South Korea
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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 15 attractions in South Korea


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

Gyeongbokgung Palace

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

Gamcheon Culture Village

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

Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

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

Bukchon Hanok Village

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

Seokguram Grotto

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

Jagalchi Fish Market

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


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

Haeundae Beach

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

Jeju Glass Castle

As the name suggests, Jeju Glass Castle in west Jeju is devoted to the art of glass. Hundreds of sculptures by artists from around the world span three zones. Highlights at this glass-themed, indoor-outdoor park include the Magic Forest walking trail and a stunning mirrored room. You can take short classes in glassblowing, glass painting, and a technique called lampworking.More

Jogyesa Temple

Established in 1910, Jogyesa Temple serves as the center of Zen Buddhism in South Korea. Highlights of the temple complex include Daeungjeon, Seoul’s largest Buddhist shrine, as well as a garden area with a white pine tree that is more than 500 years old.More

Third Tunnel of Aggression

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

Teddy Bear Museum

The Teddy Bear Museum in Seogwipo features several galleries and an extensive gift shop dedicated to stuffed bears from around the world. The museum also contains the world’s smallest teddy bear, which measures just 4.5 millimeters.Within the museum, you’ll find the History Hall, the Art Hall and the Project Exhibition Hall. The History Hall explores the 100­year history of teddy bears, with various bears from different eras, antique bears, and famous scenes and artwork recreated with teddy bears. The latter includes the Mona Lisa bear and the teddy bears of The Last Supper. The Art Hall features modern artwork by international designers, as well as a number of bear animations. In the Project Exhibit Hall, the collection extends to teddy bears grouped into a number of different themes.The museum also has a cafe, plus a bar for adults that’s only open in the summer months. Outside in the museum garden, which is adorned with teddy bear sculptures, there are some fantastic views of the coastal landscape of Jeju Island.More

Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market, Seoul’s first and oldest covered market, was originally the place to buy traditional Korean clothing items, such as hanbok. Though the market still specializes in textiles, it’s become one of Seoul’s biggest street food hot spots, where foodies can sample nearly any type of Korean cuisine under the same roof.More

Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae)

Known for the blue tiles that cover its roof, Seoul’s Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae or Cheongwadae) sits at the foot of Mount Bugaksan and is the official residence of South Korea’s president. The house was built in the traditional Korean architectural style within a Joseon Dynasty–era royal garden.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in South Korea

Seoul City Tour (Full Day)

Seoul City Tour (Full Day)

Seoul City Private Full-Day Tour Including Lunch
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Full-Day Customizable Private Busan Highlight Tour
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Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour in Seoul
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Jeju Island Private Taxi Tour : 2 Full days

Jeju Island Private Taxi Tour : 2 Full days

per group
The 10 Tastings of Seoul With Locals: Private Street Food Tour
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Top Destinations

Top Destinations

Recent reviews from experiences in South Korea

Excellent Tour and Guide
A_N, Mar. 2023
Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Tour from Seoul- Hotel Pick Up & No Shopping
We completed many activities during the day at a great pace.
Unforgettable moments
JAMES_C, Mar. 2023
Full Day Small-Group Royal Palace and Seoul Tour
Our tour guide Sadie Bey was very knowledgeable, accommodating and speaks fluent English.
Excellent Experience
Elif_G, Mar. 2023
Full Day Small-Group Royal Palace and Seoul Tour
In one day we visited 5-6 main attractions in the city.
The best tour I ever attended!
Anna_J, Mar. 2023
Best Half Day DMZ Tour from Seoul (No Forced Shopping)
Definitely, I would recommend this tour to everyone who wants to visit DMZ.
Great tour!
Katie_M, Mar. 2023
Noryangjin Fish Market Dinner
She told us all about Korea and gave us recommendations for all the places we wanted to visit later.
Corey_M, Feb. 2023
Mount Seorak + Nami Island + Garden of Morning Calm Day Trip from Seoul
I'd recommend the tour to anyone looking to see some beautiful spots in Korea with a very friendly guide!
Great Tour!
Scott_M, Feb. 2023
Seoul City Tour (Full Day)
I recommend this for anyone, especially if you do not have much time in Seoul, and you want to see as much as you can.
Amazing Nami Island
Anna_E, Feb. 2023
Nami Island and Petite France & Italian Village Day Trip from Seoul
One of my favourite to visit again and again ❣️ Thanks to our tour guide Hazel and her Boss Jennifer, Both are amazing and kind❣️
Experience the history of Korea
Hwee_N, Jan. 2023
Old Korea Thousand History Tour of Gyeongju from Busan
Thanks to our guide Rosey for her detailed English explanation and taking care of our needs and wellbeing throughout the tour.
Slice of Korean life
Thomas_J, Jan. 2023
Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour in Seoul
A great class, and a fun opportunity to visit the market and try Korean cooking.
A must when here in Seoul
Tyshawn_J, Jan. 2023
Korea DMZ Half Day from Seoul Guided Tour - No Shopping
We were able to visit a few places that had been rebuilt after several burnings.
Had a wonderful time, our...
Mohammad_U, Dec. 2022
Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Tour from Seoul- Hotel Pick Up & No Shopping
Saw the dmz and was able to see a north Korean village
Highly recommended DMZ tour
Serene_L, Dec. 2022
Korean DMZ Tour with Expert Tour Guide from Seoul - No shopping
I would highly recommend this tour to whomever is interested to visit the DMZ.
Bring your most comfortable walking shoes
Barbara_C, Nov. 2022
Namhansanseong UNESCO Historical Sites and Korean Folk Village-Private Tour
His English was sooo much better than our Korean.
Great experience
Eli_G, Nov. 2022
Traditional Cooking Experience in Korean Style House in Seoul
This was one of the most enjoyable activities we had in South Korea.
A must to see in Busan for one day!!!
Josephine_K, Nov. 2022
Full-Day Busan City Tour
Beautiful places of Busan to visit while visiting Korea!
Fun and Marvelous trip
YinFoong_L, Nov. 2022
Full-Day Tour Unmissable things to do in busan.
The tour guide- Jay Lee and Mira has been trying to speak English or Chinese by sharing the history on the locations to us.
Highly recommend this tour
Ramya_N, Nov. 2022
Best Half Day DMZ Tour from Seoul (No Forced Shopping)
If anyone is planning to Visit South Korea, I recommend doing this guided tour.
Great first day I South Korea
Aisoon_B, Oct. 2022
Private DMZ Peace Tour: 3rd Invasion Tunnel(Monorail) and Suspension Bridge
Paul was a terrific guide and did a fantastic job, We were picked up on time and well informed about the different sites and attractions.
Lovely Day in Seoul
Michelle_P, Oct. 2022
Make Your Trip in Seoul With a Tour Specialist (Photographer option)
He knew all the best places to see and shared some interesting stories as well.
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People Also Ask

What is South Korea known for?

The Korean wave, including K-pop and K-dramas, has extended South Korea’s reach around the globe. Food and drink like kimchi, Korean barbecue, and soju are also popular the world over. Home to exceptionally fast internet speeds and major tech companies, South Korea is a leading name in innovative technology.

How many days do you need in South Korea?

You will need at least three days to take in Seoul’s historical attractions, shopping neighborhoods, and many restaurants. Add a fourth day to include a day trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). If you plan to travel to other parts of the country, such as Busan, Gyeongju, or Jeju Island, set aside at least 5-7 days.

What activities are popular in South Korea?

Koreans are generally quite active; hiking and camping are common weekend activities for people of all ages. Other popular activities include shopping, norebang (karaoke), and sports. Food is also an integral part of Korean culture, and friends often socialize over chicken and beer, Korean barbecue, or coffee.

What is the prettiest place in South Korea?

Many consider Haedong Yonggung Temple in Busan to be the prettiest place in South Korea with its ornate buildings and view over the Yellow Sea. Constructed in the 14th century, it was destroyed during the Japanese occupation and rebuilt in the 1930s. Springtime visitors should opt for a visit to nearby Jinhae to see the cherry blossoms.

What are the do’s and don’ts in South Korea?

South Korea has many cultural customs that foreigners should make an effort to adhere to. Do accept items with two hands, slurp your noodles, and remove your shoes when entering someone’s house. Don’t shout, blow your nose in public, or take subway seats reserved for the elderly and pregnant or people with disabilities.

Is it safe to go to South Korea?

Yes, South Korea is incredibly safe for tourists. The country’s crime rate is very low, and crimes against foreigners are rare. As in any country, petty theft is possible, so it’s good to be aware of your valuables while exploring densely populated areas. Police officers are regularly stationed on street corners and are always happy to help.


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