South Korea offers a variety of interesting and exciting travel opportunities for tourists. Although most visitors rarely leave Korea's cities, according to Lonely Planet, the country's rural areas also have much to offer. Whether you explore the modern streets of Seoul or venture off the beaten path, South Korea has plenty to offer.
Seoul is a vibrant, modern city that has been rebuilt following the devastation of the Korean War. Visitors can get a panoramic view of the city from on top of the N. Seoul Tower. The best views are offered around sunset, when you can watch the city come alive while munching on food from the tower's food court. For a taste of the past, visitors can stop in at the palace at Gyeongbokgung (english.cha.go.kr/), the country's principal palace until 1592. In the reconstructed building, tourists can see where state banquets were held and kings were crowned.
Seoraksan National Park (english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264211) is an Unesco Biosphere Protection Site, which features ancient temples, hot springs and rich forests. The high tourist season is July and August, but a visit in October will allow you to witness brilliant fall colors. Accommodations fill up quick during these times, so book early. Jirisan National Park (english.knps.or.kr/Knp/Jirisan/Intro/Introduction.aspx?MenuNum=1&Submenu;=Npp) was the country's first national park, created in 1967. It is a good place to glimpse Korea's wildlife, ranging from elk to rabbits. A visit in the spring will bring you up close to the beauty of the flowering Higan cherry tree.
The town of Gyeongju allows visitors to see relics of Korea's past. Known as "the museum without walls," according to Lonely Planet, Gyeongju is home to numerous pagodas, Buddhist statues, temples and rock carvings. Visitors can also see the Tumuli, grass-covered burial mounds of ancient Koreans. For more Korean history, visit the city of Gongju, home to King Muryeong's tomb, where you can see nearly 3,000 artifacts unearthed from ancient Korea.
Jejudo is a volcanic island just off Korea, which is that country's version of Hawaii. As Hallasan, Korea's largest mountain towers above, visitors can relax on the beach, visit folk museums, play golf and gamble at casinos. The island is also home to the world's longest lava tube caves, located at Manjanggul. During the spring, azaleas cover Jejudo, and in the summer visitors can enjoy concerts and movies on the beach.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images