It wouldn’t be wrong to say that South Korea is one of the most beautiful landmasses embracing Asian continent. Occupying a large portion in south of Korean Peninsula, the country features rare geographical aspects, dramatic seashores and mountain ranges, primordial infrastructures, thriving modern cities and gorgeous natural scenery during spring and autumn.
What is South Korea Famous for?
The country lures many tourists being distinguished for its amazing range of organic skincare products, public baths(jimjilbangs), inexpensive cosmetic surgeries, huge variety of shopping arenas and authentic Korean cuisine especially bibimbap, barbeques and kimchi.
Additionally, Korea’s compact metropolitan hubs, urbanised parks and amenities, high-tech substructures and fastest public transport systems make Korea a hotspot for global business and travel.
Best Time to Visit South Korea
Spring in South Korea
South Korea is most beautiful during the spring season (March-end to mid-April) and autumn (October) as both bring warmer months and clear skies. Average temperature ranges around 7-12°c during spring with occasional rain showers and below 20°c during autumn.
The spring season also brings about two weeks of cherry blossom bloom all over the landscape. A two-week trip can allow you to catch vibrant cherry blossoms as they start blooming from south to north, first in Jeju island, then Busan-Jinhae and further moving up north till Seoul.
The autumn scenery is as amazing as spring, just with different colors and diversity of flora. It is also ideal for hanbok photo shoots, hikes, fall cuisine, fireworks and film festivals. Nami Island gets remarkably spectacular during this period.
Average temperature ranges around 7-12°c during spring and below 20°c during autumn.
Quick Tip: Do check the ‘Cherry Blossom Forecasts’ and ‘Spring Festival Venues’ before choosing your dates as they vary every year depending on weather.
How many days do I need?
The best destinations to travel within a week’s time in South Korea are Jeju Island and Seoul, give about four days each. If you have more time you should consider exploring Busan, Geyongju, Jeonju, Suwon, Andong and Nami island as well. Honestly, we felt even four days were less as there is a lot to see around.
The Korean Culture
Culturally, conventional Korean Shamanism, Mahayana Buddhism and Confucianism have persisted as an underlying influence of faith amongst Koreans. Being one of the most law-abiding countries in Asia, Koreans are friendly and welcoming which makes you feel safe there.
Best and Unique Things To do in South Korea-Travel Guide & Blog
Thinking about your South Korea itinerary in April? Here is a list of top things to do in South Korea. If you have about 8 days as we did, we recommend picking out the best and unique things to do in Jeju island and Seoul as these are top destination. There is just so much to do in both places especially if you are visiting during spring as gorgeous Cherry Blossoms enrich the country’s scenery.
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South Korea Trip Planning: What to do before traveling to South Korea?
Trip planning is not as hard once you know the general know-hows. Since the time we started travelling, we always research a lot find out most important aspects about a destination like visa requirements, transportation, currency rates etc. This helps understand what to expect when you reach and how to do things.
How to get South Korean Visa?
The South Korean official website to read about visa requirements.
The South Korean currency is called Won (KRW). Good exchange rates can be availed at KEB Hana Bank, Shinhan Bank, and Woori Bank. You can also find some 24 hours individual money changers at at Myeong-dong, Dongdaemun, and Itaewon as the banks are only open between 9am-4pm on weekdays.
There are many places in South Korea which allow using visa and master cards, you only need cash when you buy from the street markets or local food stalls. Some spa outlets may even offer to charge half of the price on credit card and half cash.
Getting Connected in South Korea: Transport System
South Korean transport system is one of the most developed and yet a very complex system. It gets confusing to choose among many apps, cards and passes available, there is no point getting them all, just choose the ones you really need. To make it easy for you to understand we recommend the below.
- Use AREX train to travel between Incheon & Gimpo Airports, it takes only 40 mins.
- Use Airport Limo (every 15 minutes) to access Seoul and nearby stops from Incheon airport, especially, if you have heavy luggage. These are way more comfortable than AREX trains. You can buy tickets at the airport and they will tell you the bus number. The driver gets down to check ticket and help with luggage. Keep track of your location on an online map to know the distance remaining from your stop.
Quick tip: Choose your accommodation near to major airport limo stops and you will save a lot of commuting time.
- Use KORAIL pass to access other cities like Suwon, Busan, Andong etc. within the country to save both time and cost.
- Get a T-Money card from the card lending machine once you land at the airport (or online or, at convenience stores), you can recharge it with some cash and get refund upon return. Using t-money card saves you money on bus, metro and taxi fares, few tourists attractions, cafes and malls. They can be also used at some convenience stores.
- South Korea Transportation Maps: Download Naver map, it is more accurate than Waze and Google maps there, also displays in English.
- Metro Apps: Subway Seoul app and Kakao Metro are much simpler and easier to operate.
Should you rent a car or use public transport?
Renting a car to explore Jeju island makes more sense because public transport is limited to certain areas only. The best way to sightseeing the island is by driving and walking amid nature trails to relish the whole island experience. It is cheaper and roads are mostly sealed so you do not need SUV.
There are many car rental companies that offer deals, we always check reviews, insurance coverage, hidden costs and traffic & safety norms to ensure choosing the right one.
However, Seoul is more about the city, parks, food and market experiences, all of which can be very well accessed using public transport. Every nook and corner of Seoul is well connected and easy to reach, driving may only slow you down and miss certain street segments worth exploring.
Where to Stay in South Korea? (Recommended Areas)
Best Places to Stay in Jeju Island
Jeju island is so small that nothing seems far away to reach. You can basically choose to stay anywhere you like. We still recommend three regions based on what they offer to make your choice easier.
- The City’s Center (Nohyeong -Dong and Yeon-Dong): For authentic Korean food and local markets
- Northern Coast: Stunning ocean views, near to black pork street.
- Seongsan (East Coast): Majestic sunrise views, closer to Ilchulbong Peak
- Southern Jeju:
- Seogwipo: Central, Home to Waterfalls and Olle Trails, Amazing Food Streets and BBQ restaurants.
- Jungmun Tourist Complex: Specially accustomed for tourists with Luxurious Hotels, Resorts, Spas, Food & Shopping
Best Places to Stay in Seoul
Seoul is a large city and certainly the most developed one in the country. To help you decide where to stay in Seoul, we gathered some information about the region specifics as per interest.
- Gangnam: Central, Posh & Luxurious, Creative Vibes and Amazing Eateries
- Itaewon: Tourists Accustomed, International Cuisine, Unique Bars and Clubs, high standard Jimjilbangs and Spas
- Myeongdong: Many Shopping and Food Streets
- Hongdae: Busy and Happening, for Party and Indie Lovers
- Jamsil – For Family friendly and Adventure Seekers, close to Gangnam
We stayed just opposite to Gangnam station and recommend that if you are visiting for the first time. The area is remarkably accessible to all kinds of public transport and also surrounded by abundant shops, food streets, cherry blossom parks and markets.
Weather plays an important role for planning any outdoor activities during both spring and autumn months as both are only slightly warmer than winters. Since the temperatures vary frequently (7-20°c), packing layers is essential.
You will especially need warmers, wind and waterproof jacket along with tights and proper shoes for nature walking/hiking. A flask to carry hot water comes really handy on those cold mornings or evenings when you need some instant coffee/tea but can’t find a café nearby. Do carry a torch before nature walking, sunblock, car chargers, extra batteries and cards for your camera.
Ask us anything if we missed out here, we love to hear from you. Happy travelling folks.