Things to do in South Korea

Bid ‘annyeonghi gaseyo’ (‘see ya later’) to real life and ‘insa’ (‘hello’) to a land of diverse opportunities. South Korea enjoys its contradictory undercurrents, luring unsuspecting tourists into rice-wine bars (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) and entrancing their foreign ears with the upbeat tempos of K-Pop. You will succumb one way or another - in a club or nolaebang (karaoke bar), you will sing words you don’t understand. And you’ll probably enjoy it.

Far from the raging personality of last night, the essence of traditional South Korea is calm, kind and not even slightly hungover. The winding trails of the Geumjeongsan hike will lead you to Seokbul-sa, a lost mountain temple carved from the rock face. Equally awe inspiring, Bogyeong-sa wows crowds as 12 waterfalls rush to their pools and rickety bridges connect impossible gorges. Feel like climbing a mountain? Clamber 20 kilometres to the summit of Hyangnobong and watch the world from the treetops.

Regal residences, temples and monuments are numerous in South Korea from the World Heritage-listed Confucian shrine Jongmyo to the Joseon dynasty-era Ojukheon House, a luscious exhibit of cultivated lawns and gorgeous lotus pools. Before you roll back down the mountain to the riotous bars below, trade a pint of Guinness for a bottle of water one last time and scale Geumjeongsan once again to the remote mountain temple of Beomeosa for a new experience.  Live as a monk for a night or two and let go of your worries.

Ready to rock? Add the following destinations to your South Korea to-do list and make memories where it counts.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace combines a violent history with royalty and intrigue - you can’t walk past the sloping roofs of the Gyongbokgung. Come in and find out what made Seoul an imperial city and a modern seat of power.

N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower boasts jaw-dropping views, varied and spectacular observation decks, gift shops, restaurants and more –there is no better place to capture a snapshot of Seoul.

Haedong Yonggung Temple

Attention gym junkies and temple tourists! Burn off a quick 50 calories, absorb the peace of Haedong Yonggung and discover why this seaside temple continues to draw thousands of visitors every year.

Korean Folk Village

From impressive swordsmanship displays to traditional metal and fibre working, the Korean Folk Village transports visitors back in time to 1392. Power up the DeLorean!

Oedo Island

A verdant oasis hiding behind rocky outcroppings, Oedo Island is the ultimate paradise. Dinosaur footprints, ice-cream, cacti and 3,000 plant species will catch your eye in their weird, wonderful and cultivated arrangements.