Make your trip to South Korea a much richer experience by taking a day or two to go the off beaten path and exploring what lies outside of Seoul City.
For the Nature Lovers: Gangwon Province
Just outside Seoul is Gangwan-do, a scenic mountain province with some of Korea’s most spectacular landscapes. Begin your day at the Gangchon Rail Park, where you can pedal along now-defunct train tracks to drink in the fresh air and incredible sight of the Bukhangang River.
Francophiles will enjoy the next stop at Petite France, a quaint French cultural village that houses 16 French-style buildings where visitors can eat French cuisine, enjoy a traditional European puppet show, and listen to a 200-year-old-music box.
End your day by taking a leisurely stroll in Nami Island, which you may recognize from the hit KDrama, Winter Sonata. But even non-fans will appreciate the breathtaking view of the forestry—whether it’s charming pink of the cherry blossoms during the spring, or the warm and bright reds of the autumn.
For Kids and Kids at Heart: Gapyeong Grape Farm
Make the most of the summer vacation by spending a day doing fun and quirky activities at the Gapyeong Grape Farm, where you can harvest your own grapes and have them made into homemade jam.
Cap the day with a strange but fun trip to Asia’s first Pig Museum where you can see over 5,000 pig-related artifacts from all over the world, and even take a photo with the cute little piglets!
For the History Buffs: Korean Demilitarized Zone
While the atmosphere is tense and sobering, this day tour to Korea’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) offers a close and rare look into the elusive North Korea.
Visit the Joint Security Area (JSA), which houses Panmunjeom, an abandoned truce village that straddles the ceasefire line, as well as the Third Infiltration Tunnel, a set of fake coal mines dug for surprise attacks. Finally, peer through the Dora Observatory to glimpse the Dorasan station— South Korea’s northernmost train terminal, a poignant symbol of hope to visit Pyongyang and the eventual reunification of the two Koreas.
For the Artists and Romantics: Paju City
With every intention of the pun, South Korea is a great place to go Seoul-searching. Indulge in the romantic pastels of Provence Village, a Southern French-style fairy tale park where you can delight in the sweet smells of Herb Village and admire the Fashion Gallery.
After snacking on a French croissant, visit Heyri Art Village, an awe-inspiring complex built by a community of Korea’s most esteemed artists, musicians, architects, and writers. On every corner, you can find either a work room, museum, coffee shop, or an art gallery. This quirky borough measures its population this way: 1 person is to 20 books.
For the Outdoorsy Ones: Naejangsang National Park
Take a leisurely stroll through Naejangsang National Park, a famous mountain home to over 760 kinds of local plants, designated natural monuments, and various wild animals.
Though it’s best to visit the park during fall, you’ll be rewarded with blooming azaleas and delicate cherry blossoms during the spring, lush green mountains during summer, and the stark contrast of snowy cliffs in the winter. During fall, you’ll find delight and nostalgia in viewing vivid shades of falling autumn leaves.