Top things to do in South Korea

Top Choice Palace in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Gyeongbokgung

Like a phoenix, Seoul’s premier palace has risen several times from the ashes of destruction. Hordes of tourists have replaced the thousands of government officials, scholars, eunuchs, concubines, soldiers and serva…
Top Choice Palace in Gwanghwamun & Jongno-gu

Changdeokgung

The World Heritage–listed Changdeokgung is the most beautiful of Seoul's five main palaces. You must join a one-hour guided tour to look around. English tours run at 10.15am and 1.15pm; if you don’t care about the c…
Top Choice Area in Jeonju

Jeonju Hanok Maeul

This maeul (village) has more than 800 hanok (traditional wooden homes), making it one of the largest such concentrations in the country. Virtually all of them contain guesthouses, restaurants, cafes, and hanbok (tr…
Top Choice Gallery in Itaewon & Yongsan-gu

Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

Amid the celebrity-owned apartments on the leafy southern slope of Namsan is Korea's premier art gallery. Beautifully designed and laid-out, it balances modern and contemporary art with traditional Korean art across…
Top Choice Korean in Dongdaemun & Eastern Seoul

Gwangjang Market

This sprawling fabric market is now best known as Seoul’s busiest meokjagolmok (food alley), thanks to the 200 or so food stalls, kimchi and fresh-seafood vendors that have set up shop amid the silk, satin and linen…
Top Choice Volcano in Seongsan-ri & Sinyang-ri

Seongsan Ilchul-bong

This majestic 182m-high, extinct tuff volcano, shaped like a giant punchbowl, is one of Jeju-do's most impressive sights and a Unesco World Heritage site. The forested crater is ringed by jagged rocks, though there’…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Jirisan National Park

Ssanggye-sa

The visual imagery of this temple is a feast for the eyes and, like any exquisite dinner, should be savoured with deliberation. Stone walls supporting multiple levels of buildings notched into the mountainside, comb…
Top Choice Korean in Tongyeong

Ddungbo Halmae Gimbap

Hungry travellers with limited Korean skills come here because there’s no need to speak or read a menu: this place only serves chungmu gimbap (충무 김밥), a spicy squid-and-radish dish. The waitress will ask how many se…
Top Choice Island in Tongyeong

Saryangdo

Jagged ridges, 400m-high peaks, ropes, ladders and awe-inspiring views await travellers looking for a challenging hike. Most travellers disembark the ferry (return ₩10,000, 40 minutes, departs 7.30am, 9.30am, noon, …
Top Choice Bakery in Dongdaemun & Eastern Seoul

Onion

Seoul's hippest cafe-bakery, Onion is the epitome of industrial-chic cool, set within a semiderelict concrete building that just begs to be photographed. Scenesters queue out the door to take their turn loading tray…