South Korea by day is a pioneer in fashion and technology, but also in tradition: a great clean city, a dynamic city that combines avant-garde design palaces and temples with shopping malls where the relentless rhythm of K-pop resonates, mountain trails and green spaces with a passion for cosmetics and plastic surgery. At night, nightlife presides over leisure activities, countless lion lights keep illuminating crowded streets until the sun brings dawn, just like in Japan. South Korea is strangely fun and always seems to be free of tourism. In fact, it is not surprising that when you walk, old people decide to greet you or approach you to speak to you in Korean, even if you seem to not understand anything. If you want to know what to see and do in South Korea during your vacation, then you will find here some useful travel tips to introduce you to the country and let you know what you can’t miss during your vacation. What to see and do on your first visit to South Korea
Enjoy typical Korean food
One of the best ways to experience Korean culture is to discover its culinary delights. By discovering the tasty Hansik cuisine, you can enjoy a small part of all that Korea has to offer. Because here, they base their cuisine on a philosophical attitude emuyang ohaeng that seeks to achieve harmony between the five colors of nature, with its five flavors: blue, yellow, white, black and red, with the sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter. Thus, in the end, as in Japanese country, your table ends up being filled with a thousand small dishes with lots of toppings or tops. Koreans love to barbecue everything, don’t leave Korea without having tasted a real gogi barbecue and love kimchi, there is kimchi everywhere. Kimchi is a fermented vegetable used as a garnish. It has a very strong taste, but used correctly it is tasty because it manages to increase the taste and the power of the ingredients of your food, you have to try it.
Also do not forget the following dishes:
The star dish in Korea, besides having a very striking image, is more than tasty. It consists of a base of boiled rice with vegetables, marinated meat and eggs seasoned with sesame oil and gochujang sauce on top.
Slices of beef or pork marinated and grilled on a barbecue. The sauce contains soy, garlic, onion, ginger and sesame seeds.
Delicious chicken soup stuffed with chestnuts and ginseng.
The same ingredients as bibimbap, in a separate dish and without the basic rice. It is mainly vegetables cooked with soy sauce or fried with oil.
Popularly known as Korean sushi, it looks a bit like maki, but in this case the rice is seasoned with sesame oil.
Visit of the Hwaseong fortress in Suwon
South Korea is very small, so if you are going to visit Seoul, you have no excuse not to take a little trip to the huge Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon: you can get there by subway or train, and it takes no more than 50 minutes. The history of the fortress is, in fact, quite tragic: it was built in 1794 as a tribute to the remains of Prince Sado, who was murdered by his father after he couldn’t commit suicide, yes, his father had condemned him to die locked in a box of rice. But what is really special about this fortress is its architecture, because it mixes Eastern and Western styles, which has never been seen before in the whole country.
If you have a lot of time and you like walking, it is recommended that you walk through the whole complex. It takes about four hours, and if you do it clockwise, you will be able to walk through the doors of the whole complex in order. As you do so, you will see how the colors of the flags on the wall change: blue, white, red, black and yellow. This tour is one of the must-see tours in South Korea.
Visit of the historical center and temples of Gyeongju
To understand South Korea and its history, a visit to Gyeongju is essential. The city is magical, it was the capital of the country during one of the most important periods of its history, the Shilla Dynasty, which lasted on the peninsula for more than 1000 years, and now it is full of temples and small streets. You can’t miss the Mound Park where you will find 23 hill-shaped royal tombs as you read. Daereungwon is a park where Koreans walk on weekends and where important people of the Three Kingdoms era are buried, not to be missed. The main attraction of the city is the Bulguksa Temple something you will see in South Korea, it is original of 528 and you will need a whole morning to see it. If the weather is nice, it is recommended to rent a bike and ride through the streets of the historic center with: watch out for the eccentricities they sell, you can even find gold ice cream.
Buy cosmetics and clothes in Busan
Although Busan is not a particularly beautiful city, it is well worth a visit for an early morning stroll along the beaches, to enjoy the views of the Igidae coastal promenade, to get lost in the colorful cultural village of Gamcheon and, in the afternoon, for shopping. As you know, Koreans take great care of their skin. The funny thing is that this is not something exceptional for women, men also invest a lot of money in creams and cosmetics. No matter how old you are, everyone will look younger than you do. Among the things you are recommended to take home and: ginseng, kimchi, traditional teas, traditional liquors, clothes in some Busan markets, you will find them at a very good price and cosmetics, everything related to facial care is also very well rated. Go to a store and ask fearlessly which one they recommend.
Going to karaoke with friends in Seoul
The amount of things to eat, see and do in South Korea is infinite, but Seoul takes the lead. It’s the typical huge city you set foot in and you know that hundreds of unique experiences await you around every corner. But on top of all that, there is no better experience than meeting Koreans in a bar and ending up seeing them singing karaoke.