Ten Things all First Timer’s to Korea Should Do

If you are traveling to Korea, there are some things that most people can agree on that should be on any visitors to do list when coming to Korea and the longer you have in the Korea, the more of these I recommend you trying.

  1. Jimjilbang-Jimjiilbangs are public baths. For many visitors the thought of bathing with strangers might be a little weird, but once you get over being in your birthday suit the water is hot and amazing for sore muscles and if you get an ajumma(older Korean woman) to scrub you until all your dead skin literally comes off the next day your skin will feel silky smooth like a baby’s bottom.
  2. Korean barbecue-You basically cook your own food at a Korean barbecue. You usually can pick between pork or beef and there is a large majority of sauces and sides to choose from. It is an experience to cook your own meat and to flavor it how you like. Many Koreans enjoy a nice beer with there meat and its culturally something that many Koreans do on Friday night to celebrate the end of the work week.
  3. Animal cafes- Most places around the world don’t have animal cafes, but Korea has more than you can count. From cat cafes to dog cafes to meerkat cafes. Its a great place to get a latte and sit with some friendly animals and destress or rest your legs for 30mins to a few hours while petting some furry friends.
  4. DMZ- If you are staying in Korea more than a few days then it is worth it to book a DMZ tour. You might need to book up to two weeks in advance and these tours can be cancelled quickly due to tensions between the areas, but this tour allows you to get an in-dept look at the border of North and South Korea. Depending on which tour you book you can talk to a North Korean refugee. This is a tour that is both exciting and full of history about North and South Korea.
  5. Myeongdong Shopping District- If you like to shop this is the place for you and most Korean stores can be found in this one area. From all the makeup chains, big clothing names, and Kpop, and Kdrama merchandise it can all be found here. There is also a variety of street found here and even though it can be a little overpriced. It is worth it to try some Korean street food while you are having some fun shopping for any and everything you want to take back home with you.
  6.  Gyeongbokgung Palace- This is an amazing palace situated in northern Seoul and is one among five palaces but it is the largest. It is beautiful year round and has a lot of history to it. It was built six centuries ago in the Chosun Dynasty and was later destroyed by fire, but was restored under King Gojong.
  7. Hanbok- Hanbok is the traditional wear of the Koreans and these beautiful traditional clothes can be rented and worn around for some stunning pictures. You can hire a photographer through some of the places that you rent them or be your own photographer, but it is also best noted that if you rent these traditional outfits you can get into any of the five palaces above for free and take beautiful pictures around the palace like you are the  prince or princess of the palace. Many of the Hanbok rentals can be found near the palaces in northern Seoul.
  8. Seoraksan-It is the third highest mountain in Korea, and is easily accessible from Seoul for a nice day trip. It is best during fall or spring when the temperatures are ideal for hiking, or if you would like to see the one of the peaks of Seoraksan without the hiking then there is a cable car to take you to the Gwongeumseong so you can enjoy the view without the hours of hiking.
  9. Jeju Island- Jeju is known for its beautiful beaches with crystal clear water. There are the typical water activists such as: snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing, but there are many other things to do around Jeju such as hike the highest mountain in Korea: Hallasan. If you like things that aren’t in the normal there is a Teddy Bear Museum, which has Teddy bears of all shapes and sizes.
  10. Gwangjang Market-If you want to get a real authentic taste of Korea then go to this market. It is known for being one of the oldest in Korea. It sells everything from fruit, meats, veggies, to the traditional Korean pancake. If you want to get a feel for what traditional Korea was like visiting to this market is a must do. Between the food you can eat and shops you will have a unique experience that can not be replaced.

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