Looking to travel to Korea but have no idea where to start? Well, then you’ve come to the right place. Learn about everything you can do in Korea with this ultimate Korea travel guide. This page will include things to do in Korea, the best time to visit Korea, the budget to have in Korea, the top tours and attractions in Seoul, and tips for traveling in Korea. Be sure to start with my Seoul travel tips for first-timers. This Korea travel guide has it all.
Travel Tip: Use Seoul’s Luggage Services by SAFEX to get your baggage from Seoul to your hotel for as cheap as $13.
Korea Travel Guide
This page contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission that helps support this blog.
Things to do in Korea
Most tourists visiting Korea only visit major areas like Seoul, Busan, and Jeju, but there is more to do in Korea than just those areas. For example, Gyeongju is one of the most famous places in Korea and is known for its historical and archeological sites that shed light on the city’s rich heritage. It was also the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla (57 BC – 935 AD). I have broken down each major location to visit below, so be sure to check out the best things to do in each area.
Where to go in Korea
There are a lot of beautiful cities to visit within Seoul and a lot of people do travel to many of these areas. However, as a local, I have a couple of places I would recommend visiting if you have been to Korea before or are living in or moving to Korea. These are the best places to visit in Korea:
Korea Travel Guide to Seoul
This is no doubt a popular place to visit in Korea. Seoul is probably your best bet of getting your feet wet in Korea. It’s easier to find people here that speak English so it’s not as intimidating. Seoul is the largest city in South Korea and is well known for being a popular location to visit. There is more than enough to keep you entertained in South Korea.
Ready to plan a trip to Seoul? Check out these helpful posts:
- Where to stay in Seoul
- Seoul Travel Tips for First-Timers
- One Day in Seoul
- 3 Days in Seoul
- Cafes in Seoul
- Things to do in Hongdae
- Things to do in Itaewon
- Gwangjang Market
- Seoul Gardens and Parks
Korea Travel Guide to Incheon
Incheon is more than likely the international airport that you came into when flying to Korea. Incheon is a bit more laid back than Seoul and there are a lot of things to do here from visiting the original Chinatown and have Korean Chinese fusion food, visiting fairytale village and Wolmido theme park – popularly found on many K-Dramas.
Ready to plan a trip to Incheon? Check out these helpful posts:
Korea Travel Guide to Gyeongju
Some foreigners know about this location and some do not. was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla (57 BC – 935 AD). There is a lot of traditional architecture, temples, art, and museums in this area that have been preserved and are worth checking out. If you. are interested in history and art history, this will be one of the spots you need to visit in South Korea.
Ready to plan a trip to Gyeongju? Check out these helpful posts:
Korea Travel Guide to Busan
Probably the second most popular place to visit in South Korea. Busan is fairly easy to get to from Seoul by train. There are a lot of things to do in Busan from visiting the beaches, eating some delicious seafood, seeing some of the beautiful views, and visiting the famous Gamcheon Village known to be a safe haven during the Korean War.
Ready to plan a trip to Busan? Check out these helpful posts:
Korea Travel Guide to Jeju Island
This island is considered to be the honeymoon location for all Koreans and a lot of Asians as well. It’s like the Hawaii of South Korea which is why it is a popular place to visit. It’s a beautiful island worth visiting throughout the year. Jeju is known for its beaches, oranges, and black pig pork belly.
Ready to plan a trip to Jeju? Check out these helpful posts:
Korea Travel Guide to Geoje
This is probably one of those places that only locals know about, however, I’ve been doing my best to spread the news about this place. Geoje ended up being one of my favorite beach destinations to visit in South Korea because it was not as packed as many of the beaches you will see in Korea. It’s a beautiful place with a lot of things to do which shocked me in the end. I highly suggest visiting here, although tourism is increasing and just take a chance visiting and exploring this beautiful island.
Ready to plan a trip to Geoje? Check out these helpful posts:
Best time to visit Korea
The best times to visit Korea are during the spring and fall. These times are the best to see the plants changing either with cherry blossoms, flowers, or beautiful fall foliage. The weather is also perfect when it comes to temperature. It’s not too hot and not too cold, making it quite bearable to walk around in.
I would also suggest visiting during winter if you don’t mind the cold. It’s almost always sunny and clear skies during the winter months. I do not recommend visiting during the summer months. It can be quite humid with heaving monsoon rains which will leave you drenched and sweaty.
Despite the summer months being quite difficult to travel in, it doesn’t stop a lot of tourists from visiting and I would try to suggest visiting during the off-seasons.
Budget in Korea
For tourists, I would suggest bringing $50-100 per day on daily expenses excluding the cost of your hotel. This truly depends on how frugal you are and how much you plan to spend. Eating out in Korea can be quite affordable with lots of options, however, if you plan to eat mostly Western food in Korea, it can get pricey unless you stick to fast-food chains like McDonald’s. If you plan on visiting the palaces and taking public transportation, it’s very affordable. Taking taxis can be expensive unless you plan on traveling with a group of people.
Moving to Korea
Moving to Korea depends solely on what your intentions are. If you plan to move to Korea there are few things to consider, for example, how much to save before moving to Korea, what to bring, what not to bring, how to get a visa, getting a criminal background check, how to get your documents apostille and more.
If you are planning to move to Korea to teach English, I would suggest bringing at least $1,000-2,000 USD to last an entire month prior to you get your first paycheck or if you need to make a flight back. If you plan to find your own place and not have provided housing, I would suggest bringing $5,000 USD for the deposit alone, especially if you plan to live in a major city like Seoul, Incheon, Busan, and parts of Gyeonggi-do.
Your monthly budget in Korea can easily be 1,000,000 won per month to live on. It truly depends on how extravagant you plan to live your life here. If you are looking to travel constantly, eat out at foreign restaurants versus Korean restaurants, and more, it can get more costly.
Korea travel guide to What to Eat in Korea
There are tons of great food in Korea, but it’s quite different from many countries around the world. Korean food consists of a lot of spicy dishes and many dishes are not vegan or vegetarian friendly in Korea. It can be difficult to navigate if you have never had Korean food or are not used to eating unique Asian cuisine. Being half Korean, I grew up eating lots of Korean dishes, and most restaurants in the US in the 90s were unapologetically Korean, meaning these dishes did not change to adjust to a Westerner’s palette like Chinese and Japanese food did. Take the time to read my detailed post on the best things to eat in Korea.
Popular Korean Dishes you must Try
- Kimchi – A spicy fermented cabbage
- Bulgogi – Marinated beef
- Bibimbap – A rice dish with veggies, meat, and egg. This is usually served with a hot spicy paste and is meant to be mixed like a rice bowl dish.
- Tteokboki – A spicy rice cake
- Hotteok – A sweet street food pancake filled with brown sugar nuts and seeds
- Korean Fried Chicken – Fried chicken that is often served with a sweet and spicy sauce. Korean’s really known how to get their chicken crispy.
Read more about the best things to eat in Korea.
Top Tours and Attractions in Seoul
- Rent a Korean hanbok and enter the palaces for free
- Visit Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm
- Go on a Han River Cruise
- Learn about the history at the DMZ
- Ride all the rides at the biggest theme park in Korea – Everland
- Enjoy a day at Lotte World
- Go to Seoul Tower in Namsan
- Experience the COEX Aquarium
- Take photos at the Color Pool Museum
- Learn to make Traditional Korean Rice Cake Desserts
Korea Travel Guide Tips and Transportation
- Get a T-Money Card
- Grab a SIM card at the airport. Your phone isn’t unlocked? – Rent a portable wifi device
- Get the Discover Seoul Pass to get into all the major locations and tourist attractions in Seoul
How to travel around South Korea
There are 5 major ways to get around South Korea and I break them all down here below.
- By Bus – There are several different options for the bus system and it can be a bit confusing at first. I highly suggest you download some of the apps I highly recommend visiting in South Korea. You can take different buses for different uses. There are long-term buses that take you from Seoul to just outside of Seoul, there are inter-city buses, village buses, and long-distance buses. You can easily travel all around South Korea on a long-distance bus which is beautifully and comfortably designed.
- By Train – The train is only used for long distances. You can grab the train from Seoul station and easily take them to the major cities in South Korea like Busan, Gwangju, Gyeongju, and more.
- By Subway – Subways are used in the major cities, although subways are only common typically in Seoul, Incheon, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, and Daejeon. However, they are only really used properly in Seoul, Incheon, and Busan. The smaller cities usually bus or taxi will be the best route.
- By Taxi – You can easily take taxi tours and they are some of the most popular things to do in a lot of the major areas like Busan, Jeju, Gyeongju, and so many more. I suggest you book with the taxi and make sure you know the prices beforehand. A lot of times your hotel can assist you with this as well. I found finding a taxi driver for all day in Gyeongju, Jeju, and Busan to be the easiest to find.
- By Car – If you feel confident enough, driving a car in South Korea is a great way to get around. It may be intimidating at first, but once you are out of the major cities like Busan and Seoul, it’s quite easy to drive and get around. It will be the fastest route and often the easiest way to get around.
Planning a trip to Korea?
Join our Facebook Group for free Korea travel guide resources from expats, past visitors, and other people with the same questions.