Seoul City is always exploding with things to do. Whether it’s sipping coffee and hopping cafes, food tasting at the amazing markets, partying the night away, getting inspired at museums and exhibits, or shopping until exhaustion, there is a never-ending list of ways to spend your days and night. However, you may find yourself getting a little overwhelmed from the city that never sleeps. There will be times where you seek silent refuge in the quiet of nature. Luckily, there are plenty of gorgeous spots just out of the city waiting for your arrival so that you can recharge and re-energize your spirit. Here at Expat Kis Korea, we’ve listed some great weekend getaway spots that are perfect for those weekends where you need your R&R. The best part is that you don’t need a car to get to these places. You’ll be able to set out to all these destinations via public transportation for a cost that won’t break your budget. Let’s get started!
Photo Source: Culture Trip
If you’re wanting to experience Korean history and culture, Gyeongju is the spot for you. Gyeongju is the ancient capital of South Korea, and is dubbed as Korea’s “museum without walls”. Here you’ll find plenty of monuments and historic buildings, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as ancient palaces and temples. If you’re up for it, we recommend exploring the central city by bike, as you’ll be able to stumble upon much more than walking by foot. You can rent a bike for an entire day for only 7,000 won from the bike terminal located just a 3-minute distance from the express bus terminal. After a day spent discovering old national pleasures, you can visit the East where you’ll find dozens of fresh seafood restaurants. However, when in Gyeongju, we recommend trying what they’re most famous for - ssambap. If you decide to try this out, you’ll find yourself drooling over a spread of side dishes comprised of flavourful meats, sauces, and various marinated vegetables that you can wrap up in greens. However, if you’re more interested in exploring multiple dishes, you can slowly fill up your belly at different food stands at the market. Here, you can eat your way through the Seongdong Covered Market located close to the Gyeongju train station.
Get inspired at Gyeongju National Museum
Feel at peace at Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond
Slow down at Bulguksa Temple - Masterpiece of Buddhist art built during the Silla Period
Enjoy the view at Daereungwon Tumuli Park
Visit Yangdong Folk Village - Historic Village
Enjoy Gyeodong Beopju - a mild rice wine that Gyeongju is known for
From Seoul Station, take the KTX to Singyeongju Station
From Singyeongju Station, take the Gyeongju City bus (no. 60) to Cheonmachong stop
Photo Source: You me and the dock
Muuido island is located off the coast of the Incheon International Airport. Muuido Island is known for the beach cabins that line the shore. A weekend trip here would resemble more of a camping experience than anything else. The cabins can house up to four people and can be rented during the night. Imagine falling asleep next to the soft crashes of the waves. During the day, visitors can opt for activities such as hiking, ziplining, and horseback riding. Otherwise, simply watching the sunset as well as the rising tide is also a wonderful pastime. Convenience stores offer an impressive selection of items, from fireworks to hiking gear, to cup noodles.
Rent a cabin along the shore
Have a BBQ by the waters
Enjoy the sunset and the views of the low tides at Hanagae Beach
From the Incheon International airport, take the 2-2 or 222 to the Muuido Port bus stop which will take you to the Ferry Terminal. Purchase a ticket and board the ferry to Muuido
Photo Source: Trazy
Nami Island is a calm and peaceful spot known for its woodlands, riverside walks, and wondrous roads lined with various trees. It is among the most popular destinations perhaps thanks to the many dramas that have taken place on this small island. With good reason though - it definitely lives up to its hype. Here, you’ll be able to experience the harmonic balance between leisure, culture, and nature.
Aside from the multitude of opportunities to sightsee, there are also various onsite facilities that can be enjoyed by the public such as camping sites, swimming pools, water sports facilities, shooting ranges, as well as a roller skating rink. Additionally, there are various crafting experiences such as pottery, and glass blowing. Nami Island is like a small standalone town on its own, with plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping sites. Explore the island by foot or rent an electronic bike to conserve energy and tackle more ground.
For those wanting to spend the night on the island, there are also resort villas available for booking. It is located less than two hours away from Seoul. The island is beautiful year-round, and can be accessed by taking the ferry from the Gapyeong Wharf. If you’re more adventurous, you can opt to get to the island via zipline. You’ll hear plenty of native insects and animals, and will find animals such as ostriches and bunnies.
Try the famous Pan Fried Rice Cake
Take a stroll down Metasequoia Road and various tree-lined paths
Take the ITX train to Cheongchun, followed by a train that takes you to Gapyeong Station
From Gapyeong Station, take either of the following buses to the island (No. 33-5,33-36) or take the taxi
From the ticket office at the ferry wharf, purchase a ticket for the ferry OR take the zip-line to the island
Photo Source : Google
Gangneung comprises 5 regions. Within these five distinct areas, you can enjoy different aspects of the culture including the ecological and cultural side, the historic and atmospheric side, as well as the artistic side. Of the coastal cities, it is one of the largest that has become a popular spot for both Seoulites and tourists alike. If you enjoy the idea of indulging in marine sports, Gangeung is the ideal spot for you, as water recreation is plentiful. Here, you can try your hand at scuba diving, yachting, canoeing, kayaking, boating, kiteboarding, and most known, surfing.
Sports aside, Gangneung has also acquired quite a reputation for its coffee - some even say that Gangneug was the pioneer for Korean coffee culture, and has been dubbed “South Korea’s Coffee Capital” and “city of coffee”. Enjoy your morning brew alongside the sublime view of the sea. If you head to Wangsan-myeon, you’ll also be able to observe the oldest coffee tree in Korea. If you’re interested in this aspect of Gangneung culture, be sure to check out the Coffee Festival held between the months of May and July by Wangsan coffee farms.
Hike Odaeson National Park
Watch the sunrise from Gyeongpo Beach
Try your hand at various water sports
Visit the Gangneung Coffee street and coffee museum
Walk around Daegwallyeong - the picturesque sheep farm
From the Express Bus Terminal in Seoul, take the bus to Gangneung (Takes around 3 hours)
Photo Source: bobo and chichi
Seokcho is a charming coastal town located northeast of Korea known for its awe-inspiring mountainous landscape, beautiful seaside, golf courses, and sublime hot springs.
With the abundance of both hiking spots and naturally gorgeous views, you’ll be able to find the perfect balance between being active, and indulging in relaxation. Many visit Sokcho to admire the view from the iconic Seroaksan mountain, which is impressively the third highest mountain in South Korea.
Besides nature, Seokcho is full of culture, which you will be able to experience in Abai Village - a small nostalgic village consisting mainly of North Korean refugee residents. This village is known for the Sokcho City Museum which houses replicas of original homes that were once set up by the refugees.
Hike up the peak of Mount Seorak, or take the cable car
Try the famous dakgangjeong (deep-fried sweet and spicy chicken) at the Jungang Market
Visit the Daepo Port where the drama ‘Strong Woman Do Bong Soo’ was filmed
Laze by Sokcho Beach
Admire Biryong Falls
From the Seoul Express Bus Terminal (Seoul Gyeongbu) take the intercity bus to Sokcho Bus Terminal
There you have it, we hope that this list opened your mind up to exploring Korea’s beauty beyond just Seoul. Whether you’re looking for some R and R, or you’re wanting to enjoy some new scenery and indulge in local cuisine, there are plenty of charming places just a train ride away!