South Korea offers an intriguing blend of ancient culture, history and tradition, cutting edge technology and modern metropolises, serenely beautiful temple retreats and breathtaking natural beauty.
With the tourism industry still developing, the Republic of Korea on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula is an uncharted curiosity for most. Relatively small, nearly half of its 50 million inhabitants live in the capital of Seoul. South Korea has had a turbulent history with its counterpart in the North, and as a result, has one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world. Despite all this, South Korea has a lot to offer the intrepid traveller wanting to discover something unique and original.
South Korea offers an intriguing blend of ancient culture, history and tradition, cutting edge technology and modern metropolises, serenely beautiful temple retreats, breathtaking natural beauty and a graceful, kind and often shy people that are still getting used to seeing tourists in their country. Experience the fusion of age-old traditions and rapid modernisation in the bustling capital of Seoul, a city that is dynamic, fascinating and very Western.
Visit the Gwangjang Market for never-ending stalls selling fabric, clothes, shoes and traditional food. Seoul has some lovely, well preserved palaces and grounds from dynasties past. Highlights include the Gyeonghuigung Palace and Deoksugung Palace where you can witness a very regimented changing of the guard ceremony. Visit the picturesque Hallasan National Park in Jeju, where you can hike up the 1,950 metre Hallasan. With gentle grassy slopes, meadows, Korean firs and in June the most stunning display of flowering azaleas, as South Korea’s highest peak, you will be awarded for your efforts, with some of the most scenic views in all of the country.
Sample one of Korea’s most famous dishes, bibimbap in its birthplace of Jeonju – the country’s foodie capital. Experience what Korean life would have been like during the Jeoson Dynasty at Namsan Folk Village on the northern side of Namsan Mountain. Here you can enjoy a variety of cultural experiences, admire the replicated traditional homes, gardens with Koi-filled ponds and take part in traditional Korean games.
Wander around the Gyeongju Historic Area with its magnificent concentration of Korean Buddhist art from the Silla dynasty between the 7th and 10th centuries. Home to some of Korea’s oldest and most spectacular tombs, sculptures, pagodas, temples, palaces and burial mounds of the Silla rulers, scattered all around the gardens.
Visit the nearby mystical mountain retreat of Mount Tohamsan with its peaceful Buddhist temple complex, built in the 6th century. Take part in an immersive temple experience where you can overnight and join in community work, chanting, mediation and Golgul-sa - a Korean martial art. Admire views from the many scenic hiking trails on the mountain, looking out for hidden temples and Buddha statues.
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