South Korea is the perfect destination for solo female travelers, couples or friends because it’s extremely safe, it has a fascinating culture and there’s an activity for everyone! Whether you’re a foodie, hiker or just interested in new cultures, you will love South Korea!
This list covers the top five destinations, other than Seoul, to visit in South Korea for an unforgettable stay. Your South Korea trip will likely be a blur of drinking soju, taking pictures of cherry blossoms 100 times a day and trying every dessert you come across. Enjoy!
1. Boseong (보성군) Green Tea Fields, South Korea
The green tea fields are 5 hours from Seoul by bus so it is a fun journey best began in the morning. When I went to Boseong, I missed the bus with all my friends and in a hung over daze I pulled myself together and somehow made it the five hours there. I definitely had a lot of help from a few kind Koreans along the way; one bus driver even took me to the Green Tea Field exit and dropped me off right on the highway!
Right at the entrance they sell green tea ice cream and once you make it to the fields there are complimentary GREEN TEA CHURROS PEOPLE! The green tea fields are really a place to simply walk around and take in the beauty. Right in the center there is a huge hill you can hike to get a view of all the green tea hills and a tiny little temple on a far away mountain. Anyone in good health should be able to make it to the top. Other than that you can run through the fields and take pictures with friends!
Stay in the Korean Traditional House – Chungnokdang for an authentic Korean experience with traditional Korean breakfast included! It’s just 20 minutes drive from Daehan Green Tea Field and you’ll sleep on traditional style futon mats on the floor. But don’t worry, the floors are heated with the traditional Korean heating system called Ondal. So cozy!
2. Sokcho (속초시) / Seoraksan National Park (설악산), South Korea
If you want to feel like you’re walking through dinosaur territory and hike until your legs are jello, this is the stop for you!
Sokcho is a quiet town with not much going on other than Seoraksan and Sokcho beach. Three days is the perfect amount of time to visit the beaches, Seoraksan and move on! You can take a three-hour bus ride from Seoul to Sokcho and stay at Urbanstay Sokcho Deungdae right on the beach. There’s a bus stop nearby where you can easily catch Bus #7 to the hikes.
The next morning, you will get up extra early and catch the first bus to the starting point of your chosen hike. Daecheongbong Peak (대청봉) is the highest mountain in Seoraksan and can be reached from the Oseok starting point, about an hour from Sokcho. It should take you three to four hours to hike to the top if you’re moving at a moderate pace. The view is absolutely breathtaking as the mountains look like the backs of Stegosaurus dinosaurs! You can opt to hike downhill for the next 7-10 hours to get through to the other side of the park or just go back down and catch the bus to Sokcho. It is an extremely grueling walk but you will feel like you are walking through Jurassic Park, so have plenty of memory on your camera.
3. Jinhae (진해) / Busan (부산), South Korea
Jinhae is one of the iconic spots that many Koreans go to see an amazing cherry blossom festival. The Jinhae Gunhangje Festival is held in April which is also my birthday month, so I was thrilled to spend my birthday under the cherry blossoms! Jinhae is right by Busan, so you can do it right along side a trip to Busan, which is also a must-see destination in SK.
You can take a bus from Seoul to Busan in about six hours, so it’s best to get a really early bus and sleep the whole way. Once you arrive in Busan, an amazing place to set up camp is Stanford Hotel Busan which is walking distance to the Jalgachi subway station. Once you’re settled in, plan when you will get the 45 minute bus to Jinhae! Planning 3-4 hours for Jinhae is perfect as you will have plenty of time to take pictures, shop and of course, EAT! Once you arrive at the Jinhae bus station you will need to walk about 15 minutes past a large roundabout before you hit the river, but you will know as soon as you’ve found it!
For the rest of your time in Busan I recommend walking through one of the coastal parks, taking a bus to Gamcheon Culture Village and checking out Haeundae Beach!
4. Jeonju (전주시), South Korea
If you want to experience every Korean’s food heaven, Jeonju is the place for you. I went with a Korea friend and she made sure I didn’t miss out on the cinnamon makgeolli or raw bibimbap!
You can get to Jeonju by train or bus, either takes about three hours but bus is the cheaper option. Prepare to have a long day of eating and walking because that’s all you’re gonna do! I went with my friend, Kyung, and she knew ALL the spots we couldn’t miss. Jeonju is packed with Koreans and tourists so you will have plenty of time to take pictures and rest between eating as you will be standing in many lines. Don’t forget to stop by the Hanok (traditional home) village!
5. Jeju Island (제주도), South Korea
Finally, Jeju Island! You will hear many things about Jeju Island during your time in SK. South Koreans absolutely love it and tourists are all hoping to make the trip. You will have to formulate your own opinion on magical Jeju!
Book your flight from Seoul a few weeks ahead and plan to have at least three to four days in Jeju.
Of all the amazing places in Jeju, I will list the six you cannot miss:
This beautiful waterfall fills a crystal blue pool where you expect a mermaid to swim out. It’s magical, easy to get to and they sell makgeolli right at the entrance. Make the most of it by getting a bottle of makjeolli to split with friends!
Jeongbang waterfall is one of the only waterfalls in the world that meets the ocean. You can walk all around the waterfall and along the rocks. Most importantly, they sell every kind of flavored chocolate you can imagine at the entrance.
Hallasan National Park, South Korea
Fun fact: -san means mountain in Korean, so it’s actually redundant to say ‘Hallasan Mountain’. Hallasan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest mountain in South Korea. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a tough hike. I am pretty athletic but it was rough for me. However, I am from a very flat Florida and my friends that live in the mountains breezed through it! You will hike an hour or two up steps in a dense forest and when you make it out it is literally one huge clearing! The hike is far from over as you still have to go to the top where there’s an ice-blue crater! Plan for Hallasan to take up an entire day of your trip.
One of the most memorable parts of my time in SK is the day we rode bikes to Udo (-do means island in Korean). You can rent bikes on the mainland and catch the ferry to Udo early in the day so you have the whole day to explore. There are amazing beaches, scooters for rent and funny penis-men statues all over the island (you will understand when you see them). The one place you must eat for lunch is the peanut butter burger place. You will wait forever for your food but it’s totally worth it! Make sure to catch a ferry back in time to watch the sunset at…
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
I know I’ve mentioned Jurassic park previously, but does this not look like a place Pterodactyls would be flying around? It’s another UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s totally worth the hike to the top (but much easier). The grass filled crater on top and spectacular view of the city is where you can satisfy all of your selfie needs!
Last but not least, Loveland. Prepare to be uncomfortable as you will never forget the sexual images at this hilarious theme park. I mean, if you are going all the way to South Korea, then Jeju, you owe it to yourself to stop at Loveland. Sex wise, if you can think it, they have a statue of it! There is awesome art, an unforgettable gift shop and an ice cream store that sells penis pastries (I got ice cream). Don’t forget to buy your sexual position chocolate and post cards for mom!
Hope you’re stoked for your South Korean adventures and this gave you some ideas! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments.