The Wintery South

Experience South Korea beyond its Hallyu Wave!

Famous for its lively pop culture, cuisine and heritage, South Korea boasts excitement at every turn. With winter approaching, South Korea becomes a hot spot for some winter adventures! 

South Korea has been in many travel bucket lists due to the rise of hallyu or most what’s commonly known as the ‘Korean Wave’. The Korean wave helped not only promote the music and entertainment industry in the country, but their local heritage, culture and history were also given the chance to shine. 

Now, many know about the wonders the city of Seoul has to offer. A symphony of modern and traditional greets travellers into the metropolis. The bustling buildings harmonise with the traditional hanok villages that are sprinkled across the city, making every turn in the streets of Seoul a surprise. 

But the adventure doesn’t just stop in Seoul. South Korea has plenty to offer curious travellers. From trips to winter beaches to going on a food hunt in the countryside, South Korea will satisfy every traveller’s curiosity.

 

Busan

About a couple of hours from Seoul, Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea. A popular destination for both the locals and foreigners, Busan ups the ante during winter with various winter festivals and activities! 

One of the most famous festivals that take place in the city is the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival. Visitors can participate in different activities such as bobsleighing and ice soccer, but the main activity at the festival? Ice Fishing! Participants can be seen patiently waiting for their catch of trout on the icy river during the festival. 

Another popular festival in the city is the Busan Christmas Tree Festival. Taken place in the Gwangbok-ro area, the festival holds concerts, street performances, and many more to spread holiday cheer! 

If you’re looking to get a more exhilarating experience out of Busan, pack your skis and head to the Eden Ski Resort for your dose of skiing! 

FUN FACT

South Korea has a lot of fishing related activities all year round because of its cultural significance. For centuries, fishing with bare hands was a necessity in the lives of the locale but through the years, it became a wonderful past-time amongst the locals.

 

Jeonju

Another short journey from Seoul, Jeonju is like a city frozen in time. Jeonju has preserved the majority of its traditional infrastructures and cuisines. Its ancestral architecture and gastronomy make the city a unique and cultural experience. 

Jeonju has retained and maintained the original hanok villages and shrines that were built as far back as the 14th century. A city that was once the centre of a dynasty, Jeonju has history written all over the city. From the hand-built shrines to the gates of a castle, the city is lined with historical stories from the different eras. 

The city is also a great destination for foodies! By preserving the ways of how to create a traditional meal, Jeonju serves travellers with a unique gastronomical experience! Known to be the gastronomical capital of South Korea, the city offers a variety of both traditional cuisines. From popular street food such as a hotteok to trying out taste-testing kettles of rice wine, Jeonju has got a dish for everybody! 

 

Jeju

Home of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Seongsan Ilchulbong, Jeju island is packed with activities for all ages! Filled with natural wonders, Jeju-do is the place for nature lovers! 

Thanks to its incredible typography, Jeju-do has an array of great hiking spots! Situated in the heard of the island lies the Hallasan National Park. As the tallest mountain in Korea, Hallasan mountain is perfect for both beginners and experienced hikers alike. With about five trails you can choose from that are lower than 10km, the views you would get out of these treks are surreal.

You could also hike up the Seongsan Ilchulbong, also known as Sunrise Peak, to get a closer look at the crater or just to get a good view of the sunrise! If you would rather stay at the base of the crater, do not fret – the view of it from below is just as beautiful. A trip to Jeju-do would not be complete without having a meal of fresh seafood! Fresh catch is best savoured raw, sashimi-style. It would also be a bonus if your seafood was caught by Haenyeo (mermaid), also known as female divers. These female divers catch live seafood with their bare hands!

 

Gyeonju 

South Korea’s plethora of cities boast of its well preserved ancient architecture and Gyeonju is no exception. Formerly the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, Gyeonju has retained a number of the kingdom’s archaeological and cultural sites and properties.  

The alluring city is rich in history and is proud of its well-sustained pagodas, temples and artefacts. A must to visit would be the Donggung Palace, which would be lit up by the surrounding lights and its reflection from the surrounding Wolji pond during the evening. The striking image of the reflection of the palace on the pond will make you feel like you are seeing double! 

The picturesque city of Gyeonju is just a drive or train away from the city of Seoul, making it the perfect day-trip for travellers who would like to venture further away from Seoul. 

South Korea is definitely a destination for all ages and preferences. Whether you are travelling for the food, the history, the architecture, or to simply experience the hallyu wave first-hand, South Korea will provide it for you! 

Getting There

There are several flights that fly to South Korea and its various cities. 

Notable airlines such as Asiana, Korean Air and Singapore airlines offer direct flights to Seoul, Busan, Jeju and Ulsan. Do take note that domestic flights might be needed to get to selected cities!

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