If you are planning to take a trip to South Korea in the near future, there are a few places you need to add to your bucket list and visit during your trip.
A trip like this doesn’t always happen again, so you need to make sure you have it all included at once. These places will give you some historical significance to the country and also help explain the differences in their culture that may be different from your own.
Some of these places are dated back several centuries and made with materials that are very different from others.
Famous Landmarks in South Korea
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Built over 600 years ago, the Gyeongbokgung Palace offers a deep background on South Korean history and culture. This palace has over 7700 rooms, which means that a quick tour in an hour is impossible.
Originally a part of the Joseon dynasty, you will find this palace located in the northern part of Seoul. For two hundred years, this was the primary palace of the area, until a fire happened in the late 16th century. Left to ruin, the palace stayed empty until the 19th century.
When you visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace today, you will find it being restored slowly, with many of the spaces available to tour and visit. There are two museums within the palace, the National Palace Museum, and the National Folk Museum, putting emphasis on South Korea.
2. Bukchon Hanok Village
Also dating back 600 years to the Joseon dynasty is Bukchon Hanok Village. This village has remained in the past when compared to newer villages and is often visited by tourists to the area to get a real-life experience of a traditional Korean village.
The streets are very narrow, made simply for walking and small carts to get through. There are a handful of small museums in the area designed to attract tourists and provide even more information on the area.
When you first get to the village, sign up to do the tour, and you can collect stamps along the way to show that you visited each location. You need to be able to navigate through these streets, however. This village can see anywhere from 8000 to 10000 visitors each day.
3. N Seoul Tower
If you are looking for a great view of Seoul, try visiting the second-highest view in the city, the N Seoul Tower. Used as both an observation tower for guests and a communications tower, there is always some type of activity happening in this area.
This tower has only been in existence since 1969, and it was the first tower that could simultaneously provide television and radio signals to the community.
More recently, this tower is responsible for providing broadcasts to KBS, MBC, and SBS, stations in Seoul’s general area and South Korea country.
Don’t forget to stop by the Teddy Bear Museum which was opened in 2008 on your way up to the third floor where the observatory is located.
4. Seoraksan National Park
Managed by the country, the Seoraksan National Park was the first to be declared a National Park in 1970. It has a variety of plants and floral blends found throughout the property. There are several mountain peaks to enjoy, as well.
Be mindful of the Buddhist temples that call this reserve home and have for years. It is classified as a nature reserve and is open to visitors and residents alike to enjoy.
There are numerous trails that vary in difficulty levels, so you may want to take a map and view the route you want to take before you start into the park.
This park is utilized by visitors who want to find a truly peaceful and quiet location to escape with their thoughts and enjoy the serenity of the atmosphere while you have it.
One of the five grand palaces, Deoksugung Palace was built by the Joseon dynasty and stayed in their control until 1910. Unfortunately, this palace suffered an immense amount of damage during the time Korea was a colony.
Once this property was seized by the government after the annexing, it became utilized as a public park to be enjoyed by the locals and tourists to the area. It is still very much enjoyed and visited each year.
When you tour the premises, you will find a number of buildings, rooms, and gardens on the ground that will make you feel as though a small village could fit in that space.
6. Changgyeonggung Palace
Another famous palace in Seoul is the Changgyeong Palace which is extensive and has undergone lots of changes over the years. It was originally built in the mid-1400s, but it was assumed later by the Joseon dynasty.
On this property, you will find one of the largest botanical gardens that allow peace and meditation. There is also a zoo moved to the property to engage the children that may be visiting.
There are several points of interest that you want to note when you visit the Changgyeonggung Palace: The main gain was built in 1484 and has been rebuilt or remodeled at each step.
The main hall or myeongjeongjeon is room to tour because this is where essential meetings and business matters were discussed.
7. Nami Island
Beautiful and unique, if you want to enjoy a small river island in South Korea, then Nami Island is a must-stop.
This island takes on the half-moon shape that is rare in the world and was created after the 1944 Cheongpyeong Dam allowed the water to rise in the Han River.
It isn’t a large island, just 4 kilometers in size. In order to get to the island, you will need to take a small boat. Over the past year, the Korean Broadcasting System has taken a liking to the area and is currently utilizing the island to film a couple of movies which is well received by the tourists in the area.
This is a great visit for those who need a few hours to just slow down because South Korea still can’t be completely trusted.
8. Namsangol Hanok Village, Seoul
While one traditional village had businesses and museums, Namsangol Hanok Village offers traditional homes for those who live in the area.
When it was designed several centuries ago, it was meant to be the summer home and getaway for members of the Joseon dynasty. In this village, you will find a traditional Korean garden that has both a pavilion for guests and a stream in the middle.
This village is free to visit and easy to access if you are planning to use public transportation to navigate through the area. There are five traditional houses within the village to commemorate the five traditional palaces of the Joseon era.
Another of one the five grand palaces in place by the Joseon dynasty is the Changdeoggung, known as the Palace of Prosperity.
It is on the East side of the city, so it is considered the eastern part of the city. During the early 20th century, this palace was subjected to fire damage and has since been undergoing several remodels to restore the property.
This is the palace that was built to replace Gyeongbokgung after the fire that nearly destroyed the palace. On this property, there are several structures that you do not want to miss.
The main hall has a traditional Asian-style exterior and several of the other halls showcase special sleeping arrangements like the Queen’s Hall.
10. National Museum of Korea
If you really want to dive into a well-rounded experience of Korean culture without having the time to do all the different stops, you need to make sure this one is at the top of the list.
You will find artifacts, art pieces, and various activities that are great for kids. Whether you are visiting or live in the area, you need to prepare yourself for the different events that can easily take up an evening.
There are three floors in the museum, and they each hold something very different.
The first floor gives an overview of ancient history through a gallery of artifacts.
The second floor holds nearly 100 pieces in the Donation, Painting, and Calligraphy section.
The third floor does have the least amount of pieces, with the highlighted work from local Buddhists and those from their work displayed. This floor is also where you will find Asian Arts as a whole.