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50 of the Best Things to do in Korea

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Welcome to Korea, a land where every corner promises a new discovery and every moment is an opportunity for adventure! Imagine waking up to the serenity of a temple stay, hiking up to breathtaking volcanic vistas, and wandering in style through historic districts dressed in traditional hanbok. These aren’t just activities; they’re stories waiting to be lived. Let’s embark on a vibrant journey through the 50 best things to do in Korea, where each experience is a chapter in your own travel tale, brimming with color and excitement!

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Korea, curated for every type of traveler.

1. Explore Best Things to Do in Seoul

Dive into the rich history of Gyeongbokgung Palace, where ancient architecture and royal heritage come to life. Wander the charming streets of Bukchon Hanok Village, lined with traditional Korean houses, and get lost in the artsy lanes of Insadong, filled with vibrant shops and galleries.

2. Visit Jeju Island

Immerse yourself in breathtaking volcanic landscapes, from the majestic Hallasan Mountain to the dramatic cliffs of Jusangjeolli. Relax on stunning beaches like Jungmun Saekdal and Manjanggul, making Jeju an island getaway like no other. Check out my Jeju itinerary for the best things to do on the island.

3. Try Korean BBQ

Indulge in a mouthwatering experience at local restaurants, grilling your favorite meats to perfection while enjoying the lively atmosphere and unique culinary traditions of Korean barbecue.

4. Visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)

Embark on a tour to the Demilitarized Zone, standing at the crossroads between North and South Korea, where you’ll gain insights into the historical and political complexities of the region, making it a unique and eye-opening journey. There are several day trip tours to the DMZ available from Seoul.

5. Experience K-Pop Culture

Get a taste of Korea’s music scene by attending a live concert or checking out K-Star Road in Gangnam, where you’ll find celebrity spots, entertainment agencies, and cool shops.

6. Hike in Seoraksan National Park

Experience the outdoors at Seoraksan National Park, known for its stunning landscapes and diverse hiking trails. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or a casual explorer, the breathtaking views make every hike worthwhile.

7. Visit the Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan

Explore the lively Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan, a bustling hub of fresh seafood. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, savoring delicious seafood dishes that showcase Busan’s maritime charm.

8. Do a Temple Stay

Take a break with a Temple Stay to discover Buddhist culture. Participate in traditional ceremonies, meditation, and communal practices for a serene escape from modern life.

9. Explore Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan

Wander through the vibrant streets of Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, filled with colorful murals, quirky sculptures, and artistic installations. Every corner is a canvas in this unique neighborhood.

10. Wear Traditional Hanbok Dress

Travel back in time by renting a Hanbok, traditional Korean attire. Embrace the elegance of historical fashion and stroll through the streets of Korea, making a stylish connection between the past and present.

11. Visit the Historic Sites of Gyeongju

Explore the rich history of Gyeongju, often dubbed the ‘Museum Without Walls.’ Immerse yourself in ancient wonders, from Bulguksa Temple to Seokguram Grotto, for a fascinating journey through Korea’s past.

things to do in gyeongju

12. Relax in a Jjimjilbang (Korean Sauna)

Unwind Korean-style with a visit to a Jjimjilbang, a traditional Korean sauna. Immerse yourself in the therapeutic heat of hot baths, rejuvenating sauna rooms, and the vibrant communal atmosphere of these popular relaxation spots.

13. Explore the Boseong Green Tea Fields

Find tranquility amid the lush Boseong Green Tea Fields. Roam through picturesque tea plantations, breathe in the fresh aroma of tea leaves, and capture the beauty of this serene landscape.

Boseong Tea Fields
Boseong Tea Fields
tea fields in Boseong

14. Visit the Haeundae Beach in Busan

Soak up the sun and sea at Haeundae Beach in Busan. Whether you’re into water sports, beachside relaxation, or the lively atmosphere of coastal cafes, Haeundae offers a vibrant and enjoyable coastal escape.

15. Try Temple Food

Savor the unique experience of Temple Food, a vegetarian cuisine rooted in Buddhist traditions. Taste the flavors of mindfulness and simplicity as you enjoy a meal that nourishes both body and spirit.

16. Visit the Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon

Wander through the historic halls and secret gardens of Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This well-preserved palace complex offers a glimpse into Korea’s royal past and architectural elegance.

17. Watch a Traditional Nanta Show

Have a blast with the lively Nanta performance – a mix of rhythm, comedy, and impressive kitchen skills. This non-verbal show brings together traditional Korean percussion, acrobatics, and humor for an entertaining cultural outing. Book your ticket here.

18. Visit the Korean Folk Village in Yongin

Explore traditional Korean life at the Korean Folk Village in Yongin. From thatched-roof homes to cultural performances, it offers an authentic glimpse into Korea’s rich heritage.

19. Explore Incheon Chinatown

Dive into the history and flavors of Incheon Chinatown. Vibrant streets feature a mix of traditional and modern, along with delicious cuisine, like the popular noodle dish jjajangmyeon.

20. Take a Korean Cooking Class

Master the art of Korean cuisine in a cooking class. From mixing bibimbap to perfecting kimchi, these hands-on experiences promise delicious results. Check out Klook for several interesting Korean cooking classes.

21. Visit the National Museum of Korea

Delve into the rich cultural tapestry of Korea as you explore the museum’s impressive collection. Admire exquisite artifacts, from ancient pottery to royal treasures, and gain profound insights into the nation’s cultural evolution.

22. Experience Lotte World in Seoul

Experience excitement at Lotte World, a massive indoor and outdoor amusement park in Seoul. Enjoy rides, shows, and family-friendly entertainment. Book your ticket online before you go and save some money!

23. Explore Bukhansan National Park

Nature lovers, explore Bukhansan National Park located north of Seoul. With scenic trails and stunning views, it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking fresh air.

24. Visit the Busan Cinema Center

Marvel at the modern design of Busan Cinema Center. Besides hosting film events, it’s a striking piece of architecture in Busan.

25. Take a Taekwondo Class

Delve into Taekwondo, Korea’s national martial art. Join a class to learn the discipline, techniques, and history behind this dynamic martial art.

26. Visit Namsan Seoul Tower

At Namsan Seoul Tower, enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Seoul. Located atop Namsan Mountain, this iconic landmark offers an unforgettable vantage point to admire the city’s skyline day or night. Whether you’re snapping photos or simply taking in the scenery, Namsan Seoul Tower promises a memorable experience above the bustling city streets.

27. Explore the Jeonju Hanok Village

Experience the delightful Jeonju Hanok Village, where you’ll find a charming mix of traditional houses and vibrant culture. Wander through its narrow streets lined with historic hanok, and take in the cozy cafes, lively galleries, and inviting shops that add to the village’s welcoming vibe. It’s a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern-day excitement!

Pro tip: stay overnight and sleep in a traditional hanok house “Korean-style” on the floor! Some great options that I love in Jeonju are GaEunChae Hanok Guesthouse or Jungdam Hanok Stay.

28. Visit the Andong Hahoe Folk Village

This is another Korean traditional village worth exploring. The UNESCO-listed Andong Hahoe Folk Village offers a beautiful glimpse into Korea’s traditional way of life. Wander its narrow lanes, lined with well-preserved thatched-roof houses, and delve into the rich cultural heritage of the Joseon Dynasty.

29. Best Street Food to Try in Myeongdong

Discover the culinary delights of Myeongdong, where street food reigns supreme! Dive into a foodie’s paradise and treat yourself to a variety of mouthwatering Korean dishes, including sweet hotteok pancakes, chicken skewers or dried squid.

30. REPLACE

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) offers an eye-opening look into the history and ongoing tension between North and South Korea. Explore significant sites along the border, gaining valuable insight into the complex political dynamics of the Korean Peninsula.

31. Explore Gwangjang Market in Seoul

Experience the vibrant energy of Gwangjang Market in Seoul, where you can immerse yourself in a bustling atmosphere filled with delicious street food and bustling market stalls. It’s a fantastic place to mingle with locals, try new flavors, and discover the heart of Seoul’s culinary scene.

© Seoul Metropolitan Government/Penta Press

32. Visit the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

One of the best day trips from Seoul, the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts impressive defensive walls spanning over 5.7 kilometers. Step back in time as you explore the intricate architecture of this 18th-century fortress, featuring four main gates and various military facilities. With its rich history and panoramic views of Suwon, this fortress is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Suwon Banghwasuryujeong Pavilion

33. Experience the Lantern Festival in Jinju

The Lantern Festival in Jinju is a lively event featuring colorful lanterns depicting both traditional and modern designs, creating an exciting atmosphere. Take a stroll through the illuminated streets, enjoy cultural performances, indulge in delicious street food, and join in the festive celebrations. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to experience the vibrant energy of the Lantern Festival in Jinju!

34. Visit the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak in Jeju

Visit Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak in Jeju for stunning views of this volcanic tuff cone. Hike to the top for panoramic vistas of the coastline and sea. It’s a must-see spot for nature lovers and adventurers alike!

35. Explore the Songdo International Business District in Incheon

Discover Incheon’s Songdo International Business District for a taste of the future. With its sleek skyscrapers and innovative design, this bustling area offers a glimpse into modern city life. Take a stroll through its lively streets and soak in the dynamic atmosphere of this vibrant district.

Incheon,Central Park in Songdo International Business District , South Korea.

36. Visit the Seokguram Grotto

Seokguram Grotto is a UNESCO-listed Buddhist cave temple tucked away in the mountains of Gyeongju. Explore the intricate stone carvings and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this ancient site, offering a glimpse into Korea’s rich cultural heritage dating back over a millennium.

37. Attend a Traditional Mask Dance Performance

Get ready to be amazed by the lively movements and colorful costumes that bring centuries-old traditions to life right before your eyes. It’s a fun and enriching experience that offers a unique glimpse into Korea’s rich heritage and artistic expression. The Andong Mask Dance is the most popular of its kind.

38. Explore the Yongdusan Park in Busan

From the top of the park’s viewing platform, enjoy breathtaking vistas of the city and beyond. Wander through the park’s tranquil pathways, filled with cultural monuments and sculptures. It’s a perfect spot to relax, take in the sights, and soak up the rich history and culture of Busan.

39. Visit the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival

Join the festivities at the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival and celebrate Korea’s iconic dish! Dive into the vibrant atmosphere, filled with food stalls, cooking demos, and cultural performances. Sample different versions of bibimbap, a delicious Korean rice dish, and savor the culinary delights of Jeonju.

40. Take a Cruise on the Han River

Hop aboard a Han River cruise and soak in the mesmerizing cityscape views from the water! Feel the gentle breeze as you glide along the river, passing by iconic landmarks and modern skyscrapers. There’s no better way to relax and appreciate the beauty of Seoul from a unique perspective.

41. Visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan

Unlike many other temples in South Korea, this temple in Busan offers stunning ocean views, creating a picturesque setting for spiritual reflection. Marvel at the intricately designed architecture and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere as you explore this unique coastal temple.

Haedong Yonggungsa

42. Explore the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul

Art lovers shouldn’t miss a visit at Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art for a taste of vibrant contemporary art. Thought-provoking exhibits feature both local and international artists. It’s a dynamic space to explore modern creativity and immerse yourself in the ever-evolving art scene.

43. Try Makgeolli Tasting

Indulge in Makgeolli tasting, trying Korea’s traditional rice wine. Sample various flavors, from sweet to tangy, for a fun cultural experience. You can also join guided tours or classes to make your own brew with expert guidance. Cheers to discovering Korean flavors!

44. See the cherry blossoms in spring

Enjoy the stunning sight of cherry blossoms in spring, usually blooming in Korea from late March to early April. Take a stroll through the vibrant streets and parks of South Korea, where you’ll be greeted by beautiful pink blooms. It’s a must-see seasonal event that perfectly captures the essence of Korean nature and culture.

45. Explore the Hongdae District in Seoul

Explore hip cafes, quirky boutiques, and vibrant street art, and immerse yourself in the city’s youthful energy. With live performances and unique galleries, it’s the perfect spot to discover Seoul’s creative side.

46. Take a Korean Language Class

Dive into Korean culture by taking a language class! Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, learning Korean opens up a world of opportunities. Consider trying Preply, a platform that connects you with qualified tutors for personalized lessons tailored to your schedule and goals. With interactive sessions and flexible learning options, mastering Korean has never been easier.

47. Visit the Garden of Morning Calm

Explore the famous Garden of Morning Calm, a stunning botanical garden located near Seoul. Walk among vibrant flowers, enjoy the serene atmosphere, and take in the breathtaking views. It’s a must-visit spot for nature lovers and anyone looking for a peaceful retreat.

48. Discover Korean History at Seodaemun Prison

Step into history at Seodaemun Prison, a somber yet insightful site that bears witness to Korea’s tumultuous past. Once a place of oppression during the Japanese colonial period, it now stands as a solemn reminder of the country’s struggle for independence. Explore the prison complex, hear stories of resilience and resistance, and gain a deeper understanding of Korea’s fight for freedom.

© Seoul Metropolitan Government/Penta Press

49. Attend a Traditional Korean Tea Ceremony

Join true tea masters who’ll show you the ropes and guide you through the rituals of preparing and serving Korean tea. Savor different flavors and learn about the cultural significance of each brew. It’s a delightful way to immerse yourself in Korean culture and enjoy some peaceful moments.

Traditional Korean Tea Ceremony

50. Explore the Jindo Sea-Parting Festival

Witness the sea miraculously part, creating a pathway between two islands at the Jindo Sea-Parting Festival. Experience local music, food, and traditional performances as you witness this incredible natural event.

Conclusion: The Best Things to Do in Korea for an Unforgettable Experience

Korea is a treasure trove of cultural wonders and thrilling experiences, and we’ve just scratched the surface!

From exploring ancient temples to indulging in mouthwatering street food, every moment in Korea is an adventure waiting to unfold.

Whether you’re strolling through the colorful streets of Seoul, hiking in the majestic Seoraksan National Park, or immersing yourself in the vibrant energy of a traditional market, Korea offers something for every type of traveler.

Let this journey ignite your wanderlust, and for more travel inspiration and practical tips, check out more content on Linda Goes East.

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Linda

Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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