Korea is, with huge thanks to the rise of K-Pop and K-Dramas, now booming with tourism. Here are the top 10 must-visit tourist destinations, hand picked by foreigners who have been to and fell in love with Korea!
1. Jeju Island
Jejudo, an island to the south of the Korean peninsula, is a beautiful tourist attraction where the beaches, hills, trekking courses, and volcanic sites enchant the visitors’ hearts. Popular K-Pop stars like SEVENTEEN‘s Seungkwan and NU’EST‘s Baekho hail from this island. A must-try while visiting Jeju Island includes ordering seafood from the island’s freediving ladies!
2. Banpo Bridge, Seoul
One of the many bridges to connect the southern Seoul with northern Seoul over the Han River, Banpo Bridge has become a popular tourist destination over the years for its special “Rainbow Water Show”. The bridge is actually built over another bridge, called Jamsu Bridge, and the top tier has a fountain system that pumps out water into the lake. There are lights and music too, turning this bridge into a romantic summer date night spot. It is the world’s largest bridge fountain that can pump out 190 tons of water per minute!
3. Gyeongbok Palace’s Hyangwonjeong Pavilion
Gyeongbok-gung is a palace site remaining in Seoul from Korea’s historic days. While the palace itself is a beauty to visit, there is a small pond and a pavilion standing over the pond that have completely captivated the foreigners’ hearts. This pavilion, by the name of “Hyangwonjeong” was built for the king and his family to enjoy the view. Surrounding the pavilion are lotus flowers and koi fish. The traditional architecture and its secluded peacefulness have made this pavilion a must-visit destination for Korean bound visitors who are interested in learning more about the Korean history.
4. Goseokjeong Pavilion
Goseokjeong is another popular pavilion located in Cheolwon county of the Gangwon Province in South Korea. This pavilion, estimated to have been built sometime in the Silla dynasty, stands tall on top of a rock cliff and overlooks the Hantan River. The Gangwon Province in general is known for its untouched nature and breathtaking scenery. Packing a picnic basket and hanging out by the pavilion is sure to make you feel like a royal family on vacation too!
5. Anmyeonam Buddhist Temple
Anmyeonam is a small Buddhist temple located by the Taean coast of South Korea – which suffered a massive oil spill back in 2007. Since then, the sea has been cleared and the southern Choongchung province has been working hard to bring back tourists to the area. While it isn’t the most well known temple in the country, what is special about this buddhist temple is that, unlike most Korean temples that are built high up in the mountains, it is actually oceanfront. This is the only place along the west coast of Korea where tourists can actually catch the sun rise from the horizon as well, bound to be a surreal experience.
6. Ulleung Island
Ulleungdo is Korea’s 9th largest island, located to the east of mainland Korea. While most of Korea’s islands are fishermen’s paradise, Ulleung Island is one of the most popular spots for fishing. Ulleung Island has not yet seen any stars rise from it. However, the island is most definitely a superstar in Korean tourism, with both Koreans and foreigners flooding over to its beaches and mountains each season.
7. Busan’s Samgwangsa
Samgwangsa Buddhist Temple in Busan city, the home of K-Pop superstars like BTS‘s Jimin and Jungkook – along with Kang Daniel and more, is absolutely mesmerizing right around the month of May, in celebration of Buddha’s birthday. Over 30K lotus lanterns are prepared and lit every night, lighting up the entire temple in colorful waves of pink, yellow, green, and more. The lantern festival is such a grandiose sight to see that the temple becomes a popular “attraction” for non-religious visitors during the summer.
8. Yeongheung Island’s Pottery Village
Yeongheungdo, which is an island in Incheon, Korea – an area mainly known for its international airport, has a very special village dedicated to the art of pottery. While the island itself also boasts outstanding sightseeing spots in its blissful nature, this Pottery Village has struck the foreign tourists as quite memorable. There are giant, building-sized pottery-shaped guest rooms that are not only super fun to see, but exciting to occupy overnight. Visitors are able to book such pot-shaped accommodation for a unique sleepover experience on the island.
9. Romance Bridge
Korea in springtime celebrates a nationwide festivity of the cherry blossoms blooming all over the country. To make the most of this season, foreigners have highly recommended the Romance Bridge in Jinhae county – in the southern Gyeongsang province of Korea. The bridge, overlooking a small body of water called the Yeojwa Stream, goes into full bloom mode between the months of March and April. The Romance Bridge has, over the years, become a popular destination for tourists looking to snap some of their best pictures underneath the cherry blossom trees, with the cherry blossom flower petals raining down like snowflakes!
10. Seorak Mountain
While Korea is home to some of the greatest rugged mountain ranges around the world, Seorak Mountain is definitely the most popular one for both Koreans and foreigners. Seorak Mountain is actually the third highest mountain in the nation, but has well maintained hiking trails that make it accessible for trekkers and hikers of all levels. In fact, tourists don’t even have to hike up the mountain too long to take in what the nature has to offer. With its bountiful greenery, Seorak Mountain will refresh everyone in its embrace!