South Korea is an East Asian country located in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Between valleys and mountains, temples and skyscrapers, beaches and hot baths, South Korea is a country of contrasts. What to do while traveling in South Korea? Which sites to visit? Where to eat ? And above all, when to go? Here’s everything you need to know about the Land of the Morning Calm.
- 1 Why go to South Korea?
- 2 When to travel to South Korea?
- 3 Useful information
- 4 What to do during your trip to South Korea?
- 5 What to eat in South Korea?
- 6 Where to sleep in South Korea?
- 7 Getting around in South Korea
- 8 Local laws and labels
- 9 Safety in South Korea
Why go to South Korea?
Located between China and Japan, South Korea does not fail to seduce the most curious travellers: Rolling green countryside, centuries-old Buddhist temples, coastal villages, subtropical islands and high-tech cities like Seoul… South Korea is a territory with a thousand faces just waiting to be explored.
When to travel to South Korea?
When to travel to South Korea? The land of morning calm has an ideal climate between September and November, across the country. Generally, there is no “bad time” to visit South Korea, especially Seoul. However, if you want to avoid the snow and the cold, it is better not to go there in January.
To travel to South Korea, you need a passport valid for at least six months after the date of return. No visa is required for nationals of European countries, for a stay of less than 90 days.
What to do during your trip to South Korea?
Here are some essentials for a successful trip to South Korea:
A city in perpetual motion, Seoul is bubbling. The capital of South Korea is a concentration of shops, restaurants and markets open almost all night. In Seoul, ancient palaces meet impressive buildings. Among the essentials to discover Seoul: Seoul Tower, the Namdaemum market or the Bongeunsa Temple.
Escape to Jeju Island
When you go on a trip to South Korea, you don’t forget to set aside a few days to discover Jeju Island, one of the most beautiful beaches in South Korea. This island, registered with UNESCO, hosts seaside resorts and volcanic landscapes including craters and lava tunnels. The currently dormant Halla Volcano offers impressive hiking trails, with a crater lake at its summit.
A major port city in South Korea, Busan is renowned for its beaches, mountains and temples. It is the second largest city in the country after Seoul. One goes there in particular to discover the market of Jagalchi, the beach of Haeundae, the temple of Beomeosa and many other marvels.
Mandalay advice: Count at least two days to visit Busan properly. Go there between June and September to enjoy the beach.
Skiing in Pyeongchang
A two-hour drive from Seoul, in a mountainous, little-known and sparsely populated region, Pyeongchang is picturesque. Literally meaning “Peace and Development”, Pyeongchang is best known as the birthplace of skiing in South Korea. Nestled in the beautiful setting of Korea’s mountains, South Korea’s ski resorts offer a wide variety of runs catering to everyone from beginners to advanced skiers. In addition to the ski facilities, they have very modern equipment. Korea’s main stations are located in the Gangwon-do region. Located 700 meters on Mount Taegisan, at an altitude of 1,261 meters, Phoenix Snow Park Ski Resort allows you to admire the beautiful scenery of Pyeongchang from Phoenix Park Station.
What to eat in South Korea?
Food is diverse and varied in South Korea. The dishes are generally always accompanied by a soup and small condiments, such as Kimchi. The ” bibimbap is the most famous dish. It consists of a mixture of rice, crunchy vegetables, raw egg yolk, and chilli, all in a heated granite bowl. When traveling in South Korea, you will also find restaurants offering ” bindaetteok », local pancake made with red beans. Finally, how not to miss the Korean street-food, in particular the famous “galbi”, marinated beef ribs grilled over charcoal? If you are looking for trendy restaurants in Seoul, this article should please you.
Where to sleep in South Korea?
On a trip to South Korea, you can either choose trendy luxury hotels, guesthouses, yeogwan (small, simple and cheap hotels with public baths), or more picturesque , or sleep in Buddhist temples. Here are some of our favorite addresses:
In the district of Gangnam-gu, the dynamic heart of southern Seoul in South Korea, Cappuccino is the trendy hotel in Seoul that does not go unnoticed. More than a hotel, Cappuccino is a real place to live. His goal ? Offer a meeting place in attractive spaces so that everyone feels at home.
Find out more about this trendy hotel in Seoul
> Address: South Korea, Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Bongeunsa-ro, 155
If you want to sleep in a temple in South Korea, put your suitcases in Haeinsa, a Korean Buddhist temple, member of the Temple Stay program. Located in the heart of Gayasan Park, the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is ideal for immersing yourself with other locals and participating in several activities, such as the tea ceremony. The comfort is basic, but the stay in the temple will allow you to live like a real Korean for one night.
> Address: 10 Chiin-ri, Gaya-myeon, Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
Hidden Cliff Hotel and Nature
On Jeju Island, Hidden Cliff Hotel and Nature overlooks Jungmun Hill. Surrounded by dense forest, this 5-star hotel has hidden trekking trails around the hotel as well as the largest infinity pool in South Korea.
> Address: 592-1 Sangye-dong, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea
Getting around in South Korea
Like Japan and China, South Korea is a modern country, well equipped with bus, train and metro networks. Taxis are also useful for short trips. To travel long distances (Seoul-Jeonju for example), favor internal flights. The national carrier Korean Air provides regular daily flights between most cities.
To move around a city, you have the choice between the bus, the metro and taxis. Some routes can even be traveled on foot. While public buses are efficient, they can sometimes seem “dangerous” to you because they drive fast. We advise you to take the metros instead, which are fairly easy to use and allow easy access to the main tourist sites.
Local laws and labels
The land of the morning calm has its own habits and customs, its rules and traditions, which it is important to respect for a successful stay in South Korea. As in France and European countries, it is important to leave room for the elderly on buses. Also note that writing in red ink (especially the first and last names of people) is very frowned upon because red is synonymous with death. Also, as in Japan, it is important to take off your shoes before entering a restaurant or homestay.
Safety in South Korea
There is no great insecurity in South Korea, it is generally a fairly safe country. However, as in almost all countries, it is better to be careful with your belongings: Do not walk around with large sums of money and large valuables, so as not to attract pickpockets in the big cities.