We might not be able to travel internationally yet, but one destination that we can’t wait to visit once it’s safe to do so is Korea! On our next Korea trip, we want to venture beyond Seoul. With plenty of awesome things to do and increasingly more halal food in Busan, Jeju and other parts of Korea, this is the time to start thinking about travelling to underrated destinations in Korea! Furthermore, Korea has successfully managed to control the number COVID-19 infections; they have implemented precautionary measures such as using tracking apps for foreigners and installing mask vending machines in public places, among other initiatives. Rest assured that these measures will ensure that you travel safely in Korea. Here are 5 new things you can look forward to when visiting Korea again in the future ?
1. Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge, Busan
Credit: @busancity on Instagram
One thing we love to do in Korea is visiting its IG-worthy spots - from the iconic Starfield Library to Gamcheon Culture Village and more! That’s why we were super excited to find out about the Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge in Busan. This bridge was destroyed by a typhoon 18 years ago and just reopened last month! Connecting Amnam Park on mainland Korea and Dongdo Island, you’ll get to feel the thrill of walking over the sea while admiring the breathtaking views of rock cliffs ?
Getting to the bridge is also equally exciting as you’ll get to take the Songdo scenic marine cable car which offers a magnificent view of Busan’s coastline. Be sure to keep the Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge on your list for your future Korea trip!
#HHWT Tip: Fill your tummy with our list of Muslim-friendly restaurants in Busan.
Apart from the Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge, we’re also looking forward to Busan’s line-up of festivals in autumn and winter too! Movie buffs would love the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) which is happening from 7-16 October 2020. It is the largest film festival in Asia and you can expect around 300 films from 70 countries to be screened at the Busan Cinema Center and various spots in the Haeundae area. The Busan Fireworks Festival on 7 November 2020 is also another event to watch as you’ll be able to admire a dazzling display of fireworks at the famous Gwangalli Beach. K-pop fans, look out for the Busan One Asia Festival (BOF) in October 2020 where some of your favourite K-pop stars will be performing in various concerts ? If Busan is on your list for the end of the year, then you’d love the Busan Light Festivalwhere you’ll get to see the Haeundae area lit up in sparkling lights for the Christmas and New Year season!
2. Muslim prayer spots in Busan
As Muslim travellers, one concern that we always have while travelling is finding prayer spots. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about missing your prayers when travelling in Busan!
Looking for a mosque in Busan? Head over to the Busan Al-Fatah Mosque and be awed by its stunning architecture ? Located in Geumjeong district, it’s the second mosque to be built in Korea and the largest Islamic institution in the Southeastern part of Korea!
#HHWT Tip: Besides the mosque, there are increasingly more prayer rooms in various attractions and hotels in Busan’s city centre. Check out this list to find more prayer spots!
Travel around Busan conveniently with the Busan City Tour, a double-decker bus which brings you to all of Busan’s main tourist attractions! There are 3 routes and you can choose to get a single pass to go on either one of the routes or transfer between routes by paying a transfer fee. Here are the 3 routes:
- Blue Line: Haeundae Beach > BEXCO
- Red Line: Busan Station > Gwangbok-ro
- Green Line: Busan Station > Jagalchi BIFF Plaza
Find out more about the Busan City Tour on their website!
3. K-pop and K-drama sites in Gangwon-do
K-pop and K-drama fans, this one’s for you! Always wanted to visit the famous BTS bus stop in Gangneung?
Well, now you can - thanks to the Gangwon-do Tourist Taxi! The taxi serves the cities of Gangneung and Chuncheon in Gangwon province and you can customise your itinerary ?
This means you can add in the BTS bus stop at Gangneung’s Jumunjin Beach, which is also the filming site of the famous breakwater scene in Goblin! The tourist taxi is super affordable too; it costs just KRW20000 (MYR71/SGD23/IDR237.8k) for a 3-hour period and can accommodate up to 4 people! As Gangwondo is only a 1-2h train ride from Seoul, it’s perfect for day trips! Click on this link to find out more about the Gangwon-do Tourist Taxi. Alternatively, you can also email [email protected] or contact +82 2 1833 5165.
#HHWT Tip: After sightseeing in Gangwon-do, fill your tummy with Muslim-friendly Korean food! Check out this link for a list of Muslim-friendly restaurants in Gangwon-do!
Gangwon also comes alive with its autumn and winter festivals and the best part is that you can experience these festivals conveniently, thanks to the Gangwon G-Shuttle service! Here’s your chance to try ice-fishing at the Pyeongchang Trout Festival (Dec-Jan)! If you want a more unique fishing experience, the Hongcheon Ggong Ggong Festival (Jan) lets you fish for trout that has been fed a 6-year Hongcheon ginseng! If you’re visiting Gangwon in winter, the Taebaek Snow Festival is not to be missed. Its main attractions are the giant snow sculptures which are super unique and based on various themes every year. Not to mention that there are tubing and sledding activities for kids too - perfect if you’re travelling with family! Check out G-Shuttle’s Facebook pagefor the updated schedules of the different festivals.
4. Skiing at Sono Belle Vivaldi Park (with Muslim-friendly facilities)
Planning to visit Korea in winter for your future trips? You have to add skiing and snowboarding at Sono Belle Vivaldi Park to your list! Only an hour away from Seoul, this ski resort has a total of 12 slopes and it’s home to Asia’s first 8-seater express chairlift and gondola!
There’s a halal restaurant here called Dongmoon Express which serves halal Korean food like dakgalbi, bulgogi, tteokbokki, odeng and more ? Sono Belle Vivaldi Park is also Korea’s first ski resort with a prayer room. This makes us even more excited to go skiing at Sono Belle Vivaldi Park for our future trip! For more information, check out their website at www.visitdaemyung.com.
5. Muslim-friendly amenities in Jeju
With its spectacular beaches, laid-back vibes and increasingly more Muslim-friendly amenities for Muslim travellers, Jeju should definitely on your list for your next Korea trip! One Muslim-friendly eatery that’s worth a mention is Cocomama, which serves seafood platters with chunky lobsters, prawns, mussels, scallops and more ? The eatery’s gorgeous Hawaiian-themed interior is also super Instagrammable! Check out more Muslim-friendly eateries in Jeju in our article.
Halal status of Cocomama: Seafood options available and halal-certified chicken is served. No pork or pork-related products are sold in the restaurant. The restaurant serves alcohol but alcohol is not used in any cooking. As it is not a halal-certified restaurant, we strongly recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
#HHWT Tip: Good news! Jeju also has several prayer rooms located in attractions and Muslim-friendly restaurants. Check out this linkto find more prayer spots in Jeju!
What we love about Jeju is its scenic nature spots and one way to enjoy this is by going on a hike along the Jeju Olle trail! The trail goes along the coastline of Jeju and offers stunning views of the island. The Jeju Olle Course 7 is a great trail for beginners and along the route, you’ll be able to the fascinating Oedolgae Rock which was formed after a volcanic eruption. Not to mention that you’ll come across flower fields and picturesque hills along the route too ?
Another way to enjoy Jeju’s natural scenery is by going on a picnic! There are plenty of green spaces that’ll make amazing picnic spots like the Innisfree Jeju House where you can have a picnic overlooking the O’Sulloc tea plantations. You might know Innisfree as a renowned Korean cosmetic brand which uses natural ingredients from Jeju Island. At the Innisfree Jeju House, you can sign up for a soap-making experience. If you’re looking for a change of scenery for your picnic, head over to Gimnyeong Beach for its fine white sand and clear shallow waters. Other recommended picnic spots in Jeju include the Tokkiseom Cafe (a picnic cafe) and Abu Oreum, a stunning volcanic cone which is also a great hiking spot.
Halal status of Tokkiseom Cafe: Sells primarily coffee and tea, no alcohol is served. As it is not a halal-certified restaurant, we strongly recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
We hope you’re now more inspired to visit Korea once it’s safe to travel! With new attractions, more Muslim-friendly eateries and prayer rooms beyond Seoul, you can explore more of Busan, Jeju and Gangwon-do ? Make sure you keep this guide handy the next time you’re in Korea!
This article is brought to you by Korea Tourism Organization (Malaysia).