South Korea truly never disappoints; they are the kings when it comes to unique things to see and do. We compiled a list of truly hidden experiences you can’t find elsewhere! Guess it’s time for a trip back to the country 😉
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1. Sample fresh clams dished out from small clam tents on the sand in Busan
The best way to experience Korean culture is by doing what the locals do, and trying out clams, abalone, mussels and sea cucumbers in a small clam tent by Gamji Pebble Beach (the right side of the main gate of Taejongdae Park) in Busan. You’ll be served seafood that is as fresh as you’ll get, and pair it with the rustic, open-air setting with the roar of the waves in the background; it’s simply a one-of-a-kind meal you won’t ever forget! Read our Tribes member’s experience back in 2017.
Halal status: While these stalls only serve seafood, alcohol is served on the premises so do dine with discretion.
Address: 24 Jeonmang-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan, South Korea (at the bottom of Taejongdae Park)
Opening hours: Hours of stalls differ so do check beforehand.
Direction: Nampo Station (metro line 1), exit 6. Take bus 8 or 30, and get off at Taejongdae. Walk 20 minutes.
2. Try your hands at harvesting sea salt in Shinan
Shinan, located in the Jeollanam-do region is the biggest producer of bay salt (sea salt) in Korea! In fact, Taepyeong Salt Farm, Korea’s largest sun-dried salt producer, contributes 0.1% of the finest Natural Sea Salt in the world 😍You’ll get to experience harvesting your own salt on the farm, where you’ll get to sit on an aqua wheel (something like a water bike) and collect the salt from the field. We’re not sure what it’s like but that sounds like a WHOLE lot of FUN 🥳 Check out KTO’s website here for the full educational experience!
Address: Daecho-ri, Jeungdo-myeon, Sinan-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
Opening hours: 9am-6pm daily
Take a bus from Central City Bus Terminal to Jido Passenger Terminal.
Approx. 20 min from Jido Passenger Terminal.
3. Go camping at Jeju Island
Jeju, also known as the Hawaii of Korea, is a gem in its own right. Gorgeous natural landscapes, idyllic beaches and seafood galore - that's how we'd describe the beautiful island 😍Why not soak in this picturesque beauty in a unique accommodation: Around Follie? Around Follie is only a 20-minute drive from Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, Udo Island, and Seopjikoji, three of Jeju’s most famous attractions.
You can choose to either camp out for the night, spend a little longer in their caravan-inspired room complete with an outdoor deck, or camp out in style at their luxurious lodges. It’s truly a refreshing change of air from the city life, but with a dash of style! Buy some fresh seafood, or pack some food from any of these Muslim-friendly eateries on Jeju Island, and your clothes; all that’s left is to enjoy the outdoors and breathtaking views of the mountains!
Address: South Korea, Jeju-do, Seogwipo-si, Seongsan-eup, 서성일로 433
Opening hours: 9am-6pm daily
Contact: +82 64-783-6226
Direction: Recommended to take a cab because there's no public transportation nearby
4. Experience a different side of South Korea in the countryside with locals at Gangjin
Dubbed as FUSO, or ‘Feeling Up Stress Off’, spend a night or two in the countryside of Gangjin, Jeollanam-do region and learn the laidback lives of the locals. From farming experiences to stargazing at night, and making new memories with your foster family, they truly live up to their FUSO promise 🥰
On HHWT’s recent trip to the Jeollanam-do region, the foster family adapted to our food preferences, so do explain to your hosts that you can’t have meat or alcohol. You can find out more information via their website.
Halal status: No meat was served, and all the dishes also did not contain alcohol. However, you should tell your food preferences to your foster family beforehand.
Contact: +82 61-430-3312
5. Make your own kimchi at Gwangju, the birthplace of kimchi in South Korea
The best kimchi in Korea is said to be from Gwangju, which has assumed the title of the dish’s birthplace, so a visit to Kimchi Town is a must! Sign up for an interactive class experience, where you’ll be making it from scratch 🤩 If you’re interested, there’s a museum nearby for you to learn all about this beloved Korean dish. Ingredients such as the plum extract, shrimp paste, gochugaru sauce (made with chilli and peppers) and fish sauce do not contain alcohol. We recommend that you participate at your own discretion.
Address: 60, Kimchi-ro, Nam-gu, Gwangju
March-October 9am-6:00pm daily
November-February 9am-5.30pm daily
* Last admission 30min before closing
Directions: From Yongsan Station or Seoul Station, take a train to Gwangju Station. From Gwangju Station, take bus Yongbong No. 83 or a taxi to Jungoe Park.
6. Have a photo shoot at an abandoned theme park at Yongmasan
If you’re an avid K-pop fan, pictures of the carousel at this abandoned theme park might look familiar to you. Yongma Land is an abandoned amusement park located in Yongmasan, Seoul. It first opened in 1983 but closed down in 2011 due to failed businesses. While the place no longer functions as an amusement park, it’s been transformed into a giant photo spot, which is open to the public for a small fee! 🤩You’ll get trippy, stylish and even hauntingly beautiful photos at night (don’t go alone though, it’s a little dark 😱). And the carousel? If you pay an additional fee to the owner, he’ll turn the lights on for you and you can pretend you’re filming your own music video 😉
Address: 118 Mangu-ro 70-gil, Jungnang-gu, Seoul
Admission fee: 3000 Won
Opening hours: 9.30am-7pm daily
Direction: Alight at Mangu Station and take Exit 1. You can get there in 15 minutes by foot or take a 5-minute taxi ride.
7. Brave yourself through a ride down one of the longest and steepest zip wires in Asia at Jeongseon
Located in between mountains with an amazing view of a meandering Han River valley is the Jeongseon County Zipwire. Descending at nearly 91m (300ft) in the air, you’ll ride on a 1.2km (3,900 feet) long zip wire with a top speed of 96km/h (60mph) 😱 This might sound a little too intense, but the views at the top are worth it! 😍
Address: 235 Byeongbangchi-gil, Jeongseon-eup, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do, Byeongbangsan Zip Wire
Admission fee: 35,000 won
Opening hours: 9.30am-6pm daily
Direction: Go to the Cheong-Yang-Ni Station in Seoul, get on the Je-Cheon train and transfer to Jeong-Seon train.
8. Visit the most hostile border in the world at the DMZ
There are misperceptions that visiting the DMZ can be unsafe or risky, but there are actually many reliable tour companies that now conduct half-or full-day tours to different key points along the DMZ. Different tours will feature different sights at the DMZ, and you can check some examples here. As the meals provided by the tour may not be Muslim-friendly, request from the tour provider to have the vegetarian option, and ask if you can buy and bring your own meal to eat. Alternatively, stop by Itaewon the previous night to buy some kebabs to bring along 😊
For more information, refer to KTO’s website here.
9. Take a stroll on Korea’s largest makeshift rollercoaster in Pohang
If the breakneck speeds and heart-dropping feelings on a rollercoaster aren’t for you, you can take the less intense counterpart: strolling along a ‘rollercoaster’ at Pohang Space Walk 😍 It’s not a rollercoaster per se; it’s actually a walkable art installation! As you climb up the structure, you’ll be treated to a bird’s eye view of Yeongil Bay and Yeongildae Beach. Come at night, and the steel track is lit up with LED lights; it’s a picture-perfect moment that must be captured 🥰 The 333m track has two pathways; one for those who prefer a gentler climb, and the steeper one for those who are up for a little adventure. And it’s safe for your little kiddos too: the steps are wide and sturdy enough to ensure your child’s safety. Children under 110cm in height are not allowed to enter, and those under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Don’t worry though, the curves and loops you see are out of bounds 🤭
Address: Duho-dong, Buk-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Admission fee: Free
Opening hours: Mon-Fri (10am-4pm); Sat & Sun (10am-5pm)
Direction: From the Pohang Station Gyeongbu Line (KTX), make your way to Pohang bus stop. Take Bus 9000 and alight after 12 stops at Hwanho Park station. After you alight, you will be able to spot Pohang Space Walk.
10. Ride a rail bike along abandoned train tracks in Korea’s beautiful country regions
Rail biking through the Korean countryside is simply perfect for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life 😌 Whether you wish to visit Nami Island, explore the natural wonders of Jeju Island, or awe over Yeosu’s maritime beauty, there are many places across South Korea’s countryside that offer you this unique experience to do so 🥰 For a full list, simply search it up on Korea Tourism Organization’s website.
We know you’ll already be visiting South Korea (again 😉) soon, but we want to make each and every visit even more memorable than the next! Why not check out these unique experiences the next time you’re heading there? You’ll be surprised to know the variety of hidden gems waiting for you to explore 😍
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This article is brought to you by the Korea Tourism Organization.