South Korea

South Korea exudes an intriguing blend of traditional values and modernism. On one hand you will find huge skyscrapers and innovative gadgets; on the other hand, the ancient Buddhist temples, historic art work, and age-old customs will surely attract your attention. Covering the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea is a well-known travel destination in East Asia. The country boasts superb attractions and delectable cuisine, including the ubiquitous kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish prepared from Napa Cabbage, scallions, and ground pepper and then fermented in brine. South Korea's capital, Seoul, is the world's second-largest metropolitan area and one of the most popular tourist destinations as well.

For most visitors, South Korea travel via air is much easier than overland or sea travel. There are a total of seven international airports, with Incheon International Airport being the largest airport in the country. Key carriers to and from Korea include Asiana Airlines and Korean Air. From the US, you can board Delta or United flights and reach South Korea via the Tokyo-Narita airport. Those who want nonstop flights to Seoul can travel on Singapore Airlines from San Francisco. Upon arrival, travelers will receive a visa valid for up to three months, but travelers enjoying their vacations in South Korea should make sure not to overstay for even a day, as it could possibly result in heavy fines, jail, and even permanent bans.

South Korea holidays can be more expensive if you are going on a shopping spree, though there are certain retail outlets that allow tax-refund shopping. All you have to do is acquire a voucher from these stores when you make your purchases, get it stamped at customs, and get the amount refunded from the Korea Tax Refund counter near the duty-free shops. You can also try bargaining with the shop-owners, but you likely won't find any attractive discounts except for a few South Korean won. Fashion-conscious shoppers will find the best boutiques, shops, and fashion centers in parts of Seoul, such as Mok dong, Myeng dong, and Rodeo Street.

The latest electronic gadgets are also popular among those enjoying South Korea travel. Cities such as Busan and Seoul are the best places to buy electronic items including mobile phones and video games. The city is also popular for shops selling traditional Korean items, such as ceramic pieces, artwork from the historic Goryeo Dynasty, and other souvenirs. The Jangangpyeong Antique market will likely be your first stop to buy rare antique items, but be careful while purchasing antiques that are more than 50 years old as there are restrictions on such items leaving South Korea. You can consult the Art and Antique Assessment Office for more details on these issues.

No vacations in South Korea would be complete with tasting the sumptuous and spicy Korean cuisine. Besides the delicious kimchi, there are different spicy and healthy dishes for travelers, including gochujang and doenjang soup, fishcakes, Korean bean sprouts, spinach, and dried fish. There is an array of restaurants in the country serving excellent in Korean cuisine, but for travelers unfamiliar with the local food, it's best to understand the different types of Korean restaurants that are available before dining out; the categories generally include snack eateries, meat houses, and raw fish houses.

Besides shopping and sampling the local cuisine, travelers can spend their vacations in South Korea enjoying the numerous things to do and fine hotels. Visitors can try their hand at learning various forms of martial arts including tae kwon do, which originated in Korea, and listen to the excellent local chang or pansori music. Travelers can also spend time at major attractions, such as the popular Lotte World theme park in Seoul and the National Folk Museum, which is inside the historical Gyeongbok Palace. Founded in 1945, the folk museum at the palace is South Korea's national museum, and it boasts some of the best exhibits on the ancient and medieval history of Korea. The museum attracts thousands of tourists every year because of its rich exhibition of Korean culture, and travel to South Korea can only be enhanced by learning about the country through a trip to this fascinating museum.

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