EXO introduces travel destinations in Korea as the newly appointed Korea Tourism Honorary Ambassador of 2018. The members starring in these promotional videos present interesting experiences for tourists in 6 distinct themes: history & culture, Korean daily life, trends, adventure, healing, and Korean wave. The videos begin with a question from each member of EXO stating, “Have you ever, in Korea?” and are followed by scenes of EXO participating in various attractions based on each theme. Let’s go on a journey with EXO to the special travel destination themes!
A search for the Korean experience, Korea’s history and traditions
Among many tourists in Korea, finding the most Korean experience is highly anticipated. There are many places that can fulfill that need, from palace tours to hanok (traditional Korean house) village tours, as well as DMZ tours where you can get close to the remnants from the Korean War, and so on. What is your most highly anticipated aspect of Korea? Let’s go on a journey in search of what you would like to see in Korea’s history and culture.
Enjoy a stroll in the palace under the moonlight ‘Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour’
For a Korean-style destination, palaces in Seoul are most popular among tourists. In particular, Changdeokgung Palace is even said to be the most traditional and authentic of Seoul’s five palaces and has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also great for long walks within the palace where you can enjoy viewing the harmony of traditional architecture and nature. The palace in the daytime is beautiful, however if you happen to visit during their special evening tours, open only during certain seasons, you will be able to view the ancient royal palace sparkling in the moonlight.
- ☞ Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99)
- ☞ Directions: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 3, approx. 18 min. walk
- ☞ Event period: Period 1 Aug. 23 - Sep. 16, Period 2 Sep. 20 – Oct. 28 / Sundays
- ☞ Tour hours
- Period 1: 20:00-22:00
- Period 2: Round 1 19:00-21:00 / Round 2 20:00-22:00
- ☞ Number of participants: 100 people per tour
- ☞ Fare: 30,000 won
- ☞ Ticket reservations (Fall/Winter) :
- Online reservations: ticket.auction.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
* Must sign up to make reservations, limited to two tickets per ID
- Phone reservations & inquiries: +82-1566-1369 (Korean, English)
* Reservations through phone possible for foreigners
* Monday-Saturday: 09:00-18:00 (Closed Sundays and public holidays) / break time 12:00-13:00
※ Please pick up tickets at the registration desk located in front of the ticket booth 40 minutes before session starts (Must provide valid ID, reservation website ID, reservation number or information)
※ Tour will be canceled with a full refund in the case of heavy rain (more than 5mm before 11:00 on the day of the tour)
※ Valid ID required (lack of valid ID will result in automatic cancellation of reservation)
- ☞ Websites
Changdeokgung Palace: www.cdg.go.kr (Korean, English)
Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation: www.chf.or.kr (Korean, English)
Korean history preserved, Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
The Demilitarized Zone, more commonly known as the DMZ, spans through 7 cities and counties (Paju, Yeoncheon, Cheorwon, Hwacheon, Yanggu, Inje, Goseong) between Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do and was originally closed to the public. Recently however, a few parts of the DMZ have been opened to the general public, attracting many tourists and developing into a travel destination. Visitors who are interested are recommended to use group tour programs that visit the main spots since travel within the region still remains extremely restricted.
More history & culture destinations
Experience the everyday lives of Koreans
If you’ve already visited Korea and the traditional Korean destinations, you might be more interested in learning how Korean’s spend their time. The merits of Korea’s public transportation are already well known, from WiFi within subways to their late-night operations and active safety measures. In addition, indoor play culture, such as VR and indoor sports, is gaining popularity among young Koreans. Here are some Korean life style experiences that let tourists get a peek into the daily lives of Koreans.
Oppan Gangnam Style! Discover the area of Gangnam
This district is the background for the 2012 famous hit song, “Gangnam Style.” From the tall buildings and streets packed with cars at all hours to the people passing by busily, you can get a glimpse of modern Korea. Especially, Gangnam encompasses all the hot places frequented by Koreans in their 20s-30s; Garosu-gil Road, Apgujeong, Cheongdam-dong, COEX, and many more. It can take all day to explore the area because it is filled with cafés and restaurants, as well as places for shopping which include specialty shops with street fashion and famous name brand shops.
- ☞ Address: Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 신사동)
- ☞ Directions: Sinsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 8, approx. 9 min. walk
- ☞ Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 영동대로 513 코엑스)
- ☞ Directions: Bongeunsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 7, approx. 1 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: 10:00-18:00 (closing times for events within COEX may vary)
My nights are more fun than your days, Bamdokkaebi Night Market
The Bamdokkaebi Night Market uses Korea’s goblin character with different themes in each of its locations, Yeouido, Banpo, Dongdaemun, Cheonggyecheon, and Oil Tank Culture Park. The night market is full of activities with zones for food trucks, photo spots, and make-your-own crafts as well as a variety of cultural concerts. The market continues the relationship of consumer and producer in a new way for young entrepreneurs as they create unique and original items that could not be found in previous shopping districts.
Bamdokkaebi Night Market
- ☞ Event period: March 30 - October 28, 2018
- ☞ Website: www.bamdokkaebi.org (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ Inquiries (Dasan Call Center): +82-2-731-2121 (→ press 9 → press 1 for English / 2 for Chinese / 3 for Japanese / 4 for Vietnamese / 5 for Mongolian)
※ Operating hours: 09:00-18:00 (Weekdays / Closed Weekends and public holidays)
- - Yeouido Hangang Park World Night Market
- ☞ Address: Cascade Plaza, 330, Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 영등포구 여의동로 330 여의도한강공원 물빛광장)
- ☞ Directions: Yeouinaru Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 2, approx. 10 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: Fridays 18:00-23:00 / Saturdays 17:00-23:00
- - Banpo Hangang Park Romantic Moonlight Market
- ☞ Address: Moonlight Square, 40, Sinbanpo-ro 11-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 서초구 신반포로11길 40 반포한강공원 달빛공원)
- ☞ Directions: Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 8-1, approx. 17 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: Fridays 18:00-23:00 / Saturdays 17:00-23:00
- - Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) Youth Runway Market
- ☞ Address: Palgeori Plaza, 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 을지로 281)
- ☞ Directions: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 1, approx. 10 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: Fridays & Saturdays 18:00-23:00
- - Cheonggyecheon Stream Time Tour Market
- ☞ Address: Gwanggyo Bridge, 14, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 서린동 14 광통교 일대)
- ☞ Directions: Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 5, approx. 3 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: Saturdays 17:00-22:30 / Sundays 16:00-21:00
- - Oil Tank Culture Park Forest Picnic Market
- ☞ Address: Culture Square, 87, Jeungsan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 마포구 증산로 87 문화비축기지)
- ☞ Directions: World Cup Stadium Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2, approx. 10 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: Saturdays & Sundays 16:00-21:00 walk
※ Additional operations added on Fridays and Sundays during event periods
- - Cheonggye Plaza Seasonal Market
- ☞ Address: Seorin-dong 14-1, Jeungsan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 서린동14-1 청계광장)
- ☞ Directions: Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5, approx. 3 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: Seasonal Friday-Sunday 18:00-23:00
※ Season: May 11-13 / June 15-17 / September 14-16 / October 19-21
More daily life destinations
What trends are popular among young adults in Korea?
Koreans in their 20s and 30s stand in the center of the never-ending changing of trends. The places they venture become the basis for trends and their lifestyles become culture. Rather than franchise cafés that can be easily found on the busy streets of Seoul, cafés that have their own unique personality are becoming more popular. This change of pace in lifestyle is apparent in the rising interest of places like Ikseon-dong and Mangwon-dong, creating a culture of their own.
Ikseon-dong alley tour, a hot place hidden in between houses
Ikseon-dong is full of fascinating alleyways. For residents, it is just their home, but for visitors, it is like a treasure hunt for interesting shops. The alleys are barely wide enough for three people, but if you keep walking you’ll find yourself surrounded by unique shops. The shops try to blend into the residential environment by maintaining hanok or old-style interior, but you will notice each shop has its own distinct concept. Thus, the vintage shops, clothes shops, and cafés come together to create an alley culture filled with the personality of Ikseon-dong.
Despite our differences, everyone can become friends in Itaewon
The most diverse area in Korea would be Itaewon where people from all backgrounds are gathered and welcomed. In the past, Hangang River provided ease of transportation for foreign military soldiers and they often stayed in this area. Naturally, foreign influence from the soldiers came into Itaewon, creating the atmosphere it has today. At daytime, the distinct culture is mainly visible, but once it becomes night time, festivities take over. People from all parts of the world share stories of their culture, eat, drink, and become friends. This exotic culture attracts many Koreans as well. The neighborhood is home to many foreigners as well as shops with various cultural concepts.
- ☞ Address: Ikseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 익선동)
※ Please be mindful and quiet because it is a residential area
- ☞ Directions: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 6, approx. 10 min. walk
- ☞ Address: Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 용산구 이태원동)
- ☞ Directions: Noksapyeong Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 2, approx. 16 min. walk
More trend destinations
Adventures in Korea will keep you coming back
There are many adventures for repeat visitors in Korea. The Boryeong Mud Festival, Suncheonman Bay tidal flat experience, Jeju Haenyeo (female diver) experience and so many more can only be experienced in Korea. There are also exhilarating experiences such as Namiseom Zipwire, Danyang Skywalk, and Tongyeong Skyline Luge. Let’s go on an adventure filled with activities at these travel destinations!
Heaven for surfers, Yangyang Surfyy Beach
Surfyy Beach is Korea’s first private beach dedicated to surfing and has become famous among surfers. It has a separate area called the swimming zone where you can enjoy various water sport activities. There is also a bean bag zone and a hammock zone for maximum relaxation even for those not interested in surfing. Visitors have the freedom to enjoy all facilities offered by Surfyy Beach with the purchase of a Surfyy Pass. You can mingle with other visitors at the private beach during the after party, a special event unique to Surfyy Beach which takes place after sunset.
- ☞ Address: 119, Hajodaehaean-gil, Hyeonbuk-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 양양군 현북면 하조대해안길 119)
- ☞ Directions: From Yangyang Bus Terminal, take a taxi for approx. 20 min.
- ☞ Operating hours
- Beach hours: 08:00-19:00 (Closing time depends on sunset)
- Surfyy Pass Zone: 10:00-18:00
- ☞ Surfyy Pass price: One-day ticket 10,000 won (purchase on-site)
※ The pass comes with a choice of a body board rental or one free drink (including beer)
※ The pass gives access to Hammock Zone, parasols, beach beds, hot water shower, surf yoga lessons, Beanbag Zone, and lockers
- ☞ Website: www.surfyy.com (Korean only)
- ☞ Facebook: www.facebook.com/surfyybeach (updates on after party schedule)
- ☞ Inquiries: +82-33-672-0695 (Korean only)
Feel the wind while you ride, Tongyeong Skyline Luge
As the city slogan states, “cable car in the sky, luge on land,” Tongyeong is full of exciting activities. In particular, luge is easy to learn for children and is popular among touring families. After taking a lift to the peak 100 meters high, visitors ride the 1.5 kilometer long course at high speed. The thrill continues as the course has turns, curves, tunnels and a zone for speeding up. You can ride individually starting from a height of 110 cm and heights between 85 cm and 110 cm can ride together with an adult.
- ☞ Address: 178, Balgae-ro, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 통영시 발개로 178)
- ☞ Directions: Take a bus from Dong Seoul Terminal to Tongyeong / From Tongyeong Bus Terminal, approx. 20 min. by taxi
- ☞ Operating hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00-18:00 / Friday 10:00-19:00 / Saturday-Sunday & public holidays 09:00-19:00
※ Last ticketing 15 minutes before closing
※ During peak season, closing times are extended by 1 hour
※ In case of lightning, hurricane, and bad weather, course will be temporarily closed
- ☞ Fees: - Skyline Luge & Skyride: 1 ride pass 12,000 won / 3 ride pass 20,000 won / 5 ride pass 28,000 won
- 1 ride pass for accompanying child 2,000 won
- Skyride roundtrip pass 11,000 won
※ Prices above are for 1 person
※ For families, prices may vary. Please check website beforehand
※ Passes purchased on-site are valid for the purchase date only. Passes purchased online must be used within 90 days
※ Due to website update, online reservations will be unavailable for September
※ Passes may not be passed on to other people
- ☞ Website: www.skylineluge.com (Korean, English)
- ☞ Inquiries: +82-70-4731-8473 (Korean, English)
※ Availability of foreign language assistance depends on work schedule of staff
Find healing of the mind and body in Korea
Spots that are perfect for healing include lush forests and blue oceans which can be found very easily in Korea. The harmony with mountains and oceans are so beautiful that Koreans travel for healing on their days off. You can go trekking in the mountains or relax on the beach. If you can’t travel too far, museums, concerts, and spas are great alternatives. Here, we introduce popular healing spots frequented by Koreans.
Soothe your soul in a lush forest, Saryeoni Forest Trail
Saryeoni Forest Trail has a lush forest of cedar trees and is among the top 31 spots for scenery in Jeju. The forest is composed of Hinoki cypress, Korea oak, and a variety of different trees, and is home to many mammals, birds and reptiles such as the Eurasian badger and Quelpart island mink. The trail causes very little damage to the surroundings so visitors can experience nature at its finest. Regardless of season, the forest is great for trekking because the lush forest gives protection from the cold winter wind and hot summer sun.
- ☞ Address: San 137-1, Gyorae-ri, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do (제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 교래리 산137-1)
- ☞ Directions: From Jeju International Airport (Pyoseon, Sungsan, Namwon) Bus Stop, take Bus No. 112, 122, 132 to Bijarim-ro Gyorye Entrance Bus Stop. Transfer to Bus No. 212, 222, 232, get off at Saryeoni Forest Trail Bus Stop, and walk approximately 4 minutes.
- ☞ Operating hours: 09:00-17:00 (must exit trail by 17:00)
※ In case of heavy rain or snow, entrance may be restricted. Please check before visiting.
- ☞ Website: www.visitjeju.net (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ Inquiries:+82-64-900-8800 (Korean only)
Theater representing Korea, the National Theater of Korea
The first national theater established in Asia, the National Theater of Korea, presents diverse performances spanning over Korea’s traditional arts, ballet, and opera performances. World renowned performance groups and organizations from overseas often hold performances here as well. Visitors can experience the arts in a variety of ways through their long-term and short-term art lessons. National Theater of Korea is especially popular among tourists due to its location near Namsan Seoul Tower and Myeong-dong.
- ☞ Address: 59, Jangchungdan-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 장충단로 59 국립극장)
- ☞ Directions: Dongguk Univ. Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6, approx. 23 min. walk ※ Shuttle bus available before and after performances
- ☞ Directions: Dongguk Univ. Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6, approx. 23 min. walk
※ Shuttle bus available before and after performances
- Before performance: board at Namsan Circular Bus Stop in front of Dongguk Univ. Station, Exit 6 / 10 minute intervals from 1 hour to 20 minutes before performance
- After performance: board at Cultural Plaza in front of Haeoreum Grand Theater, National Theater → Dongguk Univ. Station, Exit 1 → Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit 1 / shuttle bus runs after performance ends
- ☞ Operating hours: hours will vary depending on performance schedule
※ Haeoreum Grand Theater temporarily closed due to remodeling (April 2018 - September 2019)
- ☞ Website: www.ntok.go.kr (Korean, English)
※ Please check website for performance schedules and reservations
- ☞ Inquiries: +82-2-2280-4114 (Korean only)
More healing destinations
A glimpse of celebrities, K-pop live
Among the young tourists that visit Korea, most are avid K-pop fans that learn about Korea and gain interest in Korean culture through K-pop. These tourists enjoy visiting locations regarding their favorite idols. Thus, entertainment and travel destinations are changing to cater to their needs. Let’s take a look at some special locations with your favorite idols.
Must-visit for K-pop manias, SMTOWN
Among the many K-pop studios, SM Town has the most idol goods available. They provide products and foods that represent the numerous famous K-pop singers who made their debut through SM. While visitors can purchase items within the SM Town company building, the ‘SMTOWN THEME PARK IN THE CITY’ within COEX has goods as well as various programs where visitors can experience becoming a K-pop star for a day. The expo is popular among SM manias because you can try out activities such as photo shoots, dancing lessons, singing lessons, and make-up sessions just like the stars.
- ☞ Address: 648, Samseong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 삼성로 648)
- ☞ Directions: Cheongdam Station (Seoul Subway Line 7), Exit 6, approx. 2 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: 10:00-22:00
- ☞ Website: www.smtown.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 영동대로 513 SMTOWN 코엑스아티움)
- ☞ Directions: Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6, approx. 10 min. walk
- ☞ Operating hours: 11:30-21:50 (last entrance 21:00) / Open all year round
※ Concert Hall closed Aug. 27-Sep.14
- ☞ Admission - On-site purchase 18,000 won / Online 16,200 won / Seniors (ages 65 and older) 9,000 won / Infants under age 3 enter free
- Discount for revisits 14,400 won (On-site & online 20% discount, limited to holder of SMTOWN Museum ticket; you will be required to pay admission in full if you fail to present the ticket)
- Culture Day (last Wednesday of each month) 10,000 won (on-site & online purchases)
※ Must present proof of age for discounted fares
※ For online reservations, you must use your own name and present valid ID at entrance (Passport or Alien registration card accepted)
※ Ticket cancellation, refund, and exchange unavailable on date of entrance
※ Inquiries regarding experience program fees is only available on-site at info desk
- ☞ Website: www.smtownland.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
※ Please visit the website for more details
- ☞ Inquiries: +82-1670-6330 (Korean only)
- 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)
* This column was last updated in August 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.