Riding the wave of K-popularity, South Korea is now the country for you to explore its delights. For starters, check out its capital city, Seoul.
Places To Visit
Lotte World theme park is divided into Lotte World Adventure, the largest indoor amusement park in the world, and Magic Island outdoors.
Shopaholics will definitely enjoy Myeongdong Shopping Street, one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. Many “brand name” shops and department stores line the streets and alleys, and several major department stores have branches here. For a different feel, Common Ground is South Korea’s first – and the world’s largest – container shopping mall complex, built with 200 shipping containers.
Experience history and culture at Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate), an important historic gate designated the first National Treasure of South Korea.
Seoul is where many popular Korean dramas are shot. One famous place is Jumunjin Beach, where the K-drama Goblin was filmed. Another spot to visit is Namsan, featured in movies and K-dramas like My Name Is Samsoon, My Love From The Stars, and Boys Over Flowers. Many dramas and films are regularly shot here because of its beautiful night view and unique vibe.
Meanwhile, Cheonggyecheon – a stream that flows through Seoul which has been featured in K-dramas like Cold Eyes, Jeon Woo Chi, Athena and Iris – is a popular spot for a quiet time and to escape the busy city.
For K-pop lovers, visit Hallyu K-Star Road. Follow the route to find restaurants and stores frequented by celebrities as well as a number of entertainment companies. Immerse in Korean pop culture at G+Star Zone, an indoor space in Apgujeong Rodeo Station. Visitors can take photos with life-sized standees of featured K-pop artists, and profits earned are donated to underprivileged teenagers.
Catch a music concert in Seoul, made possible by the innovative attraction at Lotte FITIN mall in Dongdaemun. It offers realistic hologram concerts of YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment artists, allowing fans a chance to live out the concert experience of their dreams.
The southern part of South Korea has its own beauty, and one region to focus on is the Gyeongsang (south-eastern) area where Busan lies.
Places To Visit
Gamcheon Culture Village epitomises beauty and chaos rolled into one. Nestled into the side of a mountain is a mishmash of pastel-coloured, Lego-like houses and a vibrant neighbourhood. Haeundae Beach is the most famous beach in Busan where various cultural events and festivals are held throughout the year.
Visitors should also visit Jagalchi Market, South Korea’s largest seafood market. This market represents Busan and is famous throughout the country. An event to look out for, the Busan Fireworks Festival, takes place every October along Gwangalli Beach.
A number of high-grossing Korean movies like The Thieves, Deranged, The Neighbours and Nameless Gangster: Rules Of Time were partly filmed in Busan. Ode To My Father, about a man who survived the Korean War in the 1950s by making a meagre living at Gukje Market, was the second highest grossing film in the history of Korean cinema.
You can visit Gukje Market, one of South Korea’s largest markets, and meander through its many alleyways while in Busan. In the K-drama Fight For My Way, the apartment building, private rooftop bar and Dong-Man’s gym are all in Beomcheong-dong, Busan. Also, the annual Busan International Film Festival in Haeundae-gu is one of the most significant film fests in Asia, and the first international film fest in South Korea.
For K-pop fans, it is worth it to make a trip to the Busan One Asia Festival, which features various cultural programmes including K-pop concerts, exhibitions and fan meetings.
For a relaxing getaway, Jeju Island, South Korea’s largest island, has beautiful beaches, lush countryside and seaside hotels.
Place To Visit
Jeongbang Falls is among the top three waterfalls on Jeju Island, and the only waterfall in Asia to fall directly into the ocean. A great place to relax during the summer, an observatory at the top of the cliff commands a fine view of the sea. If you’re game for a hike, climb South Korea’s highest mountain, Mt Hallasan, a dormant volcano listed as a Unesco World Natural Heritage site.
An interesting experience, especially if you love teddy bears, is the Jeju Teddy Bear Museum, quite possibly among the best known museums in South Korea. You can also take a trip back in time to the 1890s at the Jeju Folk Village Museum.
Romantic K-drama scenes were filmed at many of the island’s lighthouses. The white one near Sinchang-ri was featured in On The Way To The Airport, Warm And Cozy and Scent Of A Woman, while the one at Pyoseon-myeon appeared in You’ve Fallen For Me (aka Heartstrings) and Bangdupo Lighthouse on Seopjikoji Hill in Orange Marmalade. Meanwhile, Seaes Hotel and Resort was featured in Playful Kiss (Mischievous Kiss) and Secret Garden.
Jeju Jungmun Resort presents the digital theme park, Play K-Pop – an interactive entertainment space where new media technology and K-pop music meet featuring regular exhibitions and special exhibitions.
You may also drop by K-Pop hotspot Monsant de Aewol, which is built in part from volcanic stones found across the island. Since 2015, fans of Big Bang and G-Dragon have been flocking to his Jeju Island café.