Nestled in East Asia, South Korea invites travelers into a vibrant world where the past gracefully intertwines with the present. From savoring delectable kimchi to immersing yourself in the infectious beats of K-pop, every moment pulsates with energy and flavor. Wander through grand palaces steeped in history, then lose yourself in the rhythm of the bustling nightlife. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a foodie, or simply seeking adventure, South Korea beckons with open arms, promising an unforgettable journey filled with endless delights and discoveries.

Get your notes app ready to jot down which of these 7 activities are on your personal must-do list:

  1. Explore Jeju Island
  2. Try on hanboks, attend a tea ceremony, or see a samulnori or pansori
  3. Experience not-so-typical animal cafes
  4. Check out cutting-edge technology
  5. Relax in a Jjimjilbang
  6. Visit an amusement park dedicated to cheese
  7. Shop til you drop in Gangnam, Namdaemun, and Dongdaemun

The best things to do on a trip to South Korea

Pathway leading to beach with view over ocean and and volcano crater Ilchulbong, Seongsan, Jeju Island, South Korea.

Jeju Island

A visit to Jeju Island in South Korea offers an irresistible blend of natural beauty, adventure, and relaxation. Renowned for its stunning landscapes, including dramatic volcanic terrain and pristine beaches, Jeju provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor exploration and Instagram-worthy moments. Thrill-seekers can hike the scenic trails of Hallasan, South Korea’s highest peak, or dive into the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island for a memorable diving or snorkeling experience. After days filled with adventure, unwind in one of Jeju’s charming villages, sampling local cuisine and indulging in the island’s laid-back atmosphere. With its unique blend of adventure and relaxation, Jeju Island beckons to 20-somethings seeking unforgettable experiences and a break from the ordinary.

Experience Korean traditional culture

Immersing oneself in Korean traditional culture unveils a rich tapestry of customs and practices that have endured through centuries. One iconic aspect is the hanbok, the traditional Korean attire, renowned for its elegant design and vibrant colors. Donning a hanbok allows one to step back in time and experience the grace and beauty of Korea’s cultural heritage firsthand. From the intricate embroidery to the flowing lines, each hanbok tells a story of tradition and craftsmanship, making it a must-try experience for visitors seeking to connect with Korea’s past.

To delve deeper into the essence of Korean tradition, attending a traditional tea ceremony or experiencing a performance of samulnori or pansori offers an immersive journey into the heart of Korean culture. The serene ambiance of a tea ceremony provides a glimpse into the art of mindfulness and hospitality deeply rooted in Korean society. Meanwhile, the rhythmic beats of samulnori, a traditional percussion ensemble, or the soulful melodies of pansori, a narrative vocal performance, captivate audiences with their raw energy and emotive storytelling. These cultural experiences not only entertain but also offer insights into the values and traditions that have shaped Korean identity throughout history, making them essential highlights for any traveler seeking a deeper understanding of Korean culture.

Visit some animal cafes

You’ve likely already heard of cat cafes – they originated in Taiwan in the 90s before taking over many of Asia’s cities and then the rest of the world’s too. But what you probably haven’t heard of before is a sheep cafe or a raccoon cafe or even a meerkat cafe. Seoul, South Korea offers a variety of animal cafes beyond the traditional cat and dog ones. They allow you to grab a snack, a drink, and to spend some time with these unique animals who are often just the rescued pets of the cafe owners who discovered a way to run their business and also spend time with there pet.

These animal cafes are popular amongst tourists because who wouldn’t want to hand feed a raccoon. But they’re also popular amongst locals who often live in apartments and work long hours where they can’t otherwise have their own pet. Locals are able to frequent the animal cafes for a short moment to decompress and relax from their day. And you can visit to get a true “only here” experience and some cool pictures, too.

Check out Korea’s cutting-edge technology

South Korea is really at the forefront of innovation and technology. You can easily see that with a visit to South Korea’s bustling cities, particularly Seoul, where technology seamlessly integrates into daily life. Dive into the heart of technological advancement at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a futuristic architectural marvel showcasing the latest in design and creativity. Delve deeper into the evolution of tech at the Samsung Innovation Museum, where interactive exhibits narrate the story of Samsung’s groundbreaking contributions to the industry. And for tech enthusiasts, the vibrant tech districts offer a playground of the newest gadgets and gizmos, providing a glimpse into the future of technology firsthand. Whether you’re a tech aficionado or simply curious about the cutting-edge, Seoul promises an immersive experience at the forefront of Korean innovation.

You can find hotels in Seoul starting as low as $17/night for a hostel and as low as $68/night for a 4-star hotel.

Relax in a Korean spa

On your trip, take some time to indulge and truly relax at traditional Korean spas, known as Jjimjilbang. You’ll be immersed in a world of tranquility as you explore the array of sauna rooms, each designed to rejuvenate both body and mind with their therapeutic heat and aromatic scents. Soak away stress in the soothing hot baths, where the healing properties of mineral-rich waters work their magic. For the full immersion, spend the night in the communal sleeping areas, drifting off into a peaceful slumber under the gentle glow of traditional lanterns. Whether seeking solace from the daily grind or simply craving a pampering escape, Korean spas beckon with their promise of total relaxation and rejuvenation.

Visit Imsil Cheese Theme Park

Do you love cheese? Do you love visiting amusement parks? South Korea is home to the world’s only theme park centered entirely around cheese. And perhaps you’ve heard of it already as famous youtubers have documented their visits there and plenty of articles exist dedicated to Imsil Cheese Theme Park. While you are there you can visit the cheese-centered museum located inside a European-style castle, make your own cheese, visit a zoo, a rose garden, and even a 4-D movie theater. The park hosts a variety of themed festivals throughout the year, too. The closest major city to Imsil is Jeonju-si, where you’ll find hotels starting as low as $24/night.

Go shopping in Korea’s biggest and most fashion-forward districts

Nighttime in busy, bustling Gangnam district in Seoul.

Shopaholics will find their paradise in South Korea, where a myriad of shopping experiences awaits. In Seoul’s famed Gangnam district, indulge in the epitome of luxury shopping, where gleaming skyscrapers house high-end boutiques and flagship stores of renowned fashion brands. Stroll along tree-lined avenues adorned with designer labels, or venture into sleek malls boasting the latest trends in fashion and lifestyle. Beyond the glamour, Gangnam exudes an aura of sophistication and style, drawing fashion enthusiasts from around the globe to its chic streets.

For those seeking a more eclectic shopping adventure, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun offer an enchanting contrast to Gangnam’s upscale vibe. Namdaemun Market, South Korea’s largest traditional market, buzzes with energy as vendors peddle an array of goods, from vibrant textiles and handicrafts to mouthwatering street food. Meanwhile, Dongdaemun captivates visitors with its vibrant nocturnal atmosphere, where the bustling night markets come alive with an eclectic mix of fashion, electronics, and accessories. Whether haggling for bargains or immersing in the cultural tapestry of street stalls, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun promise a shopping experience like no other, where every corner unveils a treasure waiting to be discovered.

You should visit South Korea for its captivating blend of tradition and modernity, offering an array of experiences for every traveler. From the bustling streets of Seoul to the serene beauty of ancient palaces, there’s an endless array of cultural delights to explore. With its diverse landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, South Korea promises an unforgettable journey of discovery and adventure.

Sponsored by:

Korea tourism board