10 Must-See South Korean Travel Destinations Outside of Seoul
South Korea is a country that is often regarded for its neon-lit metros, technological advancements, rich culture, the Hangul language, and its local delicacies, among others. Its capital Seoul is particularly the torchlight of South Korea. Being the center of the country’s internationally renowned urban life and pop culture, as well as being one of the cities in the world with the largest economy, Seoul is oftentimes seen as the brightest diamond in the entire country. However, Seoul is just one of the many other cities in South Korea. If you’re head over heels over the South Korean capital, wait ‘til you see the places that its fellow cities have to offer.
1. Seopjikoji, Jeju Island
Jeju Island is the largest island and smallest province in South Korea, but there are many beautiful things to see in this 2-square-kilometers stretch of land. Seopjikoji is one area that you should visit while you’re here. Think of it is the Batanes of South Korea. Open skies, green grasslands stretching infinitely, and a front-row view of the ocean.
Also on this island is South Korea’s highest peak, the dormant volcano Hallasan, which stands at 1,950 meters high.
2. Gyeongpo Beach, Gangneung
Forget about the coconut trees, pine trees are the talk here in Gyeongpo Beach. This public beach is the largest in the area, with its white sands stretching for nearly 2 kilometers. It gets especially busy during the months of July to August. Located in the eastern coast city of Gangneung, the beach is the ideal spot for watching the sun rise on New Year’s Day, or on just about any day of the year if you want.
A nearby tourist spot is the Gyeongpo Lake, which is best visited in the springtime, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and gracefully dot the clear waters with pink petals.
3. Seongsan Ilchulbong, a.k.a. Sunrise Peak, Jeju Island
Since we’re talking about sunrises now, let’s go back to Jeju Island and visit the famous Seongsan Ilchulbong, which is more popularly referred to as “Sunrise Peak”. This part of the island was believed to have been formed from the eruption of an underwater volcano. The resulting rock formation contains vital geographical information on the country’s past volcanic activities, and it also serves as a tourist spot known for offering the best view of the South Korean sunrise. From the above, the Sunrise Peak’s crater looks like a giant crown.
4. Boseong Green Tea Plantation, Boseong County
Matcha fans will go crazy here in Boseong County’s massive green tea plantation. This part of South Korea has been specializing in everything green tea for nearly 2 centuries now. Also known as Daehan Dawon Tourist Plantation, this tourist attraction is open all year round. Even if you’re not a fan of green tea, you will definitely appreciate the vibrant green color of the tea leaves, and the well-kept, 20-meter cedar trees present abundantly in the entire county.
5. Nakdae Waterfall, Gyeongsangbuk
Another geological wonder that makes it on our list is Nakdae Waterfall in the southeastern part of the country, in Cheongdo County, Gyeongsangbuk province. This waterfall stands at a staggering 30 meters high and offers not just a spectacular view, but chilly waters as well, which makes it perfect for summer vacation trips. There is a local belief that the waters of Nakdae are medicinal, although there is no scientific backing to this.
6. Ulleung Island
Ulleung Island, or Ulleung-do, is an island province located 120 kilometers off shore South Korean peninsula. Like Jeju Island, it mostly originated from volcanism. Small as it is, this island is the perfect retreat. Swimming, hiking, fishing, and of course, eating seafood dishes, are the primary activities here in the secluded Ulleungdo.
Ulleung-do is blessed with several geological formations as well. These include the picturesque Bongnae Waterfall, located in the eastern edge of Ulleung-do; and the Liancourt Rocks, which are a group of islets that can be seen from certain areas.
7. Naganeupseong Folk Village, Suncheon
There is always that one place in the country where time has frozen. Naganeupseong is that one place in South Korea where time seems to have forgotten to pass. It is the only place in the country that has remnants of the Joseon dynasty, which was a kingdom that lasted for five centuries (1392 to 1897). This village is where houses are still made of stone, streets are small and narrow, and the population is less than 500.
8. Jukdo Market, Pohang
Pohang City in North Gyeongsang province is one of the most populated South Korean cities. It has an active port, and the Jukdo Market in the heart of the city is one of the busiest seafood markets in the entire country. There are a lot of claims that it has the cheapest price range for seafood and seafood products.
Of course, aside from selling all the seafood you could imagine, the massive Jukdo Market also has endless stretches of stalls that sell food, fruits, clothes, and even furniture. You’ll find everything here, shopaholic.
9. Mt. Gwanggyosan, Gyeonggi
Mt. Gwanggyosan in the province of Gyeonggi is the third highest peak in the country, proudly standing at 582 meters high. It serves as the border between the cities of Suwon and Yongin. This mountain is a famous hiking spot and takes an hour to reach the summit. The peak of Gwanggyosan gives an excellent view of the distant cities in the Gyeonggi province.
Interestingly, Gyeonggi is a province that surrounds the capital city Seoul. In fact, the name of the province roughly translates to “the area surrounding the capital”.
10. Unmun Temple, Gyeongsang
This Buddhist Temple is located amongst the Taebaek Mountains in the North Gyeongsang Province, and has a very peaceful atmosphere suitable for a place of faith. Its name translates to “Cloud Gate Temple” and is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the region. In 1950, shortly after the end of the Japanese rule, it became a training center for nuns.
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