Exploring Korea: 7 things you must try on the ROK
Exploring Korea: 7 things you must try on the ROK
South Korea, or the “Land of the Morning Calm,” is quite often seen or heard about in the media due to rising tensions with the North, but this article will not dwell in the negative side, but rather the positive. Home to over 30,000 U.S. military personnel and their families, South Korea is full of activities and places to help foreigners enjoy their time here.
Cross the border to North Korea
What better way to start a vacation or duty station than to visit one of the most heavily guarded/armed country borders in the world, the DMZ. From the third tunnel to the Joint Security Area (JSA), this destination serves as a stark reminder of the bitterness of the cold war and a nation that is separated but technically still in a state of war. You will be accompanied by a tour guide who is very well knowledgeable on the DMZ.
Afterwards, follow up your DMZ tour with a visit to the War Memorial in Seoul. Learn about the conflict that happened over 50 years ago that still affects current events to this day. If you like to read everything, then prepare yourself to spend hours here taking in all the information that this place has to offer.
Feeling the History in Middle of Modern City
Besides the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces, there are many more places to check out in Seoul. You may have to go through a bit of a process to lock on a tour date for the Blue House, but it is well worth it to see where the country’s leadership resides.
When you walk around Seoul, you may come across a place called Jogye Temple. Joyge Temple has the largest worship hall in Seoul. It features Buddhism as the local religion and its incorporated elements, Shamanism and its ideology. Furthermore, you can check on other parts of Korean Buddhism as there are special shrines set aside in many temples.
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to check out the Suwon Fortress. Complete your stay with a stop at some of these places and learn how Korea operated in ancient times.
A-Z Shopping in Korea.
Don’t miss out on partaking in some shopping. What would a visit be without buying some memorable knick knacks? There is everything, from souvenirs and cosmetics to clothing. Good prices and good quality. There is quite a selection of traditional market places and shopping districts to choose from in Seoul. The most popular places are Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, and Insadong. Most traditional souvenirs are found in Insadong. Myeongdong is more of a trendy shopping area.
For those people who enjoy theme parks, you are going to fall in love with Everland. Everland is home to the fastest roller coaster in Asia. There several other fast rides to fulfill the needs of an adrenaline junky. Animal lovers can experience a “safari.” You can meet a variety of animals, including the King of animals.
Next on our list is the Lotte Aquarium. It features beluga whales, sea otters, penguins and much more. The best part is watching those furry and cute sea otters during feeding time.
N Seoul Tower, located on Namsan Mountain, will give you an amazing view of the lights and night life of Korea. You can take a cable car up and be rewarded with an amazing view of the Seoul skyline. This is where couples come with locks as a symbol of their love and tie it to the fence. If you visit there with your loved one, bring a lock along. And don’t forget the check out the N tower’s observatory deck. You can see 360° view of Seoul skyline. Always a beautiful view, but nighttime is the best.
Meat vs. Fish
Korean BBQ is the most traditional and famous Korean meal. Korean BBQ restaurants are very similar. You'll sit down at a table with a fire grill in the middle, and then you get to cook your meat (mostly beef or pork) how you like it. During your meal, you will get an unlimited side dishes.
If you want a fishy experience, then head over to the famous Fish Market located in Seoul. All the fish are alive and swimming in tanks. Can’t get any fresher than that. This fish market is chaotic and not organized, but you can negotiate with the seller for your preferred price. After purchase, they will immediately take the fish from the tank and cut it up. From there, you can go to a restaurant and have them prepare the fish the way you’d like.
Tropical Island in Korea
South Korea’s version of Hawaii, Jeju Island has its own culture, dialect, style, a beautiful aqua blue ocean view and a warm sun for those that despise cold weather. In 2011, Jeju Island was named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and is increasingly becoming a popular travel destination for both domestic and overseas tourists. Jeju Island was formed by volcanic lava flows. Stay in Jeju City and explore the island’s beaches, parks, and towns during an overnight trip.
There are many more things to do in Korea, but his list will get you started on the right foot. Be sure to stop by Koridoor tours for more information on all of these activities.
+82 2 6383 2570 Ext.1
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!
Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites
Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!