Written by Deborah Appiah
South Korea has a lot of places to visit, this is also possible when travelling to South Korea for a week or less. In this article I will be giving top 6 destinations to definitely check out when visiting Korea for a short time. From Seoul to Gyeonggi-do to Jeju to Busan, these are popular places for tourists to visit. Korea has very good landmarks all over the country, so it will be very easy to find your way around and visit every places on your bucketlist!
Top 1: Buckchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village is situated in Jongno-gu, it is a traditional village that dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. Bukchon Hanok Village has a lot of cultural centers and museums that give you an inside of the life Koreans use to live during the Joseon Dynasty. It is also located on the top of a hill between Gyeobukgung Palace, Changdeok Palace and, Jongmyo Royal Shrine. It is very easy to experience a lot of Korean tradition in one day when visiting Bukchon Hanok Village due to all the other palaces and museums in the neigborhood. Don’t forget to definitely check out Seoul Education museum and the neighbourhood of Samcheong-dong with its urban feel and various cafes, shops and restaurants.
Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, 계동길 37
Top 2: Gwangjang Market
Gwangjang Market is located in Jongno-gu, not far from Bukchon Hanok Village. It is a very famous market in Seoul with over 5000 shops and 20,000 employees in an area of 42,000 square meters. At Gwangjang Market you can enjoy delicious Korean snacks, they have a wide variety of food selections to satisfy you. From Gimbap to Tteokbokki, every traditional Korean snack is available at this market. Gwangjang Market does not only sell delicious food, but also clothing, silk garments, and handmade goods. It is a booming environment where Korean tradition is visible. Do not hesitate to visit there and enjoy the food and atmosphere, whilst giving back to the community.
Address: 88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Type: Cultural and traditional market/food/goods
Top 3: The Garden of Morning Calm
A must place to visit while in Korea is The Garden of Morning Calm. It showcases the beauty of Korean horticulture and nature before the drop of Chungryeongsan Mountain. Visitors can walk along the fusion of different unique flowers in beautiful gardens and through lushious forests of pine nut trees. The garden was originally opened in May 1996 by horticulture professor Han Sang Kyung, the garden features 20 different theme sections connected by ethereal walkways. The Sunken Garden is shaped like the Korean Peninsula and the floor is carpeted with beautiful flowers on both sides representing for the South and North to be connected and reunited one day. It is one of the most popular Gardens and attractions in Korea, so I definitely encourage anyone visiting Korea to visit The Garden Of Morning Calm. It shows beauty in every season, during the summer it gives you a very happy feel and during the winter, the garden is decorated to look like a winter fairyland!
Address: 432, Sumogwon-ro, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
Type: Recreational forest/garden
Top 4: Haeundae Beach
When visiting Korea it is a must to visit Busan, Haeundae Beach is a very popular beach in Busan other than Gwangali beach, it is also a popular hotspot for tourists. The white sand beach is roughly 1.5 kilometers long, over a 30- to 50-meter wide area, creating a beautiful coastline and making it perfect for swimming and surfing during strong waves. Haeundae Beach often organises parties and event on the beach, especially during summer time. Definitely visit Haeundea Beach and other parts of Busan during the summer to have the full experience
Address: 264, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Top 5: Gukje Market
Just like Gwangjang Market, Gukje Market or also known as Nampodong International Market was opened in 1948. During the Korean war a lot of refugees fled to Busan and set up stalls to make a living by selling smuggled and imported goods, which developed into now called Gukje Market. Gukje means ‘international’ in Korean. Gukje Market is the largest market in Korea. The alleyways are full of stalls selling charity goods, and to the left of Gukje market is KKangton Market. So you can visit two markets in 1 day whilst in Busan
Address: Area of Sinchang-ro 4-ga, Jung-gu, Busan
Type: Traditional market/general goods
Top 6: Jeju Island – Manjanggul Lava Cave
Travelling from Busan to Jeju is not only affordable but very accessible due to good connection lines in Korea. When travelling to South Korea, I encourage you to travel to Jeju for at least one night. One of the best places to visit in Jeju is the Manjanggul Lava Cave. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Manjanggul Lava tube is part of the Geomunoreum Lava Tube system. The Lava tube stretches roughly 7400 meters and with a maximum height of 25 meters and 18 meter width, which makes it the largest lava tubes in the world. Manjanggul holds great value for the science and conservation world, having well-maintained formations despite being formed over one hundred thousand years ago.
However, the majority of the cave is closed off, with only 1 kilometer being open to tourists. Definitely check out this adventurous place!
Address: 182, Manjanggul-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Region: Jeju Island