6 Reasons South Korea Should Be On Your 2024 Bingo Card

Best things to do in South Korea

If you’ve been thinking about heading to South Korea to experience the delicious food, thriving nightlife, shopping that rivals New York, K-pop and everything that Korean culture has to offer – let this be your sign. 

South Korea is, dare I say, the perfect place to take a holiday. It’s an ‘it’ girl destination and just a 10 hour flight from Australia direct to the capital of Seoul. You can be in the thick of a thriving city on a week night in Gangnam or relaxing in a local spa house in the sleepy town of Jeonju only a few hours outside of the capital.

Whatever you’re looking to do on your well deserved time off, South Korea is sure to have it.

So if you’re planning to revisit South Korea or head there for the first time, here are some places and activities you must add to your to-do list. Consider this your South Korea 2024 bingo card.

Best Places To Eat In South Korea

Eating and dining is a central pillar when you travel to South Korea. From markets to hot pots, the food I ate while I was there blew me away. Going to South Korea as part of Intrepid’s brand new 18 – 35 year old South Korea tour, food is a huge part of the experience and local guides do the work finding the best hidden gems so you get an authentic experience from street food to dine in restaurants.

Here’s a selection of some of the top picks if you’re after some super special eats in different cities around South Korea.

Jayeon Shabu Shabu
This hot pot restaurant is an absolute must in Seoul, especially if you love mushrooms, as it boasts a selection that are out of this world. I’d also recommend paring your meal with a glass of somaek (soju and beer.) This is the perfect place for a cosy meal especially on a cold night in Seoul.

(Some of the selection of mushrooms at Jayeon Shabu Shabu. Yes there were more mushrooms outside of this amazing bowl.)

Jayeon Shabu Shabu197, Donggyo-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul 03993 South Korea

Gajok Hoegwan
If you find yourself outside of Seoul and venture to Jeonju (a really beautiful city two hours south of Seoul) this bibimbap restaurant (a.k.a a rice bowl topped with all sorts of seasoned sautéed vegetables and marinated meat) isn’t something you can skip.

(Vegetarian bibimbap at Gajok Hoegwan)

It’s been run by a mother-daughter duo for decades and they cater for vegetarians too, which can be hard to come by in South Korea. The bibimbap is fresh and delicious, and you’re supporting a mother-daughter business – what could be better?

Gajok Hoegwan – 17 Jeollagamyeong 5-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do 55038 South Korea

Taejongdae YOLO Grilled Clams
This is without a doubt the best meal I ate in South Korea (or anywhere for that matter). It’s a seafood restaurant on the beach in Busan, South Korea’s second biggest city. You sit at a table with a BBQ overlooking the beach grilling up fresh seafood. I don’t think I can imagine anything better.

(Sensational scallops at Taejongdae YOLO Grilled Clams.)

On top of the fresh seafood, you can also order gochujang fried rice, silk worms, spoon worms and even live octopus. If you’re in Busan and don’t end up dining here, sorry but you’ve missed out.

Taejongdae YOLO Grilled Clams – 21, Gajang-gil 87beon-gil, Yeongdo-gu, Busan 49126 South Korea

Best Things To Do In South Korea

Night out in Hongdae
Hongdae is a university district in Seoul that is brimming with young people, bars, shopping and pumping nightlife. You can find anything from a fully pink bar called (you guessed it) Pink’s, to a beach themed bar complete with a sand floor all the way up on level 6.

(When on holiday, one must have an obligatory blue cocktail (obviously) you can get this one from Pink’s.)

Whatever you decide to do from karaoke, to late night shopping or clubbing while having a night out in Hongdae, it’s sure to be a highlight of your trip.

Pink’s, 39 Jandari-ro 6-gil – Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

Have a relaxing night at the spa
I don’t think I’ve never felt more relaxed after going to a Korean bath house. Spa Land in Busan is one of the biggest spa houses in South Korea and has a range of different treatments you can do including massages, saunas and the famous Korean scrub where you get every inch of dead skin scrubbed off your body and literally feel amazing afterwards.

Parts of the bath houses are gender segregated and depending on where you go in South Korea you can opt for a more modern spa house or dive into something more traditional.

(Feel this relaxed overlooking the city post spa and scrub.)

If you’re feeling exhausted from your trip or looking to recharge your batteries for your adventures ahead you can find a bathhouse in almost all cities around Korea. Prices and treatments range from bathhouse to bathhouse, but whatever you do if you go to a bathhouse that does the scrub – get the scrub! You won’t regret it.

Shinsegae Centum City Spaland – 35, Centum nam-daero, Haeundae-gu 1F, Shinsegae Mall Centum City, Busan 48058 South Korea.

Hit up Olive Young
Olive Young is your go-to spot for all things make-up and skincare in South Korea. K-beauty is globally renowned for a reason, it’s bloody brilliant. From lip stains to sheet masks, whatever your beauty needs Olive Young is the place to get it. It’s a chain store with shops pretty much everywhere, like a Sephora but way better (sorry Sephora).

Olive Young is your HQ for skincare with serums, oils, masks and pretty much everything you could never need. Make sure you look at the sunscreen section as the products on offer range from sun sticks to light weight serums. If you’re hyped on sunscreen it’s honestly heaven.

Olive Young – locations all over South Korea.

So what are you waiting for? South Korea awaits you. You can do all of this and so much more on Intrepid’s new 18 – 35 tour of South Korea. Find out more information here.

The author travelled to South Korea courtesy of Intrepid Travel.