South Korea is so much more than just head bopping K-Pop music and tear-jerking drama series. The Korean Peninsula offers travellers are wide range of scenic and dazzling experiences. Step into a world of breath-taking natural wonders, shutter-bug worthy scenic landscapes and historically beautiful traditional architecture when you visit Korea. So if you’re contemplating a trip to South Korea maybe these top 10 Korean gems will help sway your decision:
#1 Kyeong-Wha Station, Jinhae
This place looks like it same straight out from a romantic movie, Kyeong-Wha Station offers a breath-taking scenery that pulls in shutter bugs and tourist from all over the world. The sight of the train approaching the station underneath a blanket of blooming cherry blossoms is an event not to be missed when you’re visiting South Korea. It’s also a great place to snap (a lot of) photos, don’t worry if you’re not a professional photographer, it is extremely beautiful here and you’re sure to get a great shot from any angle.
#2 Uleung Island Seaside Road
This pentagon-shaped island is a ferry ride away from Pohong. Uleung Island is a result of a series of volcanic eruptions and there are more cliffs than level ground here. But the view from Seonginbong Peak (the highest peak on the island) is well worth the trip. During the winter, the island is covered in a silky white blanket of snow. Shutter bugs get your cameras (or camera phones) ready, there are a lot of photos to be taken here.
#3 Seopjikoji, Jeju Island
The perfect Spring getaway in Korea can be found in Seopjikoji at Jeju Island. This place is famous for its beautiful rape flowers; yeah you read right, rape flowers. The name of the flower might be a little vulgar but rape flower is dainty and yellow in color, anything but vulgar. Seopjikoji is the best place to enjoy a breath-taking view of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (it is uniquely shapes like an elephant head). This scenic location is no stranger to the silver screen, films like The Uprising, One Thousand and One Night, Gingko Bed and many more.
This magical bamboo forest is cultivated by the town of Damyang. Juknokwon Bamboo Garden features a gorgeous waterfall, scenic walking paths, pavilion and an eco-exhibition center. A popular destination amongst travellers, it takes about 1 hour or so to walk around the entire garden. The park is also accessible during the evening; lights are turned on in the bamboo forest for night walks.
#5 Yeojwa Stream
This is one of the most famous spots to view cherry blossoms in South Korea. The Yeojwacheon Stream is also famous for its cameo in the popular MBC TV Series ‘Romance’, if you are a hard core K-Drama fan you’ll know what we’re talking about. The best time to visit Yeojwacheon Stream is in April this is when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, a sight not to be missed.
#6 Bulguksa Temple
In 1995 Bulguksa Temple was designated as a World Cultural Asset by UNESCO. This temple is riddled with artistic stone relics and intricately carved designs that are known worldwide. A perfect example of traditional Korea, the temple is home to 8th-century Unified Silla architecture. There’s also an 18-step stone staircase to the west leads to Anyangmun (Pure Land Gate), it is said that the stairs can only be used by those who have reached enlightenment.
#7 Kwanghan Pavilion
Kwanghan Pavilion is more than just a beautiful piece of architecture; it is also the setting of one Korea’s famous folk tales, Chunhyangjeon. It’s a tale of romance between a Korean Geisha and the son of a local governor who met and fell in love at this beautiful pavilion. So not only is Kwanghan Pavilion breathtakingly beautiful it has a lovely sentiment behind its history too.
#8 Halla Mountain
Quite possibly the most memorable landmark on Jeju Island, Halla Mountain sits triumphantly from the centre of the island. Halla Mountain is well-known for its ecosystem of plants that results from the varying temperatures along the mountainside. The mountain is relatively easy to hike, there are well develop mountain hiking trails making it easy for hikers to discover and explore the mountain’s treasure.
#9 Suncheon Bay
This is a sight that you won’t expect to get in Korea, Suncheon Bay is located on the south of Korea and Suncheon is the third largest city in the Jeollanamdo province. The bay is enveloped by 40 kilometres of coastline and is one of the world’s well preserved coastal marshes home to countless marine life.This coastal wetland is a heaven for shutterbugs; the beautiful scenery surrounding the bay is simply breath-taking and is also one of the best places in Korea to watch a sunset.
#10 Samkwang Temple
Every year during Buddha’s Birthday, Samgwang Temple is light up with a countless lotus lanterns creating a blanket of twinkling lights much to the delight of people who are visiting the temple. The colourful lanterns create a vibrant and jovial atmosphere throughout the temple. Now this is one birthday celebration you won’t want to miss out on.
So there you have it, Korea’s top 10 must-see gems. For more Korean travel-inspiration click here to check out some of the travel itineraries for Korea personally designed my our Touristly members. Enjoy your trip to Korea, jagbyeol insa!