South Korea offers a fantastic range of experiences, it has a bit of everything from hi-tech cities like Seoul and Busan to remote villages such as Guinsa and the beautiful and idyllic Jeju Island. Much like the Ying and Yang symbol depicted on its flag, South Korea is neatly divided between its awe-inspiring ultra-modern cities and stunning ancient landscapes – – creating a truly intoxicating mix of the breathtakingly ancient and the modern.
Immerse yourself in South Korean culture and be rewarded with intriguing traditions, enthralling history and eclectic architecture. Explore the cities and uncover layer after layer of wonderful food, stunning architecture, the audio-visual delights of K-pop, and the unparalleled energy of Seoul’s city-streets, or visit South Korea’s remote areas, uncovering lush landscapes, white sand beaches and centuries old temples – housing the relics of thousands of years of culture and beliefs.modern.
China – A quick view
Time difference: GMT +9 Hours
Flight time: Approx 11 hours
Visa Required: Yes
Currency: South Korean won (₩)(KRW)
Tel Code: +82
Official Language: Korean
Recommended Airlines: British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, KLM, Air France.
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South Korea is home to lush mountains, landscapes clad with pines, mysterious archipelagos, rice paddies and urbanised cities. Travel to the Jeju Island and explore the Cheonjiyeon waterfalls, visit the harbour city of Busan and sun yourself on Gwangam Beach or explore Jangsado Island and Busan’s rich collection of Temples and museums – such as the Bulguska and Yonggungsa temples and the National Museum. Lose yourself in Seoul’s often chaotic streets and then find calm inside the Jogyesa buddhist temple, before heading to one of the city’s top restaurants to explore South Korea’s colourful cuisine and equally colourful nightlife.
South Korea’s customs have survived intact regardless of the countries turbulent history – making this vibrant culture a joy to jump into. One way to experience it is to attend a festival. Some of the best include The Day the Buddha Came festival or the Festival of Lanterns, a magical festival – every temple in the country is lit up in celebration of Buddha, the Boryeong Mud Festival, which is held on Daecheon’s muddy beaches every July – expect to see mud wrestling and mud slides and you also get a healthy dose of skin treatment while you frolic in the mud, and finally the Baekje Cultural Festival, which takes place every October in Buyeo and Gongju, and celebrates the Baekje kings with hundreds of performances and events.
Points to ponder
The capital. Seoul’s modern skyline of skyscrapers and neon lights hides a fantastic collection of temples, palaces and museums that in many ways is a tightly condensed version of South Korea as a whole. You’ll find vast mountains stretching across the horizon, 24 hours of buzzing city life, historic temples, regal palaces and even traditional villages such as Buckchon Hanok Village, all within easy reach of the capital and a pleasure to explore.
Try the local tipple. When you visit a country it’s just not right to go away without trying the local foods and drinks. One such must-try drink is Makgeolli – a traditional grain based beverage. It’s low alcohol content makes it refreshing and easy to imbibe – ask your guide where to try it or head to one of the upscale Makgeolli bars such as Chin Chin in Seoul.
Taste a Korean Barbecue. Korean cuisine is world-renowned for it taste and diversity – though the highlight is the Korean Barbecue. Strips of Korean beef comes dripping with sesame oil, garlic, bean paste and an eclectic selection of side dishes, and the hi-tech restaurants that they are served in are an attraction in of themselves – with hot plates hovering over charcoal grills – making an enticing centrepiece to dining tables.