South Korea boasts abundant tourist attractions. Among popular tourist attractions in South Korea, modern values are often projected onto historic cultural heritage, or conversely, traditional elements are added to modern spaces. They serve not only as precious cultural heritage and vibrant living spaces for Koreans but also as a starting point for foreigners to visit Korea.
Tourists can experience distinctive harmony between historical cultural heritage and modern culture. With these preserved local identities, tourists can also explore and enjoy local cultures, natural environments, and unique food.
Seoul is the capital of Korea and is the heart of Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economy. Seoul is home to many historic sites and places of traditional culture. The shopping and entertainment districts also draw a large number of tourists every year. The Hangang River, which runs through the center of the city, is a distinctive landscape of Seoul that offers a myriad of resting areas for citizens.
Among royal palaces that open at night are the four major palaces in Seoul (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeok Palace, Changgyeong Palace, and Deoksugung Palace) and Hwaseong Haenggung Palace in Suwon. Whether tour programs are available depends on each royal palace, but if it is, reservations must be made on the website.
Jeju Special Self-Governing Province is a premier tourist destination, boasting mild weather and scenic beauties of beaches, waterfalls, cliffs and caves. Some of the top tourist sites include a national park with diverse flora and fauna, breathtaking views, and the world’s longest lava tube, registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage.
Gangwon-do is blessed with beautiful mountains and clean beaches that offer some of the best sceneries and vacation spots throughout the year. The beaches are popular spots for watching the sunrise on New Year’s morning as well. Winter in Gangwon-do is heaven for winter sports enthusiasts, as the province gets a lot of snow. There are many ski resorts in Gangwon-do, including in Pyeongchang and Jeongseon.
UNESCO World Heritages of Korea
UNESCO World Heritage refers to sites registered on the World Heritage List. In November 1972, UNESCO adopted the “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage” in the General Conference during its seventeenth session. Under the Convention, the World Heritage committee established a World Heritage List that includes cultural and natural heritages with outstanding value whose conservation is recognized to be in the interest of all humanity.
As of September 2021, Korea has thirteen cultural heritage sites and two natural heritage site. Apart from this, UNESCO also has separate programs called Intangible Heritage of Humanity and Memory of the World. In Korea, there are twenty-one and sixteen of them respectively.