Things to do in South Korea
Korea is a country where history and the modern age come together in a harmonious and unforgettable blend. In the last few decades this amazing country has transformed itself into a land which has embraced modernity with welcome arms.
Despite all this modernity, South Korea is a land which remains immersed in its traditional customs. For almost two thousand years, Korean kings ruled this land continuously before the Japanese annexation in 1910. Grassy burial mounds are found scattered throughout the south, many revealing exceptionally beautiful golden artefacts. Palaces dating back to the 14th century still grace several cities. Mountain-tops still play host to ancient shamanistic rituals and Confucian ceremonies are performed in the homes of many Korean families.
Yet a holiday to South Korea is much more than a chance to visit ancient buildings and other cultural attractions – it is an opportunity to make lifelong friends with the Korean people. As you explore every crook and cranny you will find yourself doing so with new friends alongside you, before singing and drinking the night away with them.
Dramatic coastlines, fine food, lush emerald green fields and untouched islands makes Jeolla a very special place indeed. Jeju Island has craggy rock formations and palm trees which sway in the breeze; and Gangwon-do is the place for nature lovers.
Thousands of islands dot the coastline, sprinkled about like rose petals in a bath. Some of these islands, like Hongdo and Geomundo, are popular holiday destinations whilst others lay almost forgotten, waiting to be explored by tourists as their natives make their living from the sea. The relatively small amount of foreigners who do manage to come here find it best to simply choose a ferry on the spot and allow themselves to go with the flow. On the mainland itself there are five national parks – Wolchulsan and Jirisan in the south and Byeonsanbando, Naejangsan and Deogyusan in the north.
The two regional capitals, Gwangju and Jeonju, are the best places if you want to pick up the pace. Young, chic and full of political activism, they are also the place to visit if you are dying to try the famous Jeollanese cuisine.
The number one holiday destination in South Korea is the mass of islands which swathe the southern coast. Jeju, also known as Jejudo, is the ideal location for honeymooners with its infinite beaches, iconic volcanic crags and the vibrant countryside. Jeju has correctly been compared to Hawaii and Bali, and the local tourist board promotes this evaluation.
Jeju City is the largest town and will be your arrival point no matter how you arrive. Famous cultural attractions here include the Manjanggul lava tubes and Sangumburi, the principal and most reachable craters on the island. No matter which road you take you will eventually arrive in Seogwipo on the south coast. This is the second largest town and the most relaxing. Waterfalls and five star resorts see to your peace of mind and in the middle of the island you will discover the extinct volcano Hallasan. The scenery is absolutely stunning around Jeju City and best enjoyed by bicycle.