Many people who visit South Korea never make it outside the capital city of Seoul. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Seoul is spoiled for things to see and do. But Korea is so much more than Seoul. It has a wealth of history from the Baekje, Silla, and Goguryeo Dynasties as well as stunning natural beauty in its 22 national parks. So if you find yourself in Korea and wanting to get outside of Seoul for a weekend, here are five great weekend getaways outside of Seoul.
Savor the Food Capital of Jeonju
Korean cuisine is regarded by many as one of the best in the world. Dishes are chock-full of grilled meats, healthy veggies, and flavorful spices. Dining is also a social affair, with dinners often lasting for hours. The city of Jeonju is the savory heart of Korea, and some of the best dishes in the country are available here. Jeonju is most famous for its bibimbap (mixed veggies and eggs on rice), but it is also known for its sundae gukbap (pork intestine soup) and makgeolli (rice wine). Come hungry and leave happy!
Visit the Cultural Capital of Gyeongju
Gyeongju was the capital of the Silla Dynasty and has a wealth of well-preserved cultural and historical heritage to marvel at. Check out Bulguksa Temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beautiful temples in Korea. Or head to the Daereungwon Tomb Complex to literally walk among the burial mounds of kings. If the weather is poor, the Gyeongju National Museum is a good option and will give you a great perspective on Korean history.
Explore the Stunning Seoraksan National Park
Image via Flickr by LittleRoamingChief
Of Korea’s many national parks, Seoraksan is perhaps one of the most remarkable. Located in the northeast of the country near the North Korean border, the mountainous area has recently become more accessible thanks to a new high-speed rail line constructed for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Seoraksan is a nature lover’s playground, with a wealth of trails and stunning views throughout. The view from the top of Ulsanbawi might be the best in the park. Try it in the fall when the leaves are changing!
Experience Traditional Korea in Andong
Image via Flickr by adamgn
Andong is a small city in northern Gyeongsangbuk Province and the location of the famous Andong Mask Festival. While parts of the city are modern, there are lots of traditional hanok-style houses on the outskirts. There’s also Hahoe Hanok Village for those wishing to get a look at what Korean life was like as long ago as the Joseon Dynasty. Go in the early fall when the Mask Festival is happening for a truly unique experience.
Escape on a Tropical Getaway to Jeju
A volcanic island south of the Korean mainland, Jeju is known as “The Hawaii of Korea” and is the premier honeymoon destination for Korean newlyweds. Climb Mt. Hallasan — the tallest mountain in Korea and an active volcano — or explore some of the lava tubes around the island. Just be sure to relax and enjoy some island time.
Have you ever been to South Korea? If so, what destinations would you recommend for a weekend getaway? Let me know in the comments below!