South Korea is a beautiful country in East Asia known for its dynamic, high-tech capital city, Seoul, colorful fashion and KPop culture, and green, hilly countryside full of delicately pretty cherry trees. It is a country rich with history and culture, and home to many old Buddhist temples and historical sites. In recent years, it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations. Here’s how to plan your visit to South Korea:
What to Book in Advance
Don’t leave your flight and accommodations up to chance, especially when traveling somewhere as far as South Korea. Start monitoring airline and hotel websites early to get the best deals on flights and hotel rooms. You can fly directly from the US to Seoul out of most of the major airports, including from Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago. If you plan to drive yourself to the airport, don’t forget to reserve a parking space in advance on a website like ParkON.com.
ParkON offers parking spaces in more than 200 parking lots nationwide. They are strategically located close to all the major airports, including O’Hare, LaGuardia and Los Angeles International. LAX parking can be notoriously difficult to find, but services like ParkON take all the hassle out of it. Simply search, select and reserve a parking space on their website, and you can rest assured that your car will remain safe and secure until you return.
If you want to learn more about South Korea’s rich history, pay a visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace in northern Seoul. Built in 1395, this magnificent structure was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty, and served as the home of kings, as well as of the government of Joseon. It is one of five grand palaces built during the dynasty, and is the largest and arguably the grandest and most beautiful.
Located on the top of a hill nearby is Bukchon Hanok Village, a 600-year old traditional Korean village. It is completely Instagram-worthy, with its quaint and rustic architecture and its many winding alleys and hilly streets. Get the full experience by renting hanboks (traditional Korean garments) so you can imagine you’ve been transported back to the Joseon Dynasty as you stroll through the village.
Shop and Eat
If you prefer a more dynamic, urban setting, you must visit Myeong-dong, one of the primary and most popular shopping districts in Seoul. Myeong-dong is always abuzz with activity, from early in the morning to late at night.
You can find hundreds of stores here, from small boutiques to high end brands including Louis Vuitton and Chanel, but we recommend spending your money at a local brand like the Lotte Department Store or one of the many Korean skincare brands. You can hoard face masks for very cheap, and shop skincare from popular brands like Etude House, The Face Shop, Innisfree and Laneige.
One of the highlights of Myeong-dong is the amazing street food you can find and enjoy. No visit to Korea is complete without trying out their food. Some of the most popular street food to try includes tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cakes,) gimbap (rice rolls with vegetables and pickles,) and of course, Korean barbecue.
Korea is a vivid, colorful, interesting and vibrant country to visit. You’ll never run out of things to see and do. Hopefully, these tips can help you get started with planning your visit to South Korea soon.