There are so many great things about South Korea; too many to list down. If you’ve never been to the Land of the Morning Calm, there are about a Thousand and one things you can do and see. In this article, we have the perfect Korea tour package for first time visitors. Here are ten (10) tour destinations that you absolutely CANNOT miss on your first visit to South Korea.
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace – Seoul
The Gyeongbokgung Palace is South Korea’s equivalent of China’s Forbidden City or Japan’s Imperial Palace. Admire Old-Age Korean architecture, watch the guard changing ceremony, take pictures of the palace grounds, and take pictures of yourselves in full gatekeeper uniform.
The Palace grounds are closed on Tuesdays but are open the rest of the week. Guard changing ceremonies take place every hour from 11AM to 3PM. Admission which will grant you access to the entire palace grounds for the whole day, will cost 3000 won for adults and 1500 for children.
To get there, take the Seoul Subway Line 3 to either Gyeongbokgung, Exit 5. Or to Anguk Station, Exit 1.
2. Bukchon Hanok Village – Seoul
Bukchon Hanok Village is a 600 year old village from the Joseon Dynasty. It features Hanoks (Traditional House), cultural centers, Museums, restaurants, small shops, and tea houses, all of which provide a rich Korean cultural experience.
The village can be enjoyed for more than 3 hours, walking around and sampling the many attractions. It is open all year round and does not charge admission fees. You can get there by getting of Anguk Subway Station (Line 3, Exit 1 or 2) or by Bus, getting off at Bukchok hanok Village Bus Stop (Maeul Bus Jongno 02)
3. Namiseom Island– Chuncheon
Nami Island is an official UNICEF Child Friendly Park that has since been called “a garden of culture and the arts”. A whole day or two can be spent here, enjoying tranquil tree-lined walkways, beautiful gardens, lakes, rivers, eco-friendly theme parks, restaurants, and shops.
(For a full list of attractions and admission fees, visit: https://namisum.com/en/general-information/)
We highly recommend taking a stroll along Metasequoia Road and Ginko Tree Lane, visiting the Eco Farm, trying the famous Pan-fried rice cake, and touring the island aboard the UNICEF Charity Train which costs only 2000 won per way
We also recommend visiting Petite France and The Garden of Morning Calm after Nami Island. Both attractions are within close proximity from Nami Island. Just take the Gapyeong Tour Bus.
If you’re coming from Seoul, the Island is mainly accessed through a ferry from Gapyeong Wharf which costs 13,000 won. This ticket will cover your ferry ride going to and back, as well as your admission into the park.
If you’re the more adventurous type, you can also opt to take zipline to the island from Gapyeong instead! This will cost 38’000 won which also covers your admission fee and a ferry ride back to Gapyeong.
4. Myeongdong – Seoul
Myeongdong; Seoul’s shopping paradise and food heaven. Malls, Restaurants, and more cosmetic shops than you can count. The Main attraction here being the Flagship Malls of Lotte and Shinsegae. You can spend a whole day in this are and find something new everywhere you look. Definitely DO NOT skip this area on your first visit.
Myeongdong is a very accessible area. Via Subway, get off Myeongdong station Exit 6 (Line 4). Via Bus, any city tour bus or Airport Limousine Bus No. 6001 and No. 6015 which heads for Incheon International Airport.
5. Insa-dong – Seoul
If you want a good balance between the Cultural immersion of Bukchon Hanok Village and the Consumerist Craze of Myeongdong, you will find it at Insa-dong shopping street. Here you can find many shops that sell cultural items such as handicrafts, pottery, souvenirs, accessories, and the like.
Best time to go there is during the weekend when vehicles are not allowed on the streets, making it more accessible and convenient for walking visitors. To get there via subway, get off Anguk Station Exit 6 (Line 3) or Jonggak Station Exit 3 (Line 1). If you prefer bus, take: Green Bus: 7025, Blue Bus: 109, 151, 162, 171, 172, 601, Maeul Bus: Jongno02 or Airport Bus: 6011
Getting off at Anguk Station, Jongno Police Office, or Insa-dong Bus Stop.
6. Seoraksan National Park – Yangyang County
When visitors come to Korea, they typically excite themselves about the urban jungles of Seoul, and often forget about the natural beauty of the Korean Landscape. If you’re looking to witness the best nature and outdoor sites Korea has to offer, Seoraksan National Park is the place to be.
The national park currently has 15 different hiking trails. Most are easy 2-3 hour while there are also a few challenging 10-16-hour trails for more experienced hikers. In Outer Seorak there are many streams, rivers, waterfalls, natural springs, and rock formations, while in Inner Seorak, you’ll find folk villages, museums, plantations, and temples
Admission fees into the park are relatively cheap:
Adults = 3,500 won • Teens ages 14-19 = 1,000 won • Children ages 8-13 = 500 won
Since the park covers a large area; spreading over 4 cities, there are many way to get to the park. The easiest is by bus.
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, you can take an intercity bus bound for Baekdamsa Temple or Sokcho. Travel time is approximately 2 hrs and 30 mins.
7. Lotte World – Seoul
Lotte World is known for being the largest indoor theme park in the world. When It comes to big things, Lotte World doesn’t disappoint. Inside, you’ll find many theme park rides, park booths, restaurants, shops, an ice rink, parades, and even a whole lake!
The park is Open all year round starting 9:30 AM (Closing time may vary each day. Refer to park hours at http://adventure.lotteworld.com/eng/main/index.do). Admission fees will give you access to both Lotte World and The popular Folk Museum located inside. Prices are as follows:
The park is most accessible by subway. Ride Subway Line 2 or 8 and Get off at Jamsil Station, Exit 4. The park is directly connected to this station. Make sure to bring a change of clothes, some water, and to plan your itinerary to maximize your time.
8. Namsan Seoul Tower – Seoul
Namsan Seoul Tower is definitely worth going to if you want the best aerial views of Seoul city. The Observatory stands at 480 M above sea level and overlooks Namsan Mountain and Seoul city. Aside from the Observatory, there is also the Ssentoy Museum, Hello Kitty Island, and the Namsan Cable Car.
To get to the Namsan Seoul Tower Plaza, you can either take the Namsan Circular Shuttle Bus numbers 2, 3, and 5, or by the Cable Car near Myeongdong station (Line 4, Exit 3)
9. Gangnam District – Seoul
Gangnam-gu which literally means “South of the River” is known in Korea as one of the busiest and most developed districts in the country; sometimes being compared to Beverly Hills in California. However, Its fame as on of the new business and real estate centers of Korea does not overshadow its fame as a tourist area.
Go shopping at the Hanwha Galleria Department Store and COEX Mall; explore the Seolleung and Jeongneung tombs, Yangjae Stream, and the Bongeun Temple; visit the COEX Aquarium, Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters), and Simone Handbag Museum. These are just some of the many tourist attractions to see and appreciate in Gangnam
Gangnam-gu is served by Seoul Subway Lines – 2, 3, 7, and 9, as well as the Bundang Line and the Shinbundang Line. Use these railways to get to your attraction of choice in Gangnam-gu.
10. Nanta Show – Seoul
Last item on our list is of course the famous Nanta Show performed at the Performing Arts theater in Seoul. The Nanta show is a non-verbal comedy act that features culinary performances mixed with traditional Korean percussion music called Samul Nori. Watching the Nanta (esp in a seated theater) is a great way to end a day of endless walking and exploring.
Fair warning: The performers like to bring their audience members to the stage to participate in the show so if you have stage fright, don’t sit along the aisles!
The Nanta show is also performed in Hongdae and on Jeju Island, so ticket pricing, schedules, and seating arrangements will vary (between 30’000 to 32’000 won).
To book your tickets, visit: https://www.nanta.co.kr:452/
For more info: https://www.nanta.co.kr:452/en/company/aboutUs/nanta.php