Modernity and Culture: Korea's Top Ten Places to Travel

From the advance capital city of Seoul to South Korea's historical sites and captivating landscape. We listed down places travelers shouldn't miss while in South Korea.

Seoraksan National Park 
Seoraksan National Park also spelled Soraksan, is a national park in Gangwon, South Korea. It is listed by the South Korean government with UNESCO as a tentative World Heritage site. The nature reserve protects an area of 163.6 square kilometers and contains many notable high peaks measuring over 1,200 meters above sea level including the highest peak of Soraksan, Daecheongbong, which has an altitude of 1,708 meters. The nature reserve contains mountain ranges of dissected granite and gneiss and is characterized by spectacular rocky hills and ridges.

Seoul is the capital of South Korea. Settlement began in Baekje, Wirye-seong, in 17 BC. The location of that site is thought to be within the boundaries of modern day Seoul, and the remains may be at Pungnap Toseong or Mongchon Toseong. It became the capital of the Joseon Dynasty in 1394. There were some modernization efforts by the late 19th century and Seoul became the first city in East Asia to have electricity, trolley cars, water, telephone, and telegraph systems all at the same time. Soul is now a megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world. The Seoul National Capital Area is the world's second largest metropolitan area with over 25 million inhabitants, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province. Gyeongbok-gung(경복궁,景福宮), Yulgukno (subway Gyeongbokgung or Gwanghwamun). This is Seoul's grandest Joseon Dynasty-era palace and the seat of power for centuries before it was razed in 1592 by a Japanese invasion (and again by the Japanese in 1910). This was the first palace used by the Joseon Dynasty. Large parts have now been restored and the vast grounds also house the Joseon Palace Museum and the Korean Folk Museum.

Busan formerly romanized as Pusan, is a city located in the south-eastern province of South Gyeongsang, South Korea. Geochilsan-guk existed in the second and third and fourth centuries as a chiefdom of Jinhan. It was absorbed by Silla and renamed Geochilsan-gun. The word Geochilsan means rough mountain, probably referring to Hwangnyeongsan, located at the center of the city. Today Busan is South Korea's second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of around 3.6 million. The Metropolitan area (includes adjacent cities of Gimhae and Yangsan) population is 4,399,515 as of 2010. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the world's fifth busiest seaports by cargo tonnage. Beomeo-sa Temple, subway Beomeosa can be found here. It is one of Korea's Great 5 Temples, this large temple complex is located up in the mountains, seemingly much further away from the big city than the few kilometers it is. Founded in 678, the buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt many times, but they're still atmospheric.

Dadohae Haesang National Marine Park
Dadohae Haesang National Marine Park was designated in 1981 as the largest national park in South Korea. The total area is 2,321.5 km2 (896.3 sq mi) with 1,986.6 km2 (767.0 sq mi) being marine area and 334.8 km2 (129.3 sq mi) being land area. Main attractions of Dadohaehaesang National Park are Hongdo (amazing sunset), Heuksando (beautiful Camellia flowers) and Baekdo (ancient mysteries). In terms of biodiversity, 1,541 plant species, 11 mammal species, 147 bird species, 885 insect species, 13 amphibious reptile species, 154 ocean water fish species, and 11 freshwater fish species have inhabited in this area.

Buyeo is a county in South Chungcheong Province, South Korea. Buyeo-eup, the county's capital, was the site of the capital of the Baekje kingdom from AD 538 to 660, when it was called Sabi.

Gyeongju Buso Mountain Fortress, (부소산성, Busosanseong), is located north of the rotary north the bus terminal. Busosanseong is a park showcasing the ancient fortresses through wooden-covered paths around the park. Some of the prime sights are: Samchungsa Temple (where they honour three servants from China), Yeongillu Pavillion, Soldiers' Huts, Banwolli Pavillion (with the best sights of the town of Buyeo below), Gungnyeosa Shrine, Sajaru Pavillion, Nakwaam Rock (where legends have it that 3,000 women threw themselves to death below into the river after their empire being invaded by the Chinese forces), and Goransa Temple (it is said that drinking a cup of the spring water at the temple would make you three years younger.) In 940, the founder of Goryeo, King Taejo, changed the city's name to "Gyeongju", which literally means "Congratulatory district". In 987, as Goryeo adopted a system of having three additional capitals in politically important provinces outside Gaegyeong (nowadays Kaesong), Gyeongju was designated as "Donggyeong" ("East Capital"). However, that title was removed in 1012, the 3rd year of King Hyeongjong, due to political rivalries at that time, though Gyeongju was later made the seat of Yeongnam Province.

Jirisan National Park
Jirisan National Park is located on the boundaries of Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do, and Gyeongsangnam-do. Jirisan was the first park to be designated as a national park in South Korea, in 1967. One of the many amazing attractions here is the Ssanggyesa Temple it is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It is located on the southern slopes of Jirisan, southwest of sacred Samshin-bong Peak, in the Hwagye-dong Valley of Hwagae-myeon, Hadong County, in the province of Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea.

DMZ is within P'anmunjŏm, is on the demarcation line between North and South Korea. The 38th parallel north—which divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half—was the original boundary between the United States and Soviet brief administration areas of Korea at the end of World War II. Upon the creation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, informally North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, informally South Korea) in 1948, it became a de facto international border and one of the tensest fronts in the Cold War. A site to see in DMZ is Camp Bonifas, at the southern entrance. This is the US/South Korean military base standing "In Front of Them All" should an attack come. Visitors to Panmunjeom will change buses and get briefed here before entering the DMZ.

Jejudo is capital is the city of Jeju. According to legend, three demi-gods emerged from Samsung-hyeol which is said to have been on the northern slopes of Mt. Halla and became the progenitors of the Jeju people who founded the Kingdom of Tamna. A popular tourist attraction here is the Manjanggul Lava-tube, (Jeju North Coast) is a 7 km cave, of which only a 1 km part can be accessed by the public. The tube is up to 23 m high and has been created by lava streams running through.

Bulguksa Temple
Bulguksa Temple is a wonderful temple well outside the main city. It can be reached by bus every half-hour. Try to go in the early morning when there are less tourists. It's a humongous working temple so treat the site with the respect it deserves. It is possibly the most impressive temple in Korea. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Buddhist art, and was built in the 8th century during the Silla Kingdom period.


brandy thomson said...

I had a great chance to visit the Soraksan National Park last year just before my chinese bus tours with my friends. It's a very beautiful and amazing place on the earth. We walked around and took a cable car then walked to the peak.

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