- 51 million
- South Korean won
Fancy a more powerful chin or less junk in the trunk? Then beautify yourself in South Korea, where plastic surgery is not only a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s considered natural, harmless and the key to happiness and a better career. Seoul has the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita in the world, but don’t judge the Koreans – if you finished school at 10pm each night you’d feel like a bit of pampering, too.
Thankfully there’s more than 5000 years of history and culture to explore if doctors’ surgeries are far from your thoughts. It’s possible (even recommended if you’ve been burning the travel candle at both end) to stay at some of the Buddhist temples dotted around the nation to experience the rituals and spirituality of the religion. Take a hike around the Seoraksan National Park before lowering yourself into its natural hot springs. Ironically, one of South Korea’s most popular attractions involves glimpsing its oldest foe – the nation up north. Take a tour of the Demilitarized Zone, where you can lift the iron curtain and lock eyes with a North Korean solider.
Koreans’ insane work ethic means Seoul buzzes through the wee hours, street food vendors stay open till around 4am and alfresco coffee shops are a surprising European appropriation. The country’s second-biggest city, Busan, is located on the south coast and it’s a cool spot to check out the beach, visit the Jagalchi Fish Market or catch the ferry to Jeju Island.