Make Yourself at Home in South Korea

How to Travel Like a Local

South Korea is a destination where visitors can create unique memories, and experience a huge variety of activities. It’s a perfect country for you, whether you’re a nature explorer, party animal, culture seeker or all of them together.

Here is a list of top activities and things to do in South Korea.

1. Hiking

According to the latest World Health Organisation data, life expectancy in South Korea is 82.7 years, giving South Korea a World Life Expectancy ranking of 9. Why do you think Korean people live so long? We believe it’s because hiking in South Korea is a big part of the culture for local people - and that’s why it should be on your bucket list.

If you don’t have the time to spend galavanting through the mountains, but you still want to get away from the busy city hustle - the Bukhansan trail could be the one for you. The highest point of the mountain - Baegundae peak - can be reached in just two hours. The view of Seoul from the summit will take your breath away.

Those wishing to dedicate some serious time to hiking, should definitely head to Juwangsan National Park in Gyeongsangbuk-do province. One of the major benefits of the park is that it is not as busy as other nature destinations in South Korea and offers everything for those wanting to explore caves and waterfalls - and has plenty of hiking trails. Visitors can even camp under the stars - but don’t forget to take your own food and camping equipment!

If you are lucky, you might pass one of the friendly locals on your way up the mountain, who will be only too happy to share their stories about the mountains and maybe even their homemade Korean snacks.

2. Jjimjilbang - Korean bathhouse

Does spending time with your family, while indulging in health and beauty rituals, sound appealing to you? Or maybe a chill night with your friends is more of your style? Then without a doubt you should visit the bathhouses of Jjimjilbang. Furnished with hot tubs, showers, traditional Korean kiln saunas and massage tables, these centres are ‘one stop shops’ for all things wellness and relaxing. They also feature a dedicated area, where visitors can grab a quick snack, watch TV, exercise, try an ice or heated salt room experience and even indulge in a nap in the sleeping quarters.

Usually, Jjimjilbangs are open 24 hours a day and offer a great option for family-friendly activity on weekends. They are also popular with hardworking Korean locals who live outside of the city - a bathhouse is the place to relax and to have a drink with co-workers. The entrance only costs about 8000-12000 won (7-11 USD).

For those of you who are not shy, many mixed gender spa and treatment options are available in Korean bathhouses.

3. Korean BBQ

When it comes to BBQ food, Korea can claim one of the tastiest culinary experiences on earth in the guise of specially prepared barbequed meats - usually beef, pork or chicken.

Korean culture places great importance on family time and it’s still very common to see families gathered around the BBQ to simply enjoy one another's company, share stories and enjoy some tasty, home cooked food. Another tradition still upheld by locals is one that sees the youngest member of the family be responsible for preparing the BBQ and making sure the whole family are happy and have enough food, so don’t be surprised when a child might offer you a drink or take your dirty plate away!

BBQ preparation and cooking is also a common pass time amongst young people in Korea - friends spend hours just enjoying each others company and the food. Korean BBQ is a perfect place for having a nice sophisticated dinner or having a more casual bbq after a night out. For those who don’t eat meat, Korean BBQ still offers plenty of options, such as grilled and pickled vegetables and rice.

4. Karaoke (Noraebang)

Korea has its own version of Japanese karaoke - it is called Noraebang. As visitors will come to learn, eventually everyone who visits Korea ends up at a Korean-style karaoke venue. The difference between traditional karaoke and noraebang is that traditional karaoke is all about singing in a bar or karaoke club on the stage in front of a crowd, while Korean-style karaoke is mostly enjoyed as a group activity in private rooms with a limited number of people and microphones provided for everyone. Since the room is soundproof, wannabe pop stars can sing as loudly as they like and just have fun, no matter what age they are.

Noraebang can be found on every corner in the bigger cities at a very affordable price of $5 USD per hour, while a more advanced set-up with a few more amenities runs around $10-20 USD per hour.