If you thought South Korea was all about Seoul, Busan and Jeju, let us help you clear away that thought with this elusive list of cities and counties, which may have not yet paved their way to being major tourist attractions but are still very much worth visiting!
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Besides housing the International Airport, Incheon is the location of Korea’s true China Town complete with noodle restaurants. You can also take a look around Jayu Park which is constructed in memory of Sir McArthur who conducted the Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War. Don’t forget to take a trip to Bupyeong Underground Shopping Complex for your K-pop fashion fix! 😉
#HHWT Tip: If you are in Incheon, do make a stop at Sorae Fish Market for a meal of fresh fish produce.
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The capital city of Gyeonggi province, Suwon, is the only completely-walled city existing in Korea. The Hwaseong Fortress is a 5-mile long wall that encircles downtown Suwon and is the most popular tourist attraction here. The entire wall can be hiked in a couple of hours at an entry fee of only 1000 won. If you are looking for a fun activity you can take a couple of archery lessons at Yeonmumndae which is located within the city walls and visit the famous ‘Toilet Museum’ to get a glance of Korea’s progressive toilet history! (Haha 😛)
One of the most notable things to do while in Suwon, is to take a day trip to the Garden of Morning Calm, which is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Gyeongii province and attracts a large crowd from all over Korea.
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3. Pyeongchang County
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If you happen to be travelling to Korea during the winter months, mark Pyeongchang County as the #1 place to visit on your list. Referred to as the ‘Alps of Korea’ the region has spectacular snow covered peaks and tons of winter activities including skiing, snow tubes, ice fishing, bare hand trout fishing and snow rafting. This is also where the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held and you catch a glimpse of the all Olympics excitement at Alpensia Ski resort that already has a practice stadium to cater for the games.
#HHWT Tip: Pyeongchang is famous for trouts and you can sample some either raw or grilled in the cafeterias around the region.
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Located in the Jeollabuk-do province of South Korea, Jeonju called as a slow city, is perhaps the most traditional and ancient city you will come across. The most famous attraction here is the Jeonju Hanok village which is a UNESCO world heritage site and houses nearly 700-800 traditional hanok homes. You can even spend a night in one of the Hanoks to get a slice of ancient Korean lifestyle. The region has the best bibimbap; rice topped with vegetables, egg and spicy red paste, which is a must-eat-dish if you are travelling to Jeonju.
From the author: We ordered a meat free bibimbap which was a perfect Halal variant and absolutely delicious.
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Art and culture come alive in the city of Gwangju! You can learn about the history of the city at Gwangju National Museum or check your fitness levels by hiking the Mount Mudeungsan. Alternatively, you can stroll along Art Street where local artists put their work on display, relax in one of the many uber cool cafes in Gwangju such as Ethnic Place, Pedro’s Guesthouse and hang out with other foreigners at First Alleyway to get a get a perspective on living and working in Korea all neatly packed in one city.
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The capital of the 1000 year old Shilla dynasty, Gyeongju city is often referred to as museum – without- walls due to the many historical remains that are scattered across the city. Out of the many attractions here Bulguksa Temple, Cheomseongdae Observatory and Seokguram Grotto, which is a temple in a cave, are definitely worth visiting and both are nominated as UNESCO heritage sites.
If you are not a fan of history, you can make your way to Gyeongju World Amusement Park that offers many thrilling rides and features California Beach which a large themed water park. (Open only in summer)
The birthplace of the K-pop star Lee Donghae, Super Junior, Mokpo is a little coastal city located on the eastern coast of Korea. Being a coastal city, there are lot of islands and rocks; the Gatbawi, being the most famous one; surrounding the coast. You can take a cruise around the coast, visit the Maritime Museum and make a trip to Korea’s Formula One Grand Prix racetrack which is the highlight of Mokpo. At night, you can relax at the seafront and watch the Dancing Ocean Fountain which is an enormous music fountain with music, dance and lights!
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If you are lover of beaches, caves, rail bikes and sea- food, Samcheok is the place you need to go to. Hwanseon Cave, the largest limestone cave in Asia is located here and is 100% worth exploring with it cave ponds, irregular terrain and strange shaped rocks. (Bet you haven’t seen anything like this before.) You can take a rail-bike ride in Samcheok that runs along the coast offering panoramic views of the clean blue sea. For the rest of the time, you can relax at the spectacular white sand Yonghwa Beach which is a great swimming destination in the summer.
#HHWT Tip: While in Samcheok, catch the famous Sea train run by Ko-rail with seats turned sideways that offers scenic views of the beautiful coastline.
9. Bosoeng County
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The green tea haven of Korea, Boseong is well known for its green tea plantations .Prepared to be taken aback by the rolling green seas of tea that surround you here. While in Bosoeng, do not forget to try some of their green tea delights such as all vegetarian green tea noodles, green tea bibimbap, green tea Pajeon and the best green tea ice cream you will lay your hands at, all of which can be easily tried at the restaurants within the plantation.
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Daegu is the fourth largest city in Korea. If you are planning to visit Daegu, some of the notable sights would include Donghwasa Temple with its giant Buddha statue and Daegu E- world, which is an amusement park offering many thrilling rides. For adventure enthusiasts, you can hike up Apsan Mountain, take a cable car through Palgongsan Mountains or go zip-lining through HerbHillz. While your evenings at Seomun Market, which is the 3rd largest traditional market and a good pit-stop to shop for Korean knick-knacks and a hot nice bowl of Tteokbokki!
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Cherry blossom is the most scenic time to be in Korea and if you are eager to be a part of cherry blossom festivities, your best bet is this sleepy little city of Jinhae. Come spring, the entire city is covered with these mesmerising pink and white blossoms. The Yeojwacheon stream and the old Gyeonghwa train station are the best places for photography and also where main events of the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival are held, which is the biggest cherry blossom festival in the country.
Geoje-do is Korea’s second largest island city after Jeju and is only an hour’s drive away from Busan making it an ideal island getaway location. The island is home to Samsung and Daewoo shipbuilding yards the result being that it supports a huge expat population. Along with the shipbuilding industry, Geoje offers many hiking trails, black pebble beaches, sandy beaches and adorable sea side pensions for barbecues.
One of the most notable attractions here, is Oedo Botania which is a rocky island converted to a botanical extravaganza and can be reached by a ferry ride 30 mins from the island.
#HHWT Tip: Since the island is home to many foreigners, you will find many restaurants serving Halal food so can enjoy some meaty meals without worry 😄
Which one of these would you go to?