South Korea travel guide

South Korea Tourism | South Korea Guide

You're Going to Love South Korea

A world of culture and history, the sights, the food and the experiences in South Korea will fascinate and excite you.

What to do in South Korea

1. Visit the Palaces of Seoul

The five palaces of Seoul are worth exploring, especially Changdeokgung, which is listed as a World Heritage Site. Take some time to discover other parts of the city, such as Bukchon Hanok Village and the Seoul Tower, and go shopping in the Myeong-dong district.

2. Explore Busan

South Korea's second largest city, Busan offers magnificent beaches, the colorful Gamcheon culture village, and the largest fish market in Korea.

3. Try the Street Food at Gwangjang Market

Originally a fabric market, Gwangjang Market is now the busiest food alley in Seoul, with street food vendors spread among the fabric shops. While here, you must try the Nokdu Bindaetteok, a mung bean pancake that is normally paired with milky rice wine or makgeolli.

4. Spend a Day at Lotte World

Head to the world's biggest indoor theme park with the kids and spend the day going on fun rides, watching shows and visiting the aquarium and water park.

5. Experience the Boryeong Mud Festival

South Korea's 10-day Mud Festival is held every July and attracts millions of people. You'll be able to go on the mud super slide, splash in muddy pools and go into the mud rain tunnel.

1. Visit the Palaces of Seoul

The five palaces of Seoul are worth exploring, especially Changdeokgung, which is listed as a World Heritage Site. Take some time to discover other parts of the city, such as Bukchon Hanok Village and the Seoul Tower, and go shopping in the Myeong-dong district.

2. Explore Busan

South Korea's second largest city, Busan offers magnificent beaches, the colorful Gamcheon culture village, and the largest fish market in Korea.

3. Try the Street Food at Gwangjang Market

Originally a fabric market, Gwangjang Market is now the busiest food alley in Seoul, with street food vendors spread among the fabric shops. While here, you must try the Nokdu Bindaetteok, a mung bean pancake that is normally paired with milky rice wine or makgeolli.

4. Spend a Day at Lotte World

Head to the world's biggest indoor theme park with the kids and spend the day going on fun rides, watching shows and visiting the aquarium and water park.

5. Experience the Boryeong Mud Festival

South Korea's 10-day Mud Festival is held every July and attracts millions of people. You'll be able to go on the mud super slide, splash in muddy pools and go into the mud rain tunnel.

When to visit South Korea

South Korea in February
Estimated hotel price
$131
1 night at 3-star hotel
South Korea in February
Estimated hotel price
$131
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best times to visit South Korea are the spring months from March to May and the autumn months from September to November. The summer is usually hot and humid, while winters are icy and cold.

How to Get to South Korea

Entry Requirements

Citizens from a large number of countries will receive a tourist visa on arrival for durations ranging from 30 to 180 days. For visitors coming from other countries, a visa must be applied for prior to arriving.

Plane

The two main international airports are located around Seoul and Busan, and the main national airline Korean Air offers nonstop flights to around 150 destinations. Budget flights can be found to and from Asia with airlines such as Air Busan, Jin Air and Eastar Jet.

Boat

Ferries connect the city of Busan in South Korea to various destinations in Japan, including Fukuoka and Osaka. Incheon is also connected by ferry to several cities in China, while a cruise ferry is available from Donghae to Vladivostok in Russia.

Entry Requirements

Citizens from a large number of countries will receive a tourist visa on arrival for durations ranging from 30 to 180 days. For visitors coming from other countries, a visa must be applied for prior to arriving.

Plane

The two main international airports are located around Seoul and Busan, and the main national airline Korean Air offers nonstop flights to around 150 destinations. Budget flights can be found to and from Asia with airlines such as Air Busan, Jin Air and Eastar Jet.

Boat

Ferries connect the city of Busan in South Korea to various destinations in Japan, including Fukuoka and Osaka. Incheon is also connected by ferry to several cities in China, while a cruise ferry is available from Donghae to Vladivostok in Russia.

Popular airlines serving South Korea

Lufthansa
Good (4,692 reviews)
KLM
Good (839 reviews)
SWISS
Good (961 reviews)
Delta
Good (4,556 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (2,235 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (480 reviews)
Air France
Good (984 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (2,113 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (4,988 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (2,406 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (6,068 reviews)
Finnair
Good (839 reviews)
LOT
Good (685 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (932 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (839 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (413 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (536 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (747 reviews)
Egypt Air
Good (191 reviews)
Malaysia Airlines
Good (188 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in South Korea

A large variety of accommodation is available in South Korea. Minbaks can be found in national parks and rural areas, Jjimjilbangs are a type of budget accommodation available in bath houses, and for something a bit different, glamping is a very popular option, especially among Korean teens.

Where to stay in popular areas of South Korea

Most booked hotels in South Korea

The Shilla Jeju
5 stars
Excellent (9.3, 2050 reviews)
$220+
Paradise Hotel Busan
5 stars
Excellent (9.1, 1909 reviews)
$179+
Ramada Encore by Wyndham Busan Haeundae
4 stars
Excellent (8.8, 1247 reviews)
$60+
Landing Jeju Shinhwa World Hotels & Resorts
5 stars
Excellent (8.6, 1831 reviews)
$84+
Ananti at Busan Cove
5 stars
Excellent (8.6, 1440 reviews)
$206+
Shilla Stay Haeundae
4 stars
Excellent (8.5, 3182 reviews)
$93+

How to Get Around South Korea

Public Transportation

South Korea is very well-connected by public transport, including subway systems in the 6 main cities, trains and buses.

Trains

Korail is the national rail network and connects the major cities in South Korea. Trains are available in 3 different speeds, with the Korea Train Express being the high speed train, the ITX-Saemaeul slightly slower, and the Mugunghwas the slowest train.

Bus

Buses are the main mode of long-distance transport, and there are two types of buses that service the country. Express Buses are faster when it comes to long distances and Inter-City Buses service more locations.

Car

If you are looking to rent a car while in South Korea, you will need an international driving permit. Driving in the big cities is not recommended due to traffic and expensive parking; however, it is a great way to see the rural areas.

Plane

Domestic flights are available through local airlines Asiana and Korea Air, as well as 5 different low-cost airlines, including Air Busan, T'Way Airlines and Jin Air.

Public Transportation

South Korea is very well-connected by public transport, including subway systems in the 6 main cities, trains and buses.

Trains

Korail is the national rail network and connects the major cities in South Korea. Trains are available in 3 different speeds, with the Korea Train Express being the high speed train, the ITX-Saemaeul slightly slower, and the Mugunghwas the slowest train.

Bus

Buses are the main mode of long-distance transport, and there are two types of buses that service the country. Express Buses are faster when it comes to long distances and Inter-City Buses service more locations.

Car

If you are looking to rent a car while in South Korea, you will need an international driving permit. Driving in the big cities is not recommended due to traffic and expensive parking; however, it is a great way to see the rural areas.

Plane

Domestic flights are available through local airlines Asiana and Korea Air, as well as 5 different low-cost airlines, including Air Busan, T'Way Airlines and Jin Air.

The Cost of Living in South Korea

The price of an average inexpensive meal in South Korea is about 7,000 KRW (6 USD), while a 3-course meal at a mid range restaurant will cost around 40,000 KRW (34 USD), and a monthly public transport pass will cost around 55,000 KRW (47 USD). Credit and debit cards are widely used around the country; however, you might need cash for small purchases or for buying from smaller merchants.