Everyone who wants to visit South Korea has a few places in mind. Visit the palaces, go up Namsan, hit up shopping streets like Myeongdong, and have some fun at Lotte World or Everland. But if you’ve been there, done that – or would rather see a different side of Korea, then the hidden gems are what you need to look for.
Although slightly less hyped about, these places are still very popular tourist spots that will give you a wonderful experience of South Korea! Let’s take a virtual trip around these delightful attractions:
1. The Ihwa Mural Village in Seoul
Just a little over a decade ago, the Ihwa Mural Village in Seoul looked drastically different. In fact, it was meant to be cleared and demolished for a complete redevelopment of the area. But, instead of pushing through with the initial plans, a project called the “Art in City Project” was launched to revitalise the village with art murals.
Today’s Ihwa Mural Village is the result of 70 artists’ creative outpouring, making it a vibrant little town for Instagrammable photos. The village also houses museums and cafes, perfect for the artsy and hipster crowd. Do note though, that this is an actual village with residents still living there – so you have to be respectful and mindful when visiting.
2. Gimnyeong Maze Park in Jeju
Oh, what love can do! The Gimnyeong Maze Park in Jeju island was birthed from the love of an American man named Frederic H. Dustin for the southern island. Most notable as a professor at the Jeju National University, he commissioned a world-famous maze design company to create the maze, and it was said he personally looked after the maze in his lifetime.
You can attempt the maze for yourself, which contains a variety of lovely foliage of plants native to Asia, and is a beautiful ode to Jeju. Made in the shape of the island, the maze is best viewed from the skywalks and observatory, which offers panoramic views of the whole maze.
3. Gwangalli Beach in Busan
Looking for a fantastic beach for your water sports and beach parties? When people think of Busan beaches, they typically home in on Haeundae Beach. However, another pleasant alternative is Gwangalli Beach, which is actually not too far away.
The place has everything that you’d need on a beach. This includes powdery white sand, hip and chic cafes, as well as nightlife that will satisfy party-goers. The only thing that this place is missing is the huge crowds of Haeundae, which is actually a good thing if you want to enjoy a less-busy nightlife.
4. Namhansanseong Fortress in Gwangju
South Korea is home to quite a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and this is one of them: the Namhansanseong Fortress. Located atop Namhan Mountain, this fortress is 500m above the sea and 25km from Seoul.
Dating back to the Joseon Dynasty, the Namhansanseong Fortress is actually a ‘backup’ capital – meaning that in times of war, the royals will move up here to their Emergency Palace. The main attractions of the area are the picturesque natural views and the well-preserved ancient architecture of the palace. You can explore the place through several hiking trails, which would also give you a chance to look out over the city of Seoul.
Will you be looking forward to visiting these attractions once the travel restrictions are lifted? If you are planning a future trip to South Korea, be sure to include some of these wonderful spots in your itinerary!
While waiting for future travel opportunities, you could also make good use of your time to prepare by learning the language. At Sejong Korean Language School, you can get an introduction to the Korean language and level up your skills to become a fluent Korean speaker. Join us for a Korean language course today!