Places in Korea Besides Seoul
I am living here in Korea for an entire year! I travel a lot. Currently I am traveling 2-3 weekends a month, not including my longer holiday breaks (to be spent in Italy and Japan – and potentially Taiwan and Uzbekistan! One of the things that most annoys me about Korea isn’t even Korea’s fault. It’s the fact that it is almost impossible to find information about places in Korea besides the obvious, such as Busan. So this is Places in Korea Besides Seoul.
So, as I continue to travel Korea I will be updating this post with all of the wonderful places I’ve been to!
This is my favorite place I’ve been to in Korea. It’s the one I most want to return to. I liked it even more than Seoul! I love to go to places that are unlike anywhere else, and while Seoul is definitely its own special experience, Gyeongju will hold a special place in my heart. Check out my full post on all of the cool things to do in Gyeongju. There’s beautiful bridges, giant tombs, free museums full of gold, temples, palaces, and grottos. What more could you want?
This is another of my favorite places in Korea, and it’s pretty close to Changwon (where I currently live). While there is an awesome Lantern Festival I highly recommend you attend (it was one of my craziest experiences ever), you should go regardless. It’s got a nice fortress, great cafes, and an amazing dim sum place.
Andong and the Hahoe Village
While my own trip suffered from poor planning, I really enjoyed my weekend in Andong. There is a masked dance festival, but you don’t have to go just for this. Andong is one of the best representations of Korea historically. The Korean government often sends foreign dignitaries to Andong so they can get a good feel for the history. The Hahoe Village is definitely the main highlight and is worth a dedicated day to fully enjoy. Wander the village, check out the museums (the Mask Museum is particularly extensive and free), if the ferry is in operation take it across to the cliff-side, and watch one of the regularly programmed masked dances.
I went to Yeosu in search of Camellia flowers. Unfortunately, they weren’t really blooming at the time. However, that was ok because there were still tons of other things to do! Beautiful beaches, lots of connected islands, and nature parks (plus a fair bit of history!). I’d mainly come here if you’re interested in nature, there wasn’t a whole lot to do besides gaze at beautiful vistas. But those vistas certainly are beautiful!
Suncheon manages to balance both natural attractions man-made. The kdrama set was surprisingly fun, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from it. But the sets truly began to transport you back to the times they are set in. Suncheon also has a gorgeous bay and National Gardens that are out of this world fabulous. I would definitely try to come here in Spring. I went in the beginning of winter, and while the gardens were extensive and beautiful, nothing was in bloom.
At first I wasn’t sure I really liked Tongyeong. The city isn’t very easy to navigate, as it’s spread across many rivers where the bridges are very high to accommodate larger boats. I wandered for around an hour with some lovely port views but not much else, seemingly unable to cross a river no matter which bridge I walked to. However, in the end I loved it. The go-cart “luge” is exhilarating and fun, the Dongpirang Village was vibrant with picturesque views, and despite poor reviews I really enjoyed one of their temples. I highly recommend a trip here, though it may not be necessary to go for more than a day.
I don’t know if a trip to Korea would be complete without a visit to Jeonju. With one of the best Hanok Villages in Korea and heaps of history, getting the traditional experience isn’t difficult (or even expensive).
While I’d say it’s only worth a weekend, and the only housing options here are quite expensive, I’d still say you should go if you can. It was one of my best weekends in Korea. The tea fields are just gorgeous and it’s one of the best options for experiencing small town Korea. Also, the green tea everything is delicious 😛
Now, even though I live here I wouldn’t say there is a ton to do. Changwon was a planned city so there’s not much history. However, there is a nice local culture that’s pretty strong. If you’re wanting to meet new people, just stop in at O’Brian’s or Next Bar downtown. If you’re wanting beautiful cherry blossoms, Jinhae has the yearly Cherry Blossom Festival (but you don’t have to go to the festival to see them! They’re everywhere in this area). One of the best cafe streets in any Korean town is Garoso-gil. Changwon is incredibly well connected to the southern half of Korea, and it is very easy to get to any of the places listed in this post by bus (Seoul is the only place I have felt the need to take a train to).
I‘ll keep updating! This has been Places in Korea Besides Seoul!
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