South Korea

Cultural Cities And UNESCO-World-Heritage Sites

Filled with great natural beauty, interesting cities, beautiful sites, and serene temples, South Korea is an energetic country with plenty to be enjoyed. No matter what your inclinations, you will find that there is something for everyone in this majestic nation.

Try some of their delicious cuisines, listen to dynamic K-Pop or wander around bountiful gardens as you travel through mountain ranges, cityscapes, and lush greenery on this incredible South Korea itinerary.

Where To Buy Tickets: KoRail

Countries Visited: South Korea

Rail Passes:  KoRail Pass

Price Range: $$$$

Recommended Days: 14 Days

Riding Hours: Approx. 27 hrs

Distance: 1,278 km

Transportation: Train, Bus, Ferry

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Seoul: Panoramic View

The capital of South Korea, Seoul is full of bright lights and alluring aromas that will keep you looking for more. An interesting city that boasts modern skyscrapers, enterprising markets, and a variety of unique independent shops where you are sure to find the perfect souvenir.

If you are looking to enjoy a bit of the history of the city, look no further than Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was once the main royal palace and exhibits Korean architecture at its finest. As you walk around the grounds you will notice a little pavilion that is placed on an artificial island in the middle of the lake that is quite a sight to see.

If you want to see panoramic views across all of Seoul, head up to the N Seoul Tower where you will witness incredible light shows across the city skyline. Shopping is quite an attraction within the city and there is no better place to visit than the Namdaemun Market houses which is the largest traditional market in all of South Korea. You will be able to wander the more than 10,000 stores for a variety of wares, from Korean snacks to little knick-knacks.

If you want a bit more culture added to your trip, a great place to visit is Bukchon Hanok. This ancient village holds the history of South Korea among its little urban settlement. When you visit, you will be able to partake in the traditions of the Joseon Dynasty.

Seoul Station → Suwon Station | Duration: 0:32h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train

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There are daily direct train connections from Seoul to Suwon. You can choose between a Highspeed-Train (KTX), Fast Train (ITX) and the slower IC Train (Mugunghwa). Book here

Suwon: Oldest Neighborhood In South Korea

Within the fortress walls of the beautiful Suwon lies some of the oldest neighborhoods in South Korea. The city has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its defense system during the 18th century. History is not its only attribute, here you will find the research and development headquarters for Samsung electronics and its insightful museum.

You cannot visit Suwon without visiting the Hwaseong Fortress which was built to encase a tomb as a symbol of familial devotion. It was built so precisely and had impeccable records of construction that the restoration had the perfect reference. Now you are able to visit the vast fortress, climb aboard a tourist trolley that will take you to the main gates, the royal palace, and the museum within.

Due to the whole city being a fortress, you should definitely visit one of the many restored gates that are placed around the city. The Hwahongmun Gate is the north gate and was built over the Suwon River which you will see flow through the arches. For something a bit more modern, head to the Samsung Innovation Museum that takes you through the history of electronics. You will learn all about the evolution of South Korea’s electronics industry, take a step back into the past and get excited for the future with the many displays.

→ Get a Travel Guide for South Korea

Suwon Station → Jeonju Station | Duration: 2:30 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train

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There are daily 12 direct trains from Suwon to Jeunjo. You can take the Fast Train (ITX-Saemaul). There are two fast trains daily and it takes around 2:30h. Or you hop on the IC Train (Mugunghwa). The ride takes around 3 hours. Book here

Recommended Accommodations:

Suwon Dono1796 Hotel

Jeonju: Taste Delicoius Food

A colorful town within the center of South Korea that boasts the largest Hanok Village within the nation is our next stop, Jeonju. It is considered to be the cultural capital of the country, although a small town that is a bit more relaxed than some of the other stops before, it is jam-packed with activities to keep you entertained.

The food is not to be missed in Jeonju, so you should definitely head out in search of some delicious bibimbaps. A mixed rice bowl filled with flavor that you can find in most restaurants is definitely worth a try. For the most perfect rendition of bibimbaps, head to the Hanguk-jip which is one of the oldest serving institutions in the town.

Whilst in the town you should definitely spend a night living in a traditional Hanok home. These homes are made from natural materials and its interior is simple Korean stylings. Sleep on a futon bed, enjoy the ondol heating system, and reconnect with yourself. At the top of the town is the magical mural village. Head out on a photography tour of the artsy buildings, across the bridges, and visit the two pavilions within the village.

Jeonju Station → Yeocheon Station | Duration: 1:23 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train

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There are several daily direct trains from Jeunjo to Yeocheeon. You can either take the High-Speed Train (KTX) or the IC Train (Mugunghwa).  Book here

Recommended Accommodations:

Blueboat hostel Jeonju
GaEunChae Hotel

Yeosu: Mountains And The Sea

Yeosu is a coastal city in South Korea set upon a peninsula and surrounded by mountains, sea, and around 317 islands. Here you will find some of the most stunning sights across all of South Korea and has a deep naval history within it. Not as popular as some of the other stops on the itinerary, it is a wonderful ocean location that has plenty to offer in terms of enjoyment.

Probably one of the most famous attractions within the city is the World Expo 2012 that had the theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast”. The expo was created to address climate change and featured 80 exhibition halls that were located along the coast. You can still visit the main section of the expo and during the evening do not miss the Big-O Show but be prepared to get wet.

Within the main harbor is the Yi Sun Shin Park where you will be able to see life-size turtle ships and have a little wander through. These are unique to South Korea with dragon heads, spikes, and the odd turtle shape. Being a coastal city, you won’t want to miss visiting some of the beautiful beaches, such as Jangdeung which is lovely and secluded. Just remember to pick the right time of year to go for a swim as it can get rather chilly.

Yeosu Ferry Port → JeJu Do Port | Duration: 5:50 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Ferry

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From Monday to Saturday there is a ferry once per day from Yeosu to Jeju. It starts always at 1:20am and arrives at 7:10 in the morning.  Book here

Recommended Accommodations:

Backpackers In Yeosu
Benikea Hotel Yeosu

Jeju-Do Island: A Wonder Of Nature 

This stop is a bit different from the others with it being the only tropical destination in South Korea. For those who love the outdoors and soaking up the sun by the beach, Je-Ju Do Island (also often written as Jejudo) is the perfect spot for you. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has even been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

There is plenty to keep you entertained and active during your stop here, but something not to miss is the iconic sunrise. Head down to the beach and watch the sunrise over the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. The beach is mainly lava rock with pools of water that reflect the sun, which offers a great view for watching over the volcano.

However, if just watching the sunrise isn’t enough for you, why not climb up the volcano? Enjoy the 25-minute hike up the 182-meter cone of the peak and enjoy panoramic views over the island. No visit to Jejudo is complete without trying some heavenly spicy seafood stew at one of the many restaurants with each displaying its large tank filled with your possible menu items.

Je-Ju Do Port → Busan Port | Duration: 12:30h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Ferry

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On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday there is only one ferry on each day from Jeju to Busan. It is anight ferry and it starts at 18:30 and it  arrives at 7:o0 in the morning on the next day.  Book here

Recommended Accommodations:

Choi Hostel Jeju
ASIA Hotel

Busan: Temples, Beaches, And Seafood

Busan is a beautiful city that is encompassed by mountains and lies on the sea edge. It is home to the largest seafood market in Korea and has a variety of delectable snacks and dishes to be enjoyed. You can also enjoy a day by the beach or head downtown to the many markets for an interesting find. You will also find the largest department store in the world which is well worth a visit, or you can head out of the city and visit one of the Buddhist temples that lie in the mountains.

The Korean War had a massive impact across all of South Korea, with thousands of United Nation soldiers giving their lives. You can visit the United Nations Memorial Cemetery which is the only burial ground completely dedicated to UN soldiers. You will find borderless grasslands and monuments for Turkey, Greece, Australia, and the British Commonwealth.

You should also head to the Gamcheon Culture Village where you will find paintings, artworks, and graffiti that decorate the entirety of the village. Haeundae Beach is idyllic and the perfect spot for enjoying some relaxation. Surrounded by hotels that offer great service, you will also find plenty of activities along the beachfront. Don’t forget to visit one of the beachfront restaurants for delicious food and great views.

Busan  → Gyeongju | Duration: 1:05h | Transfers: 1 | Transport: Train & Bus

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To get from Busan to Gyeongju, first take the train to Singyeongju and from there take bus to Gyeongju.

Recommended Accommodations:

Kimchee Haeundae Guesthouse
Arban Hotel

Gyeongju: Museum Without Walls

Set upon the south-eastern coast of South Korea, Gyeongju has been nicknamed the nation’s “Museum Without Walls” due to its architecture, temples, and many ancient artifacts. You will find plenty to enjoy, be it history, food or culture, there is a little bit of something for everyone on the last stop of our South Korea itinerary.

The Gyeongju National Museum is home to over 30,000 ancient archeological artifacts and artworks. You can explore the variety of exhibits that the museum has to offer, such as the Wolji Pond which is an outdoor exhibition. The Bulguksa Temple is a magnificent Buddhist temple and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you will find the Dobotap and Seokgatap pagodas and a beautiful main hall.

If you are still in need of souvenirs, head to the Gyeongju Folk Craft Village where you can wander through around 45 traditional Korean houses that are resided by local artisans. Pick up a variety of wares from traditional crafts of jewelry and even hanbok (Korean clothing).

Gyeongju Bus Terminal → Seoul Station | Duration: 3:03 h | Transfers: 1 | Transport: Bus & Train

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To get from Gyeongju to Seoul, first take the Bus to Singyeongju and from there take the High-Speed Train (KTX) to Seoul.

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Recommended Accommodations:

Doobaki Hostel
Gyeongju GG Tourist Hotel

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