South Korea — Things to Do
South Korea offers a nice mix of things to do from urban fun to outdoor activities beyond the cities. The country has many beautiful natural attractions, some of which have only recently become known to international visitors. Many popular adventure sports can be enjoyed in Korea, not to mention the high quality skiing that is available, a fact which is largely unknown to those outside of Asia.
Skiing in Korea is becoming a popular option for those living in Asia. Competing with Japan, Korea has developed some world-class resorts. Mostly located in Gangwon-do Province in the north, options include Alpensia Resort, Yongpyong Resort, Daemyung Vivaldi Park, and Phoenix Park Ski Resort. Snowboarding is also available and all resorts offer rental, so there is no need to lug heavy gear overseas.
Getting a body scrub or spending a whole day at a chimjilban bath house is one of the must-do cultural experiences in Korea. Visitors pay an entry fee and can basically stay for 24 hours, but don’t be surprised by nakedness as everyone is completely in the buff. Most of these venues have a range of saunas, bath area, and a massage zone. The body scrub, a Korean specialty, followed by a massage and cucumber face pack is exhilarating - usually performed by middle-aged women in black lingerie! In Seoul, try the Dragon Hill Spa & Resort or The Spa in Garden 5.
Guided river rafting is a popular outdoor activity, thanks to the big waters in Korea. Primarily in Gangwon-do Province, courses are primarily aimed at beginners and are accessible to all age groups. The Donggang River is considered to be one of the best rafting rivers in Korea and sightseers should contact Donggang Leports or Yumi Leisure for tours. Other popular rivers are the Naerincheon Stream and Hantan River.
For something more unusual, why not try ziplining? The latest adrenaline rush to become popular in Korea, the Aranabi Zipline in Sodol Port is considered to be thrilling and the only zipline that runs into the ocean. A second zipline is located in Buljeong Recreational Forest near Mungyeong city in the east. Known as the Zipline Mungyeong, it was the first of its kind in Korea and is open all year round.
Golfing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in South Korea, and there are over 200 world-class golf courses dotting the country, in addition to a number of driving ranges in the cities. Some are open year-round and many having been designed by leading golfers. The best is considered to be Nine Bridges on Jeju Island, followed by Anyang Benest in Anyang city (west-central) and Pine Beach Golf Links in Haenam (southwest).
South Korea might not be on your radar as a destination for scuba diving, but there is some good diving to be had in the southern part of the country. The best in Korea is probably around Jeju Island, where there are huge kelp forests and soft coral to explore. Come between September and November for prime visibility, and lucky divers may even see dolphins. A popular company to use is Big Blue.
With mountains covering 70 percent of the peninsula, there is plenty of hiking and mountain climbing to enjoy. The two most popular peaks are Seoraksan (east) and Wolchulsan (southwest), and weekends attract guests in colorful outfits. Serious rock climbers will enjoy the climbing opportunities at the latter peak. It is best to join a tour or hire a private guide when embarking on a serious trek. Seek out Sanirang Alpine Networks to arrange a departure.