While Seoul is the biggest and most vibrant city in the Republic of Korea, the fun things to do in Korea that are available for you aren’t limited to just the capital area.
If you’re planning your travels to South Korea, you might have asked yourself at one point, “What to do in Korea?.” Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. We’ll be telling you the fun things to do in Seoul and other parts of the country.
Going through different areas in South Korea can be much easier if you speak the language. It’s easier to talk to locals if you know their language.
You can learn Korean through our structured online courses before you visit the country. The best part is you can learn how to have a 3-minute conversation in Korean in just 90 days through this course! Find out more about it here.
Let’s get to it!
- 1 Fun things to do in South Korea
- 2 What to do in South Korea – Cultural Trips
- 3 Fun things to do in Seoul
- 3.1 1. Spend the Night at Dongdaemun
- 3.2 2. Visit Bukchon Hanok Village
- 3.3 3. See the City from the bus
- 3.4 4. Have a Photoshoot While Wearing a Hanbok
- 3.5 5. Check Out the Palaces
- 3.6 6. Walk around Cheonggyecheon
- 3.7 7. Sample Korean Alcohol
- 3.8 8. Put Up Love Locks at Namsan Tower
- 3.9 9. Eat and Shop at Common Ground
- 3.10 10. Stop By ALL the Animal Cafes
- 4 Fun things to do in Busan
- 5 Day Trips from Seoul
- 6 Conclusion
Fun things to do in South Korea
You can do many fun things when you’re in South Korea. Your itinerary may include visiting amusement parks, checking out the K-pop scene, or spending the day on a Korean food trip. There’s definitely something for everyone.
Many things about South Korea are fascinating, ranging from its history and culture to the development the country has had over the years. Below are a few of the many activities that you can do in Korea.
1. See the Attractions at Everland
Everland is a giant amusement park in South Korea, close to Seoul. It holds a small zoo, the steepest wooden rollercoaster globally, and many more fun activities and rides separated into different zones.
Going around the amusement park and seeing and doing everything can easily take an entire afternoon from your itinerary. Next to Everland is Caribbean Bay, one of South Korea’s most exciting water parks, and it’s possible to combine the two theme parks into one trip – but in that case, do start from Caribbean Bay as their slides will close earlier.
Both Everland and Caribbean Bay often also have great discount offers for foreigners.
Another notable amusement park or theme park that you might want to check out is Magic Island inside Lotte World. Lotte World is a very famous recreation complex located in Seoul.
Many other theme parks (indoor and outdoor theme parks) are available in Korea for tourists to enjoy, including Seoul Land theme park, Gyeongju World theme park, Aiins World theme park, and Eco Land theme park. If you ever come to Korea during Halloween, these amusement parks also prepare Halloween-themed events that you can look forward to!
2. Check out the K-pop scene
South Korea is known around the world for Korean Music, specifically K-pop.
If you are anywhere in South Korea, it’s almost impossible not to have yourself surrounded by K-pop, from music played everywhere to CD signing events held in the middle of plazas to merchandise stores and even beauty product advertisements. There are also concerts held all the time! K-Pop is one of Korea’s top exports.
If you are a big fan, you might want to get into the concert or music show of your favorite artist or group. Even if you aren’t that knowledgeable about K-pop, there are free or easy-to-attend concerts held all around South Korea every week where you can get a bit of a taste of the local popular music culture.
3. Go clubbing
The nightlife in South Korea is like no other, especially in Seoul. The clubs are open until dawn, and they’re almost guaranteed to be packed. If ever you plan to visit Seoul, make sure you hit the clubs, especially if you’re into that kind of scene.
Most clubs you might encounter play either hip hop or EDM when you visit South Korea. If you are in Seoul, the big and popular clubbing areas are Hongdae, Itaewon, and Gangnam, all of which have strikingly different moods from each other.
Clubbing is undoubtedly a fun way to spend the night with your friends.
4. Try all the Korean food
Although it’s possible now in many countries outside South Korea to taste local cuisine, there’s no better way to eat Korean food than in South Korea! First on the list, of course, should be to try authentic Kimchi and Korean BBQ! Of course, don’t forget to try out the famous pair: beer and South Korean fried chicken.
Apart from the already famous Korean BBQ, Kimchi, and fried chicken, South Korea has a lot of other exotic and delicious food to offer. South Korea has a very diverse food culture, with each region having its specialties. So from street food vendors to luxury restaurants, there’s always a new dish to try!
What to do in South Korea – Cultural Trips
Apart from modern activities, you can also explore Korea’s rich history. You can check out historical villages, hike famous mountain trails or even visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Here are some places where you may learn more about Korean culture and history.
1. Visit the border of the two Koreas
Let’s start with something you definitely won’t be able to do anywhere besides South Korea. History has it that the peninsula was divided between North Korea and South Korea by a war in the 1950s. While the two Koreas are technically still at war, the border between the two countries is open to tourists around the year.
However, you can only see the parts inside the demilitarized zone by joining a tour group. For the tour, you can choose between going to DMZ (the demilitarized zone) or JSA (the joint security area where you are actually at the very border) or combining the two into one big trip.
It’s a must-see trip for everyone visiting South Korea, as it’s incredibly cultural and exciting but also quite chilling. Aside from visiting the border, it may also interest you to see the War Memorial of Korea located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, built to remember the veterans and victims in the war which made modern Korea.
2. Explore the traditional villages
While much of South Korea has become urbanized, there are still traditional villages with traditional Korean houses spread across the country worth a visit, most notably in Jeonju. It’s a great way to soak up some Korean history.
The latter, especially, will make for a fun visit with its streets filled with cute cafes and restaurants and shops, with the option of staying overnight in one of the traditional houses.
You can get yourself dressed in traditional costumes and get the most out of your afternoon stroll around the village just for a few bucks! Plus, if you travel during spring, find a good spot with cherry blossoms white wearing your beautiful rented costumes, and this makes for a lovely moment worthy of a photograph.
3. Hike up a mountain
Hiking is one of the favorite activities of the locals, and South Korea isn’t running out of mountains to hike in regardless of what part of the country you are in.
It’s often said the best time of the year to go hiking in South Korea is in late October to early November, when the mountains are filled with trees after trees of full, colorful leaves. Korea has a lot of scenic hiking trails to offer. Seeing nature won’t get much better than this!
Some of the most famous mountain hiking trails in South Korea include Bukhansan, Seoraksan, and Hallasan.
4. Attend Boryeong Mud Festival
If you happen to be visiting South Korea in the middle of the summer, then this might be something to pique your interest. While it’s an event invented by a cosmetics company in South Korea, it seems popular among foreigners.
The Boryeong Mud Festival, on South Korea’s Western Coast, consists of ten days’ worth of wrestling and swimming in the mud, as well as mud massages and other events.
Learn more about Boryeong Mud Festival and other popular Korean festivals in our article Korean Festivals – Music & Food Events in the South.
5. Bike around Gyeongju
Gyeongju is a city in the Southwestern part of Korea, with plenty of sights to see and visit all around the year. And what’s a better way to see them all than by biking around the extremely bike-friendly city?
This part of South Korea gets especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season and fall foliage season. You might want to try biking around the place on your next travel to Korea.
6. Stay at a temple
Another great activity to add to your bucket list for South Korea is an overnight temple stay. Live the life of a monk for a day in South Korea!
These temples can be found all around South Korea, though most are near the mountains. It’s not as easy as it might sound, but staying in a temple for a night is relaxing and rewarding.
There are many worthwhile spots to check out in South Korea, so you hardly have time to get bored! Take the chance to get out of Seoul for a little bit and see what else the country offers.
Interested in Korean Religion? Check out our article Korean Religion – The modern and traditional beliefs to learn more about the practices and beliefs of South Korea.
Fun things to do in Seoul
There are so many things to do in Seoul, South Korea! You can try staying out all night at a plaza or going on a shopping spree. You can do historical tours or try out different Korean alcohol. There’s definitely something for everyone!
Even if you’ve already been in Seoul for a while or are currently planning your first or second visit there, it’s hard to run out of fun things to do in Seoul. But the problem is that if you go online and search the topic, especially if you are new to the country and the language, many sources tell you the same things.
Because of this, it’s easy to get the feeling that there’s not much to do or see in Seoul.
It’s time to shake that feeling off now! We’ve compiled together a list of fun things to do in Seoul that include many of those spots you’ve already read about before but also many others you might not know about yet.
This post is your perfect source for a bucket list for Seoul!
1. Spend the Night at Dongdaemun
You heard me right! If you want to stay out all night but not in the traditional sense of partying, you should head over to Dongdaemun. Their plazas are open until 5 am, and the Megabox movie theater is also open all night. Shopping and movies have never sounded enjoyable before, am I right??
2. Visit Bukchon Hanok Village
As mentioned earlier, taking a trip to Bukchon Hanok Village is something you shouldn’t miss when in Korea, particularly in Seoul. This is the perfect opportunity to combine the traditional culture and architecture of South Korea with indulging in pretty cafes and restaurants.
And because this village comprised of traditional housing in South Korea is located right at the heart of the city, you’ll get to see just how magnificently traditional and modern Seoul blend together!
3. See the City from the bus
If you want to maximize the number of enjoyable things to do and see in Seoul during your stay, how about knocking off a lot of the major attractions in one go and taking the Seoul City Bus Tour? There are different route options offered, you can hop on and off wherever you’d like, and the cost for the bus ticket is only 10,000won. Riding the bus gives you a great experience
4. Have a Photoshoot While Wearing a Hanbok
All over the Bukchon Hanok Village exist shops where you can rent yourself a beautiful hanbok for a few hours (~13,000won) or even the whole day (~26,000won). Once you’ve put on this comfortable traditional clothing, make the most out of it and have an amateur photoshoot with your friends at historic sites or the grand palaces built in Seoul! If you come in dressed up in a hanbok, the entrance fee will be waived.
And if you’ve still got time left on your hands after checking out the palaces, why not have an afternoon stroll in a hanbok around the downtown area? Making everyone envious of your magnificent outfit.
Of course, the scene won’t be complete without beautiful cherry blossoms in the background. If you travel during spring, you’ll find beautiful blossoms all over the place, so it’s not hard to find a good spot to take your pictures.
5. Check Out the Palaces
Seoul is a great place to see the past meeting the present. The city is highly developed while keeping traces of its history. In the middle of the highly modern surroundings, they have preserved the king’s palace in different places in the city. You can also see pieces of their history in the national museum of Korea, which is also located in Seoul.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (where the National Folk Museum is located), Deoksugung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Changgyeonggung Palace, and Unhyeongung Palace are five grand palaces and are among the most popular tourist attractions in Seoul and are all located close enough to each other you could even see them all in one day!
Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest among the five grand palaces and is one of the more popular attractions in South Korea. It also is home to a National Museum. So if you’d like your trip to be educational as well as fun, you might want to make that first on your list.
Even if you opted out of renting out that hanbok from fun thing #3, checking out these palaces will still make your afternoon entertaining. And don’t worry if you’ve already visited some of them once – each season in Korea brings out a new kind of beauty to be seen on these palace grounds.
6. Walk around Cheonggyecheon
This stream going through the center of Seoul is stunning both day and night, offering different kinds of atmospheres whether you go during the day or at night.
In May and October/November, the river also lights up beautifully for a lantern festival twice a year.
7. Sample Korean Alcohol
While South Korea only offers a limited selection of Western alcohol and at a rather steep price, their alcohol offerings keep getting increasingly attractive as the years progress. Whether it’s soju or makgeolli, the often fruity flavors certainly don’t stop at one.
The abundance of different flavors available ensures that there’s a lot of enjoyment to be expanded over several days, so don’t hesitate to go out now and find your favorite! You might also find them complement your favorite food.
Be careful not to have too much fun, or the day after might be uncomfortable (even if it brings along the perfect opportunity to indulge in hangover soup called haejangguk (해장국)).
8. Put Up Love Locks at Namsan Tower
Okay, you aren’t required to put up any love locks anywhere but do head up to Namsan Tower to get the best view of the surrounding area. Known as N Seoul Tower or Seoul Tower, the view here is possibly one of the best. It’s a popular attraction in South Korea for those with romantic relationships.
Hiking routes are available to climb the mountain, but most people opt to take the cable car up. You can either stay on the ground once you reach the tower or head over to the top floors of the building and into the observatory to see the whole place around you.
And if you do decide to put up your love lock to accompany the many others, you can purchase those right at the gift shop. It’s an excellent way to commemorate having been at Namsan Tower or in Seoul in general.
9. Eat and Shop at Common Ground
It hasn’t been too long since the shopping center called Common Ground, made entirely out of ship containers, opened up right by Konkuk University (건대). With it came three floors worth of shopping, restaurants, cafes, a small gallery, great photoshoot spots, and several festivals held all around the year. It’s THE shopping center to visit if you can check out only one of them!
10. Stop By ALL the Animal Cafes
South Korea has a strong café culture, and they have indeed taken it to another level by opening several animal cafes all over the city. Even if you’ve already visited some of the dog and cat cafes for afternoon cuddles, the fun hasn’t stopped there: Seoul now also has cafes for raccoons, sheep, and birds, among others! And each of these cafes is guaranteed to offer a different kind of fun.
And this is just a fraction of all the fun things to do in Seoul! We’ll keep updating our list periodically to give you more and more options for what to do for fun while in Seoul. There are even more adventures to be had in South Korea if you venture out of Seoul. But for now, you can start with this list of 10!
Fun things to do in Busan
South Korea has many big cities on top of Seoul where you can do a lot of fun activities. Busan is among the big cities in South Korea and is the second-largest city in the country. It is located in the southeastern part of South Korea. Its geographical features include a harmonious relationship among mountains, rivers, and the sea.
Apart from being the second-largest city in South Korea, Busan is also known for its beautiful beaches as the city has a long and fantastic coastline. The city is also known for restaurants and street food made of seafood. The city also contributes to the many different attractions in South Korea.
Busan is also able to give you an experience of Korean culture. You’ll get to see modern Korean life and traditional Korean life.
Below are the different fun things to do in Busan.
1. Busan Tower
If you want to get a great view of Busan, Busan tower is where you need to be. The tower stands 120-meter-high at Yongdusan Park, located in Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea. The tower provides its visitors with a panoramic view of the city’s height and location.
Aside from the view that the Busan tower offers, it also has cafes and snack bars where you and your friends can visit to quench your thirst and fill your hunger.
Visiting Busan tower is like hitting two birds with one stone. As the tower is located at Yongdusan Park, you get to see the statue of Korea’s well-celebrated naval hero Yi Sun-sin and a commemorative monument for the April 19th anti-government student protests.
2. Gamcheon Culture Village
This village is a town within Gamcheon-dong, Saha District, Busan, South Korea. The village is famous for its brightly painted houses, steep stairs, and twisted alleys.
It’s one of the best and must-see attractions in Busan. Gamcheon Culture Village is “Korea’s Santorini” and “Machu Picchu of Busan.” The colorful houses and everything in it makes the place picture and social media perfect.
3. Haeundae Beach
Haeundae Beach is one of the many popular tourist attractions in South Korea. If you’re looking for a getaway, especially during summer, Haeundae Beach is an ideal place for you to visit.
The beach is known for its white sand and clear and clean water making it a perfect place for swimming. Aside from that, it’s famous for being the place where various cultural events and festivals are held throughout the year in Busan.
Day Trips from Seoul
Seoul is a fantastic city. There are plenty of places open around the clock, new cafes and restaurants popping up around the corner every week, almost seemingly unlimited shopping opportunities all across the city, and simply so much exploring to do that even the thought of winding up bored here doesn’t cross your mind.
But as great of a place as Seoul is, sometimes your heart and soul simply are begging for a short escape from the bustling big city life. You might begin to dream of hopping on the next train to Busan, you might long for your hometown, or you might even be making fictional plans to get your bum to the beaches on Jeju Island.
However, often you might be too pressed for time or money to do any of those things, and so you look for an alternative that’s accomplishable within one day. Lucky for you, Seoul’s surroundings – and South Korea in general – offers a vast amount of fun day trips for you to go on, no matter the season.
Here are some great day trips outside of Seoul for you to consider!
1. An Itty Bitty Incheon Tour
Why not hop on the subway and take it to the end of line 1 on Incheon’s end for a day trip for some of the sights in the neighboring city?
Incheon is surprisingly big and challenging to cover all of it in one day, but visiting Chinatown and Fairytale Village, located side by side to each other, is one of the highlight options.
And once you’ve snapped a ridiculous amount of pictures at the Fairytale Village, and filled your tummy with yummy in Chinatown, hop on a bus or a taxi to get to Wolmido, an easily accessible island nearby famous for its small theme parks.
2. Asan Blue Crystal Village (jijunghaemaeul | 지중해마을)
This little spot in the middle of the town of Asan is a hidden gem of sorts. It’s a secret attraction in South Korea. You won’t often find it on lists like these, and it’s unknown to many locals in South Korea as well.
It might take a bit of time out of your day to get to if you don’t time yourself right, as the bus from nearby Asan Station (line 1 on the Seoul subway line) to the village only runs once in an hour, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
It’ll feel like you’ve just stepped outside of South Korea and landed somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea cities, with vast options of restaurants and cafes around you to keep you well-fed and hydrated as you snap a million pictures of the gorgeous architecture you’ve suddenly found yourself surrounded by.
3. Gapyeong, Chuncheon, and Their Surroundings
Only some of Gapyeong and Chuncheon’s great finds are within the access of a train from Seoul, but local buses will get you from point A to point B just fine.
If you go during the summer, you should get off the train at Cheongpyeong or one of its nearby stations and spend some time by the lake having fun with water rides such as water skis or banana boats. Still, excluding the lake, the area is an excellent destination for a day trip any time of the year.
Gapyeong has many lavish pensions for a group of friends and couples, as well as the Garden of the Morning Calm.
Meanwhile, Chuncheon has the best chicken ribs (dakgalbi | 닭갈비) you can find in all of South Korea, and the gorgeous Nami Island, plus Petite France and railbikes.
However, if you want to do ALL of that in one fell swoop, you might want to make it a weekend trip instead.
If you wish to travel just a bit further from Seoul, Jeonju is one of the many great options for a place that you can explore in one day. If you go in early July, you might visit DeokJin Park for its lotus flowers. Otherwise, most of what you’ll want to see is right at the Jeonju!
You can rent a traditional hanbok to strut the streets for a day, you can try local makgeolli (막걸리), you can visit any of these cute cafes and restaurants, and if you climb up the small hill close by, you’ll even get a view of the whole Hanok Village at once.
Isn’t that a nifty itinerary?!
Other parks like the Deokjin Park worth your time are Mudeungsan National Park, Seoraksan National Park, and Bukhansan National Park (which is located closest to the capital).
5. West Coast and East Coast Beaches
During the summer season, one of your favorite activities just might be hitting the beaches, whether to swim or just to suntan. South Korea’s beaches might have nothing to those you could find in many places in South East Asia, but they’re pretty lovely for East Asia.
Especially Sokcho on the East Coast and Daecheon Beach on the West Coast are within easy access to you from the bus terminals of Seoul if wearing a bathing suit for a few hours is on your list of things you wish to do.
Unlike in the West, it’s almost customary in South Korea to keep a t-shirt over your swimsuit or bikini or swim trunks – however, don’t let that scare you from showing the world the new bathing suit you got for just this trip; nobody will judge you harshly for it.
Besides sun tanning and swimming, you may want to try water activities such as a banana boat available on almost every public beach. Also, keep in mind that renting a parasol will cost you money, and most beaches do not have beach chairs to lay on.
Lastly: do keep tabs on when the beaches are open for swimming, as beaches such as Sokcho Beach might only be available for swimming for a short period in the summer.
Now that we’ve laid down a bunch of day trip options for you, we’re dying from curiosity to know where you’ll next be headed to!
Also, if someone asks you what you are doing, then you’ll have a bunch of things to tell them!
What are your favorite day trips in South Korea? Let us know in the comments below!