Hundred reasons to visit Korea now
The 100 Must-visit Tourist Spots in Korea is a compilation of recommended tourist attractions that are selected and promoted every two years by the MCST and KTO.
The new must-visit list consists of 61 cultural attractions that include heritages, buildings, and entertainment facilities; and 39 nature attractions such as forests, beaches, wetlands, and more.
Regional division consists of Seoul capital area (24 attractions), Gangwon-do (10 attractions), Chungcheong-do area (13 attractions), Jeolla-do area (17 attractions), Gyeongsang-do area (30 attractions), and Jeju-do area (6 attractions). Compared to the previous list, 33 attractions have gained a new recognition as must-visit places.
A total of 14 attractions have remained on the list for six consecutive years. Among the 14 are the five royal palaces in Seoul (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Gyeonghuigung Palace, and Deoksugung Palace), Jeju Olle Trail, Jeonju Hanok Village, and Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto in Gyeongju, all of which continue to receive great attention from domestic and international tourists.
Here are the top five according for the Middle Eastern traveller, according to KTO Regional Director Sang Yong Lim:
Coex (Starfield) – Seoul
Coex Starfield in Korea is not just a massive shopping complex but also houses a unique and stunning library. The library is spread over two floors and covers an area of 283,000 square feet, and has over 50,000 books and a vast collection of magazines, newspapers and audio-visual materials, making it one of the largest libraries in Asia. The shelves are stacked with books from a wide range of genres, including literature, history, art, and more. The library’s design is impressive, with towering bookshelves, a beautiful spiral staircase, and floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural light and breathtaking views. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the mall and indulge in some quiet reading time.
Finally, the library in Coex Starfield is not just a place for reading, but it also hosts various cultural events, book talks, and workshops, making it a vibrant hub for the community.
The Five Royal Palaces – Seoul
The Five Royal Palaces of Seoul are a must visit for the following reasons: 1) Rich Cultural Heritage: These palaces showcase the rich cultural heritage of Korea and provide a glimpse into the country’s royal history. 2) Architectural Marvels: The palaces are beautiful architectural marvels that have been meticulously restored to their former glory. The intricate designs, ornate decorations, and beautiful gardens will amaze you. 3) Cultural Activities: The palaces host various cultural activities and performances such as traditional music and dance performances, traditional costume experiences, and re-enactments of the royal court ceremonies, providing a unique and immersive cultural experience. 4) The palaces are situated in the heart of the bustling city of Seoul, yet they offer a peaceful oasis where you can escape the city’s noise and crowds.
Nami Island – Gangwon-do
Nami Island is famous for its stunning natural scenery, including forests, lakes, and rivers. The island is especially popular in the fall when the leaves turn vibrant shades of orange, yellow and red. There are also many fun outdoor activities to enjoy on the island, including biking, zip-lining, and nature walks. The island also has several gardens, including a beautiful rose garden. Nami Island has several cultural attractions, including museums, galleries, and cultural centres. The island is also famous for its sculpture park, which features over 70 sculptures created by artists from around the world. Nami Island also offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The island has a laid-back vibe and is the perfect place to relax and unwind, enjoying the natural beauty and tranquillity of the island.
Bijarim Forest – Jeju-do
Bijarim Forest is home to a rare and ancient forest of nutmeg trees, some of which are over 500 years old. The forest is the largest of its kind in the world and has been designated a natural monument. The forest is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, including rolling hills, mountains and streams.
The forest has many hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the island. It also has cultural significance as it has been used as a sacred site for centuries by local Jeju Islanders who consider it a place of spiritual significance.
Gamcheon Culture Village – Busan
The village features a unique and colourful architecture that is a blend of Korean and European styles. The houses are stacked on top of each other, creating a maze-like structure of alleyways and staircases.
It is famous for its street art, with murals and installations that add to the village’s whimsical and artistic charm. The street art has been created by local artists, adding to the village’s cultural significance. Gamcheon Culture Village has several cultural attractions, including galleries, museums, and cultural centres. The village is a hub for local artists, and many of the buildings have been converted into art studios and galleries. The village also offers stunning views of the city of Busan, including the harbour and the surrounding mountains. The village is situated on a hill, making it a popular spot for panoramic views.