South Korea is quickly becoming a trendy destination among travelers and rivaling the likes of Taiwan and Japan.
The affectionally named “Land of the Morning Calm” is steeped in rich history spanning several dynasties. The peninsula’s history has also shaped the nation’s unmistakably vibrant and constantly evolving culture.
Remarkably, South Korea has been able to maintain a strong connection to its roots in religion, traditional music and dance, century-old recipes, and mesmerizing architecture. The nation keeps in touch with its past and celebrates the future by hosting festivals. There’s pretty much a major festival every month of the year.
Our favorite is the spring festival which celebrates South Korea’s cherry blossom season, a must-see if you’re traveling with an Instagram-focused itinerary. From the inner-city streets to the tranquil wilderness, white, pink, and yellow petals blanket the nation in fairytale colors.
Another unmissable festival is Buddha’s Birthday in May, which is marked with lantern parades that light the streets like choreographed fireflies.
But don’t be fooled by South Korea’s astounding aesthetics, because there’s far more to the nation than just stunning natural beauty and copious amounts of celebrated history. South Korea seamlessly intertwines tradition with futuristic modernity by contrasting historical landmarks with pioneering technology.
This contrast is best displayed in the capital, Seoul, where contemporary buildings like the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid can be found adjacent to traditional hanok neighborhoods.
Did we mention South Korea also has some of the most unique cuisines in Asia? The culinary offerings found throughout the peninsula are the product of blisteringly cold winters and stiflingly hot summers.
These two extremes have created a tantalizing menu of staple Korean dishes such as kimchi, the spicy and sour fermented cabbage, and nutrient-packed bibimbap mixed rice bowls. Not forgetting delicious Korean barbequed pork belly cooked in front of your eyes then accompanied by pickles and fermented veg in a crispy lettuce leaf wrap – trust us, it’s amazing.
If you can’t decide which dishes you want to taste, you’re in luck as South Korea is home to incredible food markets. The first permanent market in Korea, Gwangjang Market is a hidden treasure among gleaming skyscrapers. Here, you can dine with locals on glutinous rice cakes, dumplings, stews, fresh fish, and sannakji, the still-wriggling octopus tentacle dish, not for the faint-hearted.
If you consider yourself an animal lover, then you’ll be pleased to know South Korea has heaps of adorable animal cafes. Dine with everything from tropical birds, sheep, and meerkats, to raccoons, bunnies, and dogs. Cuddles galore!
And of course, you can’t go to South Korea without indulging in some K-Pop culture. A stroll down any busy street in the capital will be accompanied by the latest K-Pop track so even if you don’t like Korean music, you’ll know at least a few lyrics by the time you leave.
South Korea is a fascinating place and trip here wouldn’t be complete without a stay in Seoul. If you’re looking for a hotel that reflects the capital’s cool, quirky and oh-so-trendy charm, look no further than Hotel Cappuccino.
Located in the pulsating Gangnam district along the Han River, this jazzy lifestyle hotel is surrounded by Seoul’s most high-end retail stores including Cartier, Vera Wang, and MCM as well as chic cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Hotel Cappuccino perfectly slots into the area with a sleek and stylish aesthetic, but wholly functional amenities to make any digitally-connected traveler’s trip as seamless and Instagrammable as possible.
Each compact room has been designed with the urban explorer in mind. Hotel Cappuccino’s minimalist rooms offer an unfussy stay with top-quality mattresses, flat screen TVs, ensuites, free WiFi and eco-friendly bath products.
There’s a choice of solo, double, and quad rooms as well as the Bark Room. Yes, Hotel Cappuccino welcomes four-legged friends to stay in a bespoke enclave in your room. Both you and your pooch will be treated like VIPs throughout your stay with Hotel Cappuccino because that’s just their style.
When you’re taking a rest from exploring the city, you can gaze down over Gangnam from the onsite Rooftop Bar Gintoneria on the 17th floor and sip on one of Seoul’s most eclectic selections of gin. From classic Bombay Sapphire to distilleries you may never have heard of.
But you shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach, so be sure to check out the hotel’s top-floor-located restaurant, Hot Eatsue, and its international menu serving everything from Vietnamese bun cha and juicy Japanese hamburg steaks to jalapeno pasta and of course a pleasing range of Korean dishes.
The four-star property will undoubtedly enhance your experience of Gangnam and wider Seoul. Read more about all Hotel Cappuccino has to offer here.
Korea Tourism Organization
While Seoul is unarguably a hub of culture, technology, history, and cuisine, there’s a whole lot happening outside of the capital too. The Korea Tourism Organization has plenty of pre-planned itineraries and suggestions for travelers seeking a rural adventure.
If you’re looking for tranquillity, immersive culture, stunning coastlines, or picturesque mountains, South Korea has it all.
Korea Tourism Organisation
Just east of Seoul is the Gangwon-do region which is steeped in mountain ranges as well as beaches, making it the perfect vacation spot for snow sports enthusiasts in the winter and beach bums by summer.
If you want to delve into South Korea’s devoutly religious history, head to the Gyeongsangbuk-do region. It’s home to the old capital of the Silla Kingdom and has a wealth of Unesco World Cultural Heritage sites.
South Korea also has plenty of paradise islands – a staggering 3,356 in total. Some offer awesome fishing and jungle treks through thick forests, while others display gushing waterfalls and miles of beach.
An island that has it all is the self-governing southern island of Jeju-do, which also holds the title of one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and is recognized as a Unesco World Natural Heritage site.
But truly, no matter where you choose to spend your time in South Korea, there’s always culture to be discovered, history to learn about, extraordinary food to try, and natural beauty to explore.