Planning your first trip to South Korea? Figuring out your itinerary may be confusing as there are so many things to do and places to go. Here are the five things you must absolutely do during your first trip to the land of kimchi!
1. Breathe in the nature
South Korea is beautiful all year round. Every season comes with their own unique charms. From cherry blossom chase in spring to autumn foliage phenomenon, or romantic first snow to exciting summer festivals, there’s no wrong season to visit the country. What makes it even better is that there’s plenty of hills, parks, rivers, beaches and more to be explored. Jeju-do Island’s natural wonders attract millions of travellers from all over the world. Did you know that Seoul was actually built among the mountains?
2. Try all the street food
South Koreans are big on street food, which is why the street food you’ll find in the country is on the next level. Everywhere you go, you’d find pojangmacha, or Korean traditional food truck by the street serving piping hot spicy rice cakes, fried vegetables, fish cakes and more. It’s the best place to get filled up as you catch up with your best buds late at night or simply need to relax after a day of work. Myeongdong is another place for unique street food like cheese butter baked scallops and egg toast.
3. Don a hanbok and go back in time to Joseon
Nestled in the heart of Seoul is Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest, grandest and most famous among the five palaces in Seoul. Also known as the Northern Palace due to its location, Gyeongbokgung literally means the “Palace of Shining Happiness” and used to be the center of power during the Joseon Dynasty. Visitors who wear hanbok, the traditional Korean attire, are waived the admission fee at all palaces. A number of shops renting out hanboks at a relatively low price can be found around the neighbourhood.
Don’t forget to visit Bukchon Hanok Village where you can find traditional houses. A good portion of these houses are still occupied by residents, but some of them have been converted into restaurants, galleries and shops.
4. Experience kimchi making
Kimchi is one of, if not the one thing that South Korea is best known for. Kimchi making, or kimjang is the most typical example of the country’s food culture and a collective practice that reaffirms Korean identity. Traditionally, kimjang takes place in late autumn, when housewives would gather to collectively make and share large quantities of kimchi so every household would have enough to sustain through winter. However, tourists who are interested to learn can simply join kimchi making classes and workshops, usually held for small groups.
5. Shop to your heart’s content
It’s not a stretch to call Seoul a paradise for shoppers. From fashion to housewares to electronics, all you have to prepare are an empty suitcase and a thick wallet! Namdaemun Market is a timeless crowd-puller with over thousands of shops selling all ranges of everyday items at a cheap price. During the weekend, hotspots like Hongdae and Insadong are thronged with urban youths, fashionistas and street artists. Hunting for makeup? Head over to Myeongdong for the best deals and lots of freebies.
Book your trip to South Korea with Sri Sutra Travel!