South Korea is one of the lesser visited countries in East Asia, yet boasts some of the most fascinating history and culture in the continent, as well as breath-taking scenery. Not forgetting the delightful Korean people, who are sure to befriend those that are travelling. Providing a wonderful contrast of old and new, South Korea has plenty to explore, and below is a list of five things that must not be missed while visiting the country.
Visit the ancient capital of Gyeongju
As the capital of the longest surviving kingdom in the history of Korea, a trip to uncover the history of South Korea wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the ancient capital of Gyeongju. Here, you’ll find what is often referred to as a ‘living museum’, with many parts of the city designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Discover Gyeongbokgung Palace
Said to be the grandest of all the five palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty, the beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace is aptly named ‘Greatly Blessed by Heaven’. Over time, the palace which was originally built in 1395 has been repeatedly restored, due to damage caused by fires and war. However, on a visit today roughly 40% of the original palace buildings are still visible, and are a wonderful way to discover the history and culture of South Korea.
Ride a bullet train
In contrast to the ancient buildings mentioned above, riding one of the high speed bullet trains provides a great insight into the modern day life of South Korea. Board one of the trains in the capital city of Seoul, the starting point of the Gyeongbu Line and head towards the metropolitan city of Busan. Taking just two hours to reach Busan, the train will reach speeds of up to 177 mph.
Explore Mount Gaya National Park
Designated as a National Park in 1972 due to its awe-inspiring scenery, Mount Gaya National Park is also home to famous temples, Korea’s highest peak, and a standing Buddha carved into a rock face. This remote part of South Korea has been largely unscathed by the Korean wars, and its untouched beauty is largely appreciated by those that come and visit. You’ll find valley upon valley, including the Hongryudong valley, which has red water due to the reflection of the crimson foliage.
Relax on Haeundae beach
Regarded as the best beach in South Korea, Haeundae beach is popular with tourists, and attracts tens of thousands of visitors during the summer months. Overlooked by high rise buildings, the beach is surprisingly clean, and hosts a variety of exciting events throughout the year. The beach is well known for its thousands of parasols which cover the beach during busy periods, and has picturesque white sand which is composed of shells that have naturally eroded.
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