An intriguing land of ancient ruins, romantic legends, natural wonders, breathtaking landscapes and teeming modern cities, the Republic of Korea can trace its history back half a million years. Tourists are discovering with delight the hidden treasures of the southern half of the mountainous Korean peninsula, which pokes southwards from the eastern end of the Asian continent.
Largest of the metropoles, and the area most frequented by visitors, is the capital, Seoul, the world’s tenth largest city, where ancient shrines nestle beneath soaring skyscrapers. This seething city, ringed by mountains, offers hundreds of attractions and experiences, vibrant nightlife and unforgettable dining.
Nightlife in Seoul is lively and legendary with something to suit all tastes, from a ‘booze-cruise’ through the raunchy red light district of Itaewon, or a sedate sit-down at a traditional teahouse. Eating out, too, is a feast for the senses in Seoul, with an enormous international variety to choose from, whether it is succulent steak, perfect pizza, multi-course gourmet, tasty tandoori or, of course, classic Korean.
Home to some of South Korea’s most popular beaches, hot spring resorts and numerous historical attractions, Busan is an integral part of any trip to South Korea. Busan, formerly known as Pusan, is the largest port and the second largest city in South Korea and is a quick three-hour KTX (bullet train) trip south of Seoul. Busan often goes unnoticed as visitors flock to get a taste of the bright lights and big city feel of Seoul, but many Koreans will tell you that Busan is one of South Korea’s friendliest and most relaxed cities.
From beaches to mountains and temples Busan has many attractions on offer. The coastline is one of the main draw cards, with beaches like the beautiful Haeundae and Gwangalli some of the best the country has to offer. The Busan Aquarium is Korea’s largest and best, and is one of the highlights of a trip to the city. Visitors interested in temples and historical sights can visit the Beomeosa and Yonggungsa temples as well as the Geumjeong Fortress. The markets in Busan are also an attraction in and of themselves. They offer wonderful photographic opportunities and can sometimes be a real eye-opener, particularly Jagalchi Fish Market.