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South KoreaAsia

Tour this country that charms with its culture, heritage and diverse landscapes. Visit ancient temples, explore dense rainforests and relax on tranquil beaches.

With forested mountains, ancient temples, traditional villages and large modern cities, South Korea fascinates visitors with its diversity. Shop in designer boutiques, travel through underground caves, drink tea with the locals and embark on mountain hikes.

Seoul straddles the Han River and is surrounded by mountains. The country’s business, cultural and economic hub has been South Korea’s capital for more than 600 years. Well-preserved ancient palaces, temples, shrines and monuments stand alongside modern skyscrapers, mega shopping malls and entertainment complexes.

Explore the many historic sights of this modern city. Tour the 14th-century palaces of Gyeongbok Palace and Changdeok Palace. The Great South Gate is one of the main gates of the old city. Shop for handcrafted souvenirs and antiques on the streets of Insadong. Enjoy a steaming mug of omija cha in one of the neighborhood’s traditional tearooms. Browse upmarket boutiques in Gangnam, the district made famous by the global hit song, Gangnam Style. Dine in European-style cafés and restaurants serving Asian cuisine in the Samcheong-dong district.

Seorak-san National Park is a vast protected area of mountains, forests, beaches and temples, a 3-hour drive from Seoul. Hike on trails that take from under an hour to three days to complete. Look for the park’s wildlife, such as the long-tailed goral and musk deer. Relax in the therapeutic waters of Osaek Hot Springs.

Visit Busan, the country’s second-largest city, to sunbathe on its beaches. Go on a guided tour of the Demilitarized Zone, the fortified border between North and South Korea. Venture through lava tubes in the volcanic Jeju Island’s caves formed by flowing lava.

Although South Korea has airports in several cities, most international flights arrive at Seoul’s Incheon Airport. To get between cities, use the efficient and extensive bus and train networks. Some major cities have metro and light rail systems. Alternatively, rent a car.

With great natural diversity, modern cities and a rich culture and history, South Korea offers the traveler numerous choices.

Popular cities in South Korea

Seoul showing a city, a skyscraper and night scenes
Seoul
Known for Shopping, Castles and Culture

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Reasons to visit

  • N Seoul Tower
    N Seoul Tower
  • Seoul City Hall
    Seoul City Hall
  • Olympic Park
    Olympic Park
Dongpirang Village featuring general coastal views, a house and a bay or harbor
Busan
Known for Beaches, Shopping and Seafood

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Reasons to visit

  • Lotte Department Store Busan Main Branch
    Lotte Department Store Busan Main Branch
  • Gwangalli Beach
    Gwangalli Beach
  • Haeundae Beach
    Haeundae Beach
Jeju City showing a city and a park
Jeju City
Known for Seafood, Hiking and Sightseeing

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Reasons to visit

  • Hallasan National Park
    Hallasan National Park
  • Bijarim Forest
    Bijarim Forest
  • Hyeopjae Beach
    Hyeopjae Beach
Seogwipo featuring a bridge, general coastal views and rocky coastline
Seogwipo
Known for Sea, Waterfalls and Museums

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Reasons to visit

  • Soesokkak Estuary
    Soesokkak Estuary
  • Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market
    Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market
  • Cheonjiyeon Waterfall
    Cheonjiyeon Waterfall
Incheon featuring a city, night scenes and heritage elements
Incheon
Known for Dining, Shopping and Budget

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Reasons to visit

  • Songdo Central Park
    Songdo Central Park
  • Port of Incheon
    Port of Incheon
  • Incheon Bridge
    Incheon Bridge
Suwon which includes night scenes
Suwon
Known for Culture, Theme Parks and Adventure

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Reasons to visit

  • Everland
    Everland
  • Hwaseong Fortress
    Hwaseong Fortress

Popular things to do in South Korea

Nami Island
Image for Nami Island

Nami Island

Check out the local area in Nami Island as you venture to sights like Cheongpyeong Lake.

N Seoul Tower
Image for N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower

This Seoul landmark can be seen from miles around and offers the finest panoramas of the city.

Gyeongbok Palace
Image for Gyeongbok Palace

Gyeongbok Palace

This royal palace has been destroyed on more than one occasion, but today it stands as one of Seoul’s finest examples of classic Korean architecture.

Namdaemun Market
Image for Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market

This traditional Korean market is the largest and oldest in Seoul, and where you’ll find all manner of clothes and food at very reasonable prices.

Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond
Image for Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond

Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond

Venture to Bomun Lake and Blue One Water Park—just two of the top sights around Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, a city also notable for its historic sites and lake views.

National Museum of Korea
Image for National Museum of Korea

National Museum of Korea

Marvel as natural light illuminates the galleries of this contemporary museum building, which houses thousands of ancient and valuable Korean objects.