15 Experiences To Have In South Korea

A comprehensive guide to exploring the small South Asian country packing big experiences
15 Experiences To Have In South Korea
South Korea has emerged as one of the most preferred travelling destinations in recent years/iStock

In recent years, South Korea has seen its popularity skyrocket wildly. This, in part, can be attributed to the cultural renaissance that the country experienced with the global popularity of K-Pop and K-Dramas. However, with its skyscrapers, culture and history, food and natural vistas, South Korea has emerged to be one of the most preferred travelling destinations in recent years, holding something for every kind of tourist within its boundaries.

1.Cherry Blossoms

The best time to visit South Korea if you wish to explore the cherry blossoms is March and April. The entire country turns pink and white with the blossoming of millions of cherry blossoms. The nation holds many festivals throughout the length and breadth of the country.

However, the best spot to watch the cherry blossoms is at the ten-day festival held in Jinhae. Some of the trees here are around 100 years old and the total tree count amounts to around 3.5 lakhs. There is a military band parade, an opening band parade and the best place to spot the blossoms is Gyeonghwa-yeok train station or the Yeojwacheon stream.

The Cherry Blossom season attracts many tourists/Unsplash

2. Hiking trails

Around 70 per cent of the country’s region is covered in mountainous terrain and hiking is hence a popular pastime activity in South Korea. It is best to hike in one of the 22 National Parks of the country. The parks also have amenities like washrooms, small shops as well as food and drink options.

Most of the hikes do not require a reservation and the best time to hike is autumn or spring.  The favoured snack to enjoy after a hike is beer and jeon-a savoury rice pancake and seeing a group of hikers in mountain gear enjoying a picnic at the sunset is a common sight.

3.Cafes in South Korea

South Korea has cafes for every theme imaginable, right from books to flowers to pet cafes featuring dogs, cats and kangaroos. South Korea as a country is also obsessed with their coffee so be sure to buy the drink from the many local vendors. The dessert cafes in the country have the best décor and the most artistic looking desserts, but be prepared to splurge at these places, with a single coffee sometimes costing as much as 7000 KRW.

4. Jeju Islands

The Hawaii of South Korea is known for its volcanic terrains, lush green surroundings and the cherry blossom festival. There are stunning waterfalls like Jeongbang and Cheonjeyeo and the crystal clear beaches of Jungmun. The unique lava tube caves here are UNESCO World Heritage Site and a volcanic cone tuff called Seonsang Ilchulbong offers a panoramic view of the island that tourists visit for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities.

The Jeju Islands
The Jeju Islands/ ShutterStock

5.Haeinsa Temple

Another renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Haeinsa Temple is home to the oldest Buddhist canon in the Hanja Script. The wooden blocks carved with the teachings of the monks are considered to be revered scriptures. The architectural beauty of the temple is second to none and it is surrounded by sparkling streams and lush green forest, making it the most ideal spot for a round of meditation.

Haeinsa temple is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site/Google Images

6. Soothe yourself at a Jjimjilbang

No trip to the country can be complete without a visit to the local saunas, which are a kind of tradition in South Korea. Translated as heating rooms, these are the places where Koreans engage in a variety of wellness and health rituals. They are heated between 50 to 90 degrees Celsius and you are made to lie on hemp mats to warm your body. They follow the etiquette of thoroughly washing your body before entering the sauna space so be mindful of that.

7.Traditional markets

South Korea’s markets are more a cacophony than a visual experience, with shopkeepers shouting to sell their wares, fishes splashing in water basins, and street hawkers selling the perfect snacks to accompany your shopping spree. The Gwangjang Market and Namdaemun Market are some of the country’s oldest and most popular, and are the best to experience the local Korean life at its peak.

8. The DMZ

If you are brave and adventurous enough, the Korean Demilitarized Zone could be a once in a lifetime experience. It reflects the longstanding history of tension between the neighbouring Korean countries and is one of the most heavily bordered areas in the world. The Third Infiltration Tunnel is open for tourist exploration and the Joint Security Area allows travellers to step into North Korea while remaining on the southern side.



Popularly known as the, “museum without walls”, Gyeongju is a city that holds a rich legacy of royal tombs, historical sites and ancient sites. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Bulguksa Temple and the Seokguram Temple. You can also visit the Cheomseongdae Observatory, making the trip a complete cultural getaway.

The city of Gyeongju/ Get Your GUide

10. Do the Cha Cha

Korea has gathered attention worldwide for its famous nightlife, and cha cha refers to the tradition of going out drinking over the weekends. It is one of the essential tenets of Korean nightlife. The first round of revelry begins is barbecue, where diners enjoy pork and other grilled meats. From there, you head to different pubs for the next stop. The last stop is usually at a karaoke bar, where you take a private space and dance to the tune of hit K-Pop.

11. Andong

The city of Andong celebrated the culture, tradition and history of the country. It is home to a preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hahoe Folk Village, which celebrates the lifestyle of the Joseon dynasty. Another attraction of the city is the Andong Mask Dance festival, an ode to music, dance and masks in the Korean society.

Andong is a culturally rich city/Adobe Stock

12. Visit Seoul

Seoul is truly the heart of South Korea, perfectly blending tradition with modernity. It is home to mind boggling futuristic skyscrapers and abundant historical sites. Take a stroll through Seoul along the Cheong-gye-cheon that meanders through the city from east to west. Explore the bustling markets, the art installations and experience the culinary delights of Kimchi, Kimbap and Soju as you watch the many street performances.

13. Experience Korean Baseball

It would come as a surprise to some, but South Korea’s most popular professional sport is baseball. The atmosphere at one of the Korean Baseball Organization’s games is unmatchable. You are allowed to bring your own food and the concession stands also sell food and beer at reasonable prices. The season runs from October to April and weekday games are less likely to get sold out, so grab your tickets at the earliest.

14.The Bamboo Trees of Damyang

The southern provinces of the country boast of forests that are covered in bamboo patches. The largest of such forests is spread over an area of 16 hectares in the North Joella province, called the Juknokwon. There are scenic trails, museums, art galleries and cultural villages to supplement your visit of the bamboo trees.

15. Busan

With its lively beaches and streets, Busan invites tourists from all over the world. The stunning coastal views, the vibrant nightlife and the Jagalchi Fish market are some of the main draws for local and international travellers. Busan is the go-to destination if you wish to pack all experiences in a single city.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller