19 Fun things to do in South Korea

19 Fun Things to do in South Korea: Seoul and Jeju Island

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South Korea is located on the far east side of Asia. Around 80% of the entire population lives in the largest cities, such as Seoul and Busan. It has a well-developed infrastructure and is one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries.

In my opinion, South Korea is one of the best countries to visit. The culture is rich and diverse and (my favorite) the food is beyond amazing! There is so much to explore in this country, especially some very unique experiences!

In this guide, you’ll find fun things to do, quirky things unique to South Korea, some historical and cultural things to do, and things to do when island hopping to Jeju.

19 Fun Things to do in South Korea

1. Visit a Unique Cafe

South Korea is known for having uniquely themed cafes.

One of them is a meerkat-themed cafe where you can purchase a drink and enjoy viewing meerkats running around an enclosed area. You also have the option to sit in an enclosed area and play with the meerkats.

Seoul South Korea Quirky cafe meerkat cafe

Another cafe is experiencing first-class on an airplane. You are able to choose your own first-class seat, order your drink and get a nice chair massage while you’re at it! Everything in this cafe is full of airplane-like items.

One of my favorites is a board game cafe. I’m a board game junkie, so it was wonderful spending the afternoon playing games with close friends and a delicious drink while playing so many new games.

There is so much more from dog-themed to pancake-themed–choose your own experience!

2. Experience a Korean Club

Disclaimer: I haven’t actually been to a club in America (my home country) so I’m not sure what the actual experience is supposed to be like.

I’m not much of a “clubber,” but I do think that going to a Korean club is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing and if you’re down to experience it, check out the nightlife scene!

One of the top 5 clubs in the world is located in South Korea called Octagon with multiple stories and a pool. Soap Seoul is another option with a focus more on hosting the best DJs rather than the dancing.

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3. K-pop Holographic Concert

Because K-Pop stars are so popular in South Korea, they may not be able to hold concerts as frequently as the demand.

A holographic concert is very a unique experience where you can choose to see your favorite K-Pop star or group and they will perform for you in holographic form.

The best part is that the technology is so good that the concerts can be more fun than an actual live concert. They are able to create compelling visuals and also connect with the audience.

We attended a BTS holographic concert with about 30 other people. The concert went through several of their songs and kept us all engaged.

One of my friends was actually selected through a random generator to interact with the holographic forms of the stars – it was quite the experience!

4. Go to an amusement park like Lotte World

Lotte World is known as the world’s largest indoor amusement park and can be found in Lotte World Mall, the largest shopping mall in South Korea! There are more than 40 attractions at this amazing place.

There are exciting attractions such as Magic Island, the Gyro Drop, and multiple parades throughout the day! After you’re done spending time in the amusement park, you can go shopping in the mall!

A fun thing to do in South Korea would be to have a picnic on the Cheonggyecheon Stream and enjoy nature in the city.

5. Visit Cheonggyecheon Stream

Cheonggyecheon Stream is a waterway that flows through areas of Seoul, which was once covered by concrete for transportation development before becoming a recreational park in the middle of Seoul.

The area is now full of plant and insect life. Opening up the stream has even cooled down the city temperatures! This is a great area for a picnic and hanging out in the middle of the city with nature.

6. K-Star Road

K-star road is a k-pop fan’s dream come true!

After exiting the Apgujeong Rodeo Station, you will find GangnamDol. This compound word means “Gangnam idol/doll” and you’ll see a number of life-sized dolls all along K-star road.

Each of these dolls represents a popular Korean star or group and you can take a picture with them!

Keep an eye out on your trip as you might spot someone famous here!

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7. Gangnam Neighborhood

After you walk down K-star road, take a tour of Gangnam, which is a district in Seoul that’s known for its upscale shopping and cafe culture.

It’s kind of similar to Beverly Hills – things are very modern, sleek, and trendy here!

One of the most popular things to do in Gangnam is going to Garosu-Gil (tree-lined street) where you can walk around the cafes, visit small shops filled with cute items, or rest at one of the outdoor seating areas while enjoying your coffee or tea. 

8. Go Shopping at Dongdaemun Market

Dongdaemun Market is one of the largest traditional open-air markets in South Korea (26 shopping malls and 30,000 specialty shops!). There are many things to see and buy here, including fabric shops, office supplies, toys, and even pet stores!

It’s known for being a night market, but it is now essentially open 24 hours a day. If you’re looking for Korean goods, this is your one-stop-shop!

Try some local eats

9. Grab Lunch at Gwangjang Market 

Gwangjang Market is a well-known food market where locals will come grab lunch and hang out.

It’s filled with spicy rice cakes (tteokbokki), noodles (kalguksu), or my favorite, kimbap. (I call it the Korean version of sushi, but that’s not quite right either! Just imagine it looks like a sushi roll!) There is so much more, so go with an empty stomach!

10. Eat Korean BBQ and Drink Soju

Korean BBQ is well known for its abundance of meat, fresh vegetables, and unlimited side dishes. You generally cook the food yourself at your table and enjoy it with all the sides.

Things like BBQ pork (samgyeopsal) and beef brisket (bulgogi) are two of my favorite meats to order when I’m eating Korean BBQ.

If you ever want to save money while still feeling like a local, head over to the small BBQ tents right outside of bars late at night for some delicious pork skewers (dak-galbi).

Soju is a local alcoholic drink distilled from rice, barley, or sweet potato.

It’s cheap (less than $3 USD per bottle), potent (about 22%), and easily found at any convenience store.

Soju is served cold in shot glasses that are often shared amongst friends while eating dinner or having snacks on the street. Soju is also a great addition to your Korean BBQ meal.

11. Eat Kimchi

Kimchi is a special Korean pickled salad full of fermented cabbage and spice. The taste is actually really addicting, and things like kimchi fried rice (kimchi-bokkeumbap) and kimchi pancakes (kimchi-jeon) are some of my favorite things to eat in Korea.

My favorite is to add it to my Korean BBQ!

Kimchi can be pretty spicy, so it’s a good idea to request mild or no spice if you’re sensitive to spicy food.

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See the Historical & Cultural Side of South Korea

Another fun thing to do in South Korea is try on the traditional garb, Hanbok, and take some pictures.

12. Try on Hanbok

The traditional Korean garb known as hanbok is extremely popular for tourists to try on during their trip to South Korea. Koreans usually wear hanboks for holidays or special occasions.

It’s also popular for Koreans to don hanbok on things like photoshoots for weddings or couples’ photos. If you’re lucky, you might even spot someone wearing hanbok while riding the subway!

13. Visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is the border between North and South Korea.

This 160-mile long, 2.5-mile wide stretch of land was established after the Korean War in 1953 but has never been signed by a peace treaty.

You can look into North Korea from Panmunjeom which sits in the middle of this area and is known as the “truce village.” You can even climb down to one of the tunnels that were used to travel between North and South Korea.

If you choose your time wisely, you might even see some South Korean soldiers warming up.

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14. Go to Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace is the second-largest grand palace (after Gyeongbokgung) and was also known as the East Palace. This palace was favored because it has more traditional elements and was built into nature.

A few points of interest here are Donhwamun Gate (the largest gate of all the palaces), Injeongjeon Hall where the national treasure was held, and Geumcheongyo Bridge, one of the oldest bridges.

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15. Take a Picture at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty from 1395 – 1910 (the largest of the 5 grand palaces). It’s been well restored to its former glory, and even has Hanoks (Korean traditional houses) on-site where people can come and stay in them.

Gyeongbokgung area is a historical area that has many things to see, such as Gwanghwamun Gate and Gyeonghoeru Pavilion.

This area is a beautiful photo op! You can wear your hanboks here and take some cultural pictures with the palace behind you.

16. Walk Through Bukchon Hanok Village

After hanging out in Gyeongbokgung Palace, take a walking tour through Bukchon Hanok Village. This area is well known for being one of the oldest neighborhoods with traditional Korean houses called “hanok” and for its many things to see such as cafes, shops, and cultural centers.

You can walk through the streets of this area and view the beauty of the architecture in Bukchon Hanok Village.

Hang out on Jeju Island

17. Watch the Haenyeo Women Divers in Jeju

The Haenyeo Women in Jeju are part of a small community where it is a matriarchal hierarchy. The women divers will go out swimming in the ocean to catch the food for the day.

Over the years, viewing the women divers has become a viewing event for tourists.

18. Maze Land in Jeju

Maze Land is an outdoor maze built for fun, entertainment, and to test your abilities to find your way out. After you complete the maze, you can go into the museum next door and discover more brain teasers.

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19. Hiking in Jeju – Yeongsil Trail

If you are looking for a challenging hike in South Korea, Yeongsil Trail is your answer. This well-known hiking trail has become popular for many hikers because of its difficulty in scaling up to 6km.

However, the views after the hike are amazing and the quietness of nature all around you is so beautiful.

Map of Things to do in South Korea

How to Get Around South Korea

You can walk to many places while staying in Seoul. Transportation hubs are also varied throughout the city so you can easily jump on a subway or train to get to places.

The best way to get around South Korea is by taking the subway. This is an easy way to get around because you can buy one transportation card and it will work for any city.

Map of Subway Metro system for how to get around when in South Korea.
Photo Credit from VisitKorea

Also, the bus system in Korea is extremely developed, with buses that are available at least once every 10 minutes anywhere in Seoul during the day (you may need more time if they are running less often or it is late).

The final way of getting around South Korea is by taking a taxi, which usually costs about 2-4 dollars per kilometer depending on the number of kilometers that you travel (there seems to be no limit). The meter will start running when you get in the cab, and it will stop when you get out of the cab.

Where to Stay in South Korea

There are a number of things to consider when looking for things to do in South Korea. One thing that you should consider is the area that you will be staying in because this will affect what things nearby you can enjoy or things that you might want to do during your visit.

I would recommend staying in the city lines of Seoul so you can enjoy all the unique experiences and also get around quickly. Hostelword is a great option for your stay in South Korea – we loved our stay at Hongdae Birdsnest Hostel.

Things to Pack for South Korea

What to pack for things to do in South Korea.

As always, check the weather before you go to South Korea. In the months from March to May and September to November may be cooler weather with rainstorms in the forecast.

Here is my packing list for South Korea:

  • Rain Jacket / Light Jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Cute dress for the club
  • Cute outfit for the concert
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues (for the public restrooms)
  • Hand Sanitizer

The Best Time to Visit South Korea

The best time to visit South Korea is from March to May and from September to November.

The peak season is from July to August because this is when all things are running, it’s warm but not too hot, and you can do things outside as well as visit the local night markets.

The best time to visit South Korea.

Wrapping Up 19 Fun Things To Do in South Korea

Visiting South Korea was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had traveling abroad. I grew up watching the culture through K-Dramas and had so much fun trekking through this country.

I hope this list helps you to create a unique itinerary to create memorable times here!

What item on the list sounds like an interesting (and fun!) time for you? Comment below and let me know!

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My Favorite Travel Tips + Resources

Here is a quick glance at all my go-to travel tips and resources that I use to plan every trip! For more information, check out my travel resources page.

  • Booking flights: I use Google Flights to check all routes and find the best flights. Then I compare them with Expedia (for reward points) and Skyscanner (for the lowest prices) before I book.
  • Accommodations: I love budget-friendly rentals or booking at a hotel where I can earn points. For hotels, I go through Booking.com or book directly with Marriott (for points + rewards). When I travel internationally, I’ll book through Hostelworld for very budget-friendly stays. For vacation rentals, I usually look through Airbnb, but you could also use Vrbo. Expedia also has some great bundles for hotels, flights, and car rentals altogether.
  • Transportation: For travel in the United States, I love renting through Expedia with Enterprise or Thrifty. They have been consistent and provide the best customer service. For international travel, I’ll book through Rome2Rio or Eurail for trains or bus fares.
  • Travel Credit Card: I book all my travel (flights, hotels, car rentals) through my favorite travel credit card. I also use this card for everything on my trip including dining, excursions, and souvenirs. Apart from earning 5x more points towards free travel, there are amazing benefits: no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement (so I can book worry-free), fraud protection, emergency assistance – it’s really a great deal! Check it out here!
  • Vaccines and Medications: Check the CDC website for updates on necessary vaccines to enter a country, including updates on Covid-19 and recommended places to visit. I recommend getting all the vaccines you need before you go!
  • Tours + Experiences: I absolutely love my tours! Everything from eerie walking ghost tours to food tours, I’ll usually book something every trip either through Viator or GetYourGuide. I also love LastMinute.com for very affordable tickets to theaters and other experiences in Europe.
  • What to Pack: I almost always travel by backpack. For products I like, check out my packing guide page for all the things I take with me on different trips.