Maehwa Festival one of the first spring festivals in the country!
Hwagae Cherry Blossom Road
Spring is my favorite season in Korea, which is why I’m a self-proclaimed cherry blossom queen. I’ve been to countless cherry blossom spots around Korea and Hwagae has been my ultimate favorite location for enjoying spring in Korea. I like Hwagae and the surrounding Hadong area so much that I spent four days exploring the ins and outs of the Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival.
Located in the middle of South Korea, this is really one of the most underrated places in South Korea. Gakwonsa temple in Cheonan has become one of my favorite temples in Korea, especially during cherry blossom season. The whole temple complex is filled with a variety of different blossoms, making it an ultimate spring destination to visit in Korea.
Visiting a temple in South Korea is a great way to learn more about Korean culture, local Buddhism, and the history of the peninsula. At the same time, a visit to a Korean temple also clears your mind and enhances your overall inner zen. Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon is one of Korea’s most famous temples as it houses the Tripitaka Koreana, a collection of 81,258 wooden printing blocks with Buddhist texts from the 13th century.
I have visited many temples around South Korea and Boriam Hermitage in Namhae is definitely one that I will never forget. The temple located in Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park is one of the most unique and beautiful temples in South Korea. If you are visiting Namhae, be sure to drop by Boriam Hermitage while you are there. You won’t regret it.
Damyang Bamboo Forest
The region has excellent environmental and geographical conditions for the cultivation of bamboo in Korea. Even before the Joseon Dynasty, Damyang was a center for bamboo crafts. These bamboo items were traded with people in Manchuria and Japan. To honor the Damyang’s past the city decided to construct a vast bamboo forest to uphold a green footprint. Damyang Bamboo Forest was completed in 2003 and has become a popular place for visitors seeking a moment of serenity.
Sejong National Arboretum
If the city of Sejong (yes, like the great king) hasn’t been on your radar – you might want to plan a trip soon! Korea’s “administrative capital” is home to Korea’s first urban national arboretum. Plant and outdoor enthusiasts are going to love Sejong National Arboretum, and even if you don’t have a green thumb, you’ll be amazed by the sheer size of this place!
Wolhwawon Chinese Garden
Explore a bit of China in Korea at Wolhwawon Traditional Chinese Garden in Suwon. This beautiful garden is stunning during all four seasons and feels like you are getting transported to Southern China without having to leave Korea. That’s why this garden found its way onto this list of the most underrated places in South Korea.
Hwadam Forest (화담숲) is a stunning botanic garden with a scenic monorail trail located just one hour from Seoul near Gwangju in Gyeonggi Province. It’s great for a day trip from Seoul and a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
Baeron Holy Ground
Baeron Holy Ground (also known as Baeron Shrine) is an interesting place to visit near Jecheon in Chungbuk Province. The site is often referred to as the birthplace of Catholicism in Korea and is a place where devoted believers sought refuge during times of Catholic persecutions led by the Confucian Joseon government.
This ornate, covered bridge in Gyeongju was built during the Unified Silla period (AD 676-935) but burnt down during the Joseon dynasty. A project to rebuild the bridge was put into place and it was successfully reconstructed in April 2018 thanks to historical records. Today, it is the largest wooden bridge in Korea.
Another must-see building in Gyeongju, this 9-story-tall pagoda was the nation’s largest temple during the Shilla era. Before the pagoda was added, there was a simple temple. The construction of this temple began in 553 and took 17 years to complete. Its name literally translates to “Temple of Yellow Dragon”.
Maltijae, the gateway to Songnisan Mountain, is also called “Maltigogae”. It is a steep hill with twelve bends harmonizing with the forest. Come here in the autumn season and admire the stunning fall foliage from the observatory.
The Independence Hall of Korea
This place shouldn’t miss from this list of the most underrated places in South Korea. The Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan is a must-visit destination to get a deeper understanding of Korean history and culture. It makes for a perfect day trip from Seoul and other parts of Korea due to its central location and close connection by intercity bus or KTX.
This is a reservoir that was created during the Three Kingdoms Era. Today, it has a glass floor with breathtaking views of the waterfall gushing below. It’s especially beautiful in the fall with the surrounding foliage.
Recommended Travel Guides for Korea
If you want to learn more about South Korea and have a handy travel guide in your pocket, check out these three options below:
This Top 10 Seoul guide is a great pocket guide that breaks down the best of Seoul into helpful lists of ten – from selected highlights to the best museums and galleries, and the most authentic restaurants, tearooms, bars, shops, and markets. I personally helped update the most recent version of this guide. Buy this book.
You really can’t go wrong with a lonely planet guide in your hand luggage! I’m a huge fan of Lonely Planet and own this guide myself. What I love is the brand-new pull-out, passport-size ‘Just Landed’ card with wi-fi, ATM and transport info – all you need for a smooth journey from airport to hotel! Buy this book.
Calling all my solo female travel ladies out there – this guide is amazing! Part of the #1 Travel Guidebook Series for Women (and couples), this take on South Korea will help you avoid the scams, creeps, and tourist traps and skip ahead to the cities and adventures that are worth your time (and money)! Buy this book.
Get your Free Seoul City Check List
This downloadable checklist for Seoul contains insider information on what to see, do, eat and where to shop and party in Seoul, South Korea.