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15 Best Cities to Visit in South Korea

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In less than fifty years, South Korea went from being one of the world’s poorest countries to one of its richest. Its thriving cities highlight this change as ancient palaces, and traditional temples lie next to gleaming shopping malls and futuristic buildings.

Despite bordering two larger, more powerful nations for much of its history ( Japan and China ), the country has managed to preserve its unique culture; many of its museums showcase South Korea’s fascinating history, art, and local traditions.

A beautiful country to visit, many of South Korea’s cities are located amongst scenic mountains or next to idyllic islands and beautiful beaches. Hiking and immersing yourself in nature is almost a national pastime such is its popularity. Now known just as much for its delicious food and K-pop as for its impressive historical sights, South Korea and its fun and friendly cities are sure to delight with all they have to offer.

Map of cities in South Korea

Map of cities in South Korea

A very welcoming and friendly place, Andong is renowned for its delicious cuisine, so foodies will rejoice at all the local delicacies on offer.

Founded over 2000 years ago, Andong boasts many historical and cultural attractions and often markets itself as a spiritual center due to its many temples and local religious sites.

One of the most interesting places to visit is the Andong Hahoe Folk Village, where you can learn all about the local traditions, culture, and history.

14. Tongyeong


Surrounded by sea on three sides, Tongyeong is located right on the southern tip of a peninsula. Most visitors to the city use it as a gateway from which to explore any of the 151 nearby islands.

A sleepy, laidback place, Tongyeong’s harbor is beautiful to behold. Walking along the harbor front or eating a delicious seafood dinner while watching the sunset is a unique experience.

Although there is not much going on in town, the city more than makes up for it with the wealth of beautiful islands nearby. Nature lovers will revel in visiting the spectacular Hallyeohaesang National Park.

13. Daejeon


Having expanded rapidly over the last few decades, Daejeon is now one of the largest cities in South Korea and is a significant science and research center, thanks in part to the large Expo Park complex.

While not particularly pretty to behold due to its urban sprawl, the city is, however, home to lots of interesting museums, with the National Science Museum’s fantastic exhibits making it one of the best on offer.

No visit to Daejeon is complete without a stop at the Yuseong Hot Springs; bathing in the thermal waters is the perfect way to end a day after taking in the city’s sights.


Due to its proximity to Seoul, Suwon is a fantastic day trip option from the capital, although it often gets overlooked by travelers.

Now a major center for industry, the city is home to Samsung Electronics. Its busy streets are packed with bars, restaurants, and shops, while Ingyedong is the place to head if you’re after some fun nightlife.

The main reason that people visit Suwon is for the stunning 18th-century fortress of Hwaseong that lies at the heart of the city; its twisting walls and looming towers are lovely to explore.


Lying on a peninsula of the same name in the south of the country, Yeosu is one of the most beautiful port cities in South Korea and an increasingly popular beachside resort.

Lined by mountains, Yeosu is surrounded by islands and cliffs that look spectacular. One of the best views is from Hyangiram Hermitage – a beautiful cliffside hermitage.

While Yeosu is not big on sights, its lively waterfront is home to lots of brilliant seafood restaurants. Just relaxing on the beach and taking in the view is what most people want from a visit to the city.


More of an island than a city, Geoje has nicknamed itself the ‘Blue City.’ It is surrounded by sparkling clear waters, a gorgeous rocky coastline, and lots of beautiful beaches.

While its scenic charm is what most people come for, Geoje has lots of interesting tourist sites to offer, such as a stunning 15th-century castle and a POW Camp, which used to host North Korean prisoners.

Although the city has more than enough restaurants and bars to keep you occupied, the spectacular scenery is what really steals the show. A boat trip to the breathtaking islands of Haegeumgang and Odeo is a must.


Home to a sizeable student population, Daegu has a youthful feel to it and is surprisingly friendly and welcoming, considering that it is the fourth largest city in the country.

Wandering around its lively downtown is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Its fantastic art museums lie side-by-side with beautiful old churches and temples, while its food and nightlife scenes are thriving.

Many people use Daegu as a gateway to the region, and the nearby Palgong Mountain is well worth a visit. It is home to loads of scenic trails as well as numerous temples and Gatbawi – a magnificent stone statue of Buddha.

8. Gyeongju


Boasting more than 2000 years of history, Gyeongju is fittingly known as ‘the museum without walls’ thanks to its endless array of tombs, temples and archaeological sites. Many of them date back to when the city was capital of the Silla Kingdom.

A captivating place to explore, the center of town is full of old tombs, beautiful pagodas, and traditional houses. The Gyeongju National Museum houses a wonderful collection of local artifacts.

Two must-see sights are the stunning Bulguksa Temple, dating back to the eighth century, and the nearby Seokguram Grotto – both of which delightfully show off some rich Buddhist art and highlight how the religion impacted the area.


Once the spiritual capital of the country, Jeonju is full of historical sites and cultural landmarks. It is also home to one of the nation’s most popular tourist attractions in the shape of Hanok Village, which showcases traditional houses, local cultural practices, and artisanal products from around the region.

With lots of beautiful temples to marvel at, Jeonju is fascinating to walk around; its winding alleys are home to atmospheric cafes and restaurants, and no visit to Jeonju is complete without trying bibimbap – a local delicacy.

Before leaving, make sure to visit the excellent Jeonju National Museum, which protects, preserves and promotes the rich local history and culture.


The third largest city in the country, Incheon lies just under 40 kilometers from Seoul. It was at the huge port here that American soldiers landed in 1950 during the Korean War to recapture South Korea’s capital.

An important city to the nation in both historical and economic terms, Incheon is expanding rapidly and has loads for visitors to see and do. Its bustling Chinatown and maze of shops, restaurants, and bars in Bupyeong are just two of the highlights.

With the oldest temple in the country – Jeondeungsa – for you to enjoy, alongside lots of lovely old architecture and some delightful waterfront promenades, Incheon is a great option if you’re looking for a comfortable and accessible day trip from Seoul.

5. Gangneung


Lying on the East coast, Gangneung is the perfect place to head if you’re looking to step off the beaten path and get to know one of the country’s lesser-known cities.

Separated from the rest of South Korea by the Taebaek mountain range bordering it, Gangneung has its own distinctive culture and feel about it, as is evidenced by the delicious local cuisine and cultural events – such as the fascinating Danoje folk festival.

With centuries-old temples for you to visit, alongside the impressive Ojukheon Museum – home to shrines, traditional buildings and memorabilia from famous Koreans – Gangneung also has some lovely nature on offer; one of the nation’s most popular beaches can be found at Gyeongpo.

4. Jeju City

Jeju City

The largest city on the island of the same name, Jeju’s warm, welcoming climate makes it a popular tourist destination. Many people head here during the summer to enjoy the fancy hotels, teeming casinos, and trendy bars.

Although most of the main attractions are found out of town, Jeju City is a pleasant place to visit, with lots of fantastic restaurants, upmarket boutiques and accommodation options on offer.

Many people use it as a base from which to explore the rest of the island . A visit to the nearby Jeju Loveland – an adults-only theme park – will certainly highlight why the island is a popular honeymoon destination.

3. Seogwipo


Located on Jeju Island, Seogwipo is surrounded by some beautiful scenery, including a spectacular rocky coastline, plunging waterfalls, and beautiful beaches.

Consequently, most visitors to the city come primarily for its natural sights; it also boasts the best scuba-diving in the whole country. With lots of great paths and trails snaking their way to the waterfalls and along the coastline, it is also a popular hiking destination.

While the city itself doesn’t have that much going for it, the lovely scenery more than makes up for it. If you are at a loose end, the fun water park and immersive submarine tours are well worth checking out when in town.


The second largest city in South Korea, Busan is home to a bustling port and is a popular tourist destination, thanks to its beautiful scenery made up of forest-coated mountains and gorgeous beaches.

With many different sides to it, Busan is home to both a gritty industrial area and the hillside Gamcheon Cultural Village, full of brightly-colored houses offering delightful views over the city.

While most people come for its beaches, Busan has many interesting historical sites scattered around town: there’s the popular Beomeosa Temple with its numerous hot springs, fantastic seafood restaurants, and wealth of outdoor activities.


A sprawling metropolis that encompasses over 25 million people, South Korea’s capital has everything imaginable on offer. It is an enthralling place to explore, with centuries-old palaces and temples rubbing shoulders with gleaming shopping malls and bustling night markets.

With something for everyone to enjoy, you can be marveling at the intricate architecture of the 15th century Chandeok-gung palace one minute, be hiking in the nearby mountains and numerous parks the next, before later visiting one of the city’s fabulous museums.

Renowned for its excellent cuisine, Seoul has loads of great restaurants and street stalls dotted around. The city is continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible – whether that is in fashion and design or architecture and technology.

As such, there is always something new to see and do in Seoul.

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19 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in South Korea

Written by Freddy Sherman Updated Mar 20, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Freddy Sherman has traveled to South Korea multiple times, including a recent trip to Seoul in late 2022.

South Korea offers everything a traveler could want in a destination. It has a long and fascinating history, a wonderful culture, amazing food, friendly people, and an excellent tourism infrastructure (including a new high-speed rail system).

It's also a country of contrasts, with tourist attractions ranging from ancient mountaintop Buddhist temples like Bulguksa to the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Seoul, like the Lotte World Tower.

It also has one of the most unique attractions in the world that can be visited: a no man's land, part of a military border between two countries technically still at war (the DMZ). Discover the best places to visit with our list of the top tourist attractions in South Korea.

1. Experience Korean History at Changdeokgung Palace

2. explore beaches and history in busan, 3. visit jeonju, the former spiritual capital of korea, 4. view seoul from above at the n seoul tower, 5. see how people lived 600 years ago at the bukchon hanok village, 6. hike in the mountains at seoraksan national park, 7. look into north korea at the dmz, 8. check out korean art, history, and archeology at the national museum of korea, 9. have fun at korea's largest amusement park, lotte world, 10. gyeongbokgung palace, 11. ride the cable car at hallyeo maritime national park, 12. bulguksa temple, 13. visit the blue house, south korea's white house, 14. enjoy a beach getaway on jeju island, 15. walk through seoul's restored gwanghwamun gate, 16. stay overnight at jingwansa temple, 17. spend a night out in itaewon, 18. enjoy a meal in one of seoul's street food markets, 19. admire cherry blossoms at the jinhae cherry blossom festival, map of tourist attractions in south korea.

Changdeokgung Palace

Of the five grand palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty in the 15 th century around Seoul, Changdeokgung Palace was always the preferred royal residence. It's where the king and royal family lived their daily lives.

The palace isn't just a single building, it's a complex of buildings, and each served a different purpose. Some are accommodations; some are libraries, dining rooms, and meeting rooms, among other uses. Be sure to spend some time in the 78-acre Huwon, or palace garden, located behind the palace. It's filled with pathways, green spaces, pagodas, streams, and lakes.

Address: 99 Yulgok-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seoul

The hillside village of Gamecheon in Busan

Did you know you can hit the beach in Korea? Busan is the second largest city in the country, and its coast is lined with some beautiful beaches and resorts. There's a lot of culture and history here, too. Be sure to visit the Beomeosa Temple and the hillside village of Gamecheon . Gamecheon is a European-style village on the cliffs above the sea, like Korea's version of Santorini.

Seafood lovers should be sure to visit Jagalchi Market , the country's largest commercial seafood market. Part of the market is open to consumers, and there are many small restaurants that will cook up your purchase, so you can eat it right here.

Getting to Busan is easy, it takes a little more than two hours from Seoul on Korea's KTX high-speed bullet train.

Traditional house with storage pots in Jeonju

Jeonju is a very historic city, once the spiritual capital of the Joseon Dynasty, it's about 90 minutes by train from Seoul. It's home to many ancient temples and shrines along with a hanok village. These are found throughout Korea. They are preserved neighborhoods of ancient and old homes (hanoks), allowing visitors to get a feel for what life was like in ancient Korea.

Some of the homes in the hanok villages are open for tours, and others have been made into museums (and restaurants and lodging, too), but most remain private homes.

N Seoul Tower

Yes, everyone visiting Seoul should go up in the city's iconic observation tower. Its position almost on top of a mountain, plus the height of the tower itself, gets you almost 500 meters above sea level and the city below.

But, leave some time to explore the surrounding mountain area. The tower is near the top of Mount Namsan, and the entire area is Namsan Park, which is run by the city. There are miles of hiking trails to explore, all within a few minutes of downtown Seoul.

The top levels of the N Seoul Tower include indoor and outdoor observation areas and restaurants. The exterior of the tower is covered in LED lighting, which is illuminated each night in seasonal light shows.

There's a cable car that takes you from the city (near Myeongdong) to the tower's base area. You can then hike from here. After climbing the mountain and riding on the cable car, leave time to explore the Namsan Hanok Village . These preserved historic villages, which are located all over Seoul and Korea, are re-creations of ancient Korean neighborhoods. This village includes five restored hanoks or traditional Korean homes.

Address: 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Bukchon Hanok Village at sunset

Hanok villages, which can be found in a few places in Seoul and around Korea, are living museums. They're restored and preserved ancient neighborhoods, some in their original location (like Bukchon) and some re-created with hanoks (traditional Korean homes) moved from elsewhere. They give visitors an opportunity to not only experience what it was like to live in a hanok, but also what it was like to live in Korea 600 years ago.

You can experience the tiny, narrow streets and also explore Korean culture, as many of the hanoks are museums or offer cultural demonstrations. Many are private homes, and some offer accommodations. That's what makes these village areas so special; they are true living history because many of the homes are privately owned and occupied by real local residents.

Bukchon Hanok Village is a popular place to explore, as it's right in central Seoul, in the area between the Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Changdeokgung Palace .

Seoraksan National Park

Like the Yosemite of Korea, this majestic natural wonderland (Korea's first national park) has mountains, lakes, waterfalls, streams, and miles of hiking trails that allow you to explore them.

This park is known for its natural diversity, as it has over 1,500 different animal species and over 1,000 different kinds of plants. There are also two Buddhist temples inside the park, one known as the " Temple of a Hundred Pools " due to all the ponds around it fed by mountain streams.

When you get tired of walking, there's a cable car that will take you up Seoraksan Mountain for some incredible views of the mountains and valleys. It takes about four hours by bus or three hours by car to reach the park from Seoul.

Soldiers at the DMZ

DMZ stands for demilitarized zone, and it's the no-man's land border between North and South Korea. Heavily guarded and mined, this strange area can be visited, but only on an official, guided tour. The official area is about four kilometers wide and is formally known as the JSA or Joint Security Area. It's probably the best place to visit in South Korea to learn about this conflict.

The No Shopping Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul includes round-trip transportation from Seoul. Official DMZ tours include a visit to the 3rd Tunnel, dug by the North to facilitate an invasion of the South, and to the Dora Observatory, where you can look across no-man's-land into North Korea.

National Museum of Korea

As a world capital, Seoul is filled with a lot of museums. The largest is the National Museum of Korea , and like the Met in New York, it's a place that really can't be explored in a single visit. The vast collection combines art, history, and archeology, presented to show the history of Korean culture and tell the story of the Korean people.

It's also an excellent attraction to see if you only have limited time in Seoul. The collection is beyond vast, as it goes back over a million years. It's fascinating, especially for families and kids as there's such a wide range of objects. Everything from Stone Age tools to modern artwork by Korean artists.

Address: 137 Seobinggo-ro, Seobinggo-dong, Yongsan-gu

Lotte World, Seoul

There's an amusement park right in the middle of downtown Seoul. It's a fun place to spend the day and a chance to immerse yourself in real Korean commercial culture. Lotte World includes a hotel, movie theaters (one with the world's largest screen), a folk museum with traditional performances, and other things to do like ice skating.

This theme park is at the base of the Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in South Korea and the fifth tallest building in the world. The tower has multiple observation areas and experiences, its own luxury hotel (the SIGNIEL SEOUL ), and a range of shopping and dining options inside.

A visit is fun for both kids and adults, and aside from the rides and attractions there's a lot of shopping and also artists' workshops and cultural performances to watch. There's the world's largest indoor theme park and an outdoor theme park area called Magic Island .

For a bigger, outdoor theme park experience, Everland is about 45 minutes outside Seoul and is Korea's version of Disneyland.

Address: Songpa-gu, Jamsil 6(yuk)-dong, Olympic-ro, 300, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace with cherry blossoms

Also known as the Northern Palace, the large Gyeongbokgung Palace complex has gone through some incredible turmoil over the years. It was first built in 1395 during the Joseon dynasty, which built five grand palaces around Seoul. The palace has been bombed, destroyed, and rebuilt several times, occupied by the Japanese (first in 1592), and only finally restored in 1990.

Be sure to check out Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond , two of the remaining original structures from the Joseon period.

The palace compound can be explored on a guided walking tour . There are also two museums inside the grounds (the National Palace Museum and the National Folk Museum ), both worth a visit.

Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Hallyeo Maritime National Park

The ruggedly beautiful Hallyeo Maritime National Park includes miles of raw coastline on over 300 separate islands. Each has hiking trails with spectacular ocean and cliff views. The area also features a cable car, known as the Hallyeosudo Viewing Ropeway . It's the only dual-cable, automatic circulating gondola system in the country.

The ride is almost 2.4 kilometers long and takes nine minutes to reach the summit. You're rewarded with sweeping views of the countryside and coastline, including the Japanese island of Daemado. The park is about an hour by bus or car from downtown Seoul.

Bulguksa Temple

One of Korea's true must-see Buddhist temples, Bulguksa Temple is considered by many to be the country's most important. It's officially Historic and Scenic Site Number One as classified by the government. The temple is home to seven of the country's national treasures, sacred pagodas, and statues of the Buddha.

The temple is on the slopes of Mount Toham in Gyeongju, the ancient capital city of Korea. It's a city so historic, it's called a "museum without walls" due to all the historic sites and temples. Gyeongju is about two and a half hours from Seoul via the new KTX high-speed train.

Address: 15-1 Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do

The Blue House

Named for the striking blue-tile roofs of its many pavilions and buildings, the Blue House, much like the White House, is the home of the Korean president. The very secure complex of buildings also houses many Korean executive government offices and official meeting sites. It's an interesting place to visit, as it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at modern Korean government and Korean formal culture.

A lot of what you see on the guided sightseeing tour are meeting rooms and official state reception rooms where foreign dignitaries are welcomed. Hour-long public tours are given, but you need to apply online in advance for a security check.

Address: 1 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Jusangjeolli Cliff, Jeju Island

A very popular resort destination (think the Hawaii of Korea), this volcanic island is best reached via a quick hour-long domestic flight from Seoul. The island boasts beautiful beaches along with a lot of culture and history.

The highest mountain in South Korea (a dormant volcano called Hallasan) is here along with miles of giant lava tubes. The lava tubes, which can be explored, are natural air pockets in the hardened lava, the size of railway tunnels.

Be sure to visit Jungmun Beach to see the diving women. These are women who free dive hundreds of feet to catch different types of seafood. This tradition started centuries ago, when the local men were all out on fishing boats. The island also has hundreds of miles of hiking trails and a lot of hot springs and health spas.

Gwanghwamun Gate

This attraction is a giant gate, formerly the opening in the fortress wall to the Gyeongbokgung Palace located within. It was originally built with the palace in the 15 th century but has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. Most recently in 2010, it was moved back to its original location in front of the palace and Gwanghwamun Square and restored with authentic materials using traditional techniques.

The previous restoration included concrete and other non-traditional construction techniques, but the new gate has been completely constructed with ancient techniques, using only native woods and handmade fittings.

Gwanghwamun Gate is home to the changing of the guards ceremony (performed since 1469), which happens daily (except Tuesdays) at 10am and 2pm. The area in front of the gate, Gwanghwamun Square, is a large public space often used for political and social demonstrations.

Sunset at Bukhansan National Park

This ancient temple complex about 15 minutes from downtown Seoul offers both an authentic Buddhist temple experience (including a temple stay program) and a beautiful national park. The temple, which was first established at the site in 1,000 BCE, has several programs for visitors to learn about and experience Buddhism and the monk lifestyle.

The temple is a must-visit attraction for foodies, as they grow most of their own food on-site. The temple also prepares its own Korean specialties, like pickling kimchi in ancient, giant pottery jars. Jingwansa offers meals to the public (and extended overnight stays) and educational programs that show the sustainability of the ancient temple operation.

You can do a temple stay program, which includes an overnight visit, or just come for a meal (vegetarian) or to explore the buildings and shrines. You can also visit the area just to explore Bukhansan National Park , as the temple is inside it. There are miles of hiking trails and three peaks, which can be climbed. Aside from the mountains and forests and their spectacular scenery, there are also ruins of an ancient fortress along the hiking trails.

Address: 73 Jingwan-gil, Jingwan-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul

Itaewon at night

Yes, it's a touristy, ex-pat area filled with gift shops and street food, but the Itaewon neighborhood is a great place to just spend an afternoon wandering around. It's especially fun in the early evening, when residents also come out to grab dinner and people-watch. There's an energy here that defines the cosmopolitan city, and it's also a popular strolling spot for locals. You'll see a lot of Korean families, kids, and couples enjoying the shops and restaurants.

For those in search of authentic Korean food, this is not the place to come, but it is the place to come for international foods not widely available in Seoul. Things like Italian food, pizza, burgers, and American-style western barbecue.

Street food in Seoul

As one of the world's great food cultures, no visit to Korea is complete without enjoying some street food. The Gwangjang Market, in Central Seoul , is truly a foodie heaven on earth. The large covered market area is filled with multiple food stalls offering a complete array of Korean specialties. It's definitely one of the best places to visit in Seoul if you're hungry.

The cool thing about this market and most food markets in Seoul is that the majority of these food stalls are like little mini restaurants in that they have a row of stools and a counter, so you can sit and eat. It's also cool that most stands will offer you a free sample.

Stalls typically offer bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), bibimbap (rice mixed with sauteed beef, vegetables, and gochujang red chili paste), gimbap (Korean sushi), sundae (blood sausage), tteokbokki (stir-fried spicy rice cakes), and various types of noodles.

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

Boasting almost 400,000 cherry trees, some over 100 years old, Jinhae is the best place in Korea to enjoy cherry trees blossoming with flowers each spring. This small town, located along South Korea's southern coast, hosts the country's most popular annual cherry blossom festival. Over a million visitors a year come to Jinhae just to see the cherry blossoms.

Formally known as Gunhangjae (Naval Port Festival), the Jinhae cherry blossom festival takes place in late March or early April, depending on when the trees are in flower. Head to Yeojwacheon stream and Jinhae's Gyeonghwa train station for some of the best blossom viewing. You can also enjoy the festival's food markets, public art installations, and live performances.

Getting from Seoul to Jinhae is easy via South Korea's high-speed ATX train — the journey takes just under three hours.

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6 Best Cities In South Korea To Visit Besides Seoul And Busan, Including Yeosu And Daegu 

korean city to visit

Best cities to visit in Korea

Planning a trip to Korea is always exhilarating and exciting, but the repetitive itinerary to major cities such as Seoul and Busan can get mundane after a while. The thing is, Korea is brimming with things to do – if you know where to look – so we have hand-picked a list of the best cities in Korea to visit besides Seoul and Busan.

From kicking back and relaxing at a resort located at Yeosu to learning more about Korean folk traditions at Andong, exploring the cities in Korea is a lifetime journey. 

Best Cities in Korea - Yeosu

A port city in Korea, Yeosu is famous for its scenic sea view. There’s even a song titled Yeosu Night Sea by Busker Busker , a Korean indie band, and this city truly lives up to the song. 

Best Cities in Korea - Mosageum beach

There’s a variety of beaches you can visit, such as Mosageum beach, Jangdeung beach, Ungcheon beach, and Manseongri beach. Interestingly, Ungcheon beach is a man-made beach with high accessibility to several facilities, such as supermarkets, cinemas, and restaurants.

Best Cities in Korea - Yeosu Aqua Planet

In 2012, Yeosu hosted the World Expo. Through the World Expo, Yeosu introduced new attractions, such as the Aqua Planet aquarium and multimedia Big-O Show, to draw both locals and tourists.

Best Cities in Korea - La Terrace Boutique Resort & Spa

Yeosu is a famous summer vacation spot for locals, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular vacation destination for tourists too.

Best Cities in Korea - Sugarbrium’s double infinity pool

For a truly relaxing experience at Yeosu, we recommend staying at a resort. Popular resorts include the La Terrace Boutique Resort & Spa and Sugarbrium .

Best Cities in Korea - Yeosu seafood

Many know Busan as the city of seafood, but Yeosu is also home to fresh seafood and fish markets. Basically, it’s a seafood paradise. From ganjanggejang (raw crab marinated in soya sauce) to abalone, you name it and Yeosu has it.

Best Cities in Korea - Dolsan Bridge

You can enjoy a cable car ride to Dolsan Park and get a bird’s-eye view of the city. We recommend doing this in the evening as it offers you a prime view of the Dolsan Bridge light show.

After the sun sets, Dolsan Bridge is lit up to create a magnificent scene – one that will stay with you for a long time. 

Best Cities in Korea - Hyangiram Hermitage

Although Yeosu is a city, it’s surrounded by islands and cliffs. On one of these cliffs, you’ll find the Hyangiram Hermitage, a temple. Yeosu takes pride in Hyangiram Hermitage, and it was even picked by CNN as one of “33 of South Korea’s most beautiful temples” in 2020.

There’s an interesting saying that if you pass through all of the seven rock cracks at the temple, your wish will come true. 

Fun fact: Episode 16 of Temperature of Love , starring Seo Hyun-jin and Yang Se-jong, was filmed here. 

2. Gwacheon

Best Cities in Korea - Seoul Grand Park at Gwacheon

Gwacheon is a city located in Gyeong-gi Province, and it’s in close proximity to both Seoul and other major cities in Gyeong-gi Province, such as Suwon and Anyang.

Marketed as a family-friendly city, Gwacheon is packed with many attractions that will appeal to children. Seoul Grand Park is the representative attraction that houses the Seoul Zoo, Seoul Land Amusement Park, Botanical Garden, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), and more.

Best Cities in Korea - Seoul Grand Park

Seoul Grand Park is versatile for people of all ages as there’s something for everyone. With multiple attractions located in one place, you can get the full tourist experience in just a day without having to fuss about travelling here and there. 

Best Cities in Korea - National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA)

While the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) is better suited for adults, the National Science Museum located at Seoul Grand Park is a great choice for kids. It’s recognised as one of the most spacious and well-supplied science museums in the world. 

There are more than 2,000 exhibits, ranging from astronomical observatory and natural history, and kids will never be bored here.

Best Cities in Korea - Geoje

Geoje is affectionately dubbed the Blue City as it’s surrounded by clear blue waters with stretches of beaches and coastlines.

Best Cities in Korea - Prisoner-of-War (POW) Camp

This beautiful city is also rich in history. The Prisoner-of-War (POW) Camp located in Geoje is known to be the largest camp that existed during the Korean War. North Korean prisoners used to be confined here during the war. 

Best Cities in Korea - Maemiseong

There’s a fortress called maemiseong located in Geoje. It was named after Typhoon Maemi in 2003. The typhoon hit nearby villages and left many crops and plants destroyed.

Best Cities in Korea - Shrine dedicated to Admiral Yi Sun-sin

Okpo Great Victory Commemorative Park is a historic site that was built in 1996. It was built to commemorate Admiral Yi Sun-sin’s first victory of the Okpo Battle during the Im-jin War. 

Visitors can enjoy the view of Okpo Bay while getting to know more about South Korea’s national hero here . 

Best Cities in Korea - Oedo Botania

Geoje is also popular for its flora and fauna. Here, you can find the Oedo Botania, a European -style botanical garden with more than 1,000 types of subtropical plants. 

Visitors who plan to stay in Busan can include Geoje as part of their itinerary as it only takes about an hour by car to travel between the two cities. The cheapest mode of transportation is to travel by bus, which takes approximately an hour and a half.

Best Cities in Korea - Andong

Andong is a city that offers you a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. This city is known for its preservation of Korean traditions, and it’s the place you should visit for the full folk cultural experience.

Best Cities in Korea - Andong soju

Andong is also the birthplace of soju. Did you know that soju was used for medicinal purposes in the 13th century in Korea? It was believed that soju could cure ailing people who suffered from diverse illnesses, such as toxic insect bites and stomach ache. 

You can also read more about regional soju brands in Korea here . 

Best Cities in Korea - Queen Elizabeth II of England visiting Andong in 1999

Queen Elizabeth II of England and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, visited Andong in 1999 and 2019 respectively. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 73rd birthday in Andong, while Prince Andrew commemorated the Queen’s visit just two years ago!

Best Cities in Korea - Andong Maskdance Festival

Andong is the richest city in terms of cultural elements, such as the Mask Dance Festival. 

The Mask Dance Festival is held at Hahoe Folk village, a UNESCO world heritage site, annually. The performances are not only entertaining to watch, but also strive to promote the importance of cultural preservation.

Best Cities in Korea - Andong jjim-dak

No jjim-dak (braised chicken marinated in soy sauce served with vegetables and noodles) can beat Andong jjim-dak . Andong takes pride in its culinary speciality, and jjim-dak remains a local and international favourite of many. 

Although the history of how jjim-dak became Andong’s speciality is uncertain, there are two possible explanations. During the Joseon Dynasty, aristocrats and those in the middle class lived in Andong. Since these people could afford poultry, Andong naturally became known for its jjim-dak dish.

Another possible explanation is that in the 1980s, there was a rumour that a restaurant located at a chicken alley would mix a variety of ingredients as requested by the customers, and created jjim-dak by chance.

Best Cities in Korea - Panmunjom, the de facto border between North and South Korea

Paju is a city blended with both artistic and historic elements. It’s located south of Panmunjom, the de facto border between North and South Korea, on the 38th parallel.

Best Cities in Korea - Third Tunnel of Aggression

Paju is home to the Third Tunnel of Aggression. It is one of many secret passages to South Korea built by North Korea, and was later discovered by South Korea in 1978. 

Third Tunnel of Aggression is a highlight of the DMZ tour, although photo-taking is prohibited.

Best Cities in Korea - Dirty Trunk cafe

Dirty Trunk cafe has become one of Paju’s landmarks. Its spacious and industrialized interior, which resembles a factory, has become a famous photo zone. 

Besides the unique architecture, Dirty Trunk cafe is also well-loved for its signature coffee and American-style food. 

Fun fact: Dirty Trunk cafe was featured in episode 10 of My Roommate Is A Gumiho .

Best Cities in Korea - Art Center White Block at Heyri Art Valley

Located just 6km from the DMZ, Heyri Art Valley is a close-knit art community that aims to inspire, create, and educate. Heyri Art Valley was named after Paju’s local song titled Heyri Sound , which was sung by farmers in the past. 

Today, Heyri Art Valley has expanded to become an art complex with more than 50 art galleries and museums. The harmony between nature and the neighbourhood presents a trendy yet tranquil atmosphere to visitors.

Best Cities in Korea - 83 Tower Observatory

Daegu is the fourth largest city in Korea, and it’s located between Seoul and Busan. Similar to the 63 Building Observatory located in Seoul, Daegu is popularly known for its 83 Tower Observatory.

Best Cities in Korea - Daegu Opera House

The city is also proudly home to the Daegu Opera House, the first municipal opera house in Korea. It hosts a range of performances with cutting-edge sound systems.

The building itself resembles a grand piano, and it’s an iconic symbol of the opera house. 

Best Cities in Korea - Seomun Night Market

Seomun Market dates back to the middle of Joseon Dynasty, where it was ranked as one of the three major markets in Korea. It continues to uphold such a reputation, and has gained more attention after the opening of Seomun Night Market in 2016 . 

On top of mouth-watering food , Seomun Market also offers a candid glimpse of the unfiltered lives of Korean people.

Best Cities in Korea - Night view at Apsan Park

Daegu becomes a city of stars at night. Apsan Park is not only a great place to visit during daytime for hiking or walking your dog, it’s also a gem for those who want to get the perfect city view in its entirety. 

Best cities in Korea besides Busan & Seoul

Seoul and Busan may be the most popular cities, but they are not the only places that represent Korean culture and city life. If you really want to get to know the country, this list will be a good starting point. The next time you plan a holiday to Korea, be sure to allocate some time to visit some of these six cities – you will be in awe of how vast and magnificent the country is.

Also check out:

  • Places to visit in Seoul
  • Things to do in Gangneung
  • The Garden of Morning Calm
  • Family-friendly activities in Seoul
  • Theme parks in Korea that aren’t Lotte World or Everland

Cover image adapted from: @9_hyun_2 , @highclass153 and @jean_of_life


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20 Cities in South Korea

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Its journey from a modest low-income country 50 years ago to a high-income country is visible when you visit any of the thriving cities in South Korea. In many cities, centuries-old buildings, palaces, old alleyways, and residential areas co-exist with high-rise buildings and modern shopping malls. Whether visiting South Korea for business or to experience its culture, you’ll find plenty to do.

Incheon Airport is one of Asia’s busiest airports, with frequent flights from around the world. It will be your entry point into the country, with well-connected public transport to reach any corner of the country.

One common thing in most South Korean cities is the variety of natural, cultural and entertainment options close to where ever you are. Where else can you find national parks, mountain roads or beaches just a few hours away from almost every city? Surrounded by China, Japan and Russia, this tiny country has seen many wars and invasions but has always managed to preserve its culture.

To understand the uniqueness of South Korean history and culture, visit one of the many museums that showcase this. Your visit to this incredible nation will help you appreciate the delicious flavour of Korean barbecue and K-pop culture. Cherry blossoms in South Korea, or “beot-kkot”, are stunning in spring. 

The government has been actively promoting the development of smart cities in Korea to improve transport systems, energy usage and better water and waste management. Cities like Seoul, Incheon and Busan have been leading the way in implementing innovative technologies and infrastructure by engaging citizens in actively participating and utilising these smart initiatives. Other cities aren’t far behind. Here are the best cities in South Korea to visit. 

6- Gyeongju

10- jeju island, 11- pyeongchang, 12- chuncheon, 14- changwon, 15- cheongju, 17- gangneung, 19- tongyeong, cities in south korea.

Essential Autumn foliage of Korea 3 days with Sorak and Odaesan Mountain

  • Essential Autumn Foliage of Korea – 3 days with Sorak and Odaesan Mountain.
  • Private 9-Day Tasty Journey – taste South Korean food as you tour the regions. 

20 South Korean Cities 

Downtown Seoul City Skyline, Cityscape Of South Korea

Seoul is the heart of South Korea and a city that never sleeps.

Seoul tops the list of cities in South Korea to discover the polarising of local culture and futuristic facilities.

Skyscrapers surround historical buildings and temples; you’ll never know what you’ll come across when walking along a market.

From all-night saunas and exotic street food joints to animal cafes, hanbok rental shops, karaoke bars and quirky museums dedicated to poop, your trip will be more than just interesting.

Take a glimpse into Korea’s royal history in Gyeongbokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace or Changdeokgung Palace, climb up the N Seoul Tower, or take a relaxing cruise on Hangang.

There are museums, cultural shows, quirky walking tours and night markets.

Visiting the trendy neighbourhoods like Hongdae and Insadong or go on a street food and souvenir shopping trip to Myeongdong or the busy Namdaemun Market.

Seoul has several innovative initiatives to make the city more liveable and even leverages Artificial Intelligence and IoT for maintenance, monitoring, and efficient public services.

Recommended tours:

  • DMZ 3rd Infiltration Tunnel Tour 
  • Seoul City Tour (Full Day)

Busan Cityscape Gwangan Bridge On Sunset

Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, is on the southern coast.

Whether it is panoramic views of surrounding areas and the sea from Busan Tower, Oryukdo Skywalk or Harbor Bridge, coastal hiking trails of Taejongdae, mountain trails of Geumjeongsan, or even a relaxing vacation and beach activities on Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches, you can dive into nature here.

If sun and nature is not the only thing you’re here for, there are colourful narrow alleyways, art installations and vibrant murals in Gamcheon Culture Village.

Enjoy local culture by watching a traditional performance at the Busan Cultural Center.

Explore Busan’s interesting history and cultural heritage by visiting one of the many temples, like the Beomeosa and Haedong Yonggungsa.

Busan is also an excellent city to taste authentic Korean street food like hoe-deopbap and spicy seafood stews like jjamppong at Jagalchi Fish Market or Gukje Market.

With innovative initiatives like Busan Eco-Delta City, Busan has an eco-friendly and sustainable living environment.

Recommended tours: Full-Day Busan City Tour / City & Yacht Experience Tour

Songdo Central Park In Incheon, South Korea

Incheon is the entry point for most international passengers because of its busy well-maintained international airport.

Parks, islands, and beaches dot this city, and the city’s beach town vibe is enough to attract visitors to enjoy the coastal amenities and eat seafood.

One of the largest cable bridges in the world, the Incheon Bridge is a must-visit for its size and there’s also an observatory that allows you to see the Korean coastline from a unique perspective.

An hour away from Seoul, this port city was where American soldiers landed in 1950 during the Korean War.

The historic event is showcased at Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall.

Visit the beautiful Eurwangni Beach, immerse yourself in the local culture at Sinpo International Market and explore the colourful shops in Chinatown.

If you’re visiting Seoul, Incheon is a great option for a day trip.

Its futuristic skyline hints at intelligent city initiatives you’ll come across there, such as the Songdo International Business District and free public Wi-Fi hotspots. 

Recommended tour: Layover Tour from Incheon Airport to Seoul

The friendly city of Daegu is a popular hotspot for its traditional Oriental medicinal treatments and practices.

The Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herbal Medicine Festival is where you can experience herbal remedies and healing through events, exhibitions, workshops and performances.

Just wandering around downtown is a pleasant experience in itself.

Drop into a museum like the Daegu National Museum, Daegu Art Museum, and Daegu Modern History Museum or enter one of the old temples and churches that dot the town to get a flavour of the local heritage.

In July, the Daegu Chimac Festival is perfect for those who crave chicken and beer, as the authentic flavours and fusions will clearly show you why Koreans love chicken!

With loads of scenic hiking trails and temples, Palgongsan Mountain is great for immersing in nature.

The 9th-century Haeinsa Buddhist temple in Gaya Mountains is a must-visit as it houses the Tripitaka Koreana, where you will find one of the most complete collections of Buddhist scriptures in the world.

The local government promotes digital healthcare initiatives like telemedicine services, digital health platforms, and healthcare data integration for efficient patient care.

Recommended tour: Daegu Hop on Hop off City Tour Bus Discount Ticket

Expo Bridge In Daejeon, South Korea

Daejeon is where you can experience the best of technology, nature and hot springs.

Have a relaxing and therapeutic experience in a hot spring in the Yuseong district, and enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage on Bomunsan Mountain.

The pedestrian-friendly Daejeon Sky Road is the best place in the city to enjoy the local culture, cuisine and have a local beer.

Science enthusiasts should visit the Expo Science Park for its science and technology exhibits.

Children will love the National Science Museum and explore scientific principles through the museum’s interactive exhibits, educational displays, hands-on activities and the O-World theme park and zoo.

The city also has a comprehensive smart city platform that integrates various technologies and services that use technology to improve services provided to citizens and visitors.

Daejeon is the perfect place to get away from it all yet be within the comforts of an urban jungle.

  • 20 Famous Landmarks in South Korea
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  • 35 Things To Do in Seoul
  • 20 Seoul Day Trips
  • 20 Things To Do In Jeju Island
  • 10 Things To Do In Gyeongju
  • Andong Mask Dance Festival
  • Jirisan National Park
  • Korean Temple Stay Experience
  • Seoul At Night
  • 20 South Korean Cities
  • Winter In Korea – 20 Things To Do

Cheomseongdae Park In The Daytime

This quiet southeastern coastal city was Korea’s ancient capital during the Silla Kingdom for nearly 1,000 years and the historical city of Gyeongju is a museum without walls.

Visit the famous Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, a granite temple containing a seated Buddha statue which is a great place to take in panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and coastline.

South Korea’s astronomy legacy is visible when you visit Cheomseongdae, the oldest astronomical observatory in East Asia.

The royal gardens around the Anapji Pond and scenic Boum Lake are a must-visit for colourful foliage during the autumn and spring seasons.

You can reach Gyeongju from Seoul within two hours by high-speed train and a weekend destination that lives up to its hype.

Recommended tour: Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage Sites and History Full-Day Tour with Lunch

Gwangju holds significant historical importance as it was the epicentre of the 1980 pro-democracy movement, known as the Gwangju Uprising and is regarded as the birthplace of Korean democracy.

If you like art, Gwangju Biennale is when the city comes alive with art and cultural performances, and its museums and galleries are fully loaded with exhibits.

Mudeungsan National Park, close to the city, offers hiking trails that lead to scenic peaks, dense forests, and historic temples like the 6th-century Jeungsimsa Temple.

Recommended tour: Namhansanseong UNESCO Historical Sites and Korean Folk Village-Private Tour

The Entrance To The Janga

Just a short distance from Seoul, Suwon is a must-visit city if you love old forts, and beautiful sceneries and are curious about South Korea’s biggest technology company – Samsung.

The Samsung Innovation Museum is where you can learn more about this world-renowned technology company.

With centuries of history, Suwon also has impressive landmarks like the Hwaseong Fortress that houses Haenggung Palace.

You can enjoy Korea’s traditional performances like royal guards’ ceremonies, festivals and even martial art performances near the fortress.

A little further from the city, the Korean Folk Village is a good place to take in Korean culture and even participate in a few activities.

Being the home of Samsung, Suwon has adopted many smart city initiatives like Smart City Living Labs and a range of e-government services for tourists and residents.

Recommended tour: Half-Day Exploring the Beauty of Hidden City of Suwon Guided Tour

If you are in or near Busan, visit the nearby city of Ulsan.

The coastal city is a major industrial centre, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the range of activities you can do once you are here.

With a beautiful natural landscape, including mountains, beaches and jungles surrounding the city, you can also get into the sea and enjoy whale-watching and water-related activities.

Walk around Daewangam Park, explore Ilsan Beach, visit the Jangsaengpo Whale Culture Village and book an exciting whale-watching cruise.

A hike in the Yeongnam Alps will calm your soul.

The city also has a massive Hyundai Motors plant which you can tour if you’re an automobile aficionado.

Recommended tour:

  • Full-Day Ulsan City Tour with the local guide
  • 2-days: Mt Seorak, East Sea(Naksansa) & Nami or Ulsanbawi Hiking

Jeju Town Illuminated In Night, Jeju Island, South Korea

Jeju, the “Island of the Gods”, is a tropical paradise with everything you want on a tropical vacation: tranquil beaches, jungles, swaying palm trees, and even volcanic landscapes, along with all the beach-related activities you can think of.

The white sand and turquoise water at Hyeopjae Beach on the island’s west coast are perfect for relaxing.

If you never saw a waterfall that falls directly into the ocean, check out the Jeongbang Waterfalls.

O’Sulloc Tea Museum and Jeju Folk Village Museum offer a peek into the history and culture of the Jeju islands, where you can also enjoy tea-tasting sessions and a cup of traditional Korean tea.

Watch the panoramic vistas, especially during sunrise, over Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, a 5,000-year-old volcanic cone jutting into the sea.

You can also hike up Hallasan, South Korea’s highest peak, which is also an active volcano – and is on the bucket list for many tourists.

The quirky adult-themed Jeju Loveland raises a few eyebrows. 

Recommended tour: Jeju Island West Bus Tour with Lunch included Full Day Trip Tours

Pyeongchang is the gateway to some of the best ski resorts in South Korea.

You can participate in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding and even learn skiing here if you are new to it.

Some popular ski resorts are Yongpyong, Phoenix Park, Vivaldi Park and Alpensia.

Visit the 2018 Winter Olympic venues to learn more about the games. 

During the Taebaeksan Snow Festival, you’ll get to see ice sculptures and ice fountain displays; during the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, you can even try ice fishing.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Woljeongsa Temple & Fir Tree Forest, where the scenery changes from a lush green forest trail to a snowy trail, depending on the season.

Visit the Bongpyeong Traditional Market and dip in one of the natural hot springs resorts for a refreshing experience.

Recommended tour: Odaesan National Park hiking day tour: Explore Autumn Foliage in Korea

The Statue Of Soyanggang Cheonyeo(Virgin) In Chuncheon

Chuncheon is a popular destination for domestic travellers, surrounded by charming lakes and majestic mountains.

Check out the colourful Cheongpyeongsa Buddhist temple, the secluded Guseong Falls and the nearby man-made Soyangho Lake for a leisurely break.

Nami Island is a popular place to go walking along tree-lined paths, past lush greenery and to enjoy scenic views of the Han River.

Kids will love visiting Legoland Korea and the famous Soyanggang Skywalk.

Don’t miss the cycle tour over converted railroad lines in Gangchon Rail Park.

For a taste of local Korean street food, head over to the Chuncheon Romantic Market Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street and try the local specialty dakgalbi, a grilled chicken meal with spicy vegetables and rice.

Recommended tour: Nami Island with Garden of Morning Calm Trip

3 Hour Self guided Sokcho Tour with Private Transportation

The laidback city in the country’s northeast corner is an excellent city in South Korea to rejuvenate in nature.

From its beach-studded coastline to its mountainous region with hiking trails, you can do a lot here.

The Seoraksan National Park is a must-visit if you love hiking, as it has long trails through jagged peaks, lush forests, river streams, waterfalls and past serene Buddhist temples.

It also offers some of the best natural scenery in the county.

Relax on the sandy shores of the Sokcho beach, and take a refreshing swim in the clear waters.

Stroll through the Abai village and taste the fresh seafood, or try the local signature specialty, “Abai Sundae”, a traditional Korean sausage.

You can also peek into North Korea from the Sokcho Expo Tower on a clear day.

Recommended tour: 3-Hour Self-guided Sokcho Tour with Private Transportation

The southern port city of Changwon is Korea’s first planned city, modelled after Canberra, Australia.

The city’s famous annual cherry blossom festival in Jinhae is a must-visit if you are near the southern coast during the season.

The Changwon National Maritime Museum offers an immersive experience for those interested in maritime history and culture.

Surrounding by mountains and the sea, Changwon has an orderly feel and the laidback pace of the residents adds to its appeal.

Stroll through the Changdong Art Village, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the colourful murals that line the houses here.

The Sangnam-dong area is popular for nightlife, restaurants and is worth visiting to enjoy Korean life.

This small but interesting city is worth exploring for the variety of things you can do here.

Visit the Uamsan mountain close to the city for panoramic views of the surroundings, and if you are lucky enough to visit during the cherry blossom season, you will have some of the best moments of your trip to South Korea here.

The Sangdang Sanseong Fortress is perched on a mountain is worth a visit for its historical importance.

Explore the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the nearby Cheongju National Museum, which showcases ancient artefacts and relics and also has a children’s museum to entertain the kids.

If you’re interested in arts and crafts, visit the Cheongju Craft Biennale, held every odd-numbered year.

If you want to savour authentic Korean street food, head to the Yukgeori Traditional Market.

Roof Of Jeonju Traditional Korean Village Covered With Snow

This city is popular among South Koreans for its temples, old-city look and feel and incredible food scene.

The winding alleyways of Nambu Traditional Market are home to many traditional and decades-old restaurants and houses and fantastic street food.

Korea’s classic dish, bibimbap has its roots in Jeonju, and the locals are proud of their culinary traditions.

The old-fashioned Korean architecture in the Hanok Village, lined with traditional houses, restaurants and local artisan shops, is a great place to unwind and soak in Korean village life.

Climb the nearby Omokdae and Imokdae hills for picturesque photos of the Hanok Village.

Your trip will not be complete without visiting Jeonju National Museum, which features fine arts, archaeology exhibits and special local history and culture exhibits.

Recommended tour: Private 9-Days Tasty Journey Around South Korea Tour

Gangneung is a lesser-known city in South Korea that’s a great place to spend time away from the crowds elsewhere in South Korea.

The city is separated from the rest of the country by the Taebaek mountain range, rendering it its own distinctive culture, traditions and delicious local cuisine.

The fascinating Danoje folk festival captures the uniqueness of the region.

Visit the seaside museum of Haslla Art World, where the surrounding nature inspires art and creativity.

The historical Ojukheon Museum and the surrounding gardens and buildings are really beautiful in summer, while the Gangneung Olympic Park has various sports facilities like ice skating you can try your hand at.

The beautiful walking paths inside this park have many scenic buildings and sculptures, which will make you want to take out your camera.

The picturesque white sand beach of Gyeongpo and the busy Anmok beach is a must-visit.

Andong is an ancient city with a history of more than two millennia.

The “Capital of Korean Spirit,” Andong offers a glimpse into South Korea’s past through its well-preserved architecture, historic sites, and traditional practices.

Andong’s most famous attraction is the Hahoe Folk Village, where you can experience the charm of a traditional Korean village with old houses and cultural performances in beautiful natural surroundings.

Within the village, the Andong Hahoe Mask Museum is a great place to explore Korean mask traditions and pick up genuine hand-carved masks as souvenirs.

Foodies will love the authentic Korean cuisine in Andong, including local specialties like jjimdak, and also taste the traditional Korean alcohol, soju.

Recommended tour: Andong Hahoe Folk Village [UNESCO World Heritage] Private Tour from Seoul

Full Day Tongyeong Tour from Busan

The peninsular city of Tongyeong is a beautiful and sleepy coastal city famous for its harbourfront and delicious seafood cuisine and also serves as a popular gateway for nearby islands.

A popular cable car ride on the Tongyeong Cable Car to Mt.

Mireuksan will reward you with breathtaking views of the city, mountains, and sea.

The colourful hillside neighbourhood of Dongpirang Mural Village will give you an insight into the daily life of Koreans, along with some camera-worthy vistas.

Take a boat tour and explore the Hallyeo Marine National Park’s islands and beaches for a memorable holiday trip to South Korea.

Recommended tour: Full-Day Tongyeong Tour from Busan

If you like coastal scenery and want to visit a lesser-known but equally beautiful South Korean city, head to Pohang.

Watch the earliest sunrise over Korea at the Homigot Sunrise Square, and relax on the sandy shores of Yeongildae Beach or the secluded Wolpo Beach.

Pohang Museum of Steel Art has interesting sculptures and artwork of metals, and the nearby Space Walk is worth visiting for its unique design and amazing views of the sea once you climb it.

The quiet and peaceful Oeosa temple is a beautiful temple with a relaxing atmosphere amidst mountains, and take a stroll along the Rocking Bridge over the lake.

Stroll through the Jukdo market and taste the fresh seafood dishes on offer.

The popular Pohang International Fire and Light Festival is a must-watch if you visit South Korea during the festival dates. 

Recommended tour: Pohang Home town Cha cha cha Drama Locations T our

For more incredible cities in Asia and Africa, read:

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  • 20 Best Cities in South Korea
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  • 20 Best Cities in Thailand
  • 20 Best Cities in Malaysia
  • 20 Best Cities in Indonesia

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The Simple Travel

Top 15 Places to visit in Korea: A blog all about going to South Korea


All the plans are made, and your trip to South Korea is about to begin. You’re pretty excited, mainly because you are visiting some of the most exciting places in South Korea . But where do you visit if you spend only 3 days in Seoul ? How about a weekend in Busan or one day in Jeju Island?

Will you see all the famous tourist attractions, or will you explore the countryside? Well, this blog post is here to save you that dilemma since we have put together a list of the top 15 Places to visit in Korea ! South Korea is a country that offers so much to see and do.

If you visit South Korea, don’t forget to pack your camera! I’ll provide all the necessary details about travelling there from this article. Before packing up this article, I will add some tips about what to do or what not to do in South Korea. So, stick with it till the end!!!


Recommended Tours & Tickets

Top 15 places to visit in korea..

Don’t miss out on the best of South Korea! Here are the top 15 places to visit in Korea that you must visit. With each location, there’s an amazing food and accommodation option that will make your trip all worth it in terms of quality alone- but we’re not done just yet because these spots also boast some pretty spectacular landmarks too–like castles or gothic churches for instance (or even both!). Check ’em all out here:


Seoul , the brightest city of South Korea stands as the capital of it. If you want to enjoy both modern architecture and ancient culture, then this place is for you. The capital city of South Korea tops our list of places to visit in Korea for its combination of modern and well-preserved architecture.

Here you will find 100-floor skyscrapers which are a modern-day tourist attraction. And you will also find above thousand-year-old Buddhist temples that will introduce you to the history and culture of the country. You will get to click many Instagram-worthy pictures in Seoul, especially during the night.

Main Attractions:

● Gyeongbokgung Palace (One of the largest Palaces in Seoul, which helps to Korean heritage)

● Seoul Tower (500 meters tall observation tower providing a broad view of the city)

● Bukchon Hanok Village (ancient architecture of houses and pagodas which gives the taste of traditional culture)

● Blue House (House of the Korean President compared to White House)

● Bukhansan National Park (holding amusing natural beauty with the ancient temple and hiking place)

● Lotte World Tower (World’s 5th tallest building with an amusement park and observatory)

● Insadong( Korean ritual product selling market with the cultural exhibition of dance and music)

● Gwangjang Market (Seoul’s best food market)

2. Andong Hahoe Folk Village


Surrounded by a river, this village is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a great example of Korean traditional culture and rural life. You will be able to get the real touch of nature. The village is renowned for much traditional food, cultural festivals, and handmade products. For any tourist who visits this place, the Andong jjimdak , a spicy chicken dish is a must-try.

Almost all houses in the village are with thatched roofs which makes them look quite similar. But such roofs are rarely seen in villages in other parts of the world which makes these houses unique of all. Every house has a history of the people who lived there centuries ago. The most notable thing about Andong Hahoe Folk Village is that it dates back to the 9th century and both commoners and noblemen lived there.

● Traditional South Korean houses

● Mask Museum

● Ritual Mask Dance (performed by villagers)

● Boat Riding


From hiking to surfing, natural blessings to architectural beauties, mountains to sea beaches, temples to towers – Busan has everything in its midst. This 2nd largest city in South Korea has a different type of place in its tourist’s heart. Too many varieties in one place.

The city is a relaxing getaway and a stunning tourist spot among all the other places to visit in Korea. It is often underrated as most tourists visit Seoul and forget about Busan. But those who visited this city even for once, just don’t stop talking about their mesmerizing experience.

● Gamcheon Culture Village ( Acolourful village with the brightly painted house and multi-layer streets)

● Haeundae Beach (A beach which is located in the middle of the city offers a lot of festivals)

● Jagalchi Market (a fish market with thousands of types of fishes which made it an exploratory place)

● Busan Tower (Best way to explore Busan and its skyline from 120 m high view)

● Taejongdae( sea-side Park with a beautiful coastal view and evergreen forests)

● Nampodong Market (Downtown area of Busan where you can explore the cityjust by walking)

● Songdo beach (Human-made beach with a less crowded area. Just a relaxing spot nearby where you can do Skywalk, Cliff Bridge Walk and Cable Car)

● U.N. Memorial Cemetery (Only United Nations Cemetery in the world)

● Beomeosa Temple (One of the best urban temples where you can meditate and clear your mind)

● Gwangbokdong Food Street (The most famous food street in Busan to try different kinds of foods)

4. Jeju Island


If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural scenario in your tour, then Jeju Island is the place for you. It’s the most famous Island in South Korea and is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. It is the favourite place for newlyweds and for couples planning a romantic getaway. The beautiful beaches and coastal trails are enough to impress you to a whole new level. And then, the delicious seafood will be a cherry on the top.

● Seongsan Sunrise Peak (famous for its marvellous sunrise view)

● Mount Hallasan (The highest mountain in Korea but easy for hiking with great natural beauty)

● Manjanggul Cave (One of the longest lavas tanel with a magical view)

● Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (A magnificent view holding waterfall carrying 3 sections of water)

● Jeju Folk Village (Able to take you for a travel back in time)

● JungmunSaekdal Beach (spreading charm with its huge wave and favourite to surfers)

● Seogwipo Submarine (A trip under the sea)

● Osulloc Tea Garden & Museum (Can be a favourite place to tea lovers for knowing the tea history)

● Seopjikoji( A famous cape in South Korea with Canola flowers)

● Yeomiji Botanical Garden (A loving place for botanic lovers with a vast collection of plants)

● Jeongbang Waterfall (One of the unique waterfalls because it falls directly into the ocean)

5. Gyeongju


Now it’s time to explore the historical property of South Korea . Gyeongju is the former capital of this country which is enriched with so many earliest and prehistoric sites. History admirers will find their home here.

It is another UNESCO World Heritage Site also known as “the museum without walls” due to the presence of a vast number of cultural properties and archaeological sites. From the 5th century to date, it has been an important centre of Korean Buddhism.

● Bulguksa Temple (pagodas made with stone and wood and representing Buddhist culture.

● Gyeongju National Park (historical resources blended with nature which is available for hiking)

● Cheomseongdae Observatory (oldest astronomical observatory in Asia)

● Gyeongju Bird Park (Best place to spend time with birds along with very close interaction)

● Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond (A Pagoda shaped Palace floating on a mesmerizing pond)

● Gyeongju Gyochon Traditional Village (a small village with traditional touch)

● Gyeongju National Museum (a small but well-organized museum dedicated to Silla culture)

● Seokguram( An ancient temple situated at the top of a mountain with a great view of the sunset)

● Cheonmachong Tomb (a tomb with a cultural museum)

6. Seoraksan National Park


Where are the hikers? Seoraksan National Park is the heavenly kingdom for hikers as they can enjoy temples, waterfalls, cable cars etc., during the hike. It unleashes its best view during the winter with foggy, snowy mountains. Both locals and foreigners come to this park to enjoy the rugged wilderness. It is one of the most visited parks in South Korea.

● Bronze Buddha Statue (48 feet high bronze statue situated only a few minutes away from the entrance)

● Sinheungsa Temple (standing near Buddha Statue holding traditional Korean construction)

● Geumganggul Cave (used for worshipping. You will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of mountains)

● Ulsanbawi Rock (An exclusive rock formation with an astonishing view from 900m top)

● Seoraksan Cable Car (will be able to see the whole park view from Cable Cars)


Suwon is famous for its fortress, Palace and many gates. The eye-catching stone-made wall of the fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The structural beauty has made the city different from others. Now, it is renowned as both a historical town and a multicultural city.

In Suwon, one of my favourite places to visit in Korea, you will get to know about the dramatic and golden succession of Korean history and alongside enjoy the modern architectural sites.

● Hwaseong Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage site which was built a long ago to protect the city with 4 main gates)

● Suwon Hwaseong Museum (Presents the whole history and culture of Hwaseong Fortress)

● Paldalmun Gate (One of the most important gates of the fortress surrounded by modern buildings)

● Haenggung Palace (Venue of cultural and traditional festivals with a lot of attractions)

● Hwahongmun Gate (Another gate of Hwaseong Fortress presents traditional history)

● Toilet Museum (A totally different concept-based museum to accelerate the awareness of sanitation)

● Wolhwawon Garden (A traditional Chinese Garden which is a quiet place with lovely nature and charming architecture)

● Janganmun Gate (Northern Gate of Hwaseong Fortress, which is also the main gate of the fortress)

● Yeonmudae( Huge pavilion offers both city view and Fortress view)

● Hwaseomun Gate (Considered as the most impressive gate of Hwaseong Fortress)

● Everland (South Korea’s largest theme park with zoo, garden and festivals)

● Samsung Innovation Museum (All about Samsung. Their rise to rule in the world as a tech company)

● Suwon World Cup Stadium (Football World Cup venue in 2002 where the roof is designed like a bird’s wing and seats are referred to Hwaseong Fortress)

8. Boseong Green Tea Field


This is one of the major green tea producing fields in South Korea, which offers a vital scenic beauty. A lot of people already know about it as it has been used as a filming site for a lot of Korean dramas. There are places to hike and enjoy the spot from the top, which can heal your soul. Alongside, Korean green tea is much different from normal ones because it can reduce bitterness and increase the taste.

Out of all the must-visit places in Korea, Boseong Green Tea Field is a notable one. In fact, it should be the first one on your priority list if you are a nature lover. The tea of this place is also very healthy and the beautiful green tea fields are a blessing to the eyes.

● Green Tea Farm Observatory ( situatedat the top to explore the whole view)

● Waterfall Area (A little waterfall to boost up your energy)

● Botjae Dawon Tea Plantation (another tea Field which is a 5-minute walk from the Boseong Green Tea Field)

● Green tea cafe (A coffee shop sitting on the hill of the field with a full-length view of the total area)

● Korea Tea Museum (holding the history of Korean tea)

● Yulpo Beach (a great place to enjoy the sunset and beach view)

9. Haeinsa Temple


It’s considered the most authentic and major temple in South Korea. It has the oldest Buddhist canon reserved here for a long time. It’s popular both for religious and historical value. A lot of people who are not interested in any of these only go there to experience the calmness and purity of nature.

The temple houses the  Tripitaka Koreana   which is   the most complete collection of Buddhist texts. The four buildings of the temple complex have a unique structure. It is a famous destination for both local and international Buddhists and scholars.

● The oldest Wooden Buddha Statue in Asia

● Complete Collection of Buddhist Canon

● Nearby Mountains (soothing eyesight)

● Neighbour Villages (for roaming around)

10. Pyeongchang County


Pyeongchang County is a place occupied by mountains. It’s an excellent place for hiking, skiing and snowboarding. You will also find temples in the midst of hills. The best time to visit here is autumn or winter to perform all the exciting activities. It is a city of nature and sports. A huge number of nature lovers and adventurers come here every year.

● Odaesan National Park (70% of this place is covered by mountains. Great place for trekking while observing a bunch of flora and fauna)

● Woljeongsa Temple (One of the best temples in Pyeongchang County surrounded by streams and hills. You will be able to walk through the woods while observing it)

● Daegwallyeong Sheep Ranch (Can be a quick stop in the time of hiking to interact with cute little sheep)

● Bongpyeong Village (If your trip is planned for autumn, make sure to go there to explore buckwheat flowers fields)

● Yongpyong Ski Resort (your best chance to do some skiing and snowboarding)

11. The Korean Demilitarized Zone


This is the place holding the history of the division of North and South Korea. This 160 the mile-long area has a bunch of spots that are the witness of such modern history. It’s a living example of what can be done when two neighbouring countries go through conflict.

There are a specific set of rules that every tourist must follow when visiting this place. It’s different from other tourist spots so you should always follow your tour guide. You might even be required to follow a strict dress code and might not be allowed to take pictures without permission.

● 3rd Tunnel of Aggregation (secret tunnel made by North Korea and discovered by South Korea after 8 years)

● Freedom Bridge – Imjingak( A spot made to remember the divided family. It was also used for the exchange of people once)

● Dora Observatory (can catch a sight of North Korea without going there)

● Dorasan Station (Gateway to North Korea which is left unused nowadays)

12. Dadohaehaesang National Park


Now it’s time to spend some memorable time in the midst of the ocean. Dadohaehaesang National Park is the largest national park in South Korea which is a bundle of 1700 small and large islands and rocks located in the East and West Sea.

This is the place where you can only choose to relax sitting by the ocean or make a hardcore adventure list with trekking in the mountains and boating in the ocean. The majority of islands in Dadohaehaesang National Park are uninhabited. It is better to go to the inhabited and touristy islands to avoid all kinds of harm.

● Heuksando and Hongdo Districts (famous for their striking view of islands and sea)

● Baekdo District ( containingBaekdo Island where a unique form of rock pinnacles is found. Spreading beauty of towns and nature)

● Palyeongsan District (only spot without beach area but enriched with high mountains)

● Bigeum District (most beautiful beaches like Uido and Shimmok Beach)

● Geumodo District (having dark forest and beautiful view of sunrise)

● Naro Island District (the most different one because it has Naro Space Center)

13. Juknokwon


What about just a peaceful walk through a bamboo forest that has 8 different paths with 8 other concepts? If you’re interested in a short tour of 3 to 4 hours wandering into a forest full of tall bamboo trees, then this place is the ideal form for you. The most interesting part is Juknokwon is almost an evergreen forest which means in the cold winter, under snowy cover, this forest keeps its greenery version fresh and charming.

This is one of the most interesting places to visit in Korea. Here you will be able to breathe in fresh oxygen away from the pollution of bustling cities. The cooling breeze throughout the lush forest is really relaxing to the mind and body.

● 8 Different Trails ( This includes Lover’s Lane, Philosopher’s Way,Old Friend’s Trail, Old Memories Byway, Scholar’s Road, Good Luck Road, Seonginsan Trail and Meditation Road )

● Bonghwangnu Observatory ( An observation tower to get the whole view)

● Traditional Pavilions ( You will get them all around the forest for just sitting there and enjoy the scenario)

● Siga Culture Village ( A village with prominent people’s work, stream, sculpture and historical site)

14. Incheon


Whether you are looking for yummy Chinese food or concession-era architecture, Incheon is the place for you. Out of all the top places to visit in Korea, Incheon is a different one. In Incheon, you will find parks, markets, temples, quaint islands and a fairytale village where fairytales seem to come alive.

This city that lies on the borders of Seoul and Gyeonggi has played a tremendous role during the Korean War. So, it is a great place to visit to learn about the history of Korea. Whether you are interested in history or architecture, islands or parks, hilltops or villages, here you will find every tourist attraction that interests you. 

  • Incheon Chinatown (The only official Chinatown in Korea where you can explore the remains of Korea’s past, history, and culture, and enjoy mouthwatering Chinese cuisines)
  • Muuido (A small and peaceful island which is a great spot for camping, trekking, zip-lining, and clam digging)
  • Wolmido Island (A busy island containing a theme park and many entertaining tourist attractions)
  • Incheon Grand Park (The main nature park of the city offering rural landscape-like refreshing air and views)
  • Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village (A cultural village filled with murals, designs, and paintings of fairytale characters)
  • Jayu Park (The first westernized park in Korea that is home to several historical monuments)
  • Jeondeungsa Temple (A Buddhist temple with beautiful architecture and picturesque surroundings)
  • Sinpo International Market (A busy outdoor market selling food, clothing, and other local products)
  • Daeryong Market (A unique traditional market selling local goods)
  • Haengjusanseong (A hilltop fortress famous for its mesmerizing view and history of the Haengju battle)
  • Incheon Bridge (A cable-stayed bridge that looks stunning at night due to the amazing light works)
  • Yeongjong Bridge (A double-deck suspension bridge offering amazing foreshore views, it looks tremendously beautiful during the bridge lights at night)
  • Jajangmyeon Museum (A museum dedicated to the Jajangmyeon dish (black soybean noodles), its history and development)
  • Geomdan Prehistory Museum (A museum that hosts unique special exhibits of cultural artefacts from the palaeolithic era)

15. Gangneung


Eye-catching inland mountains and beautiful beaches are reasons why Gangneung is a popular tourist destination. If you want to escape city life, Gangneung is a place where you should go for a peaceful vacation. Out of all the top places to visit in Korea, it is the most tranquil tourist destination. This city is a perfect blend of natural beauty, modern technology and culture. 

  • Gyeongpo Beach (A beautiful sandy beach with a great view)
  • Gangmun Beach (A huge beach with beautiful sand and shells, clear waters and a peaceful environment, ocean-fresh seafood, and excellent coffee shops)
  • Jeongdongjin Sculpture Park (A Sculpture park with a green lawn looking out at the vast ocean offering a great sunrise view)
  • Daegwallyeong Natural Recreation Forest (A very nice recreation forest popular for its well-known pine trees)
  • Haslla Art World (A Instagrammable art museum with a breathtaking sea view from the top)
  • Pinocchio Art Museum (An Art museum housing a wooden doll of the fictional character Pinocchio, a great tourist spot for both children and adults)
  • Nochusan Mojeongtap-gil Trail (A serene place for walking or hiking with a beautiful folk tale)
  • Adeul Rocky Park (Around 150 million years old natural rocks can be found here, and the place has a beautiful scenery)
  • Heo Gyun Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park (A must-see historic site containing a single-story Korean architectural wooden building made of Korean roof tiles)
  • Gyeongpo Provincial Park (A must-visit park in South Korea with beautiful sea and mountain views)
  • Anbandegi (A tranquil village situated amid mountains at a highland of 1100 m with a panoramic view)
  • Seongyojang House (An elegant and traditional hanok historical settlement from the 18th-century that is a museum now)
  • Aranaby zipline (A zipline at an 18 meter-high tower offering a thrilling sightseeing adventure)
  • Chewang-san (A mountain at an elevation of 841 metres above sea level)

Some Special Manner You Should Always Maintain when in South Korea

The South Korean culture is one of a kind. You must maintain particular mannerisms when visiting this beautiful country, mainly if your travels occur in urban centres such as Seoul or Busan. The following rules will help you to cope up with South Koreans. They’re really dedicated to following those rules, so to enjoy your trip to your fullest, you should try to maintain them.

1. Whenever you’re receiving or giving anything to a person, always hold that thing with two hands. They take it as a matter of modesty.

2. After eating, always place your chopsticks parallel to your cup or plate. Never leave them upside down. It’s standard etiquette in South Korea.

3. If you’re taking public transportation like the train, try to keep your voice low. It’s very rare to find anyone talking loudly on a train in South Korea.

4. Never get into a fight. South Korea is a peace-loving country, and the people there are very kind to each other.

5. Try to avoid the use of red ink in any type of writing. In South Korea, red ink is considered a bad intention.

Don’t panic over these matters. It’s nothing like if you make a mistake, it’s over. Just keep these things in your mind and be confident.

South Korea is home to diverse tourist attractions. We have only listed 15 famous places to visit in Korea , and there are actually more. So, which one of these places to visit in Korea is your favourite? After reading this whole article, I hope you’re now able to sort out your plan.  You know what to do, when to do and where to do it. So buckle up and try to make this tour The Memorable One.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most visited place in Korea?

According to recent statistics, the most visited place in Korea is Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, followed by Jeju Island and the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) between North and South Korea. Other popular tourist attractions include Namsan Tower, Bukchon Hanok Village, and the traditional markets of Myeong-dong and Insadong.

What city should I visit in Korea?

South Korea has many amazing cities, but some top ones include Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Gyeongju, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon, Suwon, Andong, and Jeonju. Each city has unique attractions and experiences, so it depends on what you’re interested in seeing and doing.

Is 3 days enough for Korea?

While 3-days may not be enough to see everything South Korea has to offer, it is enough time to see some of the highlights. You can visit Seoul and explore its historical sites, try some delicious Korean food, and even take a day trip to the nearby city of Suwon.

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The best 10-day south korea itinerary: budget and how to plan, exploring the wonders of korea: korea itinerary 7-days, the ultimate seoul itinerary: unveiling the gems of south korea’s capital, ultimate guide on a day trip to nami island, south korea- plan the best day trip to gapyeong.

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  • South Korea
  • The 10 Most Beautiful Towns...

The Most Beautiful Towns and Cities in South Korea

Seoul is home to an array of impressive royal palaces, including the 14th-century Gyeongbokgung

South Korea is becoming an increasingly attractive travel destination for visitors from across the world. Rich with history, culture and tasty cuisine, the East Asian nation is also packed with beautiful scenery. The only question is; where to start? Here is our guide to the beautiful cities in South Korea .

You can visit Seoul, Busan, Gyeongju and more as part of Culture Trip’s 10-day epic adventure to South Korea – led by a Local Insider.

Damyang is located towards the southern tip of South Korea and is actually a small county containing a number of small towns and villages. Visitors flock to Damyang for its wealth of bamboo, including a bamboo theme park and a bamboo museum. Visitors can peruse bamboo kitchen supplies or other practical gifts, as well as taste unusual bamboo wine or ice cream. There are also a couple of nearby hiking opportunities around the mountains of Byeongungsan and Chuwolsan.

The marina of Haeundae, Busan at twilight

Busan is a popular destination for visitors as it boasts a mix of stunning beaches, city life and historic buildings. Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea, located on the southeastern corner of the mainland. Haeundae Beach is popular with Koreans from across the country as well as foreign visitors, although it can get busy; other quieter beaches include Daedepo or Songdo. The city itself is modern, cosmopolitan and fashionable. Busan is home to the world’s largest department store, traditional markets and sophisticated restaurants – foodies will love trying traditional South Korean dishes .

A train passing under trees of cherry blossoms, Jinhae near Gyeonghwa station

Jinhae is mostly visited for its annual spring cherry blossom festival, when the city’s cherry blossom trees are in full bloom for a short 10-day period before the petals start to fall. The best spot within the city to see the blossoms is by Gyeonghwa Station, where there is a mile-long stretch of trees. The festival also features cultural performances, art and parades; the event attracts more than two million visitors annually.

The cosmopolitan capital city of South Korea is constantly bustling and full of life, although there are some surprisingly tranquil and secluded spots to be found here. Seoul is modern, booming and full of restaurants and bars; but it also has a number of historic temples and other buildings, including the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces, for fans of traditional architecture.

Located on the eastern coast of South Korea, Gyeongju is one of the country’s best towns to get a taste for traditional architecture and the history of the old ruling dynasty. The city is a Unesco World Heritage Site and top attractions here include the Bulguksa Temple, the Royal Tombs and the Gyeongju National Museum, which holds more than 16,000 artefacts.

Tea fields in Beosong County, South Korea

Boseong is a small but picturesque county and the tea farming capital of South Korea. Visitors here can see traditional terraced farmlands dotted with local women handpicking the tea leaves. The green tea farmed in Boseong is known for its high quality, which has been developed over a 1,600-year history. As well as tea fields, the area is surrounded by an impressive mountainous landscape, with cedar trees that can reach a height of 20m (66ft).

Bukchon Hanok Village

Traditional Korean style architecture at Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village is actually within the city of Seoul itself, but it’s a perfectly preserved village dating back 600 years to the Joseon Dynasty. Features include narrow streets and traditional one-storey homes with classic pagoda roofs. Today, very few people actually live in this area, but the buildings are used as traditional restaurants, guesthouses, tea houses and cultural centres, making it the perfect place to absorb the atmosphere of historic Korea.

Jeju is a semi-tropical island found just off the coast of the southernmost point of the South Korean mainland. It’s the largest island in the country and is also home to its tallest mountain, Hallasan, which is ideal for hiking and taking in views of the natural surroundings. At the top of the mountain is the crater of an extinct volcano, while the area is full of “lava tubes”, the rock formations left by receding lava from ancient eruptions. Jeju also boasts the picturesque Cheonjiyeon waterfall, plus there are plenty of beautiful, quiet beaches for those simply looking to relax.

Yeongam Gurim Village

As well as being an historic South Korean village, Gurim is also close to the Wolchulsan National Park. The national park is one of smallest and least well-known in the country, which makes it quiet and relatively free from tourists. The park reaches 800m (2,625ft) above sea level at its highest point, which makes for outstanding views of the area. Gurim Village is nearby and is famed for its old buildings and pottery.

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South Korea: 7 must-visit cities in the Land of the Morning Calm

South Korea is a versatile destination sure to amaze you with its harmonious blend of tradition and modernity.

South Korea, called the Land of the Morning Calm for its beauty and serene air, is a fascinating destination that blends tradition and modernity. The country offers a variety of cities, each with its own unique charm and history. In this article, we’ll explore some of South Korea’s must-see cities , each offering an exceptional cultural and tourist experience.

S eoul, the capital

Seoul, the South Korean capital, is a vibrant city that combines a rich cultural heritage with the conveniences of modernity. With a population of over 10 million, Seoul is the country’s largest city and one of most dynamic metropolises in the Asian continent. Here are just a few points of interest in this fascinating city:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace : A majestic royal palace in the heart of the city, offering a glimpse into the history of the Joseon dynasty. You can watch the Changing of the Guard, which preserves a bit of tradition in the heart of the modern city.
  • Bukchon Hanok Village : An immersive experience of traditional Korean culture, with its preserved Hanok houses. You can stroll through the cobbled streets lined with traditional houses and discover local crafts.
  • Namdaemun Market : One of the largest markets in Korea, where you can buy a variety of goods, from clothes to food. It’s an ideal place to discover the daily life of the people of Seoul.
  • Gangnam district : Seoul’s trendy district, famous for its luxury boutiques, world-renowned restaurants and lively nightclubs.
  • Changdeokgung Palace and its secret garden : Another royal palace with a magnificent garden listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore the historic buildings and marvel at the beauty of the secret garden.

Busan, the diamond of the coast

Located on the southern coast of South Korea, Busan is a vibrant coastal city, famous for its beaches, temples and seaside atmosphere. With a population of over 3.5 million, it offers a different seaside experience to Seoul. When in Busan, make sure to see:

  • La plage de Haeundae : L’une des plages les plus célèbres de Corée, idéale pour se détendre et profiter de la mer. Elle est bordée de restaurants, de bars et de resorts de luxe.
  • Haeundae beach : One of Korea’s most famous beaches, ideal for relaxing and enjoying the sea. It is lined with restaurants, bars and luxury resorts.
  • Beomeosa Temple: An ancient Buddhist temple located up in the mountains, offering panoramic views over the city. It is a serene place, an eye of the storm in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Jagalchi Market : Korea’s largest fish market, where you can sample fresh fish and seafood. It is a quality culinary experience for seafood lovers.
  • Geojedo Island : this island, which you can reach from Busan, offers beautiful scenery, secluded beaches and a peaceful atmosphere. It’s the ideal place to escape the hectic pace of city life.

Gyeongju, an incredible museum city

Gyeongju is a city in the province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, which was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla. It is often referred to as an open-air museum due to its rich historical and cultural heritage. With a smaller population, it offers a more intimate experience:

  • Gyeongju National Park : A UNESCO World Heritage Site, with royal tombs, temples and pagodas. It’s like travelling back in time to the days of the Silla dynasty.
  • Cheomseongdae Observatory : One of the oldest astronomical observatories in the world, a testament to the scientific ingenuity of ancient Korea.
  • Bulguksa Temple : Another UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its architecture and gardens. It is a place of spirituality and contemplation.
  • Gyeongju National Museum : An excellent introduction to the local history of the region, with fascinating artefacts and exhibits.

Jeju, an island paradise

Called Jeju Island, this paradise destination is located in the south of the Korean peninsula. It is famous for its spectacular natural scenery, fine sandy beaches and extinct volcanoes. With a smaller population than other major Korean cities, Jeju offers a refreshing contrast:

  • The Hallasan volcano : South Korea’s highest vantage point, offering incredible hikes and breathtaking views. A must for hiking enthusiasts.
  • Jungmun Beach : A picturesque beach surrounded by cliffs and luxury resorts. It’s the perfect place to relax and recharge your batteries.
  • Jeju Peace Museum : A museum dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Korean War, offering a poignant insight into the country’s recent history.
  • The caves of Manjanggul Island : One of the longest lava caves in the world, with astonishing geological formations.

Incheon, a port city

Incheon is a major port city west of Seoul. With a rich history as the gateway to Korea, Incheon offers a unique combination of historical heritage and modern development:

  • The Korean Liberation Memorial : An important historical monument celebrating the end of Japanese colonies in Korea.
  • Wolmido Island : A picturesque island accessible from the mainland through a bridge, with amusement parks, seafood restaurants and panoramic sea views.
  • Songdo D istrict : an ultra-modern new district with gleaming skyscrapers, green spaces and high-tech facilities.
  • Jayu Park : Celebrating the Battle of Incheon during the Korean War, this park is a place of remembrance and historical learning.

Daegu, the fabric city

Daegu, in south-east Korea, is the country’s fourth-largest city and is renowned for its key role in the Korean textile industry. It is a dynamic city with a unique history and culture:

  • The Daegu Arboretum Park : A magnificent botanical park with a variety of plant species and hiking trails.
  • Donghwasa Temple : A Buddhist temple located in the mountains, with a large statue of Buddha outside.
  • Daegu’s Alps Park : An outdoor leisure area with outdoor activities such as rock climbing and golf.
  • The Daegu Culture Museum : Learn the history and culture of the region.

Daejeon, the scientific city

Daejeon, located in central Korea, is often called Korea’s “Silicon Valley” due to its concentration of high-tech and scientific research centres. Here are some of the city’s highlights:

  • The Daejeon Science Museum : An interactive museum that makes science fun and accessible to all ages.
  • Yuseong Hot Springs Park : A relaxation area with natural hot springs.
  • Skyroad Daejeon Observatory : An observatory with spectacular views of the city and the stars.
  • Expo Science Park : A pleasant urban park with outdoor exhibitions and green spaces.


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Top 15 Amazing Cities To Visit In South Korea

Published: August 29, 2019

Modified: December 27, 2023

by David Jefferson

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Han river Seonyugyo Bridge, South Korea

South Korea is every traveler’s paradise. It doesn’t only shelter some of the world’s most gorgeous coastlines and natural reserves, it also offers an incredible experience of its traditions including the unconventional K-pop culture. As a result, an increasing number of people heed their way through the country to witness its opulence across its dotted cities.

But the question is, which among the many cities in South Korea is worth your penny and time?

Believe us when we say all cities in South Korea are worth it in all aspects. However, to save your time researching which city is best to visit, here’s our curated list of the best cities in South Korea. Ranging from the leading-edge to the centuries-old temples and palaces. All that you need to do is sit back, relax, and read on!

Seoul – The Capital City of South Korea

Seoul city, South Korea

©Photo by Alexander Nachev on Unsplash

The best place to start your journey is no other than Seoul—the capital of South Korea . Officially known as “Seoul Special City,” this metropolis shelters 25.6 million residents, which is half of South Korea’s population. 

Seoul is a round-the-clock city renowned for its state-of-the-art architectures and high-speed internet. Likewise, it’s a perfect place for nightlife lovers and shopaholics; party the night away at some of the exclusive clubs in Gangnam or haul your favorite K-products at Myeongdong . 

In addition, Seoul offers a pristine environment with beautifully-built modern buildings. With a mixture of old with modern architectures, everywhere traverse within Seoul has its own unique beauty to it. Even for the hidden alleyways. 

Though many tourists are troubled by many questions before traveling to Seoul and one of them is, “Where is Seoul?” To clarify, Seoul is located on the Han River in the northwestern part of the country, surrounded by Goyang and Incheon cities.

Followed by another, “Is Seoul expensive to travel?” Good news! Seoul is a wallet-friendly city. This means you can have a decent meal for as low as $5! Ain’t that wonderful?

Excited to visit Seoul? Start planning your trip by checking out our suggested activities within the city.

Busan – The Port City of South Korea

Busan City South Korea

©Photo by Algrin 25 on Pixabay

Looking for a more laid-back atmosphere? You might want to consider Busan, South Korea . Havenly gleaming beaches, magnificent mountains to savory seafood, this city is a one-of-a-kind paradise no one can resist.  

Busan is located on the southeastern corner of the mainland. With over 11.6 million population, this city is now the second-largest city in South Korea. Packed with rich heritage with vast offerings of outdoor activities, you wouldn’t get enough with just a day trip to Busan. To make the best of your trip here, try scuba diving by the beach, go kayak, hiking, rock climbing and don’t forget about cruising on a yacht. You’ll thank us later.

If you want to have a taste of similar vibes offered at Santorini, Greece, head over to Gamcheon Cultural Village. Located in the Korean coastal city of Busan, this village is known for its brightly-painted houses. Though it has been restored and enhanced for the past years to attract tourism, the rich history remains one of the main reason for the visit.  

Busan also boasts its time-honored temples particularly the Haedong Yonggusa also known as “The Water Temple,” which is situated on the coast side, overlooking the East Sea. This is the most visited temple in all cities of South Korea for it provides an unparalleled view of the coastal area.

Jeju City – South Korea’s Volcanic Holiday

Jeju City

©Photo by Daniel Lee on Unsplash

Known as the honeymoon hotspot in South Korea, Jeju is one of the most romantic cities in the country. With astounding rock formations, the majestic backdrop to teeming greenery, this city will easily take your breath away.

To make the best out of your trip, visit these tourist attractions and theme parks:

  • Loveland – a unique theme park highlighted for its romantic and adult-only features
  • Jeju Folklore & Natural History Museum – the only museum in Korea that investigates the historical materials collected across from Jeju

Jeju’s warm climate also makes this city a good place for nature trippings. Have your skin sun-kissed at Iho Taewoo Beach or simmer down at Cheonjiyeon waterfall after a long trip.

Did you know? 

Jeju exists approximately 2 million years ago through volcanic activity. That explains why the place has a majestic view of nature. In fact, Jeju is the sanctuary of Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea. 

Incheon – The Metropolitan City of South Korea

Incheon City

©Photo by Hon Kim on Unsplash

A famous tourist destination in South Korea, Incheon is one of the cities that led the country’s historical and economic development by opening its harbors to the outside world. Incheon is a buzzing metropolis similar to Seoul, mainly noted for Incheon International Airport – an award-winning airport with an incredible quality of service. That includes a variety of recreational facilities such as casinos, spas, and even golf courses.

You can shop ‘til you drop at Bupyeong Station Underground Shopping Mall or meander around the city’s vibrant Chinatown and have a bowl of Jjajangmyeon (black soybean noodles). If not, you can enter a magical place and find your inner zen at Jeondeungsa—the country’s oldest temple. All these are your great options if you’re looking for well-heeled experiences from Seoul. 

Andong – Historical and Cultural Hub

Andong City

©Photo by Steve46814 on Wikimedia Commons

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of central Korean cities, Andong is your place of retreat. Named as “The Capital City of Korean Spiritual Culture,” this tranquil city is inhabited by more than 120,000 residents and has a profound background of natural circumstances and Confucianist culture.

With its steadfast passion to preserve ancient traditions, Andong is the best place for you to experience the folk culture. Head over to Hahoe Folk Village and participate in the traditional Korean Mask Dance Festival held from May to October. Alternatively, climb atop the Byongdae cliff and marvel at the awesome scenic view of the entire village below you. 

Don’t forget to try Andong’s well-known Soju, a local drink made from fermented and distilled rice and grains. Sipping from this drink is strongly intoxicating so make sure not to take too much. 

Quick Trivia

Queen Elizabeth II of England celebrated her 73rd in the city. No wonder Andong has slowly become everyone’s apple of the eye! 

Enjoy The Beautiful three-lined road in Chuncheon

Chuncheon City

©Photo by littlepepper on Pixabay

Located in Gangwon province, Chuncheon is widely regarded for its fuller and richer sceneries and idyllic temples. Also, let’s not forget about the delicious spicy chicken dish — “Dakgalbi.” Contrary to the meaning of its name, “Spring River,” the city is ideal to visit in fall. During this season, fall foliage is at its peak; creating picturesque hues of gold, orange, and red, excellent for photos. Likewise, you can enjoy unique leisure activities such as rail-biking at Gangchon Rail Bike.

Nami Island, a half-moon shaped island, is also a must-visit place in the city. Flooded by lovers and families, this island provides a serene environment good for unwinding, bicycling, and riding swan boats. Let’s not forget, the place was also featured in a popular Korean drama “Winter Sonata.” The Garden of the Morning Calm, Le Petite France, and Chongpyeongsa temple are also major highlights of the city! Be sure to check them out!

Take An Excursion To Gangneung

Gangneung, South Korea

©Photo by Fiona Yi on Unsplash

Whether it’s decaf or highly-caffeinated coffee, you’ll find it all here in Gangneung – Korea’s city of coffee. Famous amongst locals and travelers, Gangneung’s Anmok Coffee Street is a coastline-road filled with cafés best for coffee-hopping and chilling while listening to the sea’s crashing waves. 

Two of Gangneung’s hotspots among foodies and K-drama fanatics are:

  • Jungang Market – notorious for its mouthwatering street foods like Manseok Fried Chicken and Seunggi Hotteok
  • Jumujin Beach – the eminent filming spot of the world-famous Korean drama, Goblin

The city rose to fame when it became the official venue for the 2018 Winter Olympics. With this, more and more tourists flock around the city each day, making it one of the liveliest cities in South Korea. Cherry blossom, Danoje, and Sunrise festivals are also held within the city so make sure not to miss the fun!

Feast on the Freshest Seafood in Geoje

Geoje South Korea

©Image by KH Lim from Pixabay

True to its nickname, “The Blue City,” Geoje is more likely an island because of the surrounding blue water, stony seaboard, and long stretches of beaches. Hence, tourists are advised to take a boat trip to experience the full richness of the place. 

Discover the city’s floral grandeur at Oedo Botanical Island, where you can see thousands of flower and plant varieties loved for their outstanding colors and foliage, or strike an Instagram-worthy pose along its yellow beaches.

To make your trip more extra, visit Okpo Great Victory Commemorative Park—a museum and shrine that exhibits remains from the Invasion of Korea while honoring Admiral Yi Sun-sin, Korea’s national hero. Before you leave, don’t forget to feast on the freshest seafood in Geoje, not to mention it’s often reasonably priced. 

Explore The Industrial City By Nature of Ulsan

Ulsan City

©Photo by Xptmxm101 on Wikimedia Commons

Housing one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers, Ulsan is a wonderland for proud gearheads and tinkers. A versatile city as it is, the place will pin you down with its eye-catching natural and man-made marvels. 

Found in the south-eastern tip of Korean Peninsula, Ulsan is a semi-tropical city acclaimed for its jaw-dropping ridges, and sprawling beaches. Bury your toes in the wide sandy bay of Ilsan Beach or take a quiet walk along Taehwa River Grand Park if you prefer a more unruffled path. 

Jangsaengpo Whale Museum is also a good side trip if you’re into whaling since it exhibits photos and videos of different species of whales. It also has a dolphin pool if you want to watch dolphins perform amazing tricks. 

Daegu – The Impeccable Mix of Traditional and Modern City

Daegu City

©Photo by Craig Rhon on Flicker

You don’t have to travel to Paris to experience the magical beauty of city night lights; you’ll have a slice of it here in Daegu . A city laced with bright lights and lively music, Daegu is one of the enchanting cities in South Korea for couples and families alike.

Relish the city’s kooky side through its numerous festivals and attractions such as the annual Daegu International Bodypainting Festival – where nearly nude models are body painted exquisitely, and the CW Restaurant, a diner embellished with collectibles from Star Wars, Terminator, Marvel, and more! 

Under the weather? Drop by Yangnyeong Market and learn about Korea’s oriental medicines, famous for treating different forms of illnesses. 

Gyeongju – The City of Museums and Nature Scenery


©Photo by Hyungnam Park on Pixabay

We have plenty of reasons to visit Gyeongju . From its ancient tombs, pagodas, traditional houses, and palace ruins, there’s always something edifying in store for everyone. Considered as “Museum Without Walls,” Gyeongju holds a UNESCO World Heritage Site frequented by history buffs and culture vultures. 

Enveloped with more than 2000 years of history, the beautiful city is evidence of the country’s cultural achievements during the Silla dynasty. 

The major features of the place include:

  • Gyeongju National Museum – secures a giant collection of local relics
  • Tumuli Park – burial mounds similar to Egypt’s Pyramids but shaped like small hills
  • Seokguram Grotto – highlighted for its Buddhist influence in the area

Be Mesmerized by The Stunning Landscape of Jeonju

Jeonju sunset city

©Photo by rawkkim on Unsplash

Calling all foodies, a piquant experience awaits you in Jeonju . Declared as South Korea’s food capital, Jeonju has plenty of food alleys that offer tons of delicious Korean dishes to enjoy, including the world-famous Bibimbap which originated in the city. Satisfy your sweet tooth by trying on the country’s most popular packaged snack, Choco pie. If you’re a wine connoisseur, sipping Makgeolli, a traditional Korean rice wine, will delight your taste buds. 

After feasting, you can also wander around the city and witness its cultural landmarks. Jeonju is famous for its Hanok Village, an array of wooden and clay-made Korean traditional houses. Try booking a Hanok accommodation to enrich your Korean experience even further. 

Suwon – The Last Walled City in South Korea

Suwon walled city

©Photo by 종덕 지 on Pixabay

Just 30 kilometers south of Seoul, Suwon is an incredible day trip from the capital unbeknownst to many. Revered as a living embodiment of traditional culture and contemporary charm, the city caters magnificent views of skyscrapers, grand stadiums, and secular temples.

Suwon is the hearthstone of Samsung Electronics, making it one of South Korea’s industrial hubs. Likewise, it has streets filled with restaurants, shops, and bars so you won’t have any problems during your stay in the city.

Amidst this, the city is the only place in South Korea known to retain its historic walls — Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site stands still ever since the 18th century to guard the city’s perimeters against invaders during the time. 

A Nature Paradise of Gwacheon

Sakura walk at Gwacheon

©Photo from Pixabay

Gwacheon is a city located not too far from Seoul. Similar to Seoul, a variety of attractions is surrounding the city and that includes the Seoul Grand Park, which is an excellent place for the kids.

The park has the Seoul Zoo, Seoul Land Amusement Park , and the Seoul Museum of Modern Art. Speaking of art, you may also want to visit the National Museum of Contemporary Art. This is the home of modern art in Seoul. Also, don’t miss visiting the famous Gwacheon National Science Museum, true pride of the city.

Appreciate The Marine Ecosystem In Tongyeong

Islands around Tongyeong

Tongyeong is the “Napoli of Asia” due to its dynamic harbors and is usually a gateway for exploring the more than 100 neighboring islands. Widely famous for its lovely harbor, Tongyeong also has other blissful sceneries accessible for everyone. Catch the wonderful bird’s-eye view of the city by riding Tongyeong Cable Car, or wander around Dongpirang and Seopirang mural villages and pick a picture-perfect spot among the vivid wall-paintings created by amateur artists.

Break life’s monotony by going on a secluded picnic at Café Positives Tongyeong. Here, hearty travelers have the opportunity to relax in the forest while chowing on healthy and delicious meals. If time allows, take a trip to Hallyeohaesang National Park for the marine ecosystem or visit one of the nearby islands.

There you have it, the 15 best cities to visit in South Korea. Which among the cities are you aiming to visit? Tell us in the comments below!


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5 best cities to visit in South Korea

The 5 best Cities to Visit in South Korea

Looking for a unique destination for your holiday ? Why not visit South Korea, a vibrant and spectacular country, which is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination?

With ancient temples, trendy neighborhoods, tea plantations, and more than 3,000 offshore islands to explore, South Korea is the country you should visit at least once in your lifetime.

Still not convinced? Here are the most picturesque towns in South Korea that are worth visiting if you are looking for a vacation full of culture, magic, and friendly people.

Seoul is the capital of South Korea and one of the largest cities in the world. It is a cosmopolitan city with amazing transportation, modern skyscrapers, and a thriving nightlife with restaurants, pubs, bars, and karaoke rooms. There are also plenty of great places to stay in Seoul .

There is so much to do here that you will definitely want to give yourself ample time to explore its historic sites and attractions.

If you are a fan of traditional architecture, you should visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace which was built in 1395 and was the home to Kings of the Joseon dynasty. It’s the most famous palace in South Korea and it actually consists of many different buildings that are spread out across the palace grounds. You will need a couple of hours to explore them. Another palace worth visiting is Changgyeonggung Palace which is smaller but still part of the 5 Grand Palaces. Alternatively visit one of the most charming historical neighbourhoods in the city – Insadong Seoul .

If you want to experience culture and traditions, a good idea is to wander through Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional village where you can find art galleries, craft shops, and traditional teahouses and try  traditional Korean food . In fact, Seoul is probably one of the most walkable cities in Asia.

You will be able to admire Buddhist temples and if you like, you will be able to take part in the Templestay Program and stay there for one or several nights, living like a monk and participating in Buddhist ceremonies and rituals. If you want to talk with monks who are always open for discussion, you can start learning Korean via Skype with a tutor at  Preply .

You will enjoy shopping in Dongdaemun, the most famous shopping area in South Korea, and Myeongdong Shopping Street, where you can find a lot of stores and boutiques.

5 Best cities to visit in south korea seoul

Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, is a very popular destination and for good reason. For one, there is its location on the southeast coast. And then there is the fact that you will never run out of things to do in Busan, with the Korean mountains nearby, lots of stunning buildings, a city center speckled with historic buildings, and a busy street life. All these reasons make Busan one of the best places to visit in South Korea.

If you do decide to visit Busan, make sure to spend a little time on Haeundae Beach . This beach is not only popular among foreign visitors, it is also a local favourite and attracts visitors from across South Korea. This does however mean that it can get very busy. If you prefer quieter beaches, you might want to check out Daedepo or Songdo. 

Do spend a little time shopping. Busan is home to one of the world’s largest department store, as well as many traditional markets. The city itself is modern, cosmopolitan, and fashionable. And foodies will be glad to hear that there are sophisticated restaurants aplenty.

Busan is famous for its traditional market culture which continues to thrive despite luxurious department stores and numerous supermarkets.

If you are fond of street food, go to Changseon-dong’s Meokja Golmok where you can taste affordable traditional Korean food.

For history fans like my husband and I, we would recommend visiting the 14th Century coastal temple of Haedong Yonggungsa.  And for those seeking adventure in the wild, we would suggest a trek to Taejongdae. It’s a massive coastal park that has some epic views across the region. Just make sure to take your hiking shoes, the routes can be a little tough.

The city also offers fantastic hiking opportunities with accessible trails for every fitness level.

Finally, Busan has 450 spas with the biggest Spa Land where 20 spas are fed by all-natural spring water. It’s the best place to go if you need rest and relaxation.

5 Best cities to visit in south korea busan

All buildings in Gyeongju are made in the traditional Korean style. A lot of historical sites and national treasures are preserved here so the city is often regarded as an open-air museum. As you walk through the city, you come across shrines, temples, tombs, castles, gardens, remains of palaces, and Buddhist statuary.

Gyeongju is a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

The best places to see include Bulguksa Temple, Cheomseongdae, the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia , Gyeongju National Museum which contains more than 16,000 artifacts.

5 Best cities to visit in south korea gyeongiu

Jinhae is a popular tourist destination in spring and every year it attracts more than 2 million tourists willing to experience cherry blossom festival.

They say the most beautiful place in the town during this short 10-day period is the Gyeonghwa Station where trains run through a cherry blossom field. During the festival, you can also visit parades and art performances.

5 Best cities to visit in south korea jinhae

Daegu is South Korea third-largest city. It is rooted in tradition and has all the conveniences of a modern metropolis where nature and modernity collide. You can see here Hanok houses and traditional palaces.

The city is the hub of the textile industry and there are a lot of fashion exhibitions. It is also famous for shopping.

Every year, the city hosts Chicken and Beer Festival and Dalgubeol Lantern Festival that are amazing tourist attractions.

5 Best cities to visit in south korea daegu

Disclaimer: Please note that this post was written in collaboration with Preply who kindly provided all the information I needed.   The opinions stated however are all my own. 

What is your favourite city in South Korea? Let us know in the comments below!

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Katharina is the founder, editor, photographer and the main travel writer at A Life Beautifully Travelled. She created this British family travel blog in 2017 to document her adventures around the globe with her husband. Born in Munich, Germany she has since lived in Dusseldorf, Paris, Glasgow, and London. She currently resides in Yorkshire with her family.

Katharina started travelling in her early teens and has explored over 4 continents, 16 countries, and 87 cities. Growing up trilingual and having graduated from an international school, she has a strong interest in other cultures. When she isn’t gallivanting around the globe or busy in her 9-to-5 job as an architect, she can be found exploring the UK (the country she currently calls home). There isn’t much Katharina, her husband and their son Finn love more than a fun family weekend getaway.


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4 thoughts on “The 5 best Cities to Visit in South Korea”

Thank you very much for telling all this, there is really a lot of information in this article which is very beneficial, I am very happy to read the article, it was such a good article that I shared it with my friends too, I hope that everyone must have enjoyed this article like I enjoyed, sir you should make such beneficial and beautiful article for us, it helps us a lot, thank you very much.

Instead of describing Busan, you just copied and pasted the description of Seoul a second time.

All those cities are just spectacular. Very beautiful.

Love Seoul at night…quite bright and colorful.

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The Most Beautiful Places in South Korea

By Caitlin Morton

South Korea is on everyone's radar right now, as PyeongChang gears up to host the Winter Olympics beginning on February 9. But the country's appeal extends far beyond athletic facilities—with ancient temples , tea plantations, trendy neighborhoods, and more than 3,000 offshore islands to explore, South Korea should be on everyone's travel bucket list. Need more convincing? Here are the country's most beautiful sites, ready to welcome you long after the Olympians head home.

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Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond

Located near the city of Gyeongju, this 7th-century palace complex contains well-preserved temples, museums filled with ancient relics, and three small islands. Its star attraction is the surrounding Wolji Pond, an artificial lake that perfectly reflects the buildings (especially at night) and becomes covered with lotus flowers in the summer.

Image may contain Field Outdoors Grassland Nature Human Person Countryside Meadow Farm and Rural

Cheongsando Island

Southern Cheongsando Island is known for its untouched beauty—think terraced rice paddies, panoramic ocean views, and fields of yellow rapeseed flowers. The island is also famous for embracing the concept of slow living, hosting a "Slow Walking Festival" every year in which visitors and residents are encouraged to stroll the walking trails as slowly as possible to better soak in the scenery.

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Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul

Built in 2014 near Seoul's Dongdaemun Market , this Zaha Hadid-designed plaza is well worth exploring for a few hours. The building's seven levels can be explored on a guided tour or at your own leisurely pace, but the on-site history museum and clothing market are just added bonuses to the architecture itself, designed with no angles nor straight lines.

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Samgwangsa Temple, Busan

Samgwangsa Temple is known for its annual lantern festival, an event honoring Buddha's birthday (usually in late May) that attracts over a million visitors every year. During the festival, countless lanterns light up in spectacular colors beneath the night sky.

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Boseong County

About 40 percent of the country's green tea supply grows in the fields of Boseong, which attracts photographers and filmmakers as much as tea drinkers thanks to its dramatic green fields.

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Located about 20 miles west of Busan, Jinhae is a quiet coastal town known for one thing: cherry blossoms. Each spring, the city holds the largest cherry blossom festival in South Korea, with hundreds of thousands of pink trees lining streets, railways, and streams.

Image may contain Nature Promontory Shoreline Water Ocean Outdoors Sea Road Coast and Land

Ulleungdo Island

This volcanic island boasts some seriously impressive scenery, with Hawaii-esque coastlines and Cabo San Lucas-esque rock formations. But visual similarities aside, this Sea of Japan destination is truly one of a kind—especially when you throw in the island's famous seafood dishes (like honghap bap , a seasoned rice dish served with mussels).

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Jirisan National Park

Established in 1967, this is the oldest official national park in the country, drawing visitors for its 119,350 acres of rolling mountains and valleys, temple complexes, and Asiatic black bear habitats.

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Haeinsa Temple

Haeinsa is one of the most famous ancient sights in the country, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Aside from its beauty, the temple is home to the Tripitaka Koreana , a collection of some 80,000 tablets engraved with Buddhist writings.

Image may contain Water Nature Outdoors Land Tree Plant Lake Scenery Art Painting Landscape and Vegetation

Juwangsan National Park

Juwangsan National Park may be small (about 41 square miles), but it packs quite the punch. The park is known for the vertical, rocky cliffs of Juwangsan Mountain, tucked-away waterfalls, and willow tree-filled Jusanji Pond (pictured).

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Jogyesa Temple, Seoul

This 620-year-old Buddhist temple may be the most photographic spot in the Insadong district, with streams of pink, blue, and yellow lanterns on the ceiling and window shudders carved into the shape of trees.

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Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Busan

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple has one of the most scenic locations of any temple in the country—overlooking the sea on the northwest corner of Busan. Most temples are found in the mountains, so the chance to meditate while watching the sun rise over the ocean is particularly special.

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Cheonjiyeon Falls

Located on Jeju Island—a wholly beautiful destination in its own right—this 72-foot-tall waterfall is surrounded by walking trails, lemon trees, and a pond filled with tropical (and totally harmless) eels. There is truly no wrong time to visit, as the cascades are lit up at night.

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Located at the easternmost end of the country, Homigot is the place to watch the sun rise in South Korea. Due to its location, the area is the first in the country to catch sight of the rising sun—there is even a Sunrise Festival held here every New Year's, where visitors gather in masses to watch the solar event together. The site is made even more special with "Hand of Harmony," a sculpture featuring two hands—one on land, one in the ocean—reaching upward in a symbol of harmony.

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Naganeupseong Folk Village

Time seems to stand still in this village, with houses, castles, and monuments appearing almost exactly as they did 600 years ago. Cultural significance aside, the village is a unique tourist attraction—visitors get to tour houses, watch traditional dance performances, and take lessons in Korean tea ceremony etiquette.

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Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest—and arguably the most beautiful—of Seoul's five palaces. Its Gyeonghoeru pavilion remains nearly exactly as it was when it was built back in 1395, and its on-site museums feature some of the best Korean art in the country.

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You can't visit the city of Geoje without taking a ferry ride to the nearby island of Oedo, home to Oedo-Botania. The 12 square miles of this marine botanical garden contain more than 3,000 species of plants, with perfectly manicured green spaces modeled after the gardens at Versailles .

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Upo Wetlands

Stretching across 526 acres, Upo is the largest swamp area in the country. Visitors can walk or bike around the wetlands, getting glimpses of the more than 1,500 species of plants and endangered animals, plus beautiful willow groves and gatherings of fireflies.

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Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju National Park

Built in 774, the Temple of Bulguksa is found in the incredibly scenic Gyeongju National Park on the slopes of Mount Tohamsan. The complex's stone terraces, bridges, and pagodas look especially lovely in winter, covered by a light layer of snow.

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Metasequoia Road, Damyang

Lined with giant sequoia trees planted back in the 1970s, this is one of the most popular roads in all of South Korea—both for drivers and walkers. The path is particularly gorgeous in summer, when the treetops cover the road in a lush green canopy.

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Sinheungsa Temple, Seoraksan Mountain

There are many reasons to visit Sinheungsa Temple, from its towering bronze Buddha statue to its architecturally stunning buildings. But the main draw is perhaps the surrounding nature, with the Seoraksan mountain and colorful trees serving as the perfect backdrop.

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Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul

In an increasingly modern city like Seoul, the Bukchon Hanok Village stands apart for its quiescence. Hundreds of the hanoks (traditional Korean houses) have been protected, with many buildings now serving as tea houses and galleries.

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16 things to know before heading to South Korea

Charles Usher

Feb 18, 2024 • 10 min read

korean city to visit

South Korea’s public-transport choices – including Busan’s Sky Capsule – are the envy of the world. As you plan your trip, count on using the nationwide network © By f11photo / Shutterstock

Has any place been on a run of late like  South Korea ?

The country is on the lips of travelers around the world, thanks to its cutting-edge technology, world-class cuisine, chart-topping pop bands and some of the most exciting movies and TV series being made anywhere. 

Add to all this centuries of tradition and copious natural blessings, all in a country scarcely larger than Ireland, and you’ve got one of the planet’s great travel destinations.

Safe, friendly and possessing superb infrastructure, South Korea is a truly easy – not to mention rewarding – place to explore. Read on for tips to make your visit even easier.

1. Complete your pre-trip registration three days before your flight

Most travelers – including citizens of the US, Australia and the UK – can visit South Korea visa-free for up to 90 days (up to six months for Canadians). You’ll still need to apply for a Korea Electronic Travel Authorization on the K-ETA website , however, at least 72 hours before departure. It’s a simple process, and your K-ETA is valid for two years from the date of approval.

Cherry blossoms in spring at Seoul Forest public park, Seoul, South Korea

2. Time your visit with the trees

We recommend planning your visit to South Korea for spring or fall , when the peninsula gets its most temperate weather. Bonus points if you can time it to coincide with one of the country’s two periods of arboreal magic. Korea’s cherry blossoms start blooming in mid-March on Jeju-do Island , off the south coast, and typically appear in Seoul in early April. In late October and early November, the leaves of Korea’s many ancient ginkgo trees turn into brilliant golden torches, giving Seoul and other cities a particularly regal look for several weeks.

3. Mind these two major holidays

The two periods that can cause travelers real problems are the multi-day Lunar New Year and Chuseok (fall harvest) holidays. On these two occasions every year, Koreans hit the road en masse, making booking a bus or train ticket nearly impossible. The dates change each year, so be sure to check when these are before making travel plans. 

If you can’t avoid a holiday, base yourself in Seoul or Busan for its duration. Plenty of businesses stay open, and the cities can be surprisingly peaceful with everyone out of town.

A conductor stands on a platform in front of a train in a station, Seoul, South Korea

4. Take advantage of Korea’s world-class public transportation

Korea’s subways, trains and buses are clean, convenient and efficient . It can sometimes seem like a new station is added to the Seoul metro every month, and the rail and intercity bus networks will take you to every corner of the country. Public transportation is cheap: bus and subway fares in Seoul start at just ₩1250. In all of South Korea, Jeju-do is the only place where renting a car might make sense, and even there it’s probably not necessary.

With plentiful English information and sensible design, public transportation in Korea makes getting from here to there a breeze. To get moving, start by picking up a T-money transit card at a convenience store or from a vending machine in any subway station. Separate kiosks can be used to load money onto your card. Tap your card both when you board and get off the subway or bus. Fares are calculated by distance, so if you forget to tap when disembarking, you’ll be charged more and won’t be able to transfer for free. You can also use T-money cards in most taxis.

When traveling longer distances, it’s simple enough to just buy intercity bus or train tickets at stations. For the high-speed KTX train and some of the more popular routes and times – departing Seoul on Saturday morning, for example – it’s a good idea to purchase in advance. Bus tickets are typically readily available for purchase from machines and counters in bus stations. Buy train tickets on the website of  KORAIL , the national operator.

5. Stay connected with these essential apps

Wi-fi is so prevalent in Korean cities that you can do without a local SIM card, but if you decide that you want one just in case, or if you plan to head to rural areas, the easiest place to pick one up is at one of the many  telecom roaming centers at Incheon Airport upon arrival. You can also rent a phone if you didn’t bring your own.

Helpful apps to download include Naver Map ( iOS and Android ), which works better than Google Maps in South Korea; MangoPlate ( iOS and Android ) for finding restaurants and cafes; Subway Korea for navigating cities’ metro systems; and Kakao T ( iOS and Android ), which is like Uber but for taxis.

Women separate wheat in a field in rural South Korea

6. Get out of town

There are two Koreas. We don’t mean North and South, but rather Seoul and everything else – or, a bit more broadly, urban Korea and rural Korea. The country has a reputation for being a hyper-paced, highly wired pop-culture dynamo, but its hinterlands present a much different picture, and you’d be missing out big time if you skip them. 

The Korean countryside is beautiful, mountains and rivers make for beautiful vistas, and life is lived differently here than in the cities. The population is older – most people under 40 have decamped to the cities – and the pace is slower. At least once on your trip, get out of the cities and immerse yourself in this more traditional side of Korea.

7. Learn your ga , na , da , ra , ma , bas

Basic English is widely understood in Korea by folks under 50, and signage is almost always in both Korean and English. Yet it’s still a good (and respectful) idea to learn a bit of the language. 

Beyond memorizing a few essential Korean words and phrases, learning hangul, the Korean alphabet, is like gaining access to a secret bonus level of Korean travel. If you can sound out the letters, you’ll find that you already know what things like 카페 모카 ( ka-pe mo-ka ), 비빔밥 (bibimbap) and 사우나 ( sa-oo-na ) are. 

Hangul is easy to learn. King Sejong the Great, who oversaw its creation in the 15th century, declared that a wise man could pick it up before noon and even an idiot could learn it in 10 days.  Let’s Learn Hangul  teaches the Korean alphabet in an interactive, easy-to-follow way.

8. Roll with the nudges

Koreans live life in a hurry, and they do so in a densely populated country, so you shouldn’t expect the same sense of personal space or public courtesies you find in your home country. Koreans won’t hold doors open for you or apologize if they bump into you when walking. When getting on or off the subway, they likely won’t say, “Excuse me” – they’ll just nudge you aside. They’re not being rude, though. 

When you live in a city as crowded as Seoul, it’s just not practical to say sorry every time you knock shoulders with someone – you’d be apologizing constantly. This can be maddening to outsiders, but just accept it and roll with the nudges.

A woman in business attire bows on bridge in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea

9. Be ready to get personal

The typical greeting here is a quick bow – nothing dramatic, just a head nod deep enough for your gaze to meet the floor – but you’ll sometimes be offered a handshake instead. If you are, expect more of a gentle clasp than the old squeeze-and-pump.

You’ll likely be asked questions more personal than you’re accustomed to by someone you just met. At the top of this list is your age. This data point is essential to Koreans, as it informs how they talk to one another: how formal their verb endings should be and whether to use honorifics. Inquiries about marital status, occupation and your opinion of Korea are also common. Answer politely, and feel free to return the question.

10. Wear what you like, but don’t pack anything too risqué

As a traveler, you can feel free to dress for the weather and comfort. Koreans are pretty relaxed about attire, even if they’re more modest than you might expect. If visiting a temple , while shorts are fine, tank tops and miniskirts are not. Both men and women frequently wear t-shirts at the beach (though it’s best to leave the Speedo or thong at home). Korean women almost never wear low-cut tops, and female travelers could find that doing so brings unwelcome looks. Tattoos are now common among young people, yet even still some bathhouses will deny entry if you show any ink.

A diner with chopsticks reaches for meat on the grill at a barbecue restaurant, Seoul, South Korea

11. Eat with others and don’t be afraid to shout for service

Eating is a communal activity in Korea, and many restaurants, especially barbecue joints, don’t offer single servings. So if you’re traveling solo, you might either have to drag someone from your hostel along with you (not a tough sell) or loosen your belt and order pork belly for two (poor thing).

At restaurants, servers won’t come check up on you, and most places have call buttons on each table. Give it a push, and someone will be right over. Otherwise, to grab the waitstaff’s attention, raise your hand and shout, “ Yogiyo !” (“Over here!”) Water is usually self-service, and occasionally side dishes are, too. If your server doesn’t set a bottle of water on your table, look around for a water dispenser and stacks of metal cups. At the end of your meal, take the check to the front counter to pay. There’s no tipping.

12. Is North Korea a concern?

Despite international headlines, South Koreans don’t worry about an attack from  North Korea  – and neither should you. Military clashes are very rare, and danger to civilians is rarer still. A guided tour to the  DMZ can be a fascinating and truly find-it-nowhere-else experience. From afar, North Korea can seem almost comical in its eccentricities, but when you’re looking at South Korean soldiers looking at North Korean soldiers looking at you, the geopolitical stakes hit different. Plus, many tours offer what may be your only chance to actually step foot in the world’s most secretive country.

13. Monitor the air quality

Even in post-pandemic times, it’s a good idea to always carry a mask, as air quality can occasionally drop to pretty nasty levels. This is especially true in spring, when dust blown off the deserts of Mongolia and northern China combines with local pollution to create unhealthy air. Download an app like IQAir Air Visual (for iOS or Android ) to keep track of current conditions and the upcoming forecast across the country.

Woman vendor preparing a snack at a stall at Gwangjang Market, Seoul, South Korea

14. You might have to be flexible about your diet

If you have food allergies or a specific diet, you may have a hard time finding places to eat or getting clear information about ingredients. Vegetarianism and veganism are slowly gaining popularity in Korea, but not many restaurants cater to these diets. Even dishes that you might think are vegetarian are often made with anchovy broth or fermented shrimp.  

15. Recognize that LGBTQI+ acceptance still has a long way to go 

While attitudes are slowly changing, Korea remains a conservative society in many respects, and anti-LGBTQI+ prejudice is common. Even so, LGBTQI+ travelers are more likely to be on the receiving end of curious – if misinformed – questions than any sort of open hostility. Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon (though this goes for straight couples, too).

Seoul has small gay districts in Itaweon and Jongno-3-ga, while the Hongdae-Sinchon-Ewha university corridor is another place where LGBTQI+ Koreans feel comfortable being themselves. 

16. Use common sense and keep these numbers handy, just in case

Theft and violent crime are rare in South Korea. Scams and pickpockets targeting travelers are virtually nonexistent, and Koreans typically go out of their way to be hospitable to visitors. Nonetheless – as anyone should anywhere – do exercise basic caution and common sense. South Korea has strict drug laws, and don’t even think about trying to sneak past them. Nightlife often revolves around heavy drinking, so know your limit to avoid putting yourself in a sketchy situation.

If you do have an emergency, call 112 to reach the police, 119 for emergency services or 1330 to reach the Korea Travel Hotline, where an operator will connect you to the appropriate service and serve as an interpreter. That number can also be used to reach the Korea Tourist Police .

This article was first published July 2022 and updated February 2024

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OnedayKorea Travel Blog

Top 10 Amazing cities you have to visit in Korea

on July 9, 2020

Are you planning a long trip to Korea and do not know which places you should visit? Check-out the top 10 Amazing cities you have to visit in Korea, you will find the best destination that blends modernity and tradition.

1. The Capital of South Korea – Seoul

Seoul is the capital of South Korea, mixed with tradition and modernity, you can find temples, palace, old buildings, modern buildings and high-tech subways that are located everywhere in the city. With a population of approximately 10 million, the Capital has been home to a Korean capital for more than 2,000 years. South Korea is known for its fast internet speeds, K-pop , K-dramas, cosmetic and industry-leading tech companies Samsung and LG, this is a must-visited city for any type of travelers.

To see the best traditional and modern places in Seoul, you should visit the biggest palace , Hanok village , local market and the landmark with us, also try unique Korean dishes or street food, join our  one day old and new Seoul city tour  or take photos at the palace  or try do some special activities –  hiking on the mountain .

Recommended for: All types of travelers, first-time visitors, foodie, shoppers

Read more:  The 10 best things to see in Seoul    and  The 10 best things to do in Seoul


2. The city between North and South Korea – Paju

Korea is surely the only country with such a marked division of its territory, you must have heard about Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). DMZ is one of the only thing can do in Korea, visitors can see the border of North and South Korea in Paju city. To defend the South Korean capital ”Seoul”, many U.S. and South Korean Army bases are set up in this area. Not only visit the Demilitarized Zone, but also the famous attractions located in Paju city such as  Gamaksan Suspension Bridge and strawberry farm, etc. J oin our Korea DMZ Private Tour to visit and see with your own eyes this worldwide famous place!

Recommended for: Cultural & history explorer

Read more:  The DMZ : Symbol of a divided Nation


3. A beautiful and nature place to see around Seoul – Chuncheon

Chuncheon is located in Gangwon province, it is also called “the city of the lake” because of the beautiful Soyang River. Not only for the beauty of its landscape, but also because of Chuncheon provides many education programs, K-drama shooting places and outdoor activities. This place are recommended for families with kids or seniors to visit in four seasons, visitors can enjoy over 5,000 species of plants and flower in the most beautiful garden in Korea ( The garden of morning calm ) in spring, have the exciting water sports in summer, visit the Korean drama shooting place Nami Island for photos in autumn and enjoy the snow falls or winter activities in the Ski Resort .

Recommended for: Nature and Leisure Seekers, K-drama lovers, family or traveling with kids or seniors

Read more: Chuncheon, the perfect city for a fresh start

garden of morning calm

4. Breath of the fresh sea air in a beautiful Coastal City – Sokcho

Located a few hours by car from Seoul, you will get the chance to admire the panoramic view of the Seoraksan National Park . Sokcho is one of the most popular nature attractions for both Korean and tourists. Seoraksan National Park, mountains, coastline, beaches, temples and seafood, you can find the best way to relieve your stress here. Take the cable car to the Gwongeumseong fortress which is situated at 670m above sea level in Seoraksan mountain, get the opportunity to look around the fish market and try the local seafood, explore the 1300 years Buddhist temple in one or multi-days! Either you are looking for a beautiful mountain or seashore, Sokcho must be the best place for you! Check-out our Seoraksan Mountain Tour .

Recommended for: Nature and Leisure Seekers

Read more: Things to do in Sokcho   and   A refreshing getaway in plain nature : Sokcho

5. Korea’s Ancient Capital – Gyeongju

Gyeongju was once the capital of the Silla Kingdom, the longest surviving kingdom in the history of the peninsula, for almost 1000 years. The city still shines today, this is a whole city with UNESCO Cultural Heritage, and the most well known as the “Museum Without Walls”. Come here to feel the peaceful old-fashioned city embraced by high royal tombs and historical relics, our tour will bring you to visit the representative temple – Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, take a photo at the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia – Cheomseongdae Observatory and walk around the palace complex of ancient Silla at Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, or you can book a accommodation near the Bomun Lake to experience the tandem bikes, paddle boats and get a great view of the whole lake at the hotel. Don’t hesitate to contact us and we will custom a multi-days tour for you. Check-out our Gyeongju one day tour .

Read more:  Gyeongju City : Between Past and Present

gyeongju between past and present

6. South Korea’s second most populous metropolitan city – Busan

Busan is the second-most populous city in South Korea after Seoul, with a population of approximately 3.5 million, it is the largest port city in South Korea and the world’s fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage. Seoul and Busan both have the good restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, markets, shopping mall, good hotels and subway, but the biggest different between both cities are the beaches , there are no beaches in Seoul. To spend summer vacation in South Korea, many Korean choose to visit Busan and enjoy summer time in there. The famous Busan’s beaches, seafood, markets, coastline are the things that make Busan a beautiful city to discover. Check-out our Busan tours .

Recommended for: All types of travelers, first-time visitors, foodie, shoppers, Nature and Leisure Seekers

busan beaches

7. The Hawaii of South Korea – Jeju Island

Jeju Island  is a volcanic island, it is well known for natural places including mountains, waterfalls, white sand beaches, unique rock formation, tangerine and green tea. Located on the below the Korean Peninsula, visitors need to take domestic flight to there (around 1 hour flight from Seoul). Jeju Island was a favorite honeymoon destination for Korean people before it has become a popular tourist attraction, now the Island not only provides a peaceful, picturesque sceneries, but also many activities such as fruit picking, horse riding, walking on the Jeju Olle trails , meet the Jeju stone grandfather , watch the female divers show , take photos at the Canola flower fields during spring, hiking in the Hallasan mountain or rent a bike and enjoy the breeze in Udo Island, etc. This paradise is the best place for nature exploration. Check-out the attractions of Jeju Island .

Read more: The best things to do and see in Jeju Island

korean city to visit

8. Home to the largest Hanok Village – Jeonju

Jeonju is the hometown of traditional Korean houses and Bibimbap. Many traditional arts, crafts, and architectural breakthroughs have been attributed to this city. There are more than 700 traditional Korean houses in the Jeonju Hanok Village, visitors can walk around here and admire the old scenery or try on Hanbok , the traditional Korean clothes. This city also is a food capital in Korea, the Jeonju Bibimbap is a traditional Korean mixed rice which is well known across South Korea, visitors can find many Bibimbap restaurants and street food vendors here. Check-out our Jeonju Hanbok Village Tour !

Recommended for: Cultural explorer, foodie

Read more:  North Jeolla Province Tour Experience : Jeonju, Jin-an

jeonju hanok village

9. The City of Filial Piety – Suwon

About one and half hour drive from Seoul, you can discover Suwon city. Suwon traditionally known as “The City of Filial Piety”, it is a walled city in South Korea. 11 universities, Samsung Electronics R&D center and headquarters all are located in Suwon. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Suwon is Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, it is an impressive structure from the latter part of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), also is a must-visit UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Come to experience the historical sites with us through our Suwon Hwaseong Fortress Tour !

Read more: The Hwaseong fortress : An historical unprecedented project

10. Second largest port city in Korea – Incheon

Incheon is the second largest port city in Korea, you can also find its International airport, bridge, Songdo international city (a free economic zone). With railway connections to Seoul, visitors can visit the attractions such as Incheon fish market, China town, Songwol-dong  Fairy Tale Village , Wolmido Island when you stay in Seoul or on the way to Incheon airport. Incheon came to have the first and biggest China Town in South Korea, the Incheon China Town boasts many restaurants with Chinese-Korean fusion cuisine. Incheon also is a must-visit places for K-drama ”Dokkaebi (Goblin)” fans. Check-out Incheon Half day tour  and Goblin shooting location tour !

Recommended for: Cultural explorer, K-drama lovers, foodie

Read more: Vibrant Incheon : the futuristic city

Contact us through inquiry form or email [email protected] if you need a customize itinerary.


Written by: OnedayKorea

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Discovering South Korea: Discovering The 10 Best Places To Visit & Things To Do There

Take a tour of South Korea's best places and discover the top thing to do in each before visiting.

South Korea is a vibrant destination with bustling cities, scenic countryside, tranquil temples, and relaxing beaches. It truly has it all, but many travelers never venture beyond the capital city. So, to tempt travelers into exploring Seoul and beyond, here are the ten best places to visit in South Korea and tips on what to do in each spot.

Seoul is South Korea’s capital city and offers no shortage of entertainment and dining options. From night markets to traditional spas and shopping malls, travelers can easily spend weeks here without getting bored. According to facts about Seoul's best neighborhoods , Myeongdong, Itaewon, and Hongdae are some of the most popular parts of the city to explore.

  • Why You Should Visit: Lively city with great food and night markets
  • Top Thing To Do: Sample the South Korean art of café hopping

Related: 10 Quick Weekend Trips You Can Take From Seoul

Busan is South Korea’s second-largest city and is a charming port city with gorgeous beaches and stunning mountain views. One of the many things to know about Busan is that it boasts a totally different atmosphere from Seoul, making it must-visit when exploring the country. South Korea’s rail system (Korail) makes it easy to travel between major cities quickly and on a budget.

  • Why You Should Visit: Coastal city with beautiful beaches
  • Top Thing To Do: Visiting the Busan Gamcheon Culture Village is one of the best activities in Busan .

8 Jeju Island

Jeju is South Korea’s largest island and is a popular place for both foreigners and Koreans to travel to for a getaway. From Seoul, travelers must fly to Jeju, but from Busan, it’s also possible to take a ferry. However, flight prices are low enough that it’s both more cost and time efficient to fly to the island when planning a visit to Jeju .

  • Why You Should Visit: Stunning natural beauty
  • Top Thing To Do: Relax on Hamdeok Beach

Stay in Seogwipo instead of Jeju City for a serene experience being surrounded by natural beauty. Also, check out more tips for visiting Jeju Island !

Daegu is located in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, and is known for its production of electronics as well as its ideal climate for growing apples. As an economic hub for the country, Daegu is worth visiting for its many parks, markets, and festival events. The easiest way to reach Daegu from Seoul is by taking a KTX high-speed train.

  • Why You Should Visit: Huge city with lots of parks and green space
  • Top Thing To Do: Visit Seomun Market

Incheon borders the capital city, Seoul, and its name might be familiar to some because this is where South Korea’s large international airport is located. It’s well-connected to Seoul making it easy to travel to on any trip to South Korea and has fun activities and attractions like spas, casinos, and golf courses.

  • Why You Should Visit: Close to the airport, vibrant Chinatown district
  • Top Thing To Do: Incheon Fish Market

Start or end one's South Korea trip in Incheon to be conveniently close to the international airport.

Located in the southeast of North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea, Gyeongju is a coastal city known for its rich heritage and archeological sites. It’s possible to visit Gyeongju as a weekend trip from either Seoul or Busan, so be sure to add it to the itinerary, whether spending a week in Seoul or Busan or just a couple of days.

  • Why You Should Visit: Coined a “museum without walls” because of its historical significance
  • Top Thing To Do: Tour the Yangdong Folk Village

Related: Seoul, Korea: A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods To Stay In (For First-Timers)

The city of Andong is located on the Nakdong River, approximately 4 hours from Seoul by train. Andong is often thought of as a city that captures the spirit of Korean culture because of its many open-air museums, historical structures, old folk village, and more.

  • Why You Should Visit: Culturally rich destination for learning about South Korea
  • Top Thing To Do: Visit the Andong Soju Museum

Suwon is a beautiful historic city that is also the capital of Gyeonggi Province. It’s located in northwestern South Korea and is the only remaining entirely walled city in the country. It only takes around 30 minutes to reach Suwon by train from Seoul, making it possible to visit the historic city on a day trip.

  • Why You Should Visit : The 18th-century Hwaseong Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Top Thing To Do: Take a guided tour of the Hwaseong Haenggung

Related: 10 Best Things To Do In Seoul

Geoje is a beautiful island in South Gyeongsang province. It is just off the coast of Busan, making it a natural stop on a tour of South Korea. Travelers can plan to spend a few days relaxing on this scenic island, or they can simply visit as a day trip while basing themselves in Busan.

  • Why You Should Visit: Gorgeous coastal scenery
  • Top Thing To Do: Visit OEDO Botania (a breathtaking, lush green garden)

Yeosu is a port city in South Korea that is located on the East China Sea coast. It is known as one of the best spots in the country for water-based activities like diving and swimming. The city itself is lively with lots of activities to enjoy.

  • Why You Should Visit: Ideal mix of city entertainment and water-based fun
  • Top Thing To Do: See the bridge and visit the teahouse at Dolsan Park

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12 Best Places In South Korea To Visit

12 Best Places In South Korea To Visit (9)

South Korea is an incredible country to explore. Now, one of the things I love most about the country is how diverse it is. Not only does it have some incredible vistas and protected coastlines, but it also has some of the best places in South Korea that are dotted all across the country.

Photographs And Postcards... From Seoul, South Korea (13)

That’s the thing about South Korea, it’s got a whole heap of places that I’m almost certain you’ll want to explore. It’s the kind of country where you’ll visit once and be questioning where and how you’ll be heading across again. Well, this is the case for me at least.

Photographs And Postcards... From Seoul, South Korea (30)

Truth be told, after visiting Seoul , I just wanted to see so much more of the country. That’s why I wanted to share some of the best places in South Korea I think you should visit. Best of all, I’ve tried to pop a few from all over the country – this way, it doesn’t matter where you’ll fly into.

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Take a look below at the best places in South Korea to visit. Have the best trip ever! 🇰🇷

1.) Gyeongju

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Perched on the south-east coast, Gyeongju is one of the best places in South Korea to visit if you love history.

If Temples are your thing, head straight over to the Bulguksa Temple that dates all the way back to the 8th Century. That being said, you can also pop over to the Seokguram Grotto where you’ll find one monumental Buddha. It also has some incredible views over the city. Best of all, this is a great spot if you want to watch the sunrise. 

After exploring these temples and grotto, head straight over to Gyeongju National Museum which has a treasure-trove of history inside. Oh, but if museums aren’t your thing, pop along to (relatively close) Gyeongju National Park. The views and landscape are stunning. 

For a great bite to eat, head on over to Cheonnyeon Hanu Bomun who have some of the best Korean beef in the city. 

2.) Seoul

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Seoul is easily up there as one of the best places in South Korea to visit. Not only is it super vast, but it’s also got a whole heap of history, neighbourhoods and influences that are so much fun to explore. 

Photographs And Postcards... From Seoul, South Korea (31)

Now, for about 600years, Seoul has been Korea’s capital city that is steeped in history. This all means that lots of important historical buildings are based here and is perfect to explore for a long weekend away. 

Photographs And Postcards... From Seoul, South Korea (4)

Once here, make sure to visit some of the main places to see in Seoul and spend some time exploring the dazzling neighbourhoods that are dotted across the city. After spending some time wandering, pop over to Changdeokgung Palace, head to Myeongdong for a huge shopping district and finally head to Bukchon Hanok Village. 

Photographs And Postcards... From Seoul, South Korea (22)

If you fancy some more temples and history, head straight over to Jogyesa Temple, the Bongeunsa Temple and the Gwanghwamun Gate. 

Photographs And Postcards... From Seoul, South Korea (21)

Oh, and if you fancy a tasty bite to eat, wander over to Jungsik for some proper yummy fine dining. Honestly, there are over 100,000 restaurants to Seoul so you’ll be spoilt for choice. That being said, if you’re really struggling to choose, take a look at our post on the best meals to eat in Seoul .

Also, for a great hotel in the city, check into the  L7 Myeongdong – it’s a stunning place to rest up.

Read more: Best things to do in Seoul

3.) Jeju City

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Perched on Jejudo Island, Jeju City is one of the best places in South Korea to partner with a visit to the island, too. As South Korea’s most southerly city, it’s a popular spot with South Koreans, too.

Once you’re here, make sure to visit Dongmun Market, a traditional Korean Market selling everything you could ever imagine. If that’s not your thing, head over to Jejumok Gwana. Consisting of around seven historical houses, the former central government office dates all the way back to the 14th Century and is an incredible site to see. 

After a little city break, make sure to head across to Seongsan Ilchulbong, too. It’s the huge volcanic tuff that was created by Volcanic eruptions underwater. It’s so surreal to see.  

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Based in the Gyeonggi Province, Suwon is one of the best places in South Korea to visit in the northwest of the county. 

Now, one of its most famous spots to see if the Fortress and the huge gates with towering pagodas. Also, not too far away is the palace of Hwaseong Haenggung which is easy to see after the fortress. Just make sure to not miss the incredible banquet room – it’s insane. 

If you fancy something a little more quirky, head to  Mr Toilet House . This is one of the world’s only toilet museums and easily one of the strangest and peculiar museums you’ll ever visit. Ha!

12 Best Places In South Korea To Visit (2)

The museum itself is around 30-minutes from the city centre and is usually free to enter.  It’s filled with loads of statues and models of poop, toilets and all things bathroom related. 

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To be honest, Busan is one of the best places in South Korea to visit due to its location. Perched on the south-east coast, it’s the perfect spot to visit if you want a little city life, but also embrace South Korea’s amazing beaches and mountains. 

Once you’re here, make sure to visit the vibrant (and busy) Haeundae Beach and take a trip to the 14th Century coastal temple of Haedong Yonggungsa. If beaches aren’t your thing, head on a trek (or in the car) to Taejongdae. It’s a massive coastal park that has some epic views across the region. Just make sure to take your hiking shoes, the routes can be a little tough. 

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For a great place to stay in Busan, check into Solaria Nishitetsu which has one of the best locations in the city. 

6.) Hwaseong

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Not too far away from Seoul, Hwaseong is one of the best places in South Korea to visit for a day trip. 

Once here, make sure to visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites like Hwaseong Fortress and head over to the Yongjusa Temple, too. If you’re something of a thrillseeker, head over to Everland and ride the massive wooden rollercoaster they have. 

Also, for a yummy Korean BBQ, head to Bonsuwon Galbi, their kalbi is so good. 

12 Best Places In South Korea To Visit (3)

Nestled on the banks of the Geum River, Gunsan is a lovely South Korean city to visit for a few days exploring. Once you’re here, head over to Hirotsu House, see the Dongguksa Temple and explore the Modern History Museum (which is perfect on a rainy day). 

Oh, and don’t forget to head over to Seonyudo Island too. It’s attached by a long bridge and is well worth a visit to see the dramatic mountains and beaches. 

8.) Gwangju

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Situated in the south corner of the country, Gwangju is one of the best places in South Korea to visit that has a cool mix of old and new.

Once here, make sure to visit the Jeungsimsa Temple with its stone pagoda, explore the Mudeungsan Mountain National Park and gorge at  Mahanji . They serve up one of the best Korean BBQs in the city. You’ll be so full, you’ll roll back to your bed. Just make sure to try their pork ribs… they’re so tasty. 

9.) Chuncheon

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Perched in the northerly regions of the country, Chuncheon is a city that’s well worth visiting when travelling through the Gangwon Province.

Once you’ve arrived, make sure to spend some time visiting the ancient Cheongpyeongsa Temple and see the cherry blossoms (around Soyangho Lake) in spring. 

Also, if you want to see something a little different, head across to the International Mime Festival too. The festival takes place at the end of May and carries on until the 2nd of June. It’s well worth seeing the fire shows and music that make it so much fun! 

10.) Andong

Photographs And Postcards... From Seoul, South Korea (7)

Nestled on the Nakdong River, Andong is one of the best places in South Korea to visit if you love museums and history. 

Once you’re here, make sure to visit the Folk Museum which showcases local folklore and traditions from this region. Alternatively, head over to Hahoe Folk Village that serves up some traditional Korean dishes within historic buildings. 

Afterwards, pop into the Dosanseowon Confucian School, too. It’s a place that almost feels like time has stood still. If you’re taking public transport here, make sure to get bus number sixty-seven from the city itself. It’ll take around 30-minutes in total. 

11.) Daegu

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Surrounded by mountains, Daegu is a clean and almost sparkly city to visit (if that makes sense?). Now, one of the most famous things about Daegu is the  Oriental Medicine Cultural Center but there’s so much more to it than this. 

Once here, make sure to chill out at Donghwasa. The grounds are stunning and it’s a great way to spend a sunny morning. Alternatively, head over to Apsan Park and follow the routes and trails around the area. 

For a local bite to eat, pop into Sangju Shikdang that serves up some tasty Korean dishes. Don’t expect anything fancy and you might not even get a menu, but the food is so good! 

12.) Gangneung

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Nestled in the province of Gangwon-do, Gangneung is one of the best places in South Korea to visit if you want a full itinerary. I mean, there is so much to do! It’s the kind of city you can visit for a week and still not see or experience everything. 

Once you’ve arrived, make sure to explore Gyeongpo Beach, see Gangneung Seongyojang and enjoy the views from Gyeongpodae.

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These are the 8 Korean cities beyond Seoul you have to check out

Singaporeans are no strangers to South Korea.

Pre-pandemic, Singapore and South Korea were linked by 64 weekly passenger services that carried 1.6 million travellers a year, with Seoul remaining as one of the top-trending destinations across the board.

The allure of Seoul is evident in its enthralling landmarks and vivid cultural attractions. Yet, if you’ve already maxed out the number of times you could possibly wear a hanbok to Gyeongbokgung, secure love locks at the top of N Seoul Tower, shop in Myeongdong and stroll through Bukchon Hanok Village, you’ve come to the right article.

While the capital city remains an unmissable locale for holidaymakers, perhaps it’s time to take a chance on some of the lesser-known destinations in South Korea that are also worth a visit. History enthusiasts, or instance, would find themselves mesmerised by Gyeongju, while foodies should definitely make a trip down to Jeonju , the country’s food capital, to stuff themselves silly. Love the beach? Sokcho and Busan make wonderful alternatives to the towering skyscrapers in Seoul.

Here’s are all the cities beyond Seoul you have to visit in South Korea.

Busan has been an increasingly popular tourist destination, given that it’s the second largest city in South Korea. Located in the southeastern part of the mainland, it comes across almost like a second Seoul with its bustling city life — except it also offers stunning beaches like Gwangalli Beach and Haeundae Beach that come alive during the warmer months. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, located along the shoreline, is also a famous attraction in the area, as most Korean temples are located in the mountains. It was recently also featured in the Korean drama , My Name .

If you need a head start, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite cafes in Busan here for bookmarking too.

cities beyond seoul Gyeongju

History fans, here’s one for you. Gyeongju city, often referred to as “the museum without walls”, was once the capital of Silla, an ancient kingdom that ruled south-eastern Korea from 57 BCE to 935 CE. Here, besides being the ruins of temples and palaces, outdoor pagodas, and historical relics, other attractions here include the Bulguksa Temple and the Gyeongju National Museum, which houses more than 16,000 artefacts.

cities beyond seoul Jinhae

If you’re heading to Korea during the spring for a glimpse of the cherry blossoms, you won’t want to miss a trip to Changwon. Jinhae district, located within Changwon city, is most famous for hosting the annual Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, a 10-day event dedicated to the beautiful blooms. The best spots for photos? Gyeonghwa Station, with its mile-long stretch of cherry blossom trees that frame the Yeojwa Stream.


Bibimbap is one of Korea’s most popular dishes, especially amongst foreigners, so where else to head to than Jeonju , the birthplace of the dish? The mixed rice bowls are crafted with a ton of fresh ingredients from the surrounding farmlands, with establishments like Sungmidang, Gajok Hoegwan and Gogung being popular choices for locals and tourists alike.

Once you’re done touring Jeonju Hanok Village, we suggest making a beeline at one the restaurants along Jeonju Makgeolli Alley. Each kettle of makgeolli (rice wine) comes with an endless flow of side dishes that includes anything from acorn jelly to spicy fish soup and a fried hair tail fish. The rule of thumb? The more kettles a party orders, the higher the quality of the side dishes. 


The sleepy town of Pohang is seeing a revival of late; many residing in Korea have flocked to the city for a glimpse of “Gongjin”, the make-believe village that set the scene for the Korean drama , Hometown Cha Cha Cha .

Other attractions in the area include the Hand of Harmony, a two-part bronze sculpture shaped like a pair of hands — one in the ocean and one on land. The sculpture, which represents harmony and co-existence, is a popular spot for many to gather at sunrise during the New Year: when angled correctly, the hand looks like it’s actually holding the sun.

cities beyond seoul paju

An hour’s drive away from Seoul, Paju is a fantastic getaway brimming with arts and culture. Apart from stunning architectural favourites like Mimesis Art Museum, designed by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira and the creative arts haven that is Heyri Art Valley, the relaxing Byeokchoji Culture Arboretum is also one of the city’s biggest attractions. If you need a coffee break, we suggest heading to Cafe Louverwall, a cafe-building with a dynamic, sloped curtainwall facade that creates alluring light and shadows throughout the day.

cities beyond seoul sokcho

Known for its beaches, natural hot springs and golf courses, Sokcho is another city worth your time when coming to Korea. It is home to Seoraksan, one of Korea’s most famous mountains, as well as Seoraksan National Park, the surrounding area that allows non- hikers to just traverse through for spectacular sights of nature.

The best time to come here, in our opinion, is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak — take the cable car on the way up to Gwongeumseong Fortress and you’ll be spoilt by some magnificent forested views just below you. The eastern coastal city has also seen a rising number of cafes over the last couple of years as well, most of them offering beautiful views of the ocean or a strategically framed window views of the outdoors — perfect for the ‘gram.

korean city to visit

While Deokjeokdo may not be a city in and of itself (it’s technically under the purview of Incheon City), we couldn’t resist adding it in to the mix. The languid island, just an hour’s boat ride from Incheon port coastal terminal, is a great day trip for anyone in Seoul looking for a change in scenery. Short hikes to Bijobong Peak and Unjubong Peak are great for stunning views of the island, but if you’re up for a challenge, then you’ll enjoy the hike up Gooksubong Peak.

The island is mainly made up of mom-and-pop restaurants and motels, so be sure to carry enough cash on hand. Camping is also free anywhere on the island, and Seopori Pine Forest, studded with century old pine trees, is a great location to set up for the night.

These are the 8 Korean cities beyond Seoul you have to check out

Jocelyn Tan

Senior Writer

Jocelyn Tan is a travel, food and design writer who loves to explore lesser-known cities abroad and chat with locals about their favourite eats in town. When she's not writing, she's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history.

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Top 6 Best Cities to Visit besides Seoul

korean city to visit

South Korea, home to Kdrama, Kpop, and amazing food, is a country with a plethora of activities. Everyone has heard of the city of Seoul with over 25M people, the megalopolis has everything one can possibly imagine. There is for everyone’s taste: hiking in a nearby mountain, visiting centuries-old palaces and temples, going club-hopping, and shopping off designer brands from all around the world. As such, there’s always something new to see and do.

Seoul is a must-visit at least once in a lifetime, but South Korea isn’t only Seoul and this country still has a lot more to offer. This is why, we compile for you a list of the 6 places you can’t miss out on when you travel to South Korea.

korean city to visit

The country’s second-largest city, Busan is a popular destination for both locals and foreigners. The bustling city located in the southern peninsula, has gorgeous beaches and greeny mountains. Thanks to its port and proximity to the ocean, the city is famous for its amazing seafood dishes.

Visitors from all around the world also come to visit the many historical sites scattered around town, like the Beomeosa Temple with its hot springs. Another one is the hillside Gamcheon Cultural Village , with brightly-colored houses, the cultural town is the cutest Instagram spot!

Jeju Island

The popular honeymoon destination for both local and foreign couples, the island has a high reputation as a paradisiac spot of its own. Its south location gives a warmer climate making it a hotspot for the summer to come to enjoy the fancy hotels, beaches, and beautiful wildlife.

Jeju City is the island’s biggest city hence a cute location with great restaurants, shops, and accommodations. It is also a nice base to start from to explore the rest of the pretty island.

Seogwipo, located on the same island, is a stunning example of what nature still has to show us! This popular hiking destination has everything from waterfalls, and long beaches, to rocky coastlines, so expect gorgeous scenery.

korean city to visit

Today South Korea’s 3rd largest city, Incheon is only 40km away from the capital of Seoul. It is home to an amazing port and the biggest international airport in South Korea. It is a rapidly expanding area, with more and more visitors coming every year.

The city is both important historically and economically speaking, it is home to the oldest temple in the country – Jeondeungsa, as well as lovely old architecture buildings. The city has a vibrant Chinatown, a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars to make everyone’s visit worth it. The perfect affordable day trip away from Seoul!

Jeonju / Gyeongju

korean city to visit

Both cities are open-air museums, hence the perfect places to visit for history lovers!

The city of Jeonju is located on the west side, below Seoul. It is full of historical sites and cultural landmarks. It is home to one of the largest Hanok villages, showcasing traditional houses and artisanal products. Amongst the traditional houses, you can also find the cutest cafés and restaurants for the foodies.

Gyeonju, located on the east-south side of the peninsula, offers a boasting showcase of 2000-year-old Korean history. The city has an endless array of temples, tombs, and archaeological sites from being the capital during the Silla Kingdom. Bulguksa Temple, from the 8th century and Seokguram Grotto next to it, are a must-visit!

korean city to visit

Last but not least, the southern rural city of Gwangju. This lively town has all the merits to be on the podium being the fifth biggest city. The city is a cultural hub home to many renowned art museums such as Gwangju Biennale Festival , and the Gwangju National Museum.

The city is also close to the Mudeungsan National Park where you can find a thousand years old Buddhist temple! A real cultural hub with the friendliest local population. My personal favorite.

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South Korea Is A Total Bucket-List Destination – Here Are 10 Amazing Things To Get Up To

From the busy streets of Seoul to a night spent in a traditional hanok home – it's time to start planning your visit!

Hanifah Rahman

BuzzFeed Staff

I'm Hanifah and I love to travel. South Korea's been on my bucket list for years, but I’d never gotten around to planning the perfect trip.

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So when I got the chance to join Intrepid’s first-ever Essential South Korea trip, I jumped at the opportunity.

As someone who loves a packed schedule but gets overwhelmed when it comes to the actual organising, the trip looked perfect. This isn't just your average holiday – it's an immersive experience packed full of adventures and is the newest addition to Intrepid’s 18-35 trips. The itinerary involves nine days of soaking up a wealthh of South Korean culture, visiting Seoul, Jeonju, Busan, and more. 

From trying street food to staying in a traditional historic home, the itinerary is packed to the brim with so many different cultural experiences, and I can’t think of a better way to explore the country in all its glory. If you’re thinking about visiting South Korea and want to make sure you make the most of it, check out everything that’s included in the Essential South Korea trip here.

Pedestrians wait to cross at an urban intersection with illuminated billboards at night, no specific persons identified

Top tips before you go!

– To make the inevitable language barrier a little bit easier, I suggest downloading the app Papago for on-the-go translations. Not only does it have pretty good vocal recognition, but you can also take photos of text and have it instantly translated.

– No one expects you to be fluent, but knowing some basics of the language goes a long way. “Annyeonghaseyo” (ahn-nyeong-ha-se-yo) means hello and “gamsahabnida” (kam-sa-ham-ni-da) means thank you. You’re sure to pick up more Korean along your journey, but it’s good to have those basics down.

– It’s likely that the data on your phone won’t work, but there are simple solutions at the airport. You can hire a pocket wifi egg or a data sim card at the arrivals gate.

– When it comes to navigating travel in South Korea, Google Maps has nothing on Naver . It gives you perfect walking directions, as well as the best ways to get to your destination (each subway station has multiple exits, and without Naver, I’d have been totally lost). 

– A T-money card makes travelling super convenient. You can pick one up at any 7-Eleven for 3,000 KRW (about $2), and top it up in the subway station as you need. You can use a T-money card to pay for your travel on the bus, subway, and some taxis. 

Here are some amazing things to get up to in Korea!

🇰🇷 seoul 🇰🇷, 1. take a step back in time at the historical gyeongbokgung palace.

Traditional Korean ceremony with performers in historical attire carrying flags in front of a palace

A few stops on the subway takes you out of the bustling city and back to quiet of the the 14th century. Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung is considered to be the most beautiful palace from the Joseon Dynasty, and it’s easy to see why. As soon as we set foot on the grounds I was blown away by the ornate designs, and with families strolling around adorned in traditional hanbok clothing, it wasn’t hard to imagine just how regal the palace was back in its heyday. It’s a good idea to get there by 11 am, which is when the guard changing procession begins, a recreation of the traditional ceremony of the past.

2. Channel your inner idol at a K-Pop dance lesson at FRZM Studio

Group of people practicing a dance routine in a studio setting

In the heart of trendy Hongdae, you’ll find FRZM dance studio , which is home to some of Seoul’s coolest dancers. If you’ve seen even one K-pop video, you’ll know these guys don’t mess around when it comes to choreography, so why not learn from the best? Our teacher Peri was a total star who came prepared with a sleek routine that she somehow managed to break down for us dance newbies. While it didn’t take me long to discover that I don’t, in fact, have what it takes to be a K-Pop star (not even close!), I had so much fun trying to follow along with Peri and her flawless choreography.

3. Eat some delicious traditional food at Gwangjang Market

Variety of Korean side dishes displayed in metal trays at a market

South Korea is famed for its street food, and Gwangjang Market is the perfect place to find out exactly why. As you set foot into the market you’re greeted by an array of glorious flavours, and even though I wasn’t sure what I was smelling, I knew my tastebuds were in for a treat. Whether you fancy traditional fried chicken or soft-shell crab, there are endless stalls offering a plethora of delicious delights. There are so many options to choose from, and most of the stall owners are more than happy to give you a bite or two to sample. The market is also home to traditional goods, groceries, and various souvenirs, so it’s worth taking a look around after you’ve finished stuffing your face.

4. Sing your heart out at karaoke in Hongdae

Person in suit plays video game at event; observers take photos

If you’re looking for nightlife, Hongdae is the place to be – packed to the brim with bars and restaurants ready to welcome you with cocktails and anju (food to eat alongside your drinks), and of course karaoke. In Korean, karaoke is referred to as “noraebang”, which literally means a song room, but I don’t think that definition does it justice. They have endless collections of K pop hits (yes, we did “Gangnam Style”) as well as all the classics, and with the disco ball and lights it really feels like your own private night club.

🇰🇷 Jeonju 🇰🇷

5. spend the night in a traditional hanok village.

Traditional Korean hanok house at night with illuminated windows and outdoor sitting area

Hanoks are traditional Korean houses, dating all the way back to the Joseon dynasty, and to put it plainly, they’re stunning. Historically, hanoks housed entire families, but the ones you can stay in have been transformed into guest houses. As soon as I stepped into the courtyard I was greeted by some friendly village cats , and things just kept getting better from there. While they’ve been updated with modern conveniences, the heart of the homes remains authentic; the wood panelled walls are decorated with traditional Korean art and the bed folds neatly away into the cupboard. As a sleep lover, I wasn’t sure how I’d fare on the futon-like floor mattress, but with the heated floors and tranquil surroundings, I slept like a baby. 

6. Take a Kimchi-making class with the Kimchi master

Person preparing kimchi with ingredients on table

Kimchi is a staple of the Korean diet, and if you’ve had it before, you’ll know why. We joined Kim Myeong Ok – a total kimchi genius – to learn all about what goes into making the traditional food. After finding out the many seasonings that go into the dish (and snacking on the pickled cabbage, of course), we jumped straight into TV chef mode, determined to be the best rookie kimchi makers we could. Myeong talked us through the marinating process, and with our aprons and long gloves, we really got into the technique. Once you’re finished, you can pack it all up to enjoy eating back home – it’s the perfect holiday souvenir.

7. Visit the ancient ruins of Webosansung

Stone archway and pathway in a historical outdoor setting

This historic mountain fortress was built in the 17th century, as a way to help evacuate and protect residents in the late Joseon Dynasty. The wall is over eight thousand years old, and it’s surrounded by miles and miles of forest hills – it really feels like taking a stroll in the past. It’s not too far from Awon Museum, which is located across three 250-year-old hanoks that overlook a mountain village; their stunning gardens have some spectacular views. 

8. Get a body scrub at The Hanok Spa

Exterior view of a building with signs, a person with backpack standing in front, parked cars visible

This might look like an unsuspecting tower block, but inside is a menagerie of pampering and self care. If I’m being honest, I was a bit intimidated when I first approached the spa – I knew I’d have to strip off, but not much more. This 24 hour spa is really popular with the locals, and while there was a bit of a language barrier, the staff there were super friendly. There are heated pools to rest and relax in, and it didn’t take long for me to feel at home among the older ladies chatting away and watching TV. As a dedicated exfoliator, I wasn’t expecting too much from the body scrub, but boy was I wrong – I could literally see my dead skin getting sloughed off. I left the spa feeling like a soft little peach, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

🇰🇷 Busan 🇰🇷

9. watch the waves at haedong yonggungsa temple.

Traditional temple by the sea with connecting arched bridges and rocky landscape

Set right on the shoreline, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a wonder of both natural and historical beauty. First built in 1376, the Buddhist temple is a place of reflection and peace, and it's truly breathtaking.  As I walked down the temple’s 108 steps, I was blown away by the picturesque views surrounding me – intricately designed architecture, ethereal statues, and gorgeous stone lanterns, to name a few delights. I loved learning about the historical Buddhist traditions and symbolism, but my favourite part was the tranquil backdrop of crashing waves. There are lots of temples to visit, but none as unique as this one.

10. Take a stroll through the stunning Gamcheon Culture Village

Densely packed houses in varying sizes on a hillside, no people visible

With its twisting alleys and colourful houses, Gamcheon Culture Village feels like a storybook come to life. Decorated by professional artists, art students, and residents, it’s easy to see why the village is one of Busan’s most popular tourist spots. While strolling through the lovingly adorned streets, we were met with tons of artisan shops selling stunning handmade trinkets and some wonderful art installations. BTS fans: keep an eye out for the Jimin and Jungkook mural, it’s really something to behold.

Have you visited South Korea? Let us know your recommendations in the comments below, and visit Intrepid's website to find out more about their 18-35s Adventures!

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Seattle mayor and economic delegation visit Seoul for urban insights

Mayors of both cities highlight collaboration, sharing consensus on policies for sustainable future

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, accompanied by a delegation of 67 economic leaders, visited Seoul on Monday to gain insights into the city's key urban policies and expertise.

The visit, part of an international leadership program organized by Great Seattle Partners and the Seattle Metro Chamber, marked the largest economic delegation ever to visit Seoul.

The delegation includes government representatives from the Washington State Legislature and Port of Seattle, as well as executives from major companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing and T-Mobile. Additionally, officials from the University of Washington and Washington State University are part of the delegation.

The program was initiated at Seattle's request to exchange knowledge on Seoul’s major urban policies and practices, according to the city government.

Harrell, Seattle's first Asian mayor and the son of a Korean War veteran, expressed significant interest in Seoul's initiatives.

Recalling his previous visit last June, he said that there are numerous lessons to be learned from the city of 10 million people, particularly in areas such as transportation services, environmental sustainability, work ethic and balancing growth with protecting people and the economy.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon introduced the city’s unlimited transit pass system, known as the Climate Card, as a flagship urban policy.

This pass allows unlimited access to all bus routes, subway lines and the public bike-sharing service (Ttareungyi) for a monthly fee of 65,000 won ($46.98), or 62,000 won without the bike service.

While introducing the Climate Card, Oh expressed hope that not only the economic delegation visiting Seoul this time but also their families would visit Seoul more frequently and utilize the transit pass.

Brian Surratt, CEO of Greater Seattle Partners, shared his positive impressions of Seoul, mentioning his visit with his family three days ahead of the schedule.

“The city’s public transportation system left a lasting impression on me and my family. Now, when my high school daughter imagines a bustling metropolis, Seoul is the first that comes to mind,” he said.

In addition to the transit pass, the city government introduced policies focusing on inclusive growth, such as the Seoul Safety Income Program aiding low-income households and Seoul Learn, an online education support initiative that provides equal and quality education for youth. Both are part of the city’s policies to address polarization.

Policies aimed at enhancing the city's attractiveness, such as the Great Han River Project and initiatives to expand green spaces in the city, were also highlighted.

Notably, Seattle announced its One Seattle Plan, aimed at fostering growth inclusively, in March. This plan outlines the city's growth and investment vision for the next two decades, prioritizing equity, livability and sustainability.

Harrell emphasized the importance of collaboration and partnership between the two cities, viewing it as a shared journey of friendship, trust and commitment to each other and their respective countries.

Oh pledged active support through relevant departments to Seattle's inquiries about programs of interest, mentioning that he hopes this visit could enhance Seattle's municipal development.

Moreover, Oh introduced upcoming international events in Seoul, including the 2024 Seoul International Safe Income Forum, the Try Everything global startup festival and Seoul Smart Life Week.

He underscored further cooperation and policy exchanges benefiting citizens of both cities through these kinds of global events.

Harrell also expressed intent to formally invite Oh and a delegation from the city government to the Bloomberg Green Festival, focusing on climate change, the environment and sustainability. The festival will be held in Seattle in July this year.

Both mayors expressed that the visit highlights a strong commitment to mutual learning and collaboration between the two cities across various policy domains.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, second from left, and Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, right, hold talks about Seoul's urban policies at Seoul City Hall, Monday. Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

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Rush to evacuate thousands as Indonesia volcano erupts; S’pore flights among those cancelled

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MANADO, Indonesia – Indonesian rescuers raced to evacuate thousands of people on April 18 after a volcano erupted five times, forcing the authorities to close a nearby airport and issue a warning about falling debris that could cause a tsunami.

The crater of Mount Ruang flamed with lava against a backdrop of lightning bolts overnight after erupting four times on April 17, forcing the authorities to raise its alert level to the highest of a four-tiered system.

The volcano on a remote island in Indonesia’s outermost region was still billowing a column of smoke in the morning on April 18, prompting the authorities to shut the nearest international airport in Manado city on Sulawesi island for 24 hours.

Houses on the neighbouring remote island of Tagulandang were riddled with holes from falling volcanic rocks, and residents were preparing to leave at least temporarily.

“The current condition, particularly the road condition, is covered by volcanic material,” local rescuer Ikram Al Ulah told AFP by phone from the Tagulandang seaport.

“Currently, many people are still wandering around. Maybe to evacuate precious goods from their house.”

The authorities said they were rushing to evacuate 11,000 residents from the area around Tagulandang, home to around 20,000 people.

Some residents were already trying to flee in a panic, according to officials.

“Last night, people evacuated on their own but without direction due to the volcano’s eruption and materials in the form of small rocks that fell, so the people scattered to find evacuation routes,” local search and rescue agency official Jandry Paendong said in a statement on April 18.

He said 20 staff were helping evacuate residents along the coastline near the volcano on rubber boats.

The authorities also evacuated a prison on Tagulandang island, ferrying 17 inmates along with 11 officials and 19 residents by boat to Likupang seaport in northern Sulawesi island, according to the rescuer Ikram.

The evacuation was requested by the prison chief because the facility sits directly across from the volcano, said the rescuer.

Tourists and residents were warned to remain outside a 6km exclusion zone.

More than 800 people were initially taken to safety from Ruang to nearby Tagulandang island after the first eruption on April 16, before four more eruptions on April 17 prompted evacuations from that island.

Mr Paendong called for more boats and equipment so that his team could “carry out evacuation for people in the coast or near the coast” facing the volcano.

Tsunami warning

The authorities also warned of a possible tsunami as a result of the eruptions.

“The communities in Tagulandang island, particularly those residing near the beach, (need) to be on alert for the potential ejection of incandescent rocks, hot cloud discharges and tsunami caused by the collapse of the volcano’s body into the sea,” Indonesian volcanology agency chief Hendra Gunawan said in a statement on April 17.

The authorities’ fears were compounded by previous experience.

In 2018, the crater of Mount Anak Krakatoa between Java and Sumatra islands partly collapsed when a major eruption sent huge chunks of the volcano sliding into the ocean, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 400 people and injured thousands.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation, experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc where tectonic plates collide that stretches from Japan through South-east Asia and across the Pacific basin.

The impact of Mount Ruang’s eruption led to the closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado city, located more than 100km from the volcano, for 24 hours until the evening on April 18.

The airport runways were shut “due to the spread of volcanic ash which could endanger flight safety”, Mr Ambar Suryoko, head of the Manado region airport authority office, said in a statement.

The airport hosts airlines that fly to Singapore and cities in South Korea and China.

“All flights... impacted because the airport is affected by the eruption of Mount Ruang, volcanic ash,” 29-year-old Dimas, an airport officer in Manado, told AFP by phone.

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In response to queries from The Straits Times, Changi Airport Group said flights to and from Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, as well as Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Miri in Malaysia, may be affected as a result of the volcanic activity. These destinations are served by AirAsia, Royal Brunei Airlines, Scoot and Singapore Airlines.

It advised travellers to check the Changi Aiport website for the latest flight information, and those affected can contact the airlines for alternative arrangements.

Singapore budget carrier Scoot cancelled four flights that were scheduled to depart on April 18. The flights were between Singapore and Kota Kinabalu, and Singapore and Miri.

“Scoot apologises for the inconvenience caused. The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority,” Scoot said in response to queries.

“We will continue to monitor the situation in East Malaysia and will adjust our flight schedule as necessary,” Scoot said, adding that it is assisting affected customers.

Budget airline AirAsia cancelled flights to and from nine airports including Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan, Labuan, Miri, Sibu, Bintulu, Kuching and Brunei after the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia issued a volcanic ash hazard warning on April 18.

Flights from 10am on April 18 until 8am on April 19 will be cancelled, AirAsia said in a release.

Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines said on Facebook that it cancelled 18 flights between Kuala Lumpur and Sabah, as well as Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak, on April 18. ST has contacted Malaysia Airlines for more information. AFP

  • Additional reporting by Yong Li Xuan

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The Opening Days of Trump’s First Criminal Trial

Here’s what has happened so far in the unprecedented proceedings against a former u.s. president..

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email [email protected] with any questions.

It’s the first day of the Trump trial and just walking out the door in my house. It’s a beautiful day, 6:11 AM. The thing that keeps running through my head is it’s kind of amazing that hundreds of jurors are going to show up at the Manhattan courthouse. And some of them are going to know what they’re there for — probably talking to their friends, their relatives about it.

Some of them are going to learn this morning talking to other jurors in line, asking what all the fuss is about. But I really do imagine that there’s going to be at least one potential juror who, headphones on, getting into court. Here they’re going to be there for the first criminal trial of Donald J. Trump. And just, I mean, how would you react?


From “The New York Times,” I’m Michael Barbaro. This is “The Daily.” Today, what it’s been like inside the lower Manhattan courtroom, where political and legal history are being made? My colleague, Jonah Bromwich, on the opening days of the first criminal trial of a US President. It’s Thursday, April 18.

Is that his mic? Hi, there.

Hello. How are you?

I’m doing good.

OK. Thank you for coming in, Jonah —

Thank you for having me.

— in the middle of a trial. Can you just explain why you’re able to even be here?

Sure. So we happen to be off on Wednesdays during trial, so.

We being not “The New York Times,” but the courts.

That’s right.

Which is why we’re taping with you. And because we now have two full court days of this history-making trial now under our belts. And the thing about this trial that’s so interesting is that there are no cameras in the courtroom for the wider world.

There’s no audio recordings. So all we really have is and your eyes and your notebook, maybe your laptop. And so we’re hoping you can reconstruct for us the scene of the first two days of this trial and really the highlights.

Yeah, I’d be happy to. So on Monday morning, I left the subway. It’s before 7:00 AM. The sun is just rising over these grandiose court buildings in lower Manhattan.

I’m about to turn left onto Center Street. I’m right in front of the big municipal building.

And I turn onto Center Street. That’s where the courthouses are.

I’m crossing.

And I expected to see a big crowd. And it was even bigger than I had anticipated.

Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Now, I finally see the crowd.

You have camera banks. You have reporters. You have the beginnings of what will eventually become a protest. And you have this most New York thing, which is just a big crowd of people.

[CHUCKLES]: Who just know something is going on.

That’s right. And what they know is going on is, of course, the first trial of an American president.

All right, I’m passing the camera, folks. Camera, camera, camera, camera. Here we go.

Let’s start with Sharon Crowley live outside the courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

I want to get right to ABC’S Aaron Katersky who’s outside of the courthouse.

Robert Costa is following it outside the courthouse in Lower Manhattan. Bob, I saw the satellite trucks lined up all in a row. Good morning.

Talk to us how we got here exactly.

So this is the case that was brought by the Manhattan district attorney. So prosecutors have accused Donald Trump of covering up the actions of his former fixer, Michael Cohen, after Cohen paid hush money to Stormy Daniels. Stormy Daniels had a story about having had sex with Donald Trump, which Trump has always denied.

Cohen paid her money, and then Trump reimbursed Cohen. And prosecutors say that Trump essentially defrauded the American people because he hid this information that could have been very important for the election from those people when he reimbursed Cohen.

Right. And as I remember it, he also misrepresented what that reimbursement was. Claimed it was a legal fee when, in fact, it was just reimbursing Michael Cohen for a hush money payment.

Exactly, yeah. He definitely didn’t say reimbursement for hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. It’s a cover up case. It’s a case about hiding information you don’t want people to see.

Right. And of course, the context of all this is that it is in the middle of a presidential election. It’s 2016. Trump wants to keep this secret, prosecutors allege, so that the American public doesn’t know about it and potentially hold it against him.

Right. And prosecutors are telling a story about election interference. They’re saying that Trump interfered with an election. And Trump himself is also using the phrase “election interference.” But he’s painting the trial itself as election interference as he now runs again in 2024.


And because we’re in Manhattan, and because the jury pool is going to be largely Democratic, and the judge is a Democrat, and the district attorney is a Democrat, Trump keeps claiming he cannot get a fair shake. This is democrat central. And in democrat central, Trump doesn’t have a chance.

OK. So, what happens once you actually enter the courthouse?

Outside, there’s all this fanfare. But inside, it’s a little bit business as usual. So I go up to the 15th floor, and I walk into the courtroom, and I sit down, and it’s the same old courtroom. And we’re sitting and waiting for the former president.

Around 9:30, Trump walks in. He looks thin. He looks a little tired, kind of slumping forward, as if to say with his body like let’s get this over with. Here we go.

The judge walks in a little bit after that. And we think we’re all set for the trial to start, but that’s not what happens here. And in fact, there are a series of legal arguments about what the trial is going to look like and what evidence is going to be allowed in.

So, for example, prosecutors ask that they be allowed to admit into evidence headlines from “The National Enquirer” that were attacks on Trump’s 2016 opponents — on Ted Cruz, on Marco Rubio, on Ben Carson.

Because prosecutors are in some sense putting Trump’s 2016 campaign on trial. These headlines are a big part of that because what prosecutors say they show is that Trump had this ongoing deal with “The National Enquirer.” And the publisher would promote him, and it would publish damaging stories about his opponents. And then crucially, it would protect Trump from negative stories. And that’s exactly what prosecutors say happened with Stormy Daniels. That “The National Enquirer” tipped Cohen off about Stormy Daniels trying to sell her story of having had sex with Donald Trump, which he denies. And that led to the hush money payment to her. So what prosecutors are doing overall with these headlines is establishing a pattern of conduct. And that conduct, they say, was an attempt to influence the election in Trump’s favor.

And the judge agrees. He’s going to admit this evidence. And this is a pretty big win for the prosecution. But even though they win that one, they’re not winning everything.

They lose some important arguments here. One of them was that after the Access Hollywood tape came out, there were allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump. And you know this, Michael, because you reported two of them — two of the three in question at this very trial.

Prosecutors had hoped to talk about those during trial in front of the jury to show the jurors that the Trump campaign was really, really focused on pushing back against bad press in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump seemed to describe sexual assault. That was a big problem for the campaign. Campaign did everything it could to push back, including against these allegations that surfaced in the wake of the tape.

But the judge, saying that the allegations are hearsay — that they’re based on the women’s stories — says absolutely not. That is incredibly prejudicial to the defendant.


And that Donald Trump would actually not get a fair trial were those allegations to be mentioned. And so he will not let those in. The jurors will not hear about them.

So this is a setback, of course, for the prosecution, a victory for Trump’s legal team.

It’s a setback. And it also just shows you how these pre-trial motions shape the context of the trial. Think of the trial as a venue like a theater or an athletic contest of some sort. And these pre-trial motions are about what gets led into the arena and what stays out. The sexual assault allegations — out. “The National Enquirer” headlines — in.

OK. And how is Trump sitting there at the defense table reacting to these pre-trial motion rulings from the judge?

Well, as I’ve just said, this is very important stuff for his trial.

Right. Hugely important.

But it’s all happening in legal language, and I’m decoding it for you. But if you were sitting there listening to it, you might get a little lost, and you might get a little bored. And Trump, who is not involved in these arguments, seems to fall asleep.

Seems to fall asleep — you’re seeing this with your own eyes.

What we’re seeing, overall, including our colleague, Maggie Haberman, who’s in the overflow room and has a direct view of Trump’s face — I’m sitting behind him in the courtroom, so I can’t see his face that well.

You guys are double teaming this.

That’s right. I’m sitting behind him, but Maggie is sitting in front of him. And what she sees is not only that his eyes are closed. That wouldn’t get you to he is asleep.

And we have to be really careful about reporting that he’s asleep, even if it seems like a frivolous thing. But what happens is that his head is dropping down to his chest, and then it’s snapping back up. So you’ve seen that, when a student —

I’ve done that.

(CHUCKLES) Yeah. We all kind of know that feeling of snapping awake suddenly. And we see the head motion, and it happens several times.

Lawyers kind of bothering him, not quite shaking him, but certainly trying to get his attention. And that head snapping motion, we felt confident enough to report that Trump fell asleep.

During his own criminal trial’s opening day.

Does someone eventually wake him up?

He wakes up. He wakes up. And in fact, in the afternoon, he’s much more animated. It’s almost as if he wants to be seen being very much awake.

Right. So once these pre-trial motions are ruled on and Trump is snapped back to attention, what happens?

Well, what happens in the courtroom is that the trial begins. The first trial of an American president is now in session. And what marks that beginning is jurors walking into the room one by one — many of them kind of craning their necks over at Donald Trump, giggling, raising their eyebrows at each other, filing into the room, and being sworn in by the judge. And that swearing in marks the official beginning of the trial.

The beginning is jury selection, and it’s often overlooked. It’s not dramatized in our kind of courtroom dramas in the same way. But it’s so important. It’s one of the most important parts of the case. Because whoever sits on the jury, these are the 12 people who are going to decide whether Trump is guilty or whether Trump is innocent.

So how does jury selection actually look and feel and go?

So, jury selection is a winnowing process. And in order to do that, you have to have these people go through a bunch of different hurdles. So the first hurdle is, after the judge describes the case, he asks the group — and there are just short of 100 of them — whether they can be fair and impartial. And says that if they can’t, they should leave. And more than half the group is instantly gone.

So after we do this big mass excusal, we’re left with the smaller group. And so now, jurors are getting called in smaller groups to the jury box. And what they’re going to do there is they’re going to answer this questionnaire.

And this part of the process is really conducted by the judge. The lawyers are involved. They’re listening, but they’re not yet asking questions of the jurors themselves.

And what’s on the questionnaire?

Well, it’s 42 questions. And the questions include, their education, their professional histories, their hobbies, what they like to do whether you’re a member of QAnon or Antifa.

Whether you’re far left or far right.

That’s right. Whether you’ve read “The Art of the Deal,” Trump’s book, which some prospective jurors had.

Right. It was a bestseller in its time.

That’s right. And some of it can be answered in yes/no questions, but some of it can be answered more at length. So some of the prospective jurors are going very, very fast. Yes, no, no, no, yes.

Right. Because this is an oral questionnaire.

That’s right. But some of them are taking their time. They’re expanding on their hobbies. So the potential juror in seat 3, for example, is talking about her hobbies. And she says some running, hiking. And then she said, I like to go to the club, and it got a huge laugh. And you get that kind of thing in jury selection, which is one of the reasons it’s so fun. It’s the height of normality in this situation that is anything but normal.

Right. The most banal answer possible delivered in front of the former president And current Republican nominee for president.

Well, that’s one of the fascinating parts about all this, right? is that they’re answering in front of Trump. And they’re answering questions about Trump in front of Trump. He doesn’t react all that much. But whenever someone says they’ve read “The Art of the Deal —” and there are a few of those — he kind of nods appreciatively, smiles. He likes that. It’s very clear. But because there are so many questions, this is taking forever, especially when people are choosing to answer and elaborate and digress.

This is when you fall asleep.

This Is. When I would have fallen asleep if I were a normal person.

And by the end of the day. Where does jury selection stand?

Well, the questionnaire is another device for shrinking that jury pool. And so the questionnaire has almost these little obstacles or roadblocks, including, in fact, a question that jurors have seen before — whether they would have any problem being fair and impartial?

Hmm. And they ask it again.

They’re asked it again. And they’re asked in this more individualized way. The judge is questioning them. They’re responding.

So, remember that woman who said she liked to go to the club got a big laugh. She reaches question 34. And question 34 reads, “Do you have any strong opinions or firmly-held beliefs about former President Donald Trump or the fact that he is a current candidate for president that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?” She said, yes, she does have an opinion that would prevent her from being fair and impartial. And she, too, is excused.

So that’s how it works. People answer the questionnaire, and they get excused in that way, or they have a scheduling conflict once they reach the jury box. And so to answer your question, Michael. At the end of day one, given all these problems with the questionnaire and the length of time it’s taken to respond to and people getting dismissed based on their answers, there is not a single juror seated for this trial.

And it’s starting to look like this is going to be a really hard case for which to find an impartial jury.

That’s the feeling in the room, yeah.

We’ll be right back.

So Jonah, let’s turn to day 2. What does jury selection look like on Tuesday?

So when the day begins, it looks almost exactly like it looked when the day ended on Monday. We’re still with the questionnaire, getting some interesting answers. But even though it feels like we’re going slow, we are going.

And so we’ve gone from about 100 people to now there’s about 24 the room there’s 18 the jury box. And by the time we hit lunch, all those people have answered all those questions, and we are ready for the next step in the process.

Voir dire. And what it is the heart of jury selection. This is the point where the lawyers themselves finally get to interview the jurors. And we get so much information from this moment because the lawyers ask questions based on what they want out of the jurors.

So the prosecution is asking all these different kinds of questions. The first round of wajir is done by a guy named Joshua Steinglass, a very experienced trial lawyer with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. And he’s providing all these hypotheticals. I’ll give you one example because I found this one really, really interesting. He provides a hypothetical about a man who wants his wife killed and essentially hires a hitman to do it. And what he asked the jurors is, if that case were before you, would you be able to see that the man who hired the hitman was a part of this crime?

And of course, what he’s really getting at is, can you accept that even though Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer, made this payment, Trump is the guy who hired him to do it?

That’s right. If there are other people involved, will jurors still be able to see Donald Trump’s hands behind it all?

Fascinating. And what were some of the responses?

People mostly said, yes, we accept that. So that’s how the prosecution did it.

But the defense had a totally different method of voir dire. They were very focused on their client and people’s opinions about their client.

So what kind of questions do we get from them?

So the lawyer, Todd Blanche, is asking people, what do you make of President Trump? What do you think of President Trump?

And what are some of the responses to that?

Well, there’s this incredible exchange with one of the jurors who absolutely refuses to give his opinion of Donald Trump. They go back and forth and back and forth. And the juror keeps insisting you don’t need to know my opinion of him. All you need to know is that I’m going to be fair and impartial, like I said. And Blanch pushes, and the guy pushes back. And the only way the guy budges is he finally kind of confesses almost at the end that, yes, I am a Democrat, and that’s all we get.

And what ends up happening to this potential juror?

Believe it or not, he got dismissed.

[LAUGHS]: I can believe it. And of course, it’s worth saying that this guy and everybody else is being asked that question just feet from Trump himself.

That’s right. And you might think you were going to get a really kind of spicy, like, popcorn emoji-type exchange from that. But because these are now jurors who have said they can be fair and impartial, who, to some extent, want to be on this jury or at least wouldn’t mind being on this jury, they’re being very restrained.

Mostly, what they are emphasizing — much like that guy just described dis — is that they can be fair. They can be impartial. There’s one woman who gives this really remarkable answer.

She says, I thought about this last night. I stayed up all night. I couldn’t sleep, thinking about whether I could be fair. It’s really important to me, and I can.

What ends up happening to that particular juror?

She’s also dismissed. And she’s dismissed without any reason at all. The defense decides it doesn’t like her. It doesn’t want her on the jury. And they have a certain number of chances to just get rid of jurors — no questions asked.

Other jurors are getting dismissed for cause — I’m doing air quotes with my hands — which means that the lawyers have argued they actually revealed themselves through their answers or through old social media posts, which are brought up in the courtroom, to be either non-credible, meaning they’ve said they can be fair and they can’t, or somehow too biased to be on the jury.

Wait, can I just dial into that for a second? Are lawyers researching the jurors in real time going online and saying — I’m making this up — but Jonah Bromwich is a potential juror, and I’m going to go off into my little corner of the courtroom and Google everything you’ve ever said? Is that what’s happening in the room?

Yeah, there’s a whole profession dedicated to that. It’s called jury consultant, and they’re very good at finding information on people in a hurry. And it certainly looked as if they were in play.

Did a social media post end up getting anybody kicked off this jury?

Yes, there were posts from 2016 era internet. You’ll remember that time as a very heated one on the internet, Facebook memes are a big thing. And so there’s all kinds of lock him up type memes and rhetoric. And some of the potential jurors here have used those. And those jurors are dismissed for a reason.

So we have these two types of dismissals, right? We have these peremptory dismissals — no reason at all given. And we have for cause dismissals.

And the process is called jury selection. But you don’t actually get selected for a jury. The thing is to make it through all these obstacles.

You’re left over.

Right. And so when certain jurors are not dismissed, and they’ve made it through all these stages, by the end of the day, we have gone from zero juror seated to seven jurors who will be participating in Donald Trump’s trial.

Got it. And without going through all seven, just give us a little bit of a sketch of who so far is on this jury. What stands out?

Well, not that much stands out. So we’ve got four men. We’ve got three women. One lives on the Upper East Side. One lives in Chelsea. Obviously, they’re from all over Manhattan.

They have these kind of very normal hobbies like spending time with family and friends. They have somewhat anonymous jobs. We’ve got two lawyers. We’ve got someone who’s worked in sales.

So there’s not that much identifying information. And that’s not an accident . One of the things that often happens with jury selection, whether it be for Donald Trump or for anyone else, is the most interesting jurors — the jurors that kind of catch your attention during the process — they get picked off because they are being so interesting that they interest one or the other side in a negative way. And soon they’re excused. So most of the jurors who are actually seated —

Are not memorable.

Are not that memorable, save one particular juror.

OK. All right, I’ll bite. What do I need to know about that one particular juror?

So let me tell you about a prospective juror who we knew as 374, who will now be juror number five. She’s a middle school teacher from Harlem. And she said that she has friends who have really strong opinions about Trump, but she herself does not. And she insisted several times, I am not a political person.

And then she said this thing that made me quite surprised that the prosecution was fine with having her on the jury. She said, quote, “President Trump speaks his mind, and I’d rather that than someone who’s in office who you don’t know what they’re thinking.”

Hmm. So she expressed approval of President Trump.

Yeah, it was mild approval. But the thing is, especially for the defense in this trial, all you need is one juror. One juror can tie up deliberations in knots, and you can end with a hung jury. And this is actually something that I saw firsthand. In 2019, I was the foreperson on a jury.

How you like that?

Yeah. And the trial was really complicated, but I had thought while we were doing the trial, oh, this is going to be a really easy decision. I thought the defendant in that case was guilty. So we get into deliberations, but there’s this one juror who keeps gumming up the works every time we seem to be making progress, getting a conversation started.

This juror proverbially throws up his hands and says, I am not convicting. This man is innocent. And we talked and we talked. And as the foreperson, I was trying to use all my skills to mediate.

But any time we made any progress, this guy would blow it up. And long story short, hung jury — big victory for the defense lawyer. And we come out of the room. And she points at this juror. The guy —

The defense lawyer.

The defense lawyer points at this juror who blew everything up. And she said, I knew it. I knew I had my guy.

OK. I don’t want to read too much into what you said about that one juror. But should I read between the lines to think that if there’s a hung jury, you wonder if it might be that juror?

That’s what everyone in the courtroom is wondering not just about this juror, but about every single person who was selected. Is this the person who swings the case for me? Is this the person who swings the case against me?

These juries are so complex. It’s 12 people who don’t know each other at the start of the trial and, by the end of the trial, have seen each other every morning and are experiencing the same things, but are not allowed to have talked about the case until deliberations start. In that moment when deliberations start —

You’re going to learn a whole lot about each other.

That’s right. There’s this alchemical moment where suddenly, it all matters. Every personality selected matters. And that’s why jury selection is so important. And that’s why these last two days are actually one of the most important parts of this trial.

OK. So by my math, this trial will require five more jurors to get to 12. I know also they’re going to need to be alternates. But from what you’re saying what looked like a really uphill battle to get an impartial jury or a jury that said it could be impartial — and Trump was very doubtful one could be found — has turned out to not be so hard to find.

That’s right. And in fact, we went from thinking, oh, boy, this is going awfully slowly, to the judge himself saying we could be doing opening arguments as soon as Monday morning. And I think that highlights something that’s really fascinating both about this trial and about the jury selection process overall.

One of the things that lawyers have been arguing about is whether or not it’s important to figure out what jurors’ opinions about Donald Trump are. And the prosecution and, I think, the judge have really said, no, that’s not the key issue here. The key issue is not whether or not people have opinions about Donald Trump.

Right. Who doesn’t have an opinion about Donald Trump?

Exactly. They’re going to. Automatically, they’re going to. The question is whether or not they can be fair and impartial. And the seven people we already have seated, and presumably the five people that we’re going to get over the next few days and however many alternates — we expect six — are all going to have answered that question, not I hate Trump; I love Trump, but I can weigh in on the former president’s innocence or guilt, and I can do it as fairly as humanly possible.

Now, Trump is not happy about this. He said after court yesterday, quote, We have a highly conflicted judge, and he’s rushing this trial.” And I think that he is going to see these beats of the system the criminal justice system as it works on him as he is experiencing it as unfair. That is typically how he talks about it and how he views it.

But what he’s getting is what defendants get. This is the system in New York, in the United States. This is its answer to how do you pick a fair jury? Well, you ask people can you be fair? And you put them through this process, and the outcome is 12 people.

And so I think we’re going to see this over and over again in this trial. We’re going to see Trump experience the criminal justice system.

And its routines.

Yeah, openings, witnesses, evidence, closings. He’s going to go through all of it. And I think, at every turn, it makes sense to expect him to say, well, this is not fair. Well, the judge is doing something wrong. Well, the prosecutors are doing something wrong. Well, the jury is doing something wrong.

But at the end of the day, he’s going to be a defendant, and he’s going to sit, mostly silently if his lawyers can make him do that, and watch this process play itself out. So the system is going to try and treat him like any other defendant, even though, of course —

— he’s not. And he is going to fight back like no other defendant would, like no other defendant could. And that tension, him pushing against the criminal justice system as it strives to treat him, as it would anyone else, is going to be a defining quality of this trial.

Well, Jonah, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

Of course. Thanks so much for having me. [MUSIC PLAYING]

PS, have you ever fallen asleep in a trial?

I have not.


Here’s what else you need to know today.

It’s clear the Israelis are making a decision to act. We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible and in a way that, as I said —

During a visit to Jerusalem on Wednesday, Britain’s foreign Secretary left little doubt that Israel would retaliate against Iran for last weekend’s aerial attack, despite pressure from the United States and Britain to stand down. The question now is what form that retaliation will take? “The Times” reports that Israel is weighing several options, including a direct strike on Iran, a cyber attack, or targeted assassinations. And —

Look, history judges us for what we do. This is a critical time right now, critical time on the world stage.

In a plan that could threaten his job, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson will put a series of foreign aid bills up for a vote this weekend. The bills, especially for aid to Ukraine, are strongly opposed by far-right House Republicans, at least two of whom have threatened to try to oust Johnson over the plan.

I can make a selfish decision and do something that’s different, but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing. I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important. I really do. I really — [MUSIC PLAYING]

Today’s episode was produced by Rikki Novetsky, Will Reid, Lynsea Garrison, and Rob Zubko. It was edited by Paige Cowett, contains original music by Marion Lozano, Elisheba Ittoop, and Dan Powell, and was engineered by Chris Wood. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly Lake.

That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow.

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  • April 19, 2024   •   30:42 The Supreme Court Takes Up Homelessness
  • April 18, 2024   •   30:07 The Opening Days of Trump’s First Criminal Trial
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  • April 16, 2024   •   29:29 A.I.’s Original Sin
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  • April 14, 2024   •   46:17 The Sunday Read: ‘What I Saw Working at The National Enquirer During Donald Trump’s Rise’
  • April 12, 2024   •   34:23 How One Family Lost $900,000 in a Timeshare Scam
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  • April 10, 2024   •   22:49 Trump’s Abortion Dilemma
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Hosted by Michael Barbaro

Featuring Jonah E. Bromwich

Produced by Rikki Novetsky ,  Will Reid ,  Lynsea Garrison and Rob Szypko

Edited by Paige Cowett

Original music by Dan Powell ,  Marion Lozano and Elisheba Ittoop

Engineered by Chris Wood

Listen and follow The Daily Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music

Political and legal history are being made in a Lower Manhattan courtroom as Donald J. Trump becomes the first former U.S. president to undergo a criminal trial.

Jonah Bromwich, who covers criminal justice in New York, explains what happened during the opening days of the trial, which is tied to Mr. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star.

On today’s episode

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Jonah E. Bromwich , who covers criminal justice in New York for The New York Times.

Former president Donald Trump sitting in a courtroom.

Background reading

Here’s a recap of the courtroom proceedings so far.

Mr. Trump’s trial enters its third day with seven jurors chosen.

There are a lot of ways to listen to The Daily. Here’s how.

We aim to make transcripts available the next workday after an episode’s publication. You can find them at the top of the page.

The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Paula Szuchman, Lisa Tobin, Larissa Anderson, Julia Simon, Sofia Milan, Mahima Chablani, Elizabeth Davis-Moorer, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli, Maddy Masiello, Isabella Anderson and Nina Lassam.

Jonah E. Bromwich covers criminal justice in New York, with a focus on the Manhattan district attorney’s office and state criminal courts in Manhattan. More about Jonah E. Bromwich


Ukraine-Russia war latest: Moscow ramping up pressure on Ukrainian forces; major missile attack kills eight in Dnipropetrovsk

Follow our Ukraine war live page for all the latest developments and analysis of the conflict. Listen to a Sky News Daily podcast episode on the notion of the UK putting troops on the ground in Ukraine as you scroll.

Friday 19 April 2024 12:59, UK

  • Two detained after hammer attack on Navalny aide
  • Moscow ramping up pressure on Ukrainian forces
  • Major Russian missile attack kills eight
  • Kremlin responds to US shift on aid to Ukraine
  • Analysis: Russia is exploiting Ukraine's lack of air defences
  • Mark Stone: Ukraine funding vote is a curious twist in America's political chaos
  • The big picture: What's happening with the war this week?
  • Your questions answered: How long will it take for any aid to turn the tide militarily?
  • Live reporting by Samuel Osborne

It is "imperative" Ukraine gets more resources immediately to help it fight off Russia's invasion, the US secretary of state has said after a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) major democracies.

"It needs more air defences, it needs more munitions, it needs more artillery - allies and partners including the G7 countries are committed to delivering on that," Antony Blinken added.

Mr Blinken went on to say that if China wants better relations with Europe it cannot continue helping Russia while it attacks Ukraine, adding that Beijing was the primary contributor to Russia's defence industrial base.

He made the remarks after Kyiv's foreign minister said the G7 had identified "specific steps" needed to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia, Kyiv's foreign minister has said.

Dmytro Kuleba also warned Europe would be engulfed by war if Russia triumphed in its invasion.

"We identified specific steps which Western partners will make to help Ukraine," Mr Kuleba told reporters on the Italian island of Capri, where G7 foreign ministers are meeting.

He said the West had the capacity "to provide Ukraine with all necessary resources as soon as possible to save Europe from a larger war."

Meanwhile, Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said the G7 was looking to see if it could use frozen Russian assets held in the West and not just the interest from the funds.

Mr Tajani said there was an established legal basis for using the interest from the frozen funds, but experts were now looking to see if the capital itself could be used to help Ukraine.

The West has frozen some $300bn (£241bn) of sovereign Russian assets, which the UK and US want to be used to pay for the Ukraine war effort - though European Union member states have questioned the legality of such a move.

A Polish man has been arrested over allegations of being ready to help Russia's military intelligence in an alleged plot to assassinate Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Polish prosecutors said.

The man, identified only as Pawel K, was accused of being prepared to pass airport security information to Russian agents and was arrested in Poland on Wednesday, the office of Poland's National Prosecutor said in a statement.

The man was seeking contact with Russians directly involved in the war in Ukraine and was expected to pass on detailed information about the Rzeszow-Jasionka airport in south-eastern Poland, near the border with Ukraine, it said.

The airport is under the control of US troops and serves as a gateway for international military and humanitarian supplies for Ukraine.

If convicted, the man could face up to eight years in prison, the statement said.

It said the arrest was the result of close cooperation with the prosecutors and security services of Ukraine, who tipped them off and provided crucial evidence.

The Kremlin has declined to comment.

It comes after German prosecutors said two German-Russian men had been arrested on suspicion of espionage (see 8.44 post yesterday).

One of them is accused of agreeing to carry out attacks on potential targets including US military facilities in the hopes of sabotaging aid for Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited troops near the frontline in the east of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president joined a paratroopers' medical platoon in the Donetsk region.

"Today - Donetsk region. Visited our defenders who are under treatment," he said on Telegram.

Mr Zelenskyy said he talked with the soldiers and gave them awards, adding: "Thank you for your service and protection of Ukraine! Our country is proud to have such soldiers."

Two people have been detained in Poland on suspicion of a hammer attack on the top aide of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Lithuania's president has announced.

Leonid Volkov suffered from hammer blows in the attack on 12 March outside his home in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

Lithuanian counterintelligence has said the attack was the work of Russian special services and the Kremlin has declined to comment.

President Gitanas Nauseda said the suspects would be transferred to Lithuania.

Mr Volkov had blamed Vladimir Putin for the attack and he thanked Lithuanian police for working "energetically and persistently" over the past month on this case.

"I am very glad that this work has been effective", he tweeted. "Well, we'll find out the details soon. Can't wait to find out!"

Navalny, Mr Putin's most prominent critic, died in a Russian arctic prison in February - his followers believe he was killed by the authorities, which the Kremlin denies.

These pictures show the aftermath of a major Russian missile attack which killed at least eight people and injured over 25 more in the central Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine (see 8.08 post).

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack damaged multiple storeys of a residential building and a train station in the regional capital Dnipro.

A Russian oil and gas company has equipped key facilities at its refineries with anti-drone nets, the RIA news agency has reported.

It comes after a series of Ukrainian drone attacks on refineries in Russia.

RIA cited the head of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, Radiy Khabirov, saying the company, Bashneft, was in talks with Russia's defence ministry about boosting the security of its refineries.

Ukraine has said it shot down a Russian strategic bomber "for the first time".

The Russian defence ministry claimed the Tu-22M3 bomber had crashed in Russia's southern Stavropol region, hundreds of miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, as it returned to base after carrying out a combat mission.

It said the crash appeared to have been caused by a technical malfunction.

But Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said Kyiv had "destroyed" the bomber, which is capable of carrying long-range missiles.

"For the first time, anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force, in cooperation with the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, destroyed a Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber, a carrier of Kh-22 cruise missiles used by Russian terrorists to attack peaceful Ukrainian cities," Commander Oleshchuk said.

The Russian regional governor said the bomber's four pilots had ejected but one had died and a rescue operation was ongoing for the fourth.

It comes after Russia conducted a major missile attack on the central Dnipropetrovsk region earlier today, which killed at least eight and injured 25.

Russian air defence units intercepted 25 airborne targets early this morning over the southern Belgorod region, the region's governor said.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said the main target was the city of Belgorod, but there were no injuries.

Several private homes and other buildings were damaged and a small fire in a storage area was quickly extinguished.

Russia is ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces as muddy fields dry out and allow tanks and armoured vehicles access to key positions.

Moscow has increasingly turned to using satellite-guided gliding bombs, which allow planes to strike from a safe distance, to hit Ukrainian troops.

Russian military bloggers argue a major ground offensive would be risky and unnecessary if Russian troops can successfully rely on smaller attacks across the front line to further drain Kyiv's military.

After claiming to have captured the Ukrainian stronghold of Avdiivka in February, Russian troops are pushing towards the hill town of Chasiv Yar, which would allow them to move towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk - key cities in the eastern Donetsk region that remain under Ukrainian control.

Russia illegally annexed Donetsk and three other regions in 2022 and one of the Kremlin's key war aims is to control the region.

Vladimir Putin, who secured another term as Russian president in March, has vowed to carve out a "sanitary zone" to protect Russia's border regions from Ukrainian shelling and incursions.

While he didn't go into specifics, Russian milbloggers and experts have said Moscow could also try to capture Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv, which Russia tried and failed to storm in the opening days of the war.

Welcome back to our live coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

A major Russian missile attack has killed at least eight people, injured 25 and damaged infrastructure in Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region, local officials have said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack damaged multiple storeys of a residential building and a train station in the regional capital, Dnipro, as he called for more air defences.

"Russia must be held accountable for its terror, and every missile, every Shahed must be shot down," the Ukrainian president said, referring to an Iranian-made drone.

"The world can guarantee this, and our partners have the necessary capabilities."

A Russian attack in the early hours of this morning also injured three and damaged infrastructure in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, a local official said.

Before we bring you today's updates, here is a reminder of what's happened in the past 24 hours: 

  • Two men were arrested in Germany on Russian spy charges;
  • Ukraine launched an attack on a Russian airfield in Crimea;
  • The Kremlin claimed US aid would not help Ukraine;
  • Russia claimed Ukraine struck the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

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More From Forbes

5 delicious sushi spots in colorado.

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Sushi Den is a standout spot in Denver.

Most diners don’t think of land-locked Colorado as the place to go for fantastic sushi. However, the Centennial State is swimming with good fish, partially because it’s a central hub for airplanes stopping between coasts. Local chefs demand it, too, making sourcing sushi-grade seafood easier.

As more Japanese restaurants open in and around Denver , the number of places to get sashimi and sushi has grown admirably. Make a reservation at one of these five spots to experience a memorable meal .

Started by brothers Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, Sushi Den is the pioneer credited with bringing sushi-grade fish to Denver. The intimate restaurant opened in 1984, when much of the Mile High City still valued steak and all-you-can-eat buffets over pricy Japanese fare. Sushi Den prevailed and started the movement of flying in tuna, halibut and yellowtail from Japan’s largest fish markets.

Because of a successful run with Sushi Den and the cuisine’s popularity, the brothers opened Izakaya Den and OTOTO next door. Now, they plan to launch a fourth concept. Though the name has yet to be revealed, it will be omakase-style. Given the quality of Sushi Den and its offshoots, the end-of-summer opening will be a welcome addition to the scene.

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One of Denver’s newest spots is Kumoya, a high-end Japanese restaurant from the Creative Culinary restaurant group. While the space is fresh, chefs Corey Baker and Max Mackissock have more than two decades of experience with top-grade fish. Baker’s sushi pedigree dates back to Sushi Den (highlighted below), one of the first places to bring high-quality fish to the city. Getting quality fish is a priority for the chef, and he sources it from renowned Japanese fresh fish markets in Toyosu and Fukuoka.

The choices feel endless once you’re seated in the low-lit, modern dining room. The best bet is to let Baker take the reins and pick the pieces for you, omakase style. Make sure to add a piece of the aged tuna, which comes topped with caviar and gold leaf.

While sushi certainly excites, the whole menu should be sampled, from a melt-in-the-mouth eggplant to wagyu tartare with smoked shoyu. Pair the meal with a delicate sake or an innovative, Asian-inspired cocktail.

Ukiyo’s plated perfection.

Under Bao Brewhouse’s red facade and side alley lies the door to Ukiyo, a 12-seat omakase restaurant that opened in February 2024. Here, Bao Brewhouse chef Phraseuth “Paul” Sananikone creates 18 courses, from nigiri to oysters to wagyu. Each dish is a small bite or two, so enjoying the spread without getting too full is easy.

The intimate space lends to close conversations with strangers and insider information from the chef. However, because the space only seats a dozen eaters, scoring a reservation ahead of time is important. Ukiyo opens Wednesday through Saturday with two seatings daily at 6 and 8:30 p.m.

Bamboo Sushi

In the lower highlands of Denver, Bamboo Sushi is perched above the sloping hill, offering views of downtown. On a nice day, you can admire the vista from outdoor seating or stick to the beauty on the plate.

The Denver sushi restaurant sources fish from around the world, with each option selected sustainability. The menu’s seasonal nature means one night, a diner may get kanpachi from Hawaii, uni from Santa Barbara and scallops from Nova Scotia. Pair the meal with premium sake or a glass of light white wine. The shifting menu’s tides ensure there’s always a reason to return to Bamboo Sushi.

Sakaba’s uni.

Head to the mountains to Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch for a great Japanese dinner at Sakaba. Take in the stone walls, fireplaces and glass-covered patio, which makes you feel as if you’re dining alfresco, even when the snow falls. While nestled in a cozy chair, you’ll find the sushi to be just as thrilling as the ski slopes.

Seasonal fish is flown in from Japan multiple times a week and goes straight to Sakaba’s kitchen. During the summer, the trip happens twice a week and three times during ski season. Because of the ever-changing fish haul, items come and go on the menu. At press time, diners could indulge in lobster rolls with yuzu and shiso garlic or truffle aioli-laced tuna truffle rolls with asparagus. Nigiri and sashimi also grace the menu. The omakase option is the way to go for those willing to relinquish culinary control.

Linnea Covington

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    BUSAN. Busan, South Korea's second-largest city, is a very popular destination and for good reason. For one, there is its location on the southeast coast. And then there is the fact that you will never run out of things to do in Busan, with the Korean mountains nearby, lots of stunning buildings, a city center speckled with historic buildings ...

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    Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul. Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest—and arguably the most beautiful—of Seoul's five palaces. Its Gyeonghoeru pavilion remains nearly exactly as it was when it was ...

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    4. Take advantage of Korea's world-class public transportation. Korea's subways, trains and buses are clean, convenient and efficient. It can sometimes seem like a new station is added to the Seoul metro every month, and the rail and intercity bus networks will take you to every corner of the country.

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    6. South Korea's second most populous metropolitan city - Busan. Busan is the second-most populous city in South Korea after Seoul, with a population of approximately 3.5 million, it is the largest port city in South Korea and the world's fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage. Seoul and Busan both have the good restaurants, cafes, bars ...

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    Busan is South Korea's second-largest city and is a charming port city with gorgeous beaches and stunning mountain views. One of the many things to know about Busan is that it boasts a totally different atmosphere from Seoul, making it must-visit when exploring the country. South Korea's rail system (Korail) makes it easy to travel between major cities quickly and on a budget.

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    2.) Seoul. Seoul is easily up there as one of the best places in South Korea to visit. Not only is it super vast, but it's also got a whole heap of history, neighbourhoods and influences that are so much fun to explore. Now, for about 600years, Seoul has been Korea's capital city that is steeped in history. This all means that lots of ...

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    Below is a map showing the best places to visit in Korea. 1. Seoul. Seoul is centrally located in a strategic location on the Korean Peninsula and has a population of over 10 million people. The kingdoms of Baekje, Goguryeo, Silla and Joseon all fought over the area which is now Seoul.

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    Gyeongju city, often referred to as "the museum without walls", was once the capital of Silla, an ancient kingdom that ruled south-eastern Korea from 57 BCE to 935 CE. Here, besides being the ruins of temples and palaces, outdoor pagodas, and historical relics, other attractions here include the Bulguksa Temple and the Gyeongju National ...

  23. Top 6 Best Cities to Visit besides Seoul

    Gyeonju, located on the east-south side of the peninsula, offers a boasting showcase of 2000-year-old Korean history. The city has an endless array of temples, tombs, and archaeological sites from being the capital during the Silla Kingdom. Bulguksa Temple, from the 8th century and Seokguram Grotto next to it, are a must-visit!

  24. Discovering Busan: A solo traveller's guide to South Korea's Seaside City

    Busan, a vibrant and mesmerising city, offers stunning beaches, mountain views and bustling seafood markets - waiting to be part of your unforgettable travel experience during your solo trip to Korea. Dive into the local life, from delicious food and exciting activities to pure relaxation. Feeling a mix of nerves and excitement is perfectly ...

  25. South Korea Is A Total Bucket-List Destination

    9. Watch the waves at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Siena Nisavic. Set right on the shoreline, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a wonder of both natural and historical beauty. First built in 1376, the ...

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    Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, accompanied by a delegation of 67 economic leaders, visited Seoul on Monday to gain insights into the city's key urban policies and expertise. News The Korea Times

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    The impact of Mount Ruang's eruption led to the closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado city, located more than 100km from the volcano, for 24 hours until the evening on April 18.

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    12. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Featuring Jonah E. Bromwich. Produced by Rikki Novetsky , Will Reid , Lynsea Garrison and Rob Szypko. Edited by Paige Cowett. Original music by Dan Powell , Marion ...

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    Ukiyo opens Wednesday through Saturday with two seatings daily at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Bamboo Sushi. In the lower highlands of Denver, Bamboo Sushi is perched above the sloping hill, offering views of ...