You may only conjure images of a flailing viral dance or it’s northern neighbour when you think of South Korea, but it has so much more to offer. From the city of Seoul to the vast countryside, the K-Pop obsessed nation will have you unwilling to leave. Considering a trip a little closer to home? Here’s 5 wonderful reasons to set your course towards South Korea, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
#1 Soak It Up
Sure, you may come to South Korea for the culture but you deserve a little relaxation too. And oh boy, do Koreans love to relax. The beauty conscious nation will have you stocking your pharmacy cart to the brim, but don’t let the beautifying rituals stop there. Jimjilbang, Korean spas or bathhouses are a cultural must, they’re gender segregated and open 24 hours, perfect for jet lag. If you fancy a bath with a view, a day trip out from the city of Busan will have you settled and pruney in no time. Cilmer Spa is our pick, but cleansing is a ritual here, so you’ll have a mass to choose from. There’s plenty of temples nearby too, if you’re in the traditional spirit.
#2 Eat And Drink Til Your Heart’s Content
The sizzle of Korean BBQ and the ever growing presence of kimchi as a side, Korean food is having a moment back home. You’d be a fool not to eat your way around the local fare, each region specialising in particular delights. Sip Makgeolli, a locally crafted rice wine after exploring the seafood markets or pinch yourself some napjak mandu, a korean dumpling made popular in Daegu. Sure there’s nothing like cooking your own meal at Korean BBQ, but don’t be put off the lack of english menus or be afraid of scouring back alleys. Follow the locals and you’ll find the best food in town, you may just need to wing it while ordering,Google Translate will be your greatest ally.
#3 Do It Gangnam Style
There’s no need to actually do Gangnam style, although you’re more than welcome, I’m referring to the bustling Gangnam district. Bars, clubs, restaurants, temples, toys and shopping all night long. Literally Gangnam means south of the river, and that’s exactly where you’ll find it in the capital city of Seoul. Tech obsessees will find Samsung’s flagship store, and beam like a kid before Christmas. If you do decide to turn up, the clubs here are mammoth, Club Syndrome has an Iron Man statue and an indoor pool, as you do.
#4 Pay Kim Jong A Visit
Once off limit to tourists, the long expanse referred to both as the scariest place on earth and the most dangerous border, is now accessible. Look, Kim Jong probably won’t make an appearance and for your sake we hope not, but it’s worth a stop just for the tale to bring home. The world’s most insular country certainly looks different from the other side.
#5 Get Lost In The Wilderness
Beyond the lights of Seoul and the sound of K-Pop all but dulled, the forestry of South Korea is truly stunning. From the cascading waterfalls of Cheonjiyeon Falls to the tranquil air of temples dotted all along the country. Hike your way to the top of Seroak Mountain or head to the fields of Boseong Green Tea to fuel your leafy obsession. The aroma alone will have you in a trance. Or just like cherry blossom filled Japan when Sakura hits come April, you’ll be surrounded by a flutter of the popular flowers.
Image source: Wake Up and Dance, Business Insider, Mango Plate, Timeout, Natalie Off Duty, Chang Won City.