5-day Itinerary for a Spring Getaway in South Korea

Headed to South Korea for the spring? Here is a compilation of the best things to see and do in the diverse and vibrant cities of Seoul, Chuncheon and Busan. From historic temples and palaces, delicious street food and some of the quirkiest cultural experiences, discover South Korea for so much more than its renowned pop music and dramas.

Seoul | Day 1

2 days itinerary in Seoul

10AM| Lotte World

Make every child’s dream come true at the colossal playgrounds of Lotte world. The world’s largest indoor theme park boasts every entertainment element imaginable, from thrilling rides like the Atlantis and Gyro Swing, to your favourite carnival sweet treats. It also houses a water park, a folk museum and even its own hotel!

Keep yourself entertained through the day as the theme park is also surrounded by the Lotte Empire’s businesses like its candy shops, fast food restaurants, luxury boutiques and so much more. See if you can catch some of the spontaneous parades happening while you’re here too. With its massive size, there’s surely something for everyone!

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2PM| Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace

This 14th century artefact was the main royal palace of the Joseon era and was home to its kings. Efforts to preserve the monument have prevailed since the 19th century and is regarded as one of the most beautiful of the palaces remaining. The palace is a chance to appreciate the beauty of Korean architecture and design. The iconic blue-green roofs set atop bright red tiles in the middle of a beautiful lake accurately imagines the illustrious Joseon era.

For cultural geeks, the changing of the guards’ ceremony is a must-see to experience a once-rare tradition that was only for the eyes of the royalty. You can also rent a hanbok(traditional Korean dress) at the many nearby rental shops to take pictures against this historic monument and recreate your favourite period dramas’ scenes.

5PM| Namsan Seoul Tower

Climb to the top of Namsan Seoul Tower to catch stunning 360 views of the city from above. Akin to Big Ben and the Eiffel tower, this 236-metre tall landmark is iconic to modern-day Korea’s pride and culture. This must-see attraction boasts an observatory deck as well as facilities to boost your experience of the views. Check out the 360 VR tour to visit all of Korea’s famous attractions with a motorbike ride or by controlling a drone! For those travelling as a couple, head out to the roof terrace to commemorate your love for each other with a promise written on a padlock.

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9PM| Gangnam District

Party the night away at Gangnam, one of Asia’s trendiest nightlife spots. The area has become increasingly popular among the youth in recent years for its high-end luxurious clubs. Many celebrities are rumoured to get their fair share of fun at this renowned district too. From swimming in an indoor pool at Club Octagon to the classy dance parties at the Ritz-Carlton’s Club Eden, Gangnam is surely the spot for one of the most legendary nights of your partying life.

Seoul | Day 2

10AM|Insadong

As one of Seoul’s most vibrant shopping streets, Insadong is brimming with a wide selection of luxury shops and their fans alike. Insadong is a blast to Korea’s past at it houses the monuments that are precious to Korean Culture. The many art galleries, traditional teahouses and handicrafts on sale are a testament to this. Visit some of Seoul’s must-see icons like the Tapgol (Pagoda) Park, the site of the country’s independence movement and Changdeokgung Huwon Secret Garden, the second royal villa built after Gyeongbokgung.

Moreover, Insadong offers one of the most delicious street foods in the state from Hotteok to Bukchon Mandu. Upgrade your experience to dine like royalty at the JinjinBara which can offer over 20 different delicacies in one seating. Be sure to not miss out on the Beautiful Tea museum that will satisfy both history buffs and cha lovers alike. Sample across a selection of 130 flavors of tea from around the world at their on-site café that could satisfy almost any palate. It still remains that one of the best things you could do is to get lost in the twisting alleys of the area to discover Korean treasures of your own!

1PM| Jongmyo Shrine

Take a trip through Korea’s history and traditions at the Jongmyo Shrine in Jong-ro. Visit this area for a different take on the royals of Korea as it portrays a serious and solemn mood, unlike the grandeur of the conventional palaces. The site is a must-see for its dedication to preserving Korea’s ancient customs and is even certified as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site for its efforts.

Join the free one-hour guided tour to learn about this historic monument and don’t forget to relax within its premises to the soothing sounds of nature amidst a beautiful lake at its centre.

4PM| Myeongdong

Indulge in the best Korean street food at the famous Myeongdong. You can choose from an extensive array of food from sweet dragon’s beard candy to spicy Korean dumplings. Authentic Korean flavours can be found at every corner here as ahjummas sweet-talk you into buying their tteokboki (rice cakes) or Korean pancakes served hot from the stove!

But don’t just stop at the street offerings. Myoengdong is also the ultimate shopping paradise for every shopaholic. Get your hands on top skincare name brands for that renowned flawless and dewy look you see on Korean celebrities. From Innisfree to Tony Moly, enhance your skincare routine with thousands of samples and tips you can pick up from just a walk down the street. Fans of Korean pop also have much to fuss about as amateur dance groups and bands can often be found performing their favourite pop hits in the streets.

Visit Myeongdong in Seoul

8PM| The Han River

Spring in Korea is not complete without a viewing of the blooming cherry blossoms trees in the streets. Though these pretty blush shades can be found almost anywhere in your walk around Seoul, there is nothing like appreciating the floral beauty at the heart of the city. Take a stroll through the Han River (also known as Hangang) to enjoy a canopy of blooming cherry blossoms this season.

The site is made even more spectacular at night when coloured lights illuminate the pink flowers for a surreal enlivening of the streets. Azaleas, Forysthia and other Korean Cherry trees are part of the mix as well, making it a one-stop spot for the Korean Spring experience.

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Chuncheon | Day 3

1 day itinerary in Chuncheon

10AM| Petite France

Experience the small French cultural village in the heart of Chuncheon with a cluster of 16 French-style houses. Visitors can experience French food, culture and art here while overlooking the Cheongpyeong Lake for the most breathtaking views of the countryside. Fans of traditional French culture can find their fix here with live marionette puppet demonstrations and French games like Petanque, a classic ball game. Find yourself in the memorial hall dedicated to Saint Exupery, author of the celebrated novel, Le Petit Prince. With these many monuments to the French culture, this cultural village though quirky is sure to be joyfully refreshing in your itinerary.

2PM| Namiseom (or Nami Island)

Embrace Korea’s natural best at this isolated isle with majestic trees lining its roads, bringing you to another forest wonderland altogether. Nami Island was named after General Nami who is buried here and is commemorated for his valiant efforts in war during the Joseon Dynasty. Though made famous by the popular Korean drama series “Winter Sonata” (the island is peppered with tributes to the series), visitors have found much more to be appreciative of at this slow and serene part of Korea.

Stroll or cycle through the three popular lanes: The Central Korean Pine Tree Lane, the Gingko Tree Lane and the Metasequoia Lane. If you prefer, you could walk down the scenic riverside out Lovers’ Wood. Catch the interesting fauna while you’re at it, including rabbits, squirrels and even an ostrich! To enjoy the wonders of Spring, head to the Garden of Morning Calm where cherry blossoms and magnolia flowers engulf the park in pink. Do book a ride in advance with the Gangchon Rail Bike where you can pedal along old railroad tracks for a fun way to explore the forested lands.

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Busan | Day 4

2 days itinerary in Busan

11AM| Gamcheon Cultural Village

Head to Busan’s Gamcheon Cultural Village to experience the artistic culture of the city. The trendy alleyways with bright pastel-coloured houses is the place to visit for the hippest bars and quirkiest art. This spot is known to be an “open art museum” as art can be found everywhere you go, from the murals of fish on the walls to drawings on the pavements. As Gamcheon is a residential area, take the opportunity to mingle with the locals too. There is no better way to experience the culture of Korea than amidst its art, history and locals here in Gamcheon!

Visit Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan

2PM| Haeundae Beach

Relax for the afternoon at the Haeundae Beach amongst the blooming cherry blossoms this Spring. This beach is a popular tourist attraction for good reason. Its cosy white sand and sky blue sea will have you laying around the beach for hours simply admiring its beauty. The beach offers many water sport activities at the nearby Yacht Club. Take your pick and spend the afternoon in the waters before you relax on the shore. Restaurants and cafes are aplenty on the beach, so you will never have to go hungry or miss a friendly local face.

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4PM| Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Visit the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple for its unique location and gorgeous views by the seaside. This 14th-century Buddhist temple is perched atop a cliff, offering breathtaking views of the sea while being surrounded by a luscious green canopy. Marvel at the works in the 8-tiered pagoda or the many statues in the Wishing Pond. The scenic location also offers great photographing opportunities so remember to snap some photos while you pay your respects around the grounds.

7PM| Gwangandaegyo Bridge

Watch the Gwangandaegyo bridge light up against the city’s beautiful skyline. Much like the Namsan Seoul Tower, the Gwangandaegyo Bridge is a must-see spot for picturesque views of the city. The experience becomes more spectacular at night when hundreds of LED lights light up for a beautiful lighting showcase. For the best views of the bridge itself, take a stroll down Gwanggali beach to catch the awe-inspiring display of the seasonal lights.

Busan | Day 5

10AM| Hur Shim Chung Hot Springs Spa

Indulge in one of Korea’s oldest spas with an in-house hot spring at Hur Shim Chung Spa. It is one of the largest hot springs in Asia with an allowance to accommodate 3000 people at any time. Take your pick from over 40 different baths that include Cheongja Bath and Cave Bath. Soak yourself in these herb-filled baths to help your body heal and recuperate. Ask the staff to recommend a bath according to your needs.

2PM| Sea Life Busan Aquarium

Marvel at the amazing marine life and swim with the sharks at Sea Life Busan Aquarium. Over 250 different species of marine life can be appreciated here. The unique experience of walking in the tunnels surrounded by the massive tanks will have any child or adult mesmerised. There is even a “touch tank” for you to learn about the marine life in a truly up-close manner. This place is ideal for families especially as most activities and viewing zones are kid-friendly.

9PM| Gwangalli Beachfront

Dress to the nines and sip on a few cocktails at the many bars along Gwangalli Beach. The spot is highly recommended for adults with all sorts of preferences because of the wide range of clubs and bars available here. For a classy and intimate night with your loved one, head to bars like Sharky’s Bar and Grill. For a roaring good time, visit the Fuzzy Navel or REVEL for good beers before dancing the night away.

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