South Korea is full of surprises. It might be known as a country home to top technology companies and for long disagreement with the North, but there’s a whole lot more going on in South Korea than you might think.
An exciting destination for lovers of Asian culture, a visit to South Korea provides numerous chances for you can get stuck into the more traditional way of life. Hike up Mount Seorak and get a view from above, explore the small lanes of folk villages and see the cherry blossom in full bloom.
Modern-day Korea is there for the taking as well, with the chance to see K-Pop performances, get to grips with what Gangnam style really is and snap selfies on the backdrop of the buzzing backstreets of Busan.
To get you started with planning your trip, here’s our comprehensive list of the best things to do in South Korea. From our roundup with most amazing fun things to do in South Korea, to things to do in South Korea for free, we’ve got you covered.
Prepare yourself: once you read this you’ll wish you were there already!
Quick Answer – Best things to do in South Korea
- Fun Things to Do in South Korea – See Some K-Pop
- Romantic Things to Do in South Korea – Explore Jeju Island
- Things to Do in South Korea with Kids – Max out the fun at Everland
- Free Things to Do in South Korea – Dongmyo Flea Market
- Best Things to Do in South Korea at Night – Pub Crawl in Busan
Staying Safe in South Korea
Let’s admit it – South Korea is a super safe country. But no matter where you travel to, you absolutely NEED to have travel insurance.
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Fun Things to Do in South Korea
South Korea is jam-packed with a plethora of fun things to do. There’s quirky K-pop concerts, amazing mountaintops to scale and some pretty weird museums to visit. Let go of your to-do lists and spend a whole day of fun in South Korea.
The musical phenomenon that is K-Pop has definitely made its mark across the world. Fans from far and wide are rocking up in South Korea on the trail of their favorite members of the top K-Pop groups.
Discover for yourself what all of the fuss is about and go and see a show while you’re in Seoul. Spend an evening doing one the most fun thing to do in South Korea and let your hair down to the latest K-Pop sensation. The songs are pretty addictive though. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Visit the Kimchi Museum
Yes, that’s right: there is actually a whole museum dedicated to kimchi. The staple of Korean cuisine has its own museum, of course, and it’s a super fun day out in Seoul.
You’ll get to see how kimchi is made, the different dishes it’s used in, the history behind the fermented cabbage, what goes and into making the spicy stuff and. Maybe you’ll even get to learn or thing or two about Korean cooking. The perfect fun thing to do in Korea for fans of Asian cooking.
Make sure to finish off your day with a big ol’ helping of kimchi at the museum restaurant and impress all your mates after with all of your newly found kimchi knowledge.
See Mount Seorak
This fun thing to do in South Korea takes you out of the city and up the third highest mountain in South Korea. Travel up Mount Seorak to the Gwongeumseong Fortress by the cable car, but make sure to peer out and spot some pretty cool rock formations on the way.
The Ulsanbawi are six spectacular granite peaks, for instance. Pay a visit to the Shin Heungsa Temple where you’ll find the giant Bronze Buddha. The Buddha weighs 108 tonnes and officially goes by the less catchy name, ‘The Great Unification Buddha’.
It might be a little strange to list visiting a communist country like North Korea as one of the fun things to do in South Korea, but it kind of if is. Travelling to the DMZ is totally a fun day out – especially if you’re a keen history buff, or are just simply fascinated by the weirdness of North Korea.
A day at the DMZ includes a chance to go down deep into one of the tunnels under the DMZ that were secretly built by the North, and even step into the North in the blue huts on the actual border.
Romantic Things to Do in South Korea
South Korea might not be up there on the list when it comes to romance… it’s not Italy or France. But Korean couples are keen on romancing each other, which means that there’s a lot of romantic things to do in South Korea.
There’s some stunning natural scenery to discover together, laid-back island getaways – oh, and even beaches to watch the sunset on. It’s a fun country to spend time in with your other half. So here’s the best things for couples to do in South Korea.
Known as the Hawaii of Korea, a visit to Jeju island is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in South Korea. You’ll get to spend the day splashing along the shores of the beautiful Hyupjae and Jumneung beaches and see the tropical flora or Hallim Park.
But one of the best things you can do is to take a chilled-out cruise to see the dramatic peaks of Jeju from the surrounding emerald ocean.
Yes, you read that right. And no, this isn’t a list about things to do in Japan. Just like its neighbour across the water, South Korea has its very own cherry blossom season. We can’t think of anything more romantic to do in South Korea than to spend a spring day seeing the blooming cherry blossom. Beautiful stuff.
You can find the best spots to see the flowers in Seoul on a tour and it will make the day stress free too. Hit up all of the most stunning cherry blossom spots, lounge around under the trees with a picnic lunch and get snap selfies with your partner.
South Korea is a peninsula which means there’s a whole lot of coastline to explore. Some of the best beaches in all of the country are in the buzzing city of Busan.
Seeing sunset on Busan’s beaches is one of the most romantic things to do in South Korea. Sunset is often accompanied by the gentle strum of local kids playing the guitar. You can enjoy a drink or two as you watch the stars together on the sand.
Spend the day hand in hand with your partner on a romantic day trip to Petite France. This slice of French life in South Korea comes complete with pastel-coloured buildings, galleries and – of course – cafes and restaurants to stop off at as you meander around.
Fans of K-Drama will love to learn that many of the scenic spots here have been used as locations in top dramas, like You Who Came From The Stars and Secret Garden.
Things to Do in South Korea With Kids
South Korea is one of the best countries to travel to with kids in tow. Not only for all of the family-friendly things to do but also because Koreans absolutely love kids.
If you’re visiting with your family, your children are going to have fun getting fussed over and making friends with locals. Make your trip even more fun and try out our top things to do in South Korea with kids.
Make the most of your family holiday and let your little ones to let off some steam. Everland is the perfect day out for kids in South Korea; you can bag yourself a fast entry e-ticket and explore all of the five zones without stress.
There’s a load of cool things to do here, not just adrenaline pumping rides but also a bunch of fun festivals like the Tulip Festival, Summer Splash and even a Halloween Festival.
The glamorous area of Gangnam was brought to the world’s attention by Psy’s addictive ‘Gangnam Style’. Complete with its own dance, the song has made the area one of the top places to visit in South Korea.
If your kids love the song, as so many do, then they’re going to love the chance to actually explore the area of Gangnam. There’s plenty of family-friendly places to have lunch in the area too, so make a day of it – and see if you can spot any South Korean celebrities while you’re there.
If you’re travelling to South Korea with older kids, then you’re going to have to take them on this tour. What more could a teenager want from their trip to South Korea than to make their friends jealous with all of their selfies around Busan?
Busan is a vibrant city as it is, so take an Instagram tour and you’ll get shown around temples and scenic spaces. Perfect for selfie enthusiasts.
All the fun of snowy mountains shouldn’t just be reserved for skiers: this fun day out with kids proves just that. You can spend your day in the mountains playing in the snow, making enormous snowmen, getting covered in snow by and having a few snowball fights.
A super enjoyable thing to do with your kids in South Korea during the colder winter months.
South Korea has some beautifully restored traditional folk villages and these make for the best days out with kids. Gwangmyeong transports you back to the Joseon Era with its quaint houses and lessons of the past.
Walk around the old village and chat to people on the street as if they’re from the old times. You can even dress up in traditional Korean clothing from the era called hanbok and have your pictures taken together.
Free Things to Do in South Korea
South Korea is already a fairly budget-friendly country to visit. But you can make your adventures there even more budget-friendly – just check out our round-up of the top free things to do in South Korea. You can actually get up to a lot of fun activities for free and save some money to treat yourself to a big helping of tasty Korean barbecue for dinner.
If you’re into your vintage finds, antiques and quirky electronics, gets yourself over to the Dongmyo Flea Market.
This makes it onto our list of free things to do in South Korea because of its size and the fact its really genuinely cool, but don’t blame us if you end up spending some of your cash! Prices are low however; you can pick up a kooky piece of Korean history for a snip of the price.
Delve into History at the National Museum of Korea
Museums are usually a fantastic way to learn more about any country you are visiting. This museum provides you with the history of Korea, from pre-history to Unified Silla, Gogoryo, Baekje, and the most famous Korean dynasty, Josen.
Not only that, but you’ll also get to see a whole host of Buddhist paintings and stunning calligraphy which totally makes it one of the best free things to do in South Korea.Stroll along Cheonggyecheon Stream
The Korean War left this area a run-down riverside. It was seen as an eyesore and covered up in the 1970s with a concrete highway. Thankfully, in 2002 the highway was removed and a major project set about making this stream a pleasant place to spend time.
Nowadays the riverside is popular with city dwellers; there’s stepping stones, greenery and even fish swimming in the water. At night the waterfall and fountain at the beginning of the stream is nicely illuminated.
See the Spectacle of Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain
Straddling 570 meters the Han River, the Banpodaegyo Bridge is a spectacle to see… but mainly at nighttime.
One of the best things to do for free in South Korea, it’s easy to catch sight of. Hundreds of nozzles sprout from the side of the bridge and move in synchronicity and are lit up in a spectrum of colours making for a magical sight.
Best Things to Do in South Korea At Night
South Korea might be fun in the day, but it’s when the sun goes down that things like to hot up. There is a mountain of nocturnal activities to get up to, but lucky for you we’ve narrowed down the list to include only the best things to do in South Korea at night.
Did anyone say pub crawl? Yes, that’s right: Busan is a bold and ballsy city and it’s full of places to get a drink or two. Or three.
Make your night out even easier and let somebody else take the reins by booking yourself onto a Pub Crawl. You’ll have one of the best nights out in South Korea and party alongside the lively students of the city, too.
South Korea is well known for its horror film and violent movies, so why not head on a tour of Seoul’s scarier side?
Totally one of the best things to do in South Korea at night, you’ll get to hear all about spooky traditional folklore as well as more modern crime stories. A tour will take you to spots around the city and you’ll hear tales of Japanese colonial times, to secrets of government buildings that they would probably rather you didn’t know about.
Being the large, ultra-modern city that it is, Seoul is completely packed full of buildings and skyscrapers that glisten with lights all night long. So hop on an open bus tour for one of the best things to do in South Korea at night: admiring the scenery.
Among other landmarks, you’ll see the awesome N Seoul Tower as you hear about the history and culture of Seoul, including its miraculous, lightning-speed development
What better way to see the sparkling city lights of Seoul than aboard boat on the Han River… after dark, of course. Among one of the best things to do in South Korea at night, this unique cruise on the Han River really opens up Seoul’s gleaming skyline. In the city on the weekend?
On Saturdays, there’s even a fireworks show behind the beautiful rainbow fountain on the Bampo Bridge.
There are just so many amazing things to do in South Korea. Koreans are crazy for hiking and it’s easy to spend days out in South Korea climbing up mountains. There’s chances to get out into nature on Jeju Island and many beaches to linger on for a few days, too.
Fans of culture will love visiting the brightly coloured Korean Buddhist temples, exploring the traditional Korean folk villages and learning all about Korean history and traditions in the many brilliant museums.
There’s a whole host of food for you to tuck into as well, it’s not all kimchi and barbecue. Have you ever heard of dakgalbi or Korean pizza? Exactly. Get lost in local markets and spend your time tucking into tasty food whilst sipping a soju or two.
Start planning your Korean adventures and get ready to have an incredible trip. The best things to do in South Korea are waiting for you!
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