Fantastic for gap year travel as well as study abroad, South Korea has a rich past and, as you’ll see, an exciting present and future thanks to its role as a hub for IT development and digital technologies. In South Korea visit the temples and royal tombs of Gyeongju, a stunning ancient city; the traditional markets in the port city Busan; volcanoes and “Sunrise Peak” on the island of Jejudu (perfect for adventure tours); and traditional seasonal festivals for lots of fun activities and stuff to do. There is excellent hiking in the rural areas: Ask about backpacking tours off the beaten path in Inner Seorak, for example. For a surreal and important perspective on contemporary history, see if you can land a student education tour to visit the borderland with North Korea via tours of the Demilitarized Zone. Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is one of the liveliest cities in the world, with a sizzling nightlife and incredible cuisine. Look into student discount airfare to get to and from South Korea and travel deals when you are here.
For an amazing view of Seoul’s dramatic skyscrapers, take a cruise on the river Cheonggyecheon. Catch spectacular sunsets from the top of the North Seoul Tower, which also has nice above-ground dining options for students and tourists looking for lovely views. Also in lively Seoul, visit the Geunjeongjeun and Gyeonghoeru palaces, and the gorgeously preserved Changdeokgung palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The gayageom is a beloved and traditional masked dance; ask for student discounts on tickets to performances. Historical sites include the War Memorial and Museum and beautiful houses at Namsangoi Hanok Village: The latter is great for fun weekend activities since traditional kite-makers, weavers, and calligraphers set up shop on the weekends. In a number of Buddhist temples you can even sleep overnight. How cool is that? Mud wrestling and mud slides are hilarious fun at the Boryeong Mud Festival held every July. You can also watch traditional shaman practices at the Gangneung Danoje Festival.