South Korea is the underexplored Asian gem which intrigues every traveler looking to unravel the wonders of our vast and gifted continent and features on many a bucket lists. There are so many interesting things to do in South Korea to satiate not just nature and adventure lovers but also culture and history enthusiasts.
The vibrant and quirky capital offers great shopping, delectable food, K-Pop concerts, and a buzzing nightlife while other cities are steeped in culture and endowed with natural wonders. Here we take you on a rollercoaster ride, listing our picks for some of the best, craziest and most fun things to do in South Korea.
Top 10 Things To Do In South Korea
1. Discover the Grandeur of Seoul’s Palaces
Amongst all the things to do in South Korea, visiting the spectacular Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul must be on top of your list. One of the five imperial palaces, a walk through this magnificent palace is the best way to experience the culture & history of the country. You must witness the impressive change of guards and enjoy the beautiful gardens and the river view, as you stroll along wearing a traditional Hanbok costume (ensures free entry and some great photographs). The colourful facades and exquisite woodwork look stunning when the palace is lit up in the evening.
Timings: March-May & Sept-Oct: 9AM to 6PM; June-August: 9AM to 6:30PM; Nov-Feb: 9AM to 5PM. Tuesdays closed
Entry fee: INR 200/adult; INR 100/child. Group discounts available.
Location: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul
2. Adventure Amidst Nature at the Bukhansan National Park
One of the best things to do in South Korea is to hike the picturesque trails at Bukhansan National Park just outside Seoul. This is not just an adventure to remember but also your chance to discover the flora, fauna, temples and fortresses in this region. As you traverse the natural trails, you are greeted by babbling brooks, gushing waterfalls and serene shrines. Serious hikers can attempt the Baegundae peak (highest peak) while the Wonhyo Bong is perfect for an easy and enjoyable climb.
Timings: 4AM to 5PM all days of the week.
Entry fee: Free entry for hikers.
3. Experience the Surreal vistas at Seongsan Ilchulbong
Also called the Seongsan Sunrise Peak, climbing up this stunning natural site in Jeju Island is amongst the most thrilling things to do in South Korea. Nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts will be bowled over by this rewarding hike and breathtaking sunrise and sundown views from the edge of the magnificent crater rim. If you’re lucky you may witness the fascinating women divers (Haenyeo or Jeju mermaids) who dive into the sea for collecting its many treasures.
Timings: Summer-7:10AM to 7PM; Winter – 7:30AM to 6PM
Entry fee: INR 130/adult; INR 65/child. Group discount available.
4. A walk through history at the National Museum of Korea
This grand marble-lined building where you can take the journey from ancient to modern day Korea with interesting exhibits on every floor, is undoubtedly one of the most important things to do in South Korea. The first floor has historical exhibits (the Baekje Incense Burner is noteworthy) while others have pottery, paintings, sculptures and so many other facets of the Korean culture at display. It is a fascinating place to spend a few hours marvelling at the national relics and artefacts.
Timings: 10AM to 6PM. Opens till 9PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays and 7PM on Sundays.
Entry Fee: Free entry for Permanent Exhibitions and Childrens’ Museum
Location: 137, Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
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5. Sample Lip-smacking delights at the Jagalchi Fish Market
Visiting the Jagalchi Market is one of the most fun things to do in South Korea for all seafood lovers. Korea’s largest seafood market is a great place to see all kinds of fresh and dried seafood varieties, from the regular to the exotic and weird, at display under the same roof. Choosing from the impressive variety of seafood delights sold by vendors on the first floor, and then being served your freshly cooked meal at the second floor is quite an experience.
Timings: 5AM to 10PM. Closed on first and third Tuesday of every month.
Location: 52, Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan
6. Visit the Verdant Boseong Green Tea Fields
The soothing sight of neatly terraced rows of green tea bushes as far as the eye can see welcome you at this breathtakingly beautiful site on the southern coast of Korea. A walk through the fields inhaling the sweet aroma of the green tea is a rejuvenating and unique experience that you must include in your top 10 things to do in South Korea. After strolling through the lush fields and clicking picture postcard perfect shots, you must stop by the restaurant to try out the exotic green tea flavoured ice cream and local delicacy with a green tea twist!
Timings: 9AM to 6:30PM
Entry Fee: INR250/adult; INR 200/child or senior citizen.
Location: 763-65 Nokcha-ro, Boseong-eup, Boseong, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
7. The Splendour of Spring at Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
There is no better way to experience the magic of spring than witnessing the enchanting Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival. Come spring, the entire naval town of Jinhae comes alive with these delicate pink blossoms which are a sight to behold. Watching the magical blossoms at the Yeojwacheon stream and the famous ‘Romance’ bridge is surely the most fascinating things to do in South Korea. Also, the pretty cherry trees lining the Gyeonghwa station are a sight to behold and must not be missed.
Location: Tongsin-dong, Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
Best time to visit: Early April
8. Fun All the way at Lotte World and Magic Island
Spending a few hours at Lotte World, the country’s very own indoor version of the magical Disneyland, is one of the most fun things to do in South Korea for both kids and adults. There are thrilling rides, spectacular parades, a fairyland themed ice skating rink, 3d movies, laser shows and so much more to keep you hooked. The folk museum will keep the kids engaged with unique representation of Korean history through moving waxworks and models. The outdoor Magic Island also offers myriad adrenaline rushing rides, VR thrills and adventures.
Timings: Mon-Thurs – 9:30AM to 10PM; Fri-Sat – 9:30AM to 11PM. Sunday closed.
Entry fee: One-day tickets from INR3300/adult and INR 1800/child. Discounted entry after 4PM
Location: 240 Olympic-ro, Jamsil 3(sam)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
9. A Cultural odyssey at Bukchon Hanok Village
Close to the bustle of the city is this charming village with 900 traditional Korean homes (hanoks) standing witness to the rich architectural and cultural traditions of the country. It is a delight to stroll through the quiet lanes and admire the patterned walls and tile-roofed architecture of these beautiful traditional homes. Many of the hanoks serve as restaurants and cultural centres offering an immersive experience of the Korean traditions and culture.
Timings: Mon-Fri – 9AM to 6PM; Sat-Sun – 9AM to 5PM
Location: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
10. Relax at the unique & classy Cobbler bar
Once you’re done with visiting the important historical sites in the city, this cosy bar tastefully set inside a traditional hanok is a great place to relax and enjoy some awesome cocktails. True to its name, every customer is served a cobbler pie as their signature gesture. Relaxing at the Cobbler Bar with its elegant ambience, vintage furniture and wide range of customised drinks, is one of the coolest things to do in Seoul, South Korea.
Timings: Mon-Sat – 7PM to 3AM. Sunday closed.
Location: 16 Sajik-ro 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Now that you know all about the exciting things to do in South Korea, we hope your vacation would be as colorful as the experiences above. And if you’ve already been to South Korea, do share how it was in the comments section below.