Have you ever thought of places to go to once the lockdown and stay-at-home rules have been lifted? If you haven’t yet, then we’d like to make a solid suggestion: South Korea! Globally making waves and influence with its pop culture, particularly in music (K-pop), TV dramas and cinema, here are top 3 reasons why you should pay South Korea a visit at least once in your life!
But before you book your flights and pack your bags, make sure that you’ll actually get there first. Because the country is a favorite tourist destination, fake travel agencies have been a thing, scamming those who want to experience the Korean wave by posting travel pictures stolen from the Internet. To make your Korean experience safe and fun, watch out for scam websites and pages, or as the locals call it, 먹튀.
1. Rich Culture and History
Naturally isolated in East Asia, South Korea has a long history dating back over a thousand years! Up to this day, you can still stand in awe of some of the most significant cultural heritage sites of the country, like the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main palace situated in Seoul. You can also wander around Gyeongju, the museum without walls. Gyeongju was the capital of Korea during the Silla Dynasty (57 BC – 935 AD) and is home to countless royal tombs, palaces, and temples, some making it to UNESCO World Heritage sites.
As a peninsula, South Korea didn’t have much influence from nearby regions and nations, and has been able to keep a variety of traditions alive throughout centuries. South Koreans still perform traditional Korean dance and music performances, and it’s normal to see people walking around in traditional clothes (hanbok). You can even rent one to wear around Seoul and Jeonju! Even in highly-urbanized areas like Seoul, you can still find traditional hanok house neighborhoods with lovely teahouses that have been standing strong for decades! This mix of old and new is truly fun to explore when traveling in South Korea.
2. Unique Cuisine
Over the centuries, Koreans have created a fascinating and rich food culture made up of meat dishes, stews, soups, noodle dishes, seafood and many vegetable side dishes. Their particular food preparation is the result of harsh weather, especially during Winter. Think of Kimchi, South Korea’s famous side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables kept in jars for months, one of many practices used to protect food from freezing. Let’s just say no one prepares Korean cuisine like the Koreans!
3. Year-round Perfection
Because of South Korea’s unique location in East Asia, the country is blessed with changing seasons. This makes Korea an exciting place to travel and live, no matter what month or season it is! You’ll find cherry blossoms in the spring, flower fields in the summer, colorful foliage in the fall and a white wonderland in the winter. Besides the changing weather, each season has special festivals and dishes, making it a year-round tourist spot!
4. Modernized Areas
South Korea pioneers worldwide innovative structures. Take a look at the heart of the country, Seoul. The modernized city is surrounded by futuristic buildings like the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid, Seoul is also home to the world’s fifth-largest skyscraper piercing majestically out of the ground overlooking the Han River. Also, you can take a peek on how some of the world’s leading companies’ offices are like. This includes Samsung, Hyundai and Kia.
5. Peace and Tranquility
If you’re not a fan of bustling cities and festival centers, you can still find tranquility in temple-stay programs. These programs let you live like Buddhist monks in temples across Korea. You can choose to experience inner peace from downtown Seoul to rural South Korea on top of a mountain.
And the list goes on and on! There are simply endless things to do when you’re in South Korea. So, make sure to include this majestic country in your bucket list for next year- or whenever COVID-19 is no more!