South Korea Holidays
South Korea remains an enticingly underexplored slice of Asia. For many, it is still epitomized by the high stakes border skirmishes with its northern neighbour, the high kicking drama of taekwondo and the viral high jinks of ‘Gangnam style’.
Yet, within this compact country lie many delights waiting to be discovered by those with a sense of adventure. Whether it’s historic temples, mist-clad mountains, remote archipelagos, tranquil rice paddies or neon-lit cities that you seek, we can tailor a trip that will leave you wondering why South Korea was not higher on your travel radar.
History lovers are in for a real treat. South Korea’s powerhouse economy is edging its way towards the world’s top ten, but this remains a country where the pursuit of the modern goes hand-in-hand with a reverence for the ancient. The neon lights of Seoul sit alongside equally dazzling, meticulously restored palaces; and the ancient city walls, fortresses and burial mounds of Suwon and Gyeongju bring the country’s dynastic past vividly to life.
Those wishing to explore traditional life, rather than modern marvels, are well served. Not far from high-tech cities can be found unchanging fishing villages, wooden hanok houses, serene rice paddies and islands where traditional life continues untouched by the ‘economic miracle’ of the 1970s.
Hit the cities, and everything picks up a gear. The non-stop, neon-lit spectacle of South Korea’s thrilling urban centres offer plenty of opportunities to shop round-the-clock, knock back toasts with locals over a bottle of soju, and partake in late-night snacking at the city’s street food markets.
It’s not all go, go, go, though. Over in the National Parks of Songnisan and Seoraksan there are cherry-blossom clad, misty mountains to wander through and there are plenty of beach paradise islands to take your pick from in the archipelagos that lie like confetti around the south coast - Jeju Island to name but one.
South Korea is one of Asia’s best kept secrets, but we don’t think it will remain so for long.
Things to love in South Korea
What to do in South Korea: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Stay overnight in a Korean Buddhist temple
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Ideas for your trip to South Korea
Our Classic South Korea itinerary explores the country’s essential highlights in just over a week. Travelling from the manic metropolis of Seoul, to the seaside city of Busan, via Gyeongju – the ‘museum without walls’, it’s the perfect introduction to this country of contrast.
The neighbouring countries of South Korea and Japan share many similarities and this itinerary which combines the two will appeal to anyone with an interest in history and culture, natural wonders and food.
An Insider's South Korea delves deeper into the country, taking in city life, historical sites, cultural treasures and the country’s seasonally-changing natural scenery.