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South Korea

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Table of contents

Things to do and See in South Korea

Seoul


Seoul is the political, financial, educational and cultural hub of the city. It has a high standard of living, which ranks it among the highest in Asia. The city has been the capital since 1394 and today it has hundreds of shops displaying all the latest electronic devices, which the country makes. Seoul’s greatest attractions are perhaps the royal residences, several of which are UNESCO-listed and below are a list of a few buildings you should visit. The Korea Pass Card is a great prepaid card that allows you to use it on buses and the subway in the city. It also works as a telephone and credit card and offers some discounts on tourist’s sights. The subway system in the city is cheap reliable and clean. For more information go to www.koreapasscard.com or www.seoulsubway.co.kr or www.smrt.co.kr

Gyeongbokgung Palace

This palace was originally built by King Taejo, it served as the main palace until 1592, when the Japanese burnt it down. It laid in ruins for nearly 300 years until it was rebuilt in 1865. Again when the Japanese took control of the country, they destroyed nearly all of its 330 buildings. Today, its being restored to its former glory and people can see what it looked like before and after the Japanese destroyed it.

Changdokkung Palace

This UNESCO-listed palace is surrounded by picturesque Secret Gardens, which loads of locals cherish. Also, the Chongmyo Shrine, which is located near the palace, contains the ancestral tablets of the Kings of the Yi Dynasty. There is a Confucian ceremony that takes place here annually on the first Sunday in May. Between March and December there is a Changing of the Guard from outside its gates between 2pm and 3:30pm every Monday. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and definitely worth a visit.

Kyongbokkung Palace

This is one of the most impressive of the palaces in the city and it was constructed in 1394. The palace was used in the 15th century against fighting off the Japanese and Chinese who continued to attack the city and country. On the grounds of the palace you will find the National Folk Museum, which has some great displays worth checking out. For more information on the National Folk Museum go to www.nfm.go.kr

Seoul Tower and Namsan Mountain

If you want some great views of the city go to the top of Namsan Mountain, where the views are spectacular. The Seoul Tower is has loads of restaurants and the observation deck on the tower is another excellent place to see some spectacular views of the city.

East Gate (Dongdaemun) Market

This market is a great place to find a bargain and it’s the biggest market in the city. It’s the most popular market with locals and tourists to the city.

 

National Parks


Seoraksan National Park

This is the country’s most popular national park, as it has some spectacular mountains, waterfalls and temples. There a loads of accommodation and other tourist facilities. 

Jirisan National Park

Hike to Buddhist temples and up a mountain peaks in Korea’s first national park. It has some of the best hiking trails and it’s an opportunity to go up to peaks of the Cheonwangbong, which is over 1500m.

Dadohae Haesang National Park

These are beautiful islands where you will find beautiful sandy beaches and where the old traditions are still practised. With over 1700 islands and located in the south, it’s a popular destination for those looking for some sun and beaches.

 

The Rest of the Country


Gyeongju

In Gyeongju it’s your chance to explore the ancient Silla capital with its countless temples, pagodas and royal tombs. This city has been around for over 1000 years and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Busan

This is the country’s largest city and the world’s fourth largest container port, as most of the goods that are made in the country are exported from this city. The city itself has the Busan Tower, which gives you great views of the city. If you are into temples or history the Pomosa Temple and Kumjongsansong Fortress are worth checking out. If you like to shop then next to Seoul this is the best place, as there are loads of markets, which you can buy almost anything. Near Busan you will find the beach resorts of Haeundae and Songjong, which are popular on those hot summer days. Also, one of the top tourist destinations is the hot-spring spa at Heosimcheong.

Jejudo

Sometimes referred to as the 'Hawaii of Korea', this beautiful resort island has fabulous sandy beaches, waterfalls and volcanoes, which make it one of the most interesting attractions on earth.  It’s located off the southwest coast of the country and its home to the highest mountain Hallasan, which stands at over 1950m above sea level. It’s arguably the most popular destination in the country as people come here to enjoy the sunshine, great seafood and snorkelling and diving, which is the best in the country.

One of the most popular and interesting attractions on Jeju is 'Loveland', which is the island's original sex attraction. It's an errotic art park that has giant figures kissing, people performing x-rated poses in front of people, toilet handles that are in the shape of a penis and graphic monuments and statues inspired by the kama sutra. Another attraction worth checking out is the 'Museum Of Sex And Health', which has a combination of phallic statues and an erotic 3D cinema which keeps the visitors entertained.

Icheon

This city is the location of South Korea’s new International Airport and is the traditional centre of Korea’s ceramics industry. Internationally it’s known for ‘Incheon Landings’ of UN troops during the Korean War in 1950. Today, most of the visitors to the city come to one of the many shopping centres for a bargain on some clothing or electronics.

Kyongju

Known as Korea’s ‘Museum without walls’, Kyongju is a repository of ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture and has been designated by UNESCO as one of the world’s ten most historically significant sites. The most visited tourist attraction is the seventh-century Chomsongdae, an observatory that ranks amongst the oldest in Asia. Nearby Tumuli Park contains 20 tomb mounds of Shilla Royalty, one of which, the Heavenly Horse Tomb, can be entered. This whole area is very popular with those looking for more of the religious side of the country. The nearby Pomun Lake Resort is popular as it has a complex of hotels, a convention centre, golf courses, sports facilities, a casino, marina and shopping centres.

Skiing

The country isn’t the best place in the world to go skiing, but there are over 15 ski resorts within a 4 to 5 hour drive of Seoul. It just missed out by a few votes of hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, when they eventually lost to Vancouver. Most of the resorts are located in Gyeonnggi-do or Gangwon-do in the north and in the south Jeollabuk-do near Muju and also Teogyusan National Park.

 
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