South Korea has a lot to offer I have collected some of the things I think you should see or do while visiting!
Visit Bulguksa temple
This huge and beautiful UNESCO world heritage temple allows you to move back in time and see how the kings and queens lived back then as well as being seeing the beautiful architecture and art on these buildings!
Taste Korean food
I must admit, I really fell in love with the Korean cuisine! The food was delicious and fresh and often you had a chance to prepare or BBQ to food your self.
I found a cosy restaurant located at Wausan-ro 29 in Hongdae (close to Hongik University) which served a great BBQ – all you can eat for less than 20.000 won.
If you are into dessert you should try Korean pancakes with cinnamon and sugar inside(!) from a street food place in Samcheon-dong area (a very cool and vibrant area).
Visit themed cafes in Seoul
Choose a few you would like to visit – because there are many of them. I only had time to visit the Hello Kitty Cafe and Mustoy but I pasted quite a few dog cafes and cat cafes. Other cool cafes I wanted to visit was: The Racoon café, the poop café and the Nature Cafe.
Hello Kitty Café
Watch changing of the palace guard at Gyeongbokgung
Try to come by one of the palaces in time to see them changing guards, opening or closing the royal palaces. You can find more information about when this is happening here
Find street art villages
Korea has some cosy villages with beautiful street art. The two areas that I came across was Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan and Iwha Village in Seoul. These small villages are placed on a hill side and are amazing to walk around it – there are small stores, beautiful art on every corner and cute cafes.
Have a overnight stay at a temple
Staying in a temple give you the experiences of living as a monks for a few days. Around 100 temples through out South Korea offers temple stays. I stayed at Golgulsa temple which is known for providing training in Sunmudo a martial art only practiced by monks until 1992 when this temple opened up for the public.
The program for my temple stay looked like this:
13.30 – Arrival
14.30 – Archery
15:30 – Demonstration of Sunmudo
16:30 – Free time
17:00 – Dinner
18:00 – Orientation
18:30 – Evening chanting service
19:00 – Sunmodu training
22:00 – bedtime
04:00 – Wake up
04:30 – Morning chanting service
5:00 – sitting meditation
5:50 – Barugongyang (This is a buddist ceremonial meal where you have four bowls with different types of food and you need to eat and clean these bowls in a specific order)
8:30 – meeting with the grand monk at tea time ceremony (this gave us the opportunity to ask the monks all sorts of questions what we have wondered about)
9:30 – Excursions to nearby temples or 108 bows
11:30 – Lunch
12:30 – Check out
Spend minimum 2 days on Jeju-do Island
Visit the Hawaii of South Korea, Jeju-Do. An volcanic island which many relaxation possibilities as well as hiking tours. If you visit Jejo-do you should visit: the beaches, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, Hike Mt. Hallasan, Go for a spa treatment, Jusangjeolli Cliff and much more! You can read more about my stay in Jejo-do here: What to see and do in Jejo-do Island, South Korea
Go to the boarder of North Korea
I really wanted to go on a DMZ (demilitarized zone) but unfortunately this tour was only offered from Tuesdays to Fridays. I do think that if you can make if fit into your planning it might be worth a visit!
Spend time in Busan (the second largest city in South Korea)
Busan has a lot to offer in terms of sights, active hikes, beautiful beaches and temples. If you visit Busan you should see: Gamcheon Culture Village, Seokbulsa temple, Geumjeongsanseorg, Beomeosa temple and the beaches. You can read more about my stay in Busan: Spending 24 hours in Busan, South Korea