South Korea

The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 is just around the corner. It will kick-off tomorrow, to be precise, February 9, 2018. PyeongChang is located in Gangwon Province in South Korea, where your ‘oppas’ are living. And speaking of South Korea, we know that many of us are a huge fan of their dramas, movies, their music and most of all beautiful places we’ve seen from their dramas.

Personal Thoughts

Personally, I love their music, especially the songs by TVXQ (original), Shinee, Super Junior, BoA, IU, Davichi and of course those powerful and sincere OSTs in their dramas. I think I just made it very obvoius that I am a fan of SM Entertainment. Oops. Anyway,  it was the very first international destination that I’ve traveled to and is one of the best, yet. I even planned (dreamed) of going there to study Neuroscience at Seoul National University. Since the time I graduated in 2012, I am still longing to go there to study. I tried to apply for the Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) for Graduate Students, but I think I didn’t make it through because I didn’t receive any notification.

Anyways, today, I’m gonna share with you an article that I’ve read about the beautiful places you surely shouldn’t miss when visiting South Korea. This month is ideal to go there because of the Winter Olympics, but you might find it hard to look for accommodations as tourists, delegates and athletes are flocking in the country right now.

Top 10 Places You Should Visit in South Korea

So, if you happen to be in South Korea now and you haven’t filled your itinerary yet, you might want to visit these places and explore the beauty of the land of the morning calm. Some of these places were in our itinerary last October 2014 during our five-day trip to the country. I will definitely go back and go back again to this country as it seems there’s a force that pulls me to go back to the country.

Without further ado, here are the best picks for a complete unforgettable trip to South Korea.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

This is second in our itinerary next to sleeping in a public bath – Siloam Sauna (실로암사우나찜질방). We walked towards the Seoul Station and try to find our way to Gyeongbokgung Palace located at 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. We could have rode a train towards the place as we were already in Seoul Subway Station, but we decided to walk with our heavy bags at our back. We walked more than an hour, but the walk, tough tiring, was worth it as the streets were very clean and green, and with yellow leafing. 🙂

You should visit the place and enjoy the wonders of history and how palaces and residences of royal family you’ve seen on TV appear in reality.

  • Directions: Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5.
  • Operating hours: November-February 09:00-17:00 / March-May, September-October 09:00-18:00 / June-August 09:00-18:30 (Last admission: 1 hr before closing); Closed Tuesdays
  • Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers & Children 1,500 won

For more info, visit www.royalpalace.go.kr.

N Seoul Tower

Relax during the night here in N Seoul Tower, located at the top of the Namsan Mountain.If you have enough time, marvel the beauty of the city from the top by walking a few minutes to the tower. But, if you are in a hurry and need even higher elevation to see the lights of the city during the night, cable car is an option. It’s a must-visit for couples and families who want to strengthen their bond of love by leaving love locks at the tower. With thousands of love locks from couples and lovers all over the world, surely this place is very romantic and lovely.

  • Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
  • Directions:
    • Public transportation: Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 4), Exit 2 → From Chungmuro Station Exit 2•Daehan Theater Bus Stop, take Namsan Circulation Bus No. 02 to N Seoul Tower Bus Stop
    • Namsan Cable Car (Ticket booth): Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 3. Walk approx. 10min. (Address: 83, Sopa-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul)
  • Operating hours (Observatory): Sunday-Friday 10:00-23:00, Saturday 10:00-24:00
  • Admission (Observatory): Adults 10,000 won / Children 8,000 won (Adult fare applies from age 13, and child fare applies to ages 3-12. Children under 3 years of age enter free of charge)

For more information, visit www.nseoultower.com.

Lotte World

Lotte World or Everland? This was our question when we tried to decide which of the two amusement parks should we go. I want to go to Lotte World, but the group decided to go Everland, so goodbye Lotte World.

Everland

Everland Themed Park, October 2014

Lotte World is not very far from Seoul, unlike Everland. So, if you want to unwind after the busy Pyongchang Olympics, why don’t you take various rides, take risks and conquer your fears at Lotte World?

  • Address: Lotte World, 240, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
  • Directions: Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 8), Exit 4. Walk approx. 5min.
  • Operating hours: Monday-Thursday 09:30-22:00 / Friday-Sunday 09:30-23:00 (Extended operations until 23:00 on weekdays during peak season)
  • Admission:
    – One-day Pass: Adults 55,000 / Teenagers 48,000 won / Children 44,000 won / Infants 14,000 won
    – After 16:00: Adults 44,000 / Teenagers 38,000 won / Children 34,000 won / Infants 14,000 won

For more information, visit www.lotteworld.com.

Namiseom Island

This is a wonderful island which made very popular because of the Korean drama “Winter Sonata.” This is among our destinations and it’s a long ride from Seoul. However, the trip was all worth it and it’s definitely a place you shouldn’t miss while in South Korea. So bring your GoPro, phone, DSLR or any photo-taking device you have. In my case, I brought my digital camera (fully charged), but I left the memory card. So very bad. 🙁 Don’t be like me. Check and recheck.

  • Address: Namiseom Ticket booth, 1024, Bukhangangbyeon-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gangwon-do
  • Directions (Namiseom Dock): Take a taxi for approx. 5-10 min. from Gapyeong Station (Namiseom Island is accessible via ferry from Namiseom Dock)
  • Operating hours (Namiseom Ferry): 07:30-21:40
  • Admission: Adults 10,000 won / Teenagers (Middle∙High school) 8,000 won / Children (Age 3 – Elementary school) 4,000 won; International tourists can receive discounted fee of 8,000 won; Admission includes round-trip ferry ticket

For more information, visit namisum.com.

Oedo-Botania

You might want to go to paradise after the long Winter Olympics or away from work.South Korea has its own paradise called Oedo-Botania. It is a marine botanical garden with relaxing and calming, overwhelming and dumbfounding landscape. If you are a nature lover and flower lover as well, this place is perfect for you. You might want to come back this April or wait for April as the place will be filled with flowers of various kinds, especially rare flowers from all over the world. So, what are you waiting for, get ready to indulge in the true beauty of nature in Oedo-Botania.

  • Address: 17, Oedo-gil, Irun-myeon, Geoje-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
  • Directions: From Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus bound for Geoje via Jangseungpo. Get off at Jangseungpo Terminal. Take a taxi or a local bus to the ferry dock. 
    For ferry reservation, visit this link.
  • Operating Hours: Winter Season 08:30-17:00; Summer Season 08:00-19:00
  • Admission Fee: [Additional admission fees to Oedo Island] – Individuals: Adults 11,000 won / Students 8,000 won / Children 5,000 won
    – Groups: Students 6,000 won / Children 4,000 won
    – Geoje citizens: Adults 4,000 won / Students 3,000 won / Children 2,000 won
    * Children: ages 2 or older
    * Groups: 30 people or more

For more information, visit www.oedobotania.com.

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul

If you want to know more about Korea’s culture and history, visit the village that will take you back several years and centuries ago. You can see hundreds of hanoks (Korean’s traditional houses) in the area. You will have a fulfilled visit when you start with the “Eight Scenic Spots of Bukchon.”

  • Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Directions: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Walk approx. 7-10min.

For more information, visit hanok.seoul.go.kr.

Insadong Shopping Street

Often referred to as the “Street of Traditional Korean Culture,” this is one of the few places you can grab great souvenirs and traditional crafts. You can also experience Korea’s traditional cuisine and teas served in hanok buildings. It’s best to stroll these areas without time constraint in order to really enjoy the beauty and the history of Korea in crafts and in the foods. So, get ready to enjoy!

  • Address: 62, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Directions (Ssamzigil): Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Walk approx. 2min.

Jogyesa Temple, Seoul

Are you a fan of colors pink, blue or yellow? You will surely be filled with satisfaction when you see the 620-year old Buddhist temple – Jogyesa Temple. You will be stunned with all the lavish designs and decorations.

    • Address: 55, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
    • Directions:
      Jonggak Subway Station: Jonggak Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 2. Go 70m forward, then cross the street. Go 100m more to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple.
      Anguk Subway Station: Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Go 50m forward, then cross the street in front of Dongduk Gallery. Go 50m more to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple.
      Gwanghwamun Subway Station: Gwanghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 2. Go 150m forward to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple between YTN Parking Tower and Hana Bank.
    • Admission Fee: Free

For more information, visit www.templestay.com.

Jirisan National Park

Rediscover nature, history and Korean culture. Jirisan is the first designated national park, extending across five cities. It has around 10 peaks, several valleys, waterfalls and of course the temples of Hwaeomsa, Ssanggyesa and Daewonsa.

  • Address: 10, Waun-gil, Sannae-myeon, Namwon-si, Jeollabuk-do
  • Directions: Take an express bus from Seoul Central City Bus Terminal to Namwon Express Bus Terminal.
    Take a taxi from Namwon Express Bus Terminal to Namwon Intercity Bus Terminal.
    Take an intercity bus from Namwon Intercity Bus Terminal to Baemsagol Valley (travel time: 1 hour)
  • Admission Fee: Fee applies to Cultural Asset admission

For more information, visit english.knps.or.kr.

Sinheungsa Temple, Seoraksan Mountain

Nature. Culture. History. Beauty. You can see everything in Seoraksan Mountain and the very famous Sinheungsa Temple. The magnificent statues and great architecture of tge buildings are more than enough proof that South Korea has a very rich history and deeply rooted culture. So, see it for yourself.

  • Address: 1137, Seoraksan-ro, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do
  • Directions: From Sokcho city, take city bus and get off at the entrance of Mt. Seoraksan (10mins interval, 20-25 min ride) and walk 10-minute. Taxi takes 15-20 min from Sokcho city to the entrance of Mt. Seoraksan.
  • Admission Fee: Adults: Individuals 3,500 won / Groups 3,200 won
    Teenagers: Individuals 1,000 won
    Children: 500 won
    * Adults (ages 20-65), Teenagers (ages 14-19), Children (ages 8-13)
    * Groups of 30 people or more

For more information, visit www.sinhungsa.or.kr and www.templestay.com.

Craving for more? Don’t worry, I will be posting more about the beautiful places in South Korea. Stay tuned and subscribe to get updates.

(Address, directions, operating hours and admission fee information is all taken from http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.jsp.)

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