- 51 million
- South Korean won
What does 5000 years of history and culture get you in South Korea? An intoxicating clash of tradition and modernity. One day you might wander a Josean Dynasty palace and the next you're taking a K-Pop dance class, learning the latest BTS moves. You could learn to make traditional rice wine in the morning and be dining at a kitschy art cafe by the afternoon. Everything is possible here.
It’s even possible—and highly recommended if you’ve been burning the travel candle at both ends—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.