10 Reasons to Visit South Korea
The most favorable weather conditions in South Korea are observed from June to October. The largest number of tourists come to the country in July-August (beach season) and for the New Year holidays. At this time, the main recreation areas are overcrowded, and in the summer, in addition to tourists, local residents also rest at the resorts. The ski season lasts from December to March.
Korea brings you ten good reasons to visit this Asian country that has a lot to offer the most discerning travelers, from eccentric entertainment to traditional charm at any time of the day or night: 24-hour restaurants and cafes, ubiquitous delivery systems, great shopping and medieval architecture.
1. Contrast between old and new, history and modernity.
Looking at the brightly lit skyscrapers of Seoul from the grounds of the famous Gyeongbokgung palace complex, whose architecture dates back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the contrast between the old and the new will seem simply amazing.
Some of the most interesting examples of modern architecture and technology can be found in Korea, such as the Busan Cinema Center (which, by the way, made our list of “The Coolest Movie Theaters in the World”), the densest and fastest Internet network in the world, but also fully functioning and well-preserved medieval towns and settlements, such as the traditional village in Jeonju (Jeonju Hanok) in the northeast of the country in North Jeolle, where 700 traditional Korean houses (“hanok”) have been preserved.
2. The country that never sleeps.
According to topschoolsintheusa, Korea is great for those who suffer from insomnia – it offers many options for pastime relevant 24 hours a day for all tastes: for example, eateries and restaurants open around the clock (like Park’s BBQ or Parkdaegam) that meat lovers will surely appreciate after visiting local nightclubs in style the famous composition Psy “Gangnam Style” (the door to the door with the restaurant is the club “Ellui”). And that’s not to mention the shopping malls that are full of visitors after the traditional opening hours at Seoul’s Dongdaemun market, or the 24-hour Internet cafes (called “PC bang”) that can be found on every corner and in every city.
3. Deliver anything, anytime, anywhere.
The Han River flows through the heart of Seoul, dividing the Korean capital into two parts: the old and the new city (which resembles the Parisian Seine). Numerous parks along the banks of the river naturally serve as a favorite place for picnics. However, don’t worry if you forgot to bring your sandwiches—call your nearest Chinese eatery, pizzeria, or fried chicken restaurant and they’ll have your heart’s content delivered right to your picnic blanket.
Twenty-four-hour delivery and errand services offer help with just about any problem or whim you might have: they’ll help pick up or take your clothes to the dry cleaners, or even pick up your cat from the veterinarian.
4. Mornings are still filled with peace and freshness, at least in some places.
Korea has a great many fully functioning medieval cities, such as Andong in the east of the country, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where Queen Elizabeth II of Britain celebrated her 73rd birthday in 1999. But in order to truly feel the spirit of local centuries-old rituals and traditions, many travelers decide to stay overnight in one of more than 900 Buddhist monasteries in Korea.
Moreover, the so-called “demilitarized zone”, a living relic of the Cold War era that still divides the Korean peninsula into two hostile parts, also attracts tourists with a special peace. It serves as a constant reminder of the importance of peace, and tourists flock here en masse to look through binoculars at enigmatic North Korea. Artists like Lee Eun-sook have used the local landscape as the backdrop for their installations.
5. Mountains inscribed in the urban landscape.
Mountains cover about 70 percent of the Korean peninsula and are always visible from the center of any city. Mount Buhan serves as a scenic backdrop for Seoul’s Cheong Wa Dae Presidential Palace (aka the “Blue House”). But if you’re looking for more challenging hiking, check out national parks like the hugely popular Seorak Mountain Park in Gangwon Province, the oldest and largest nature reserve on Mount Jiri with extremely difficult hiking trails, or the volcanic expanses of Jeju Island.
Attention all vegetarians and barbecue fans: you are here!
The Korean government still cannot remain indifferent every time Korean cuisine (which is commonly called “hansik”) is mentioned in the foreign press, but what can I say – the local culinary tradition really speaks for itself. From down-to-earth street food from kiosks on wheels to traditional royal cuisine, hanjeongsik, there are sure to be plenty of interesting options on the varied menu. Michelin-starred chefs are paving the way for the local gastronomic scene, but if you prefer to take matters into your own hands, you can cook your own dinner right in the restaurant, using the grill on your table.
The vegan (vegan) movement has not yet gained a strong foothold here, but less strict vegetarians will appreciate the traditional temple cuisine, which follows Buddhist religious precepts and is completely organic.
7. In stores you can find everything your heart desires, from limited editions of luxury goods to cheap analogues of the mass market.
Whether you’re looking for something ultra-trendy or timeless classics, you can find everything in the Korean capital. While Dongaemun Market and Myeongdong Shopping District are still the cheapest and most spontaneous places to shop, lovers of more upscale brands are likely to prefer Seoul’s equivalent of Rodeo Drive, Cheongdam, which has been chosen by international fashion houses for its boutiques and flagship stores. The flagship store of the Italian house of Gucci even brought silk manufacturers from Florence to Seoul as part of its traveling Flora exhibition.
Seoul’s Soho district, Garosu-Kil, veers between super-expensive brands and marketable consumer goods, with many multi-brand boutiques and even the world’s first handbag museum.
8. Koreans love to have fun and have noisy and crowded holidays.
Koreans have always had a love for fun and celebrations, what is called “hyung” in Korean, and local parties and events are always noisy. South Korea hosts Asia’s largest film festival (Busan International Film Festival), the world’s largest women’s film festival (Seoul International Women’s Film Festival), and one of the world’s most important art exhibitions (Gwangju Biennale). In addition to these international celebrations and festivals, more modest celebrations take place every month across the country, from the Munchju Firefly Festival in June to winter ice fishing in the northern provinces of Gangwon.
9. Whether you want to admit it or not, you love R-pop too.
Even before Psy’s horse dance galloped around the world thanks to YouTube, local TV and movies and what is commonly called the term “hallyu” (“Korean wave” – the growing popularity of Korean culture abroad) attracted crowds of tourists to Korea.. By the way, among the fans of all this film, television and musical production is the famous Chinese cellist Wang Jian and many other people who seem to be far from mass culture. Fans of the popular South Korean TV series Winter Sonata, for example, make massive pilgrimages to Nami Island, where the iconic TV saga was filmed.
As R-pop gains more and more celebrity fans around the world (including Dakota Fanning, who confessed her love for G-Dragon and Anna Kendrick, who starred in the recent F(x) video), the Korean government has finally decided to build an entire musical arena specifically for the performers of this genre.
In addition to pop music, Korean versions of Broadway musicals are hugely successful, to the point where Japanese producers often prefer them to American originals. And, finally, the Great Mountains Music International Music Festival & School, an international music festival and school of classical music, was nicknamed by experts as “Little Aspen”.
10. Paradise for fans of sports games and excitement.
Figure skater Kim Young Ah has made a huge contribution to the popularization of the World Figure Skating Championships, but this reigning queen of South Korean sports is only the tip of the iceberg called “Korean sports culture”.
The ardor and passion that football fans demonstrated at the 2002 FIFA World Cup have not only not disappeared since then, but have increased many times over. Every four years, hundreds of thousands of fans dressed in red, the color of the national team, gather in Seoul Square to cheer for the national team. It is thanks to their enthusiasm that this small country won the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and Korean athletes are achieving impressive results around the world.
Baseball player Ryu Hyun-jin has just played his first game against the Dodgers (albeit with varying success), and in general the local baseball season only begins in April. Finally, gaming is a serious profession in Korea, which is not surprising given that the country boasts the densest Internet coverage in the world.