Even though Seoul is such a beautiful, bustling city filled with amazing things to do and delicious food in every corner, it is considered one of the busiest capital cities in the world. Sometimes, you want to get away from the people and fast-paced life to a more serene and unique atmosphere.
Therefore, we gathered a list of destinations in South Korea that you can travel to when you want to have an exciting experience outside of Seoul.
1. Ride the train to Busan and visit Gamcheon Culture Village
The train to Busan (also known as KTX) is a new high-speed train that was invented to be twice as fast when traveling to Busan or other cities from Seoul. Koreans were very excited because before if you wanted to travel to Busan, it would take around 4 hours, but now it takes just a little over 2 hours.
The train was also featured in the famous Korean film “Train To Busan” (2016) where people had to fight their way through a horde of zombies, on the train that was departing from Seoul to Busan.
The KTX is the most common way to travel to Busan, and it is a smooth and exciting experience. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery through the window of different cities while passing through by train. There are also vending machines and free Wifi, and tables to use your laptop or eat snacks if needed.
When getting to Busan, one can be sure not to miss out on the famous Gamcheon Culture Village. This village is known as the Santorini of Korea, because of the beautiful colorful houses that are stacked on top of each other on a hill.
There are a lot of creative artwork and paintings that are painted on the walls at the village. The steps to climb the hill are also a work of art, and it is truly magnificent strolling through the village over a cup of coffee. There are many cafes, murals and beautiful areas for photo opportunities as well.
Songdo Marine Base Cable Car
The houses are amazing to see both in the daytime and at night, and it is recommended to take the cable car across the ocean from or to the village. Enjoying the scenery of the buildings from a distance is truly a breathtaking experience.
The cable car is called Songdo Marine Base Cable Car, and it is located in Gamcheon Village. The cable car is open from 9:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night, so you can see beautiful city lights at night also.
The cable car also has options for a transparent floor, so the whole ride is exhilarating and fun to see the ocean directly from underneath. The interior also allows for a beautiful photo opportunity as well, because the bright blue ocean colors, building scenery, and the lighting creates unique and stunning photos.
2. Haeundae Beach
Haeundae Beach is a must when you are in Busan. The beach is one of the main attractions of Busan and considered the best beach of South Korea, because of the immense size, activities, food, and filming locations that are affiliated with Haeundae.
The famous Busan film festival where celebrities and directors gather are usually held at Haeundae Beach, and the beach is a filming location for many beach scenes in Korean films. The film “Haeundae” (2009) was a disaster film that took place mainly in the villages of Haeundae, and other Korean dramas have been filmed there with Haeundae as a primary backdrop as well.
There are a lot of delicious seafood that you can eat in Haeundae Beach as well. There are lines of seafood and famous stew restaurants in every corner. There are puffer fish that you can try in many areas, and the markets around the beach have different kinds of seafood such as octopus, tuna, salmon, shrimp, you name it.
Visiting the beach in the night is also great because of the city lights. The buildings create a remarkable view and an array of beautiful lights that sparkle over the beach. Eating some great seafood or stews in a pojangmacha (street food booth) next to the view is also a recommended travel tip.
3. Enjoy culture at Yongin folk village
Yongin is located Southeast of Seoul, and you can easily take a short 40 minute bus ride for only W3,000 (around 2USD). Yongin is famous for its folk village, and how the people still practice the lifestyle representative of the late Joseon period.
As part of the experience, the people at the folk village dress up in traditional hanbok and Joseon clothing, and they have a lot of activities and games that tourists can participate in. Participants can learn a lot about the culture, history, traditional foods, and daily life of the mid 20th century.
There are many sections at the folk village, such as a folk tale section, dance festival section, games, and activity sections. Some games include the jaegijichi, which is a Korean hacky sack game that you see how many kicks you can get without dropping the sack. Another game is a neolttwigi, which is a Korean traditional see-saw game which requires two people to stand on opposite sides, and jump high up and down.
Furthermore, there are many different kinds of restaurants and street markets inside the village. Some traditional foods are served including tteok, a rice cake that was eaten over a long historical period, and dishes that were eaten by kings and royal families during the Joseon era.
There are art museums and event times which include dancers who do traditional dances in the performance area. Some tightrope walkers also walk the ropes and do tricks as they are high above the ground.