Travel in Korea
A vibrant cosmopolitan city of eleven million people, Seoul offers both the excitement of Tokyo and the culture of Beijing. The Korean capital has long been famous for its palaces, temples, fortresses, and other traditional sights seamlessly situated near skyscrapers and thoroughfares in the heart of downtown. The old stands side by side with the new: elegant modern buildings hosting the offices of government, multinational businesses, and, for foreign visitors, a dazzling array of luxury hotels, fine restaurants, and upscale bars and clubs.
Korea has gained prominence in recent years for cutting-edge innovations in art, fashion, and cinema. All of these are on full display at art galleries, museums, and playhouses. Seoul's famous nightlife is more vibrant than ever, with diverse, all-night offerings of smoky jazz clubs, book-and-comic coffee-houses, dance clubs (ranging from rave to Abba), and private karaoke lounges. Whether your tastes lean toward classical music or traditional Korean dance, or hip-hop, techno or jazz, there is, quite literally, something for every taste, style, and budget. The sports lover will feel right at home among sports mad Koreans. There is always a world-class soccer match, baseball game, or taekwondo tournament to take in at Seoul's numerous sports arenas. If you're more inclined to play than pay, basketball and volleyball courts, swimming pools, and soccer fields straddle the Han River coursing through the heart of the city, where in the early morning, people of all ages run, stretch, or practice martial arts.
Outside of Seoul
For most visitors, Seoul, with its mix of historical sites and cultural offerings, coupled with diverse entertainment options, is more than sufficient; but the more adventurous are welcome to witness the natural beauty of Korea outside the capital. The Korean peninsula is surrounded by water and there are over 3,000 islands of various sizes off the coast. Swimming, fishing, and other aquatic activities abound along the coastal communities and on the islands themselves.
For those searching for quiet and relaxation, traveling through Korea's countryside surrounded by rice paddies and stopping at any one of the historic Buddhist temples is just what the doctor ordered. For those who demand a physical challenge, since seventy percent of Korea's land mass is mountainous, there are hundreds of mountains throughout the country ideal for hiking and backpacking.