South Korea (officially “the Republic Of Korea”) is famous for kimchi, Korean BBQ, K-pop, K-dramas, high-tech cosmetic surgeries, and Samsung electronics. Their culture influences people globally, especially youngsters. There are many more exciting aspects to visit such as temples, islands, culture, and the food. Did you know that the most popular activity in South Korea is hiking due to the proximity of mountains? Also did you know that medical tourism for cosmetic surgery is very popular?

Our South Korea Travel Guide will tell you everything you need to know before traveling, such as the best times to go, best places to visit in South Korea, popular activities to see or do in South Korea, what to eat, and the customs and cultures.

Do You Need a Visa to go to South Korea?

You need a valid passport and an authorized Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) to enter South Korea. Americans, Europeans, and Asians who visit Korea for leisure or business for less than ninety days must apply for a K-ETA at least 72 hours before flight. You can do it quickly on the K-ETA website. (K-ETA requirement is currently postponed until Jan 1 2025)

Travelers must apply for the K-ETA a minimum of 72 hours before boarding your flight. The K-ETA application fee is 10,000 KRW per person (about $10), usually gets approved quickly, and will be linked to your passport. However, South Asian countries require an eVisa or visa on arrival to visit the country.

Some countries with 90 days Visa exemptions are the U.S., U.K., Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland. You will require a visa if you wish to reside for more than 90 days. To obtain a visa, you can apply on the Korea Visa Portal. Further, Canadian Citizens are exempted for 180 days, and other countries like South Africa,Vatican City, South Africa, and Cyprus are exempted for 30 days.

Q Code – Entry Requirement

The Q Code, also known as the “QR Code,” is an essential requirement for entry into South Korea. South Korea has implemented a “Q Code” system to manage the flow of people during the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply for a Q Code in South Korea, you’ll need to Visit South Korea QCode Webisite.

Travel Insurance

You should strongly consider purchasing traveler’s insurance whenever you travel internationally. We recommend purchasing a SafetyWing policy. You never know when something unexpected happens and you find yourself needing medical attention, or the airline misplaces your luggage, or you miss your connecting flight. See my full write up on Travelers Insurance here.

SafetyWing Travel Insurance

Internet and SIM Cards

South Korea has the world’s fastest average internet connection speed. Some cafes and restaurants will offer free wifi but it’s best advised to rent a pocket wifi device if you work remotely. The most convenient and easiest way for internet access is to purchase a South Korea E-SIM card online in advance for your phone, so you will have service as soon as you land. Most newer phones will be compatible,

You will also want to download KakaoTalk, as it is the most popular messaging and video call phone app in South Korea, very similar to Line app for Thailand & Japan.


South Korea operates on a 220V supply voltage and uses Type C and Type F outlet sockets. You will need a travel adapter if you plan on visiting.

*As an Amazon, Agoda, Klook, and TravelGuide Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Essential Apps

  • Kakao Talk: Korea’s Messaging Marvel
    Stay connected with friends and locals effortlessly.
    Access various services for a seamless travel experience.
    Embrace the versatility of this essential communication app.
  • Naver Maps: Your Navigation Companion
    Navigate South Korea’s streets with detailed and reliable maps.
    Receive real-time traffic updates for smoother travel.
    Explore nearby amenities and enhance your overall journey experience.

By downloading these apps, you equip yourself with not just communication tools but also a comprehensive travel toolkit tailored for the vibrant landscapes of South Korea.

How To Get Around In South Korea

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When exploring the vibrant and diverse landscapes of South Korea, knowing how to get around is essential to make the most of your trip. South Korea offers a plethora of top things to do and popular activities, and a reliable transportation system will ensure you can experience them all. In this guide, we’ll take you through the various ways to get around in South Korea while highlighting the top things to do and popular activities along the way.

1. Seoul Subway System

  • One of the most efficient ways to explore the capital city is by using the Seoul Subway System. With extensive coverage, it conveniently connects you to many of the top things to do in Seoul, such as visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace or exploring the vibrant district of Myeongdong.

2. High-Speed Rail (KTX)

  • If you’re looking to travel between major cities like Seoul, Busan, or Daegu, the KTX high-speed rail is the way to go. It offers a swift and comfortable journey, allowing you to explore popular activities across the country with ease.

3. Local Trains and Buses

  • When you’re in the city, smaller towns, or rural areas, local trains and buses become the primary mode of transportation. These can be essential for exploring the countryside and engaging in popular activities like visiting traditional markets and temples.

4. Taxis and Ride-Sharing Apps

  • Taxis are readily available in South Korea’s cities. They’re particularly useful for shorter trips within the city, making it easy to get to popular activities such as visiting Bukchon Hanok Village or experiencing the nightlife in Hongdae.

Purchase The T-Money Card, a game-changer for navigating South Korea’s public transport system effortlessly. Acting as a reloadable smart card, it provides a convenient and efficient way to pay for various modes of transportation. Simply tap your T-Money Card at subway gates, buses, and even taxis to make quick and cashless transactions. The card can be easily recharged at subway stations and convenience stores, eliminating the need for constant ticket purchases. Beyond its use for transportation, T-Money Cards can also be utilized for small purchases at selected shops. With its widespread acceptance and user-friendly functionality, the T-Money Card stands out as the easiest and most versatile companion for exploring the vibrant landscapes of South Korea.

Currency in South Korea

The currency of South Korea is the “Won” or “Wones.” It has been in circulation in South Korea since 1945.  As China and Japan influenced South Korea, its currency, “Won,” gets its name from the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese Yen. And a single Won is divided into 100 Jeon, the monetary subunit. 

Korean Won Currency best money conversion data courtesy

Is South Korea Expensive?

The cost of your vacation will depend upon your travel plans as you will want to spend at least 1 or 2 weeks. So you have to make a rough budget of $2500 to $3000 USD. However, the minimum cost of staying in Seoul is 50 USD per day, including food, different transport accommodations, shopping, etc.). If you want to stay longer, the cost will increase according to your lifestyle. 

Meal17,219.94 ₩$12
Beer4,300.00 ₩$3
Bottle of Water932.31 ₩$0.65
Apartment Rural 789,716.00 ₩$550
Apartment City Center2,627,322.11 ₩$1830
Average Monthly Net Salary3,890,000 ₩$2,733
South Korea Cost of Living

Best Times to Visit South Korea

The best times to visit South Korea depend on your preferences and the type of experience you’re seeking. Here are the two most popular seasons for travelers to consider:

1. Spring (April to June):

  • Spring is one of the most beloved seasons in South Korea. During this time, cherry blossoms bloom, covering the country in delicate pink and white flowers. This is an excellent time for nature enthusiasts and photographers, making it one of the top things to do in South Korea. Popular activities include picnicking under cherry blossom trees in parks like Yeouido Park in Seoul or exploring the cherry blossom festivals across the country.

2. Autumn (September to November):

  • Another fantastic time to visit South Korea is during the autumn months. The fall foliage paints the landscapes in brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow. This is perfect for hikers and those who enjoy scenic beauty, which are popular activities to do in South Korea. Top things to do during this season include hiking in the Seoraksan or Jirisan National Parks, and taking in the stunning fall foliage on Namsan Mountain in Seoul.

July and August are the hottest and wettest months, so; it is best to avoid visiting these times. If you want to experience frigid temperatures and enjoy winter activities then you can visit in December, January or February. Winters are cold and temperature can drop to -10 degree Celsius.

South Korea’s Customs and Cultures

Chinese and Japanese cultures have had a major influence on South Korea’s Customs and Cultures. People believe in sincerity, loyalty, and hospitality. They bow to show their gratitude and respect towards each other. Koreans do not wear shoes while entering any house. You may also witness the way they respect their elders. The main religions are Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity.

Do’s and Don’ts in South Korea

  • Avoid speaking loudly in a public place or on transportation. 
  • Use two hands when receiving a gift.
  • Do Not Point with your fingers or chopsticks.
  • Take off your shoes while entering someone’s house in Korea.
  •  Do not leave your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice. 
  • Do not litter.
  • Do not spit.

Spoken Languages

The official language spoken in South Korea is Korean, which has five different dialects. Korean is one of the most difficult languages to learn. Although most Koreans were taught English, you will have a tough time communicating outside of Seoul. Other common languages spoken are English, Japanese, and Chinese.

Kimchi Festival

Recognized by UNESCO, this festival held in late autumn is a celebration of the traditional making of Kimchi, a beloved Korean dish. It holds immense significance as it marks the preparation of Kimchi for the winter season. The festival, known for the Kim Jang process, not only showcases the culinary heritage of South Korea but also invites locals and visitors alike to participate in a cultural tradition that has been passed down through generations. The UNESCO recognition elevates the festival’s status, making it a key event for those seeking an authentic and immersive experience in South Korean culinary traditions.

Seoul Lantern Festival 

Held every November, this festival becomes one of the top things to do in South Korea, where people gather to decorate hundreds of lanterns and perform prayer rites. The cultural significance of this event is profound, as paper lanterns symbolize enlightenment in Buddhism. Participants not only engage in a visually stunning display but also partake in a meaningful ritual that reflects the spiritual depth of South Korean culture. The festival, with its blend of artistry and spirituality, offers a unique and enlightening experience for both locals and visitors alike.

Grand Mint Festival 

As South Korea gains fame for its music, the music festival mentioned becomes a standout event that attracts people with its diverse lineup of singers and musicians. For music enthusiasts, attending this festival in October becomes one of the top things to do in South Korea. The festival not only showcases the country’s vibrant music scene but also offers an immersive experience for those who appreciate the artistry and talent of South Korean performers. In the heart of October, this music festival becomes a must-attend, promising a dynamic celebration of the nation’s musical prowess.

Busan Fireworks Festival 

In South Korea, every late autumn along Gwangalli Beach, the Busan Fireworks Festival emerges as one of the best places to visit. This spectacular event features diverse fireworks competitions, illuminating the night sky with beautiful lights. The festival becomes one of the top things to do in South Korea during this time, as people eagerly gather to witness the tremendous fireworks show. The vibrant atmosphere, coupled with the breathtaking display, creates a sense of excitement and celebration, making the Busan Fireworks Festival a must-see event that adds a burst of color and joy to late autumn nights in South Korea.

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival/Jinju 

The Festival of Lights, an enchanting event held during the first week of October in South Korea, is among the best places to visit for a mesmerizing experience with fantastic floating lanterns. This captivating spectacle not only showcases the artistic brilliance of the festival but also attracts cultural tourism, drawing tourists from around the globe to witness its magical allure. The Festival of Lights stands as a shining example of South Korea’s ability to blend tradition and innovation, creating a captivating atmosphere that resonates with visitors seeking a cultural and visually stunning adventure.

Best Places to Visit in South Korea

Best Places to Visit in South Korea

There are many beautiful places in South Korea. Here are some Best Places to Visit in South Korea. 


It is the capital city of South Korea, and more than 80% of urban people live here. The town is famous for its subways, pop culture, Buddhist temples, palaces, street food, street markets, etc. The city center of Seoul, Myeongdong, is famous for cosmetic products. Gangnam is the financial district, Itaewon is popular with expats (Itaewon is famous for its bustling nightlife), and Hongdae showcases urban art. You can experience a crowd here, mostly on Friday or Saturday nights. Some bars do not give entry without your passport or ID only.  Everything is very aesthetically pleasing. Full Seoul Travel Guide.


Busan, South Korea’s largest port city, unfolds as a dynamic destination renowned for its mountains, beaches, the iconic view of Diamond Bridge, and captivating temples. This multifaceted city not only showcases its natural beauty but also surprises visitors with the cultural richness found in its exhibits. Whether you’re exploring the scenic landscapes or immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene, Busan promises an unforgettable journey filled with mountainside serenity, coastal charm, and cultural marvels.
Full Busan Travel Guide.

Jeju-si island 

Jeju Island, the largest island in South Korea, boasts breathtaking views that captivate every visitor. It’s essential to note that foreign nationals, including visa waiver travelers, must undergo the straightforward process of applying for a K-ETA when entering this enchanting island. This ensures a seamless and well-managed experience, allowing travelers to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and wonders that Jeju has to offer.


Incheon, renowned as the transportation hub of Seoul, is among the best places to visit in South Korea. This bustling town is celebrated for hosting an international airport, ensuring seamless access for visitors from around the world. Additionally, Incheon boasts an efficient subway system, making it one of the top things to do in South Korea for hassle-free exploration within the town and its surroundings. Notably, the iconic Munhak World Cup Stadium adds a touch of sporting grandeur, enriching the array of popular activities to do in South Korea and solidifying Incheon’s multifaceted appeal.


This city, a province of South Korea, stands as one of the best places to visit in the country, especially for history and architecture lovers. Renowned for its forts, ceramic wares, and the Royal Buddhist Temple, it offers a captivating journey through time and cultural richness. Exploring the historical forts is a top thing to do in South Korea, providing a glimpse into the city’s past. The intricate ceramic wares showcase the region’s artistic heritage, making it a popular activity for those seeking cultural immersion. Additionally, the Royal Buddhist Temple stands as a testament to the city’s spiritual and architectural significance, completing the must-visit attractions in this captivating province.


In South Korea, Daegu unfolds as one of the best places to visit, offering breathtaking mountains, beautiful temples, and a wealth of history and ancient culture. For history enthusiasts and those seeking cultural immersion, exploring the city becomes one of the top things to do in South Korea. Daegu’s majestic mountains provide a scenic backdrop, inviting nature lovers to indulge in outdoor adventures. Moreover, the city is renowned for its traditional medicine market, making it a unique and popular activity for those interested in holistic health and cultural experiences. In essence, Daegu stands as a multifaceted destination that seamlessly weaves together natural beauty, cultural heritage, and vibrant markets.


This metropolitan city in South Korea, known as a city of light, emerges as a captivating destination. Gwangju, recognized for its rich history, is a must-visit for those interested in historical events such as the Gwangju Massacre. Beyond its historical significance, exploring the diverse culinary scene becomes one of the top things to do in South Korea. Gwangju, being the home to many delicious foods, promises a gastronomic adventure for food enthusiasts, adding a flavorful dimension to its cultural tapestry. Whether delving into its history or savoring its culinary delights, Gwangju stands as a vibrant and multifaceted city in South Korea.

Popular Activities To See or Do in South Korea

Seoraksan National Park 

Seoraksan National Park stands out as a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. Nestled within its captivating hiking trails, this park seamlessly merges with the majestic mountains and lush greenery, providing a serene haven for those yearning for an immersive outdoor experience. The diverse landscapes, from pristine valleys to ancient rock formations, make Seoraksan National Park a treasure trove of natural beauty, inviting visitors to explore its scenic wonders and connect with the tranquility of the Korean wilderness.

Chunwang Peak 

Chunwang Peak on Jiri Mountain, South Korea’s second-highest peak, is undeniably among the best places to visit in the country, especially for nature lovers. From this elevated spot, not only can you immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of nature, but you can also experience one of the top things to do in South Korea—witnessing an awe-inspiring sunrise that adds a touch of magic to the landscape. This ascent to Chunwang Peak is truly one of the popular activities to do in South Korea, offering a memorable connection with the natural wonders of this captivating region.


Embarking on a journey to a Heritage Village opens the door to a world of traditional houses, craft shops, and enticing food stalls—the best places to visit in South Korea for a cultural immersion. This cultural gem is not only a feast for the eyes with its charming architecture but is also celebrated for its mouthwatering cuisine, ranking high among the top things to do in South Korea. As you wander through the narrow streets lined with traditional houses and explore craft shops, the aroma of delectable dishes wafting from the food stalls adds a flavorful dimension to this enriching and delicious experience in South Korea.

Bulguksa Temple 

Bulguksa Temple stands as a profound representation of the Buddhist culture that flourished during the Silla kingdom, making it one of the best places to visit in South Korea for those seeking cultural and spiritual insights. This renowned temple enjoys widespread fame within South Korea and has garnered international recognition, solidifying its status as a cultural and spiritual treasure—an essential stop for those exploring the top things to do in South Korea. The intricate architecture, serene surroundings, and historical significance make Bulguksa Temple a captivating destination that transcends borders, inviting visitors to delve into the rich tapestry of South Korea’s cultural heritage.

Haeinsa Temple 

Perched on Mount Gaya, Haeinsa Temple beckons as one of the best places to visit in South Korea. Beyond its architectural significance, this revered temple is celebrated for safeguarding a precious treasure—an essential part of the top things to do in South Korea for those seeking cultural enrichment. Aptly named “Reflection on a calm sea,” Haeinsa invites visitors to immerse themselves in both the tranquility of its surroundings and the cultural richness it preserves. Exploring Haeinsa Temple becomes a journey into the heart of South Korea’s spiritual and historical legacy, making it an unmissable destination for those drawn to the nation’s cultural treasures.

Upo Marsh 

Upo Marsh, the largest wetland in South Korea, emerges as one of the best places to visit for nature enthusiasts, showcasing the top things to do in South Korea for those seeking diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. Renowned for the seasonal migration of birds and other animals, this expansive marshland stands as a crucial habitat, drawing nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike to witness the captivating spectacle of nature in motion. Exploring Upo Marsh becomes an immersive experience, allowing visitors to connect with the richness of South Korea’s natural heritage while enjoying the vibrant ecosystems that thrive within this expansive wetland habitat.

Pyeongchang Country 

Pyeongchang County, nestled in the embrace of Odaesan National Park, stands out as one of the best places to visit in South Korea. This scenic locale in the province of Gangwon-do invites exploration, offering a harmonious blend of natural beauty and rich cultural experiences—the essence of the top things to do in South Korea. Renowned for a tapestry of cultural heritage sites, vibrant festivals, enlightening museums, and serene temples, Pyeongchang County becomes a captivating destination for those seeking a balance between the tranquility of nature and the cultural richness of South Korea’s heritage.

Temple Stay

Temple Stays in South Korea offers a unique opportunity for individuals to immerse themselves in the country’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage—the best places to visit for those seeking top things to do in South Korea that involve a deeper connection. Participants can experience the serene and contemplative lifestyle of Buddhist monks while staying at a traditional temple. This cultural immersion provides a firsthand encounter with South Korea’s spiritual traditions, offering a serene escape and a glimpse into the contemplative lifestyle that has endured through centuries. The chance to stay at a traditional temple becomes a transformative experience, allowing visitors to appreciate the depth of South Korea’s cultural and spiritual tapestry.

What to Eat in South Korea

What to Eat in South Korea

South Korea is famous for its cuisines, which many people are unfamiliar with. Are you wondering What to Eat in South Korea? Some mouth-watering dishes here are: 

  • Kimchi: It is one of the oldest and essential dishes of Korean cuisine. 
  • Ramen: It is a dried and curly noodle. 
  • Banchan: It is a collective name for small side dishes served with rice. 
  • Mandu: This dish contains a stuffing of veggies along with meat. 
  • Japchae: In this dish, noodles go with various vegetables. 
  • Dak Galbi: It is a roasted dish of meat. 
  • Kimbap: It is Korean sushi. 
  • Bibimbap: This is a dish of rice mixed with vegetables. 
  • Samgyeopsal BBQ: This is a barbeque dish of grilled pork belly. 
  • Bulgogi: This is a juicy dish of grilled marinated beef. 
  •  Pajeon: This is a Seafood vegetable pancake. 
  • Bingsu: It is one of the popular Korean ice desserts, and Soju is a communal drink specially made from rice.

Discover the complete lineup of must-try South Korean delicacies! Click here to explore my comprehensive list of What to Eat in South Korea and embark on a culinary journey that captures the essence of Korean cuisine.”

Healthcare Services in South Korea

South Korea has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Hospitals and clinics are modern and efficient and have various machines for surgeries. Health Care in South Korea is affordable as it is universal and funded through government subsidies, outside contributions, and tobacco surcharges.

People consider Korean plastic surgery the most developed medical branch in the world. Furthermore, lipoplasty (fat removal) and blepharoplasty (surgical eyelid repair) are more common in South Korea than anywhere else. The country has become a hot spot for plastic surgery tourism in Asia. 

South Korea Travel Guide Conclusion 

South Korea is a lovely country to travel to. Pink vibrant cherry blossoms of the spring season make it more attractive. It is K-pop, and musical bands also attract people in many ways. The country welcomes both kinds of tourists, whether you are a party animal or a nature lover.  You can experience another level of music, cultural heritage, hospitability, breathtaking views, the helping nature of locals, and, most importantly, the taste or cuisine of South Korea. 

One can learn new etiquettes from South Korea’s Customs and Cultures. You can also cherish yourself with the shopping and fashion sense of the Korean people. Their technologies and surgery are famous worldwide, providing significant tourism here. Today a Korean wave is touching each heart globally with its art and culture.

What are the top things to do in South Korea?

South Korea offers a wide range of top things to do, including exploring the bustling streets of Seoul, visiting historic palaces like Gyeongbokgung, hiking in the scenic Bukhansan National Park, and experiencing the vibrant street food culture in Myeongdong.

What are some popular activities to do in South Korea for nature enthusiasts?

Nature enthusiasts can enjoy popular activities in South Korea like hiking the Seoraksan Mountain, taking a stroll through the beautiful Nami Island, and exploring the serene Jeju Island with its stunning landscapes and beaches.

Is there a must-visit cultural attraction in South Korea?

Absolutely! The Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul is a must-visit cultural attraction where you can experience traditional Korean architecture and culture. It’s one of the top things to do for cultural immersion.

What are the best options for foodies choosing What to Eat in South Korea?

Foodies will love South Korea! Don’t miss the chance to try popular activities like indulging in Korean BBQ, tasting Kimchi, enjoying a bowl of Bibimbap, and exploring the vibrant Gwangjang Market for a diverse culinary experience.

Are there family-friendly activities in South Korea?

Yes, South Korea has family-friendly activities like visiting Everland Theme Park, exploring Lotte World, and taking a cultural experience at the National Folk Museum. These are top things to do for families.

What’s the best time to visit South Korea for a well-rounded experience of its popular activities?

Spring (April to June) and Autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit South Korea. During these seasons, you can enjoy mild weather, beautiful cherry blossoms or colorful foliage, and engage in a wide range of popular activities.


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