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What to do in South Korea


Seoraksan National Park, South korea
Korean tourists in the Seoraksan National Park, South korea

There are many beautiful parks in South Korea, and nearly all of them are hiker friendly. The trails are clearly marked and there are well-maintained camping spots all over each park. Occasionally, there is even an authentic Korean mountain hut where you can stay overnight.

Hiking in these national parks exhilarates your senses while keeping you in a safe environment.

The most famous national park in the country is Seorak-san, particularly Naeseorak (Inner Seorak). This is a very tranquil hiking trail that’s flanked by forested peaks, serene rivers, roaring waterfalls, and grand Buddhist temples. There are rock climbs along the trail as well.

Other national parks where you can go for hiking include Jiri-san, which has a 65-kilometer-long ridge trail with lots of temples along the way; Songni-san, with its popular and novice-friendly trails for all hikers; and Bukhansan, which can be found right on the edge of the city of Seoul.

Open-air bathing

Lady bathing in open air

Open-air baths are popular in South Korea, especially during wintertime. Open-air baths in warm – or sometimes, near-boiling water – help relieve the bitter cold of the frosty weather. They also provide various therapeutic effects, which could relax your muscles and relieve the stress that you may be feeling.

In Seorak-san National Park, you can visit the spa resort so that you can soak in natural hot springs, all while taking in the amazing sights of the mountain vista. You can even take a bath in lemon-flavored pools, which will also help relax your senses. If you are brave enough, you can take a shower under a waterfall at near-boiling temperatures.

There are a multitude of natural hot springs and spa resorts all over South Korea. They are frequented by locals and tourists alike because the relaxation that they provide to those that brave the high water heat provide a welcome break from the stresses that one can get from the high-octane city life.

Bargain hunting

Bargain hunting in Namdaemun Night Market

The Namdaemun Night Market opens at around 10:30 pm every night and lasts until just before dawn. It is located near its namesake, Namdaemun – or the Great South Gate – in the city of Seoul. Even with its untimely hours, the night market still remains exceedingly popular.

The Namdaemun Night Market is 10 acres of shopping paradise, with practically everything can be bought, from woven baskets to pots to fruits and meat.

There are more than a thousand shops that participate in the night market. You’ll never go hungry as food vendors sell cheap street food, which are always served hot, even in the early hours of the morning.

The night market offers bargain hunters literally hundreds of choices in their search for a good buy. Even if you’re not shopping for a particular thing, the Namdaemun Night Market is a place to visit.

Staying at a Yogwan

Yogwan in South Korea

A trip to South Korea does not need to be expensive. With night markets, street food, and free attractions, tourists can enjoy their South Korean experience without spending much.

Even for accommodations, tourists can save money by not staying in five-star hotels. After all, yogwans – traditional guest houses – are available for rent.

Yogwans are run by Korean families, and they have much more Korean character than any fancy hotel can give. Guests sleep on futons on the floor, which is actually a boon during the winter as there are underfloor heating systems present in these guest houses. Although yogwans are not as glamorous as luxury hotels, they allow you to experience authentic Korean culture first hand as you would be living in a real Korean house with a real Korean family.

Snowboarding and skiing

Couple snowboarding in South Korea

The Yongpyong Ski Resort is located 700 meters above sea level. Normally, this would be an uninhabitable area. However, the ski resort has turned the area to a place of winter fun and activity for snow-heads all over the world.

Located 200 kilometers from Seoul, Yongpyong receives 250 centimeters of annual snowfall each year. The beautiful environment surrounding Yongpyong supports a wide range of winter sports, including snowboarding and skiing, from mid-November to early April.

With a 4,300 acre area, the resort offers a 45-hole golf course, 31 slopes for skiing, luxury hotels and condominiums, and many other activity centers that the whole family can enjoy.