travel essay in korean


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Satish is the Founder and CEO of TOPIK GUIDE. He is passionate about languages. He created TOPIK GUIDE website to help Korean language learners learn Korean effectively, succeed in TOPIK test and achieve their goals. He has a PhD in Korean language. His research area has been 'Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language (외국어로서의 한국어교육)'. He is a Seoul National University (GKS) alumni. He has been active in Korean language teaching and research for more than 10 years. We are a team of passionate researchers from Seoul National University specializing in Korean language and linguistics. We are committed to helping international students prepare for the TOPIK test. You can connect with us on Facebook , Twitter , Google+ or YouTube


@Serife OK.. so you were finally able to download the papers.. that’s good… All the best..

Thanks for ur great work TOPIK GUIDE.I also request to upload about essay writting guide For Inter-Mediate level too.

It’s very interesting to see examples of how the essays are evaluated, thank you very much for this post. I’d also be glad if you could do something similar for the Intermediate level as well.

Appreciate ur efforts thanks for the papers….

Very useful information….

Hey useful information..

Hey can you plz let us know the eligibility for appearing for TOPIK

Thanks for the details…can you plz tell how much weightage is given for essay writing?

It’s 30% of the writing section…


thank you for all the information its helps a lot….GOD bless you and your family!

yes tax alot u,,,these are real instructions

Where did you find the evaluation rubric and sample evaluation scores? I’ve looked for days over much of the Internet to try to find your source, but I can’t find anything. Were these posted to long ago?

Yes, it was released long ago. I don’t have the exact link but I think it was somewhere in their 공지사항 in Kroean.

Hi are there any downloadable files of these lessons available? thanks

Hello sir I wanna give topik exam this year 2020 i wanna know all details and when to register for topik exam and can i give any level exam

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Narrative Essay: My Trip to South Korea

I had always wanted to visit South Korea and I recently had the chance to spend a week in this amazing country. Unlike its northern neighbor which is pretty much closed to visitors, South Korea is a welcoming and hospitable country. It is an interesting place with a unique culture and a highly developing economy.

I flew into the capital Seoul. On arrival in the city, it was the marked contrast between modern skyscrapers and high design shopping malls and shanty towns that was immediately striking. Wide streets lined by fancy boutiques lead to a labyrinth of narrow alleyways with tiny traditional shops and eateries and there is a clutch of great tourist attractions.

My tour itinerary began on Seoul’s main boulevard, Sejongro, because I wanted to see the Royal Palace (Gyeongbok), the President’s residence, known as Cheongwadae or the Blue House, and the American Embassy. From here it’s a fairly short walk to Bukchon where there is the city’s largest collection of privately owned traditional wooden houses. It’s a charm with beautiful architecture and small courtyards, with the houses interspersed with quaint cafes and art galleries.

Taking the same route the next day, I took a trip into the mountains that peak behind the President’s House, and climbed the one known as Bugaksan. This affords the opportunity to pass through the Sukjeongmun Gate and through the city’s ancient fortress wall. From here the Seoul Fortress is easily accessible and there are also amazing views of Seoul.

Shopping in the Orient is an amazing experience so I made sure to pay a visit to the Shinsegae downtown department store. This huge emporium sells probably everything you can imagine and is a complete charm in the way the bottom floors sell all the basic staples of daily life – including the ubiquitous kimchee (fermented cabbage) and are frequented by Korean housewives while the upper floors cater to the well-heeled and brand conscious. As fascinating as it is, the new rooftop garden is a welcome respite. But, if you are going to shop in Seoul, it’s a must to visit the street stalls and hawkers of the Namdaemum Market where the wares seem to be spread out in a blanket of never-ending stalls. Be prepared to be seriously jostled by the crowds, but it’s also the chance to feast on the best street food.

One of the most surprising sights and a rue delight is the Cheonggyecheon Stream. Running for just under 4 miles through the city, the stream is remarkably quiet given its location, because it is 15 foot below street level. The serene setting, accentuated by waterfalls and bridge is a favorite strolling spot for romantic couples.

With a flying visit to Itaewon, the popular ex-pat neighborhood near to the main US army base, my time in Seoul came to an end. I was enthralled and captivated and hope I get to return one day.

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Reasons Why You Should Visit South Korea at Least Once in Your Lifetime

travel essay in korean

While South Korea might not yet be the number one travel destination for many around the world, there are plentiful reasons why you should visit the country of the morning calm on your next vacation. From history to culture and food to religion, take a look at our guide to the top reasons why you should visit South Korea at least once in your lifetime.

Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? Book now and join one of our premium small-group tours to discover the world like never before.

Sing karaoke in Seoul, go hiking in Seoraksan National Park and eat bibimbap in Jeonju on our 10-day small-group trip to South Korea .

Pulsating culture

Due to their long history, South Koreans have a variety of traditions they have kept alive throughout centuries. Still today, you can watch traditional Korean dance and music performances, while people love to dress in traditional clothes ( hanbok ) – you can rent it to wear around Seoul and Jeonju, for example. Even in modern Seoul, you can still find traditional hanok house neighborhoods with lovely teahouses that have been in existence for decades. This mix of old and new is truly fun to explore when traveling in South Korea.

Rich History

The history of South Korea is long and dating back over a thousand years. Due to the natural isolation of the Korean Peninsula, the country’s culture hasn’t changed as much as in other regions. Still today, you can stand in awe of some of the most significant cultural heritage sites of the country, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main palace situated in Seoul. The city of Gyeongju is also a place of historic value and is often called a ‘museum without walls’. Gyeongju was the capital of Korea during the Silla Dynasty from 57 BC – 935 AD and is home to countless royal tombs, palaces, and temples that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Year-round Festivals

When you are for the first time in South Korea, make sure you visit a festival. Every year, there are more festivals in South Korea than one could attend, with a couple of main festivities everyone likes to join in with. When the snow melts and the weather gets warmer, pink and white cherry blossoms transform South Korea into a magical wonderland for a short period at the beginning of spring, and thousands of people come to see the blossoms from all over the country. Buddha’s Birthday is another major holiday celebrated in May with lantern parades and performances at local temples, while in fall, Koreans celebrate their own version of Thanksgiving during Chuseok and honor their ancestors during proudly conducted ceremonies. In fact, there are festivals in every month of the year for every taste.

Futuristic Modernity

The modern face of South Korea I

In contrast to its historic landmarks, South Korea is a pioneer in creating new and innovative structures. Looking at Seoul, for example, you are surrounded by futuristic buildings in one part of the city, such as the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid, while traditional hanok neighborhoods lie just around the corner. Earlier this year, Seoul proudly opened the world’s fifth largest skyscraper piercing majestically out of the ground overlooking the Han River. It comes with little surprise that some of the world’s leading companies are also located here, including Samsung, Hyundai and Kia.

Exciting Food

Koreans are very proud of their unique cuisine. This is another result of the country’s natural isolation and climate leading to particular food preparation methods. Take kimchi , for example, the country’s number one side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables that are kept in jars for months, one of many practices used to protect food during harsh winters. Over the centuries, Koreans have created a fascinating and rich food culture made up of meat dishes, stews, soups, noodle dishes, seafood and many vegetable side dishes. Visit South Korea and you should spend an entire day roaming street markets sampling your way through this concert of flavors.

Quiet Countryside

As South Korea is not yet a worldwide popular vacation destination like its neighbors China and Japan, you will find untouched rural areas giving insight into traditional Korean lifestyle. While around 20% of all South Koreans live in and near Seoul, it’s especially the small rural villages where you can find peace and quiet. The well-connected railway and express bus systems make it easy to also explore the less visited areas of the country. You’ll be surprised that you can find lush rice terraces and hidden temples right here in South Korea.

Buddhist Nun Performing Tea Ceremony

You can find even more tranquility and inner peace when joining a one- or two-day templestay program, which allows you to spend some time living like Buddhist monks in temples across Korea. While the Korean templestay program might not be as heard of around the world, it’s a well-established organization offering English-speaking programs to anyone around the country. Whether you want to experience a templestay in downtown Seoul or in rural South Korea on top of a mountain, the options are endless and the results are incredibly rewarding.

Vibrant cities

While Seoul is arguably the most thrilling city in South Korea, it’s not the only large city that’s worth a visit. Despite its small size, South Korea has plenty of exciting cities from north to south. Busan in the very south, for example, is the country’s second largest city and located on a beautiful coastline with sandy beaches and clear ocean water. Jeonju in the west of the country is one of the last places featuring a traditional old town with Korean hanok houses and a beautiful destination in spring and fall. Each of Korea’s nine provinces has its own local cuisine and attractions that are worth exploring.

K-pop Culture


South Korea is world-famous for its exciting music culture. K-pop is not only a music genre, it’s part of Korean culture that captures people all over Asia and the world. Walking down main pedestrian streets in South Korea, you will hear the latest hits of the industry. K-pop fans visit South Korea in waves and visit their favorite group’s or singer’s music label, get a K-pop makeover or visit K-pop-themed cafés. If you’re not yet into Korean music, we guarantee you that after you visit South Korea, you will be.

Korean Trendsetters

Shoppers in Korea

K-pop and Korean fashion go almost hand in hand. However, in recent years, South Korea has not only become known for coming up with quirky outfits for their boy and girl groups but also setting global trends in regular fashion. Seoul Fashion Week, for example, is becoming more and more visited by international designers and fashion labels who visit fashion shows to import Korean fashion lines to their home countries in Europe, America, Africa and all over Asia. Visiting Seoul, visitors will also notice that South Koreans, in general, are very fashionable and love to experiment and show off their hot streetwear on the streets of Seoul. Visit Dongdaemun, Gangnam or Myeongdong to get your own sets of Korean outfits to take home with you.

Make-up and Skincare

Ever wonder why Korean women (and men!) have flawless and stunningly beautiful skin? Koreans see taking care of their skin as an essential part of their daily lives and they spend more money on skincare and beauty than anywhere else in the world. Many Koreans even have a ten-step morning and night routine they strictly follow day after day to maintain their beautiful skin. It’s therefore no wonder that South Korea is home to countless skincare and make-up brands offering the most innovative and futuristic products on the global market. If that’s not a great reason to come to Korea, then we don’t know what is!

Quirky Entertainment Options

Entertainment is very important to South Koreans and they come up with new ways to keep themselves amused almost every month. We have all heard of the quirky themed cafés all over Seoul that offer visitors the chance to pet cats or dogs, play with racoons, cuddle with meerkats and engage with all kinds of other animals. There are also themed cafés that allow you to dress up as a princess and take pictures or eat food shaped like poop. Karaoke rooms have also been part of Korean entertainment for decades and are popular among all age groups. PC rooms are also well-visited, usually by a younger crowd, who compete in a variety of online games with people from all over the world – so much so that South Korea has become a leading force in global e-sports.

Stunning Coastline and Beaches

Due to South Korea being a peninsula, the country offers miles and miles of beautiful coast and stunning beaches. Korea also has a lot of beautiful islands, the most popular and largest one being Jeju Island. Jeju Island is one of Korea’s most visited destinations thanks to its exceptional natural wonders and breathtaking beaches. Another beautiful beach and coastal region is Jeollado in the west of the country. Moreover, the eastern coast is famous for beautiful sunrises, the earliest in the country.

Picturesque Mountain Ranges

South Korean attractions include beautiful national parks. Despite its small size, South Korea is home to 22 national parks with countless mountains. The island of Jeju has the highest peak in South Korea, the shield volcano Hallasan. Another popular hiking area is Seoraksan, the third tallest mountain in the country at 1,708 meters (5,603 feet). You can hike around this national park on Culture Trip’s 10-day adventure around South Korea . It’s exactly this combination of mountains and coast that make South Korea such a thrilling destination.

Four Amazing Seasons

Due to South Korea’s location in East Asia, the country is blessed with changing seasons. This makes Korea an exciting place to travel and live. No matter when you travel to Korea, you’ll be surprised with breathtaking seasonal changes in nature, such as cherry blossoms in the spring, flower fields in the summer, colorful foliage in the fall and a white wonderland in the winter. Besides the changing weather, each season also has special festivals and also dishes, such as the Taebaeksan Snow Festival in winter and cold noodles in summer.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


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South Korea Tourism, Essay Example

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South Korea is a country with a long association with the United States. American soldiers have been stationed there for over 60 years, since the Korean War of 1950-52. In this paper, a trip to South Korea to experience its unique culture and history will be presented. The aim of the itinerary is to see as much which is authentically Korean in the time available.

Area History and Background

The country of South Korea was created in 1948, when the Korean Peninsula became split between the Communist North and the capitalist South. Since 1950, when the Korean War began with an invasion from the North, Korea has been split into two countries who regard each other with great animosity. The South’s correct name is the Republic of Korea. While there has not been any considerable political turmoil here since the 1980s, the historical and political situation can still become heated, both in terms of relations with the North and relations with other Asian powers, such as Japan.

A landmark of particular interest to Americans is the Demilitarised Zone, or DMZ. This dates from the end of the Korean War and marks the dividing point between North Korea and South Korea. This border remains the most heavily fortified border in the world, and is a focus for much tension between the countries.

Travel Motivations

Visiting the locations detailed here allows visitors to see what the real Korea has to offer. Many westerners are often very ignorant of the traditions and lifestyles of Asian countries, so a main motivation for visiting this type of location is to feel more informed and knowledgeable, in a much more specific and empirical way. This feeling of authenticity makes every location a great draw for visitors who want to know what Korea is like in terms of food, art and other cultural activities, without having to live in the country for many years. While leisure and recreation are also motivating factors, the quest for knowledge is the main factor in influencing people in their choice of these destinations.

There has also been an explosion of interest in Korean popular culture, following the explosion of the Gagnam dance on the internet. Many people might be drawn into visiting the country because of this, but would want to experience culture such as this at close hand.

Specific destinations on the tour include the capital city of Seoul, as well as more rural locations and other towns too. This forms a good and useful focus for any first time visitors to South Korea, providing a good overview of the country. They can expand their knowledge of any other areas of the country in subsequent visits, should their curiosity be piqued sufficiently.

Overview of Tourism Development

There has been talk recently of attempts to improve Seoul’s tourist infrastructure, with the amount of tourists increasing by increasing by 10 per cent annually, according to the Korea Tourism Organisation. While local media has sometimes expressed embarrassment at the country’s tourist facilities, generally speaking there are a good range of facilities on offer to visitors.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has committed to improving the infrastructure further though, in an attempt to attract 10 million visitors per year. As their website states: “The key strategy is to turn places like the Hangang, Cheonggyecheon, Insa-dong and Namsan (Mt.) into vivid tourist places.”

This mentality means that the city is very welcoming, generally, to outsiders, and there is a very low crime rate when compared generally to the United States. Crimes against property like burglary and robbery do occur though, so visitors should still be careful. Crimes against the person such as rape do take place, so women travelling alone should make sure that someone they trust has their itinerary. The usual guidelines for travel in a foreign city apply, like taking rides from strangers after dark, apply here as well.

The political tensions between South Korea and North Korea can sometimes lead to tense situations in the city, according to USA Today’s guide to travel in the region. Stay away from areas where demonstrations or protests are taking place, as emotions can often become heated and violence sometimes occurs. If an emergency does take place and you are in danger, then call 112 for the police or 119 for an ambulance or the fire department. The emergency services offer an interpretation service for visitors who do not speak Korean. If you are worried about picking up local infections then drink only bottled water and avoid eating fresh fruit and vegetables.

Currency/Visa Requirements

The local currency is known as the Won. There are currently 1083 Won to the US Dollar.

To enter South Korea you will need an up-to-date and valid passport. If you have a valid US passport then you can stay in South Korea for 90 days without a visa. If you are entering the country for reasons other than short-term business reasons or tourism or for a stay of longer than 90 days, then you must have a valid visa obtained from the South Korean embassy.

This is a complete bespoke package tour, with all prices inclusive. The total cost is stated at the end of the itinerary.

DAY 1 – Departure

Depart for Seoul, Korea.

Day 2 – Seoul

Arrive in Seoul. Take airport limo service to hotel.

Room will be available for occupancy by 1.00 PM local time.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Lunch and Dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight at hotel such as Grand Hilton / JW Marriot

Day 3 – Seoul

Full day city tour visiting Gyeongbok Palace, Folklore Museum, Insadong Alley, The Blue House, Jogesa Temple and South Gate Open Market.

(Seat in a coach tour)

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight at Grand Hilton / JW Marriot

Day 4 – Seoul

This afternoon visit Korean Folklore Village.

(seat in a coach tour).

Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 – Mt. Soraksan

Morning departure for Mt. Soraksan. Afternoon tour of Beeryong Waterfall and Kwonkumsong.

Overnight at Hotel Sorak Park / Kensington

Day 6 – Seoul

Morning excursion to Shinhungsa Temple and Flying Fairy Rock. Afternoon departure for Seoul.

Overnight at hotel Grand Hilton / JW Marriot.

Day 7 – Mt. Songnisan

Leave Seoul for overnight excursion to Mt. Songnisan.

Visit Popjusa Temple and Mt. Songnisan.

Overnight at Songnisan Tourist Hotel.

Day 8 – Gyeongju

Visit Haeinsa temple and Mt. Kayasan enroute.

Dinner at a local restaurant

Upon arrival in Gyeongju, check into hotel Commodore/ Hilton/ Hyundai.

Day 9 – Gyeongju

Full day sightseeing tour visiting Pulguksa temple, Sokkuram Grotto, designated a national treasure and one of the finest Buddhist shrines, Chomsongdae Observatory, built to represent the lunar calendar; National Museum which exhibits the treasures from the Royal tombs, Pulkuksa Temple, Tumhli Park, Anapji Pond and Shilla Kiln.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Overnight at hotel Commodore/ Hilton/ Hyundai.

Day 10 – Busan

Drive to Pusan en route visiting Tongdosa Temple. Afternoon tour of Yongdusan Park, Taejongdae Beach park, U.N. Cemetery and Fishery Market.

Overnight at Busan Commodore / Westin Chosun Beach / Paradise Beach.

Day 11 – Jeju

This morning you will fly to Jeju Island.

Arrive in Jeju. Take airport limo service to hotel.

Afternoon city tour Moksokwon, Folkcraft & history Museum, Dragon Head Rock and Samsunghyul.

Overnight at The Hotel& Vegas Casino/ Hyatt Regency/ Jeju Grand.

Day 12 – Jeju

Full day tour to Sanbanggulsa, Chungbang Waterfall, Chonjiyon waterfall, Sungeup Folk Village, Sungsan Sunrise Peak and Manjang Cave.

(coach tour)

Day 13 – Seoul

Fly back to Seoul.

Take airport limo service to hotel

Balance of the day at leisure.

Day 14 – Seoul

Morning free for shopping and other independent activities.

Check out from the hotel by noon.

Take airport limo service to airport.

Depart on your onward journey / home.

Cost of the Vacation: Double Occupancy   $ 4575.00

Airfare-Tour itinerary

Busan – Jeju – Seoul   $ 290.00

Total: $4865

Plus money for meals (estimated): Dinner in South Korea usually costs between 5000 Won and 10,000 Won, and food is cheap by American or European standards.

Therefore estimated cost for meals: 140,000 Won = $129.19

Total cost = $4994.19

Airline: Air India

Tour Operator: Exotic Journeys Inc.

Author unknown, ‘Infinitely Yours, Seoul’, ‘Tourism and Convention Industry’ (2011)

Author unknown, Exotic Journeys article ‘What It Includes’ (2012)

Kimberley Sharp, ‘Safety in Seoul’, USA Today (2012)

US Department of State ‘Korea, Republic of, Country Specific Information’ (2012)

Yonhap News Agency, Editorial, ‘Time to drastically improve tourism infrastructure’ (2005)

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Home — Essay Samples — Geography & Travel — South Korea — South Korea: an Amazing Country


South Korea: an Amazing Country

  • Categories: South Korea

About this sample


Words: 828 |

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Words: 828 | Pages: 2 | 5 min read

Works Cited:

  • Haggis, P. (Director). (2004). Crash [Motion Picture]. United States: Lions Gate Films.
  • Kellner, D. (2006). Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture. Film-Philosophy, 10(1), 1-18.
  • Leavy, P. (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research. Oxford University Press.
  • Liu, J. H., & Hilton, D. J. (2005). Stereotypes and prejudice: Key readings. Psychology Press.
  • Martin, M. (2006). Crash: Racism and Hysteria in America. Screen Education, (40), 43-48.
  • Nakagawa, S. (2006). A Review of the Movie Crash. The Japanese Journal of American Studies, (17), 299-303.
  • Nayar, P. K. (2009). An interview with Paul Haggis. Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities, 28(2), 28-36.
  • Ponniah, S. (2011). Race and racism in Paul Haggis's Crash: A cultural analysis. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(6), 260-268.
  • Said, E. W. (1978). Orientalism. Vintage Books.
  • Shohat, E., & Stam, R. (1994). Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media. Routledge.

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South Korea: an Amazing Country Essay

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travel essay in korean

Key to Korean

Key to Korean Motivation & Resources for Learning Korean

TOPIK Beginner Writing Samples (Tests 10-20)

One of the BEST things I ever studied while preparing for the TOPIK test was the sample answers that the TOPIK website provides.

TOPIK Beginner Writing Topics & Samples (10-20).DOCX

So, I’ve decided to collect ALL the previous TOPIK Writing topics and examples provided by into a single document. However, since there are so many, I’ve decided to split the larger document into 2 smaller parts with 10 previous tests each (TOPIK Writing began from test 10).

Here are Tests 10-20, while this link will take you to Tests 21-30 :

TOPIK Test sample writing answers

Why were these writing samples so great?

Simply, I could see some of the grammar structures and vocabulary that would give me more points on the test if I used them. If you want some specific examples of how I studied with these sample essays, check out my post on tests 21-30 where I detail some of the grammar structures I learned and used:

  • TOPIK Beginner Writing Samples (Tests 21-30)

And if you just want to see the entire collection of Beginner Writing Topics, click below:

  • TOPIK Beginner Writing Topics & Tips (한국어능력시험 초급 쓰기)

How have the TOPIK sample answers helped you on TOPIK?

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A note about topik registration in korea.

Warning: TOPIK II test locations fill up quickly! Less than 2 hours after registration opened, I was 17,878 in line. After 5 hours, everything that opened for registration today was full. Be early, or be sorry. (Or wait for IBT TOPIK from 2023.)

120 Days to TOPIK #1 – Gather Resources

Gather your resources! This is one of my favorite parts of any new Challenge because it can be fun to look over the kinds of materials you WANT to use and the kinds of things you WANT to learn (plus, Continue reading 120 Days to TOPIK #1 – Gather Resources

How I Will Study for the TOPIK II in 120 Days (and You Can Join Me)

Well, that was unexpected. I recently wrote a post outlining my plan to cram for the TOPIK II in 30 days. I had been planning to take the test on July 19, 2015. But, I guess plans change. As it turns Continue reading How I Will Study for the TOPIK II in 120 Days (and You Can Join Me)

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17 South Korea Travel Tips (From a Longtime Resident)

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2023 by Max · This post may contain affiliate links · 2 Comments

When I first came to Korea, I made the mistake of thinking that I could just wing it and survive in a totally different culture without almost any preparation. Within my first week, I’d read every article on South Korea travel tips available on the internet.

It was embarrassing coming to Korea without knowing how to do the simplest of things by myself, so I went into observation and Korean language study mode. In the meanwhile, I definitely looked ignorant making mistakes I could have easily avoided had I prepared myself beforehand.

For instance, one of the biggest mistakes I ever made was wearing tank tops to school my first few weeks as an English teacher. In the US, it’s nothing to comment on. But in Korea? I was embarrassingly pulled aside at a school assembly and told I was making other teachers uncomfortable, yet I’d been dressing the same for weeks and nobody had said a word. I was mortified.

A smaller error I made during my first week was in assuming that you can just say anything in any way in Korea. But due to Confucian social conventions, there are important levels of formality I should have been mindful of.

Imagine how offended my teacher looked when I replied “ Annyeong ” without the “ haseyo !” It was such an embarrassing moment that, again, I could have avoided had I read some Korea cultural tips before arriving.

We don’t want you to offend the locals, so to ensure that you do not make the same mistakes I did, I made a list of my top South Korea travel tips to help you on your trip.

travel essay in korean

Basics of Travel in South Korea

What to know before visiting korea (tips from locals).

Visa: Most travelers will need a K-ETA ( Korean Electronic Travel Authorization ), applied for at least 72 hours before departure. If you needed a visa before, you'll need a K-ETA now. Note that from April 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024, passport holders from 22 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and several EU nations, can visit visa-free – no K-ETA required!

Currency: South Korean won ( KRW or ₩ )

Arrival in Korea: all international flights arrive at Incheon Airport (ICN), one of the best-rated airports in the world. It usually takes about 1 hour to get through security & pick up checked bags.

Getting Around: Korea has an extensive & reliable public transport system. A refillable T-Money card is your ticket to buses and trains across the country; you can buy and refill yout TMoney card at any subways station or convenience store in Korea.

Internet & SIM Cards: Rent a Wi-Fi egg or purchase a prepaid Korean SIM card at the airport, available for up to one month of connection.

Travel Insurance: always recommended, though some credit card companies offers limited coverage when booking.

travel essay in korean

Asking about your age is okay

You might feel offended if a Korean person suddenly asks about your age, but this is a totally normal thing to them. Refusing to answer this question also gives them great stress, because then they don’t know how to properly address you; there’s an explicit social hierarchy in Korea.

So as much as this question might make you uncomfortable, understand that this is their custom, and they primarily use it to learn how they should talk to you.

Know the proper honorifics to use

The worst thing about conversing with people is that you don’t know whether you’re using the right honorifics, and there’s always a chance you might use the wrong one.

Even if you’re speaking with them in English, there are different ways to address someone depending on their status (usually relative to yours). So if you’re unsure where you might fall in the hierarchy, you can prepare yourself with this guide on how to properly address people in Korea first. 

Don’t forget to bow!

One of the things I’ve learned here in Korea is that: “when in doubt, bow.” Koreans bow whenever they greet, thank, and even apologize. Sometimes I wonder if I’m bowing too much, or if I’m bowing lower than I should.

But Koreans don’t really expect you to bow at all, especially if it’s totally obvious that you are not from their culture, but it’s still respectful and appreciated if you try.

travel essay in korean

Remove your shoes as soon as you enter a home

One fascinating thing about Korean homes is the existence of the ondol system, or the traditional method of keeping their floors warm. This is why Koreans find winters tolerable and comfortable; their feet are never cold.

The issue with Westerners is that they oftentimes forget this, and they walk into places with their shoes on, leaving grimy bits of dust and pebbles that sully the pristine floors. But shoes are not acceptable in most Korean homes or restaurants, so if you are not comfortable with exposing your bare feet, at least keep your socks on.

Koreans eat from the same bowl

You might think this is unhygienic, but in Korea, this is absolutely normal. Sharing is a massive part of the culture, and if you do not participate in this custom, they may take it personally. Also, while we’re talking about bowls – never lift it up while eating!

Your bowl should stay in front of you at all times, which is why you generally see Koreans stoop over their bowls and scoop food using a soup spoon. 

Never stick chopsticks in your food

While sticking our chopsticks in a bowl of rice is not really a big deal to us, to them it’s an insensitive act. This is because it replicates a jesa , or a funeral ritual that Koreans do to offer food to the dead.

travel essay in korean

The eldest eats first

Koreans love to eat together, but remember that age matters in Korea, so if the eldest person is not ready to eat yet, you really have to wait.

Also, the seating arrangement when eating is also different in Korea, but my trick here is to wait for everyone else to be seated and then wait for their gesture to tell me where to sit. Works like a charm.

Even if it’s too spicy for you to handle, don’t blow your nose at the table

Koreans are known for their spicy food, and we have a tendency to sniffle if we are not used to it. But Koreans find it rude to blow your nose at the table (and you don’t want to send your snot to the food ), so as much as possible, hold it in or excuse yourself to the bathroom. That way you can blow as much as you want without getting flak for it.

If you’re drinking with the elderly, turn your head away when taking a shot

There are so many drinking rules in Korea , and one thing you have to keep in mind is always to mind the seniority. If you have to clink glasses with somebody older than you, make sure your glass is slightly lower than theirs. Then you turn away and take the shot, not looking back until you’re all done.

travel essay in korean

Don’t pour your own drink

You should never serve drinks to yourself in Korea, though if you’re the youngest, you should pour for everyone else. Instead, you should wait until someone pours it for you, and always receive it with both hands.

You should also keep a lookout for whether those who are older than you need a refill, and when you pour, never forget to use both hands.

Don’t tip in Korea!

Koreans do not like it when you tip, as it imbalances a careful power dynamic between customers and proprietors. In Korea, they hold the strong belief that the customer is King, and that they should uphold the highest quality of standards whenever they serve you.

So if you find yourself impressed by someone’s service, just thank them and leave a nice review in Kakao Maps (and offer them a compliment, if you can!).

Writing people’s names in red ink is a big no-no

Koreans love receiving handwritten letters, and if you want to show your gratitude and appreciation for a new friend, a helpful Korean tip would be to avoid red ink. You’ll actually rarely see red ink pens for sale in Korea, because writing names in red ink is believed to bring death upon the person whose name was written.

travel essay in korean

Don’t be part of the problem: toss your trash properly

Korea has a serious littering problem. Even if there are clear, established rules on how to properly segregate trash, you’ll still see bottles, plastic cups, and cigarette butts on the side of the road across the country.

What you can do, however, is to bring your trash with you wherever you go, and throw it in proper bins in the public spaces. 

Don’t give gifts in fours

Giving gifts is a big thing in Korea. People seem to love exchanging things as a sign of appreciation, hence Teacher’s Day, Single’s Day, and White Day (all gift-giving holidays). However, if you give them something that comes in a set of 4, they might freeze for a moment, as the number four is inherently connected to death in Korea.

This is because this number sounds a lot like death in their language, so avoid this unlucky number by choosing just one thoughtful gift. There are plenty of places where you can buy gifts in Korea !

Take the time to appreciate a business card

While in Korea, you’ll likely encounter interesting people, many of whom may offer you a business card. This is a common way to non-threateningly try to connect with foreigners, so remember to receive it with both hands.

Then make an effort to at least appreciate the fine details of it before storing it; rushing to pocket these things often rubs them the wrong way.

travel essay in korean

Don’t cross your legs in the presence of other people

This is another custom I never knew was rude, since I grew up being told as a woman that I should keep my legs crossed if I don’t want to look improper. In Korea, however, crossing your legs is a sign of disrespect, though foreigners sometimes get a pass.

If you have to sit across from somebody and you’re wearing a skirt that’s too short for your liking, instead of crossing your legs, aim to straighten your posture and keep your hands on your lap.

Shoving is okay

I know this is something that may confuse you, because in most cultures, shoving is rude. But in Korea they don’t like getting held back or blocked.

So if people shove you in Korea, they may do it with such force that it throws you off balance – but here’s the rub: if you get mad, people will think you’re making a scene. This is totally normal behavior to most Koreans, especially from the elderly, but this fact took me years to accept.

Now that you’ve seen all my most important Korea tips, I hope that my advice will help keep you away from trouble and speed up your acclimating process.

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Reader Interactions

Max Ritchie says

October 01, 2022 at 8:23 pm

Hi Max, I'm a Max as well and love all things Korean. I'm planning a trip early next year and will concentrate just on Seoul (as I'll be back). I found your information very helpful and will keep reading. I'm planning the trip alone and I'm a very active 73yr old female, if i fitted the criteria I would have loved to teach english there so I could experience the country more fully than just a trip.

regards max

October 01, 2022 at 8:48 pm

Awww thanks, Max! I'm glad you've found it helpful, and please let me know if you have any questions. My mom (an active 69-year old, herself!) had a similar sentiment when she came to visit me in Korea for the first time. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

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My first trip to seoul, korea.

travel essay in korean

After leaving Bangkok, I didn’t think I could encounter a bigger city but landing in Seoul I could see I was in for a shock. Seoul is such a dense city, with thousands of people on the street around you at all times. SO MANY PEOPLES! I couldn’t believe it, but I loved my trip to Korea.

My flight from Bangkok to Seoul was very tiring as I was in an aisle seat and ever since I can remember I’ve never been able to fall asleep for the life of me when I’m sitting in an isle seat. We had left for the airport in Bangkok at 11:30pm and landed in Seoul at 10:30am local time. Not having slept a wink you can imagine how delirious I was. I even fell asleep in the taxi on the way to the hotel, which looked like a racing car I might add. The moment I landed at the airport, I immediately noticed the cleanliness and that continued on throughout Seoul. As big and crowded as the city is, the people and city of Seoul take so much pride in cleanliness, order and efficiency! Everything is so exact and timely. I was very impressed. Once I checked into the Grand Hotel in Myeongdong I decided to lay down and try to rest a bit before venturing out but a couple dozen emails later, I realized a nap wasn’t going to happen so I got dressed and went for a walk.

I ended up in a nearby mall’s food court only to be impressed once again by the spread in the basement food court of a mall in Asian. I don’t think I can describe it accurately and it’s something everyone should see for themselves but imagine a large group of immaculate restaurants serving the most enticing food you’ve ever seen. By large, I mean thirty plus restaurants all next to each other so when you make the rounds you can’t decide what looks better so you often end up over-eating at multiple places and that’s how I packed on the weight that I am working off as we speak. What I want to stress to everyone is the importance of doing a lap around the whole cafeteria (if you can even call it that) before you make a decision of where to eat on your second lap. It’s definitely an experience to say the least!

I can’t stress enough the cleanliness of Seoul! I ended up doing a mixture of subways and taxis while I was there and having been in subways and public transportation in other cities I was so impressed at how clean it was down there! The bathrooms were immaculate and everyone in the subways followed the same rule and gave up their seat to anyone their senior. I thought that was so honorable.

The people of Seoul were so respectful. For example, every interaction ended with “kam sam ham ni da” a formal thank you. When presenting anything, it is customary to hold the right arm when extending your hand. The children are also very well behaved in public. I can say for certain I did not see a single child throwing a tantrum or being disrespectful. Not once.

For as much tourism as there is in that city they do a great job for keeping order. There are lines even in the escalators (the right side for people standing still and the left for people that want to climb up faster to make the exit of the subway systems more efficient. I also really loved the accuracy of their posted signs. For example, the signage for indicating the bathroom locations also have an exact distance of how many meters from your location it is. Also the digital signs indicating the location of the subway train in real time as it’s approaching you was extremely helpful.  Not that you are there bored by a means because you can entertain yourself with the many ads displayed on the walls as well as large LED screens that frankly were better quality then what I have at home! What I though was extremely amusing was all the plastic surgery ads as soon as you enter the ritzy part of town which is known for their abundant plastic surely centers. The advertisements showcase the before and after pictures of surgeries such as jaw shaving, eye lip/eye fold surgery (the most popular one), feet, nose, lips, toes… Really anything you can think of! You can walk around that part of town and see patients walking around hiding their scars and stitches with the white surgical masks people tend to wear to help combat the bad air pollution.

On top of the surgeries, people there are obsessed with preserving their youthful appearances. They will be covered from head to town in blistering heat as well as using an umbrella to combat the high UV rays that supposedly plague the area. To me everything seemed normal but I guess people there check the UV index as casually as I check the weather. Also, the skin care scene there is unparalleled by any other country. You can’t walk more than 15 feet before you see another skin care store. I am not exaggerating! They are that abundant there. As you would expect I did some shopping and will be posting my reviews of their skin products as soon as I’ve tested them. I would literally be walking down the street and at the end of the day end up with at least five free samples. Not to mention, when you purchase any products they usually throw in a bunch of free stuff and give you a discount! I felt as if I had hit the jackpot. I even bought skin care for men which I will make my guy friends try and report back to me. All the beauty stores were intoxicating and I couldn’t help myself but shop.

On another note, I greatly enjoyed the food in Seoul. I was already a big fan of Koran BBQ and absolutely love Kimchi so you can imagine I was in haven. I tried a few different Korean BBQ places and was even taken to a Korean BBQ type place that was inspired by a part of China that is mainly muslim. Instead of the traditional pork and beef dishes they served lamb skewers that we cooked at our table on a contraption that rotated our skewers for us.

I also got to experience a little bit of the nightlife in an artsy section of town called Seo Gyo Dong where the design students study. The area was cluttered with cafes! I was in heaven. You could literally walk down the street and pass a cafe a minute. We stopped at one called the Green Cloud Cafe where I discovered a new type of tea made from fruits and honey. In that part of town, I also had my first Korean Popsicle which I went on to have another and another… I mainly tired the watermelon one and the cantaloupe one and I was again surprised with the accuracy of the taste! In the watermelon Popsicles, the pieces that looked like seeds actually tasted like seeds. We also went to a pork only Korean BBQ place where I probably consumed more pork than I have in my whole life. I also noticed that Seoul had so many options of decadent desserts at every cafe. So many choices and so many calories, but I did try a few. I stuck with the traditional Korean choices, things I wasn’t going to find easily back in the states.

I was very lucky to have been traveling with friends and some were locals to Seoul. That made it so much easier to get a great tour of the city. One night we even stopped by a bar that a great little alternative rock band playing live music. It was reminiscent of what a small live music night at a bar would be in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. Then, we even headed to a children’s park in the center of that area where teenagers and college kids go to drink and hang with friends. There we randomly happened to catch a dancing act by two ladies that had set up shop to show off their moves and they were quite good! I was told another popular night time activity besides the obvious club scene is the Karaoke bars that get quite competitive with their grading scale. There are also Karaoke places where youngsters go to “be alone/ have adult meetings/ spend time together”… You get the picture. I guess that’s a pretty normal thing because it is customary for young people to live at home with their families until they get married so they have to get hotel rooms and go other places to be alone. Although I noticed that the Korean youth is quite reserved and conservative which may have something to do with the low birth rate and the declining population growth.

All in all, I had an amazing time on my trip to Korea! It was eye opening and entertaining and I will definitely be visiting Korea again to explore other parts of the country, such as the islands and the coastal city of Busan.

Things you must try in Seoul:

  • The street food is fantabulous!!!!
  • 32cm green tea ice cream cone
  • Korean Popsicle bars: The shark one, the watermelon one and the Melona one. You’re welcome!

This is a little Vlog I did while in Seoul. Don’t forget to Subscribe to my YouTube channel .

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Travel by Example - South Korea 7 Day Itinerary

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary

Looking for a sample itinerary and ideas on how to spend a week in South Korea? Read our post with South Korea 7 Day Itinerary. This detailed  itinerary is based on our own experience travelling in South Korea and includes visiting Seoul , Busan , Gyeongju and Gapyeong . 

We travelled to South Korea in 2023 and really liked the country. South Korea has a rich history, delicious food, hilly landscapes, beautiful coastlines, busy cities and pretty countryside. Many first time visitors to South Korea limit their visit to Seoul only. While Seoul is a vibrant city with lots of things to see and do, we wanted to see more of South Korea during our trip.

We didn’t want to move to a new location every night or two, rent a new place every time, pack and unpack often, and think about where to store our suitcases when between hotels. Therefore, we based our first part of the trip in and around Seoul , and the second part of the trip – in and around Busan . This way, we only had to book two hotels – one in Seoul and one in Busan, and could explore cities and make one day trips with a light backpack, leaving all the rest in the hotel.

Here is our 7 Day Itinerary in South Korea.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary at a glance:

Day 1 – historical sights and night views of seoul, day 2 – jogyesa temple, bukchon village, gyeongbokgung and modern seoul, day 3 – day trip to gapyeong (petite france, nami island and garden of morning calm), day 4 – seoul parks, shopping districts and food markets, day 5 – busan (haeundae beach, x the sky, blueline tram and haedong yonggungsa temple), day 6 – day trip to gyeongju (daereungwon tombs, hwangridan-gil, bulguksa temple, gyochon village and donggung palace), day 7 – busan (gamcheon culture village, biff square, jagalchi market and songdo beach).

Cherry blossom at Gyeongju, South Korea

Planning a trip to South Korea

There are few things you need to plan and prepare before travelling to South Korea. 

First of all, you need to check whether you need a tourist visa to South Korea or Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (KTA), and obtain it.

Next, plan and sort out mobile internet for the trip (e.g. get a roaming, a local sim-card or rent a WiFi device  in South Korea). 

Also, think about bringing cash, how to get to Seoul from Incheon airport, how to use public transport, buying a train pass and getting useful mobile apps before going to South Korea.

Read about all this and more in our dedicated post Things to know before travelling to South Korea .

As the majority of international travelers to South Korea fly to Seoul, we start our 7 Day South Korea itinerary with this vibrant city.

Seoul is one of the biggest cities in the world and has lots of attractions and things to see and do. We recommend spending at least 3 days in Seoul to get a good overview of the city, see its big attractions and experience its busy life.

In the morning

On the first day in Seoul go to Ikseon-dong Hanok Village – a traditional Korean village with narrow streets, pretty houses, cafes and small shops.

Visit Changgyeonggung Palace complex built in the mid-15th century by King Sejong. Explore its many buildings and gardens.

Changgyeong Palace complex, Seoul

Next, walk to Unhyeongung – a former royal residence . There are a couple of historical buildings and quiet courtyards inside. The entrance to the residence is free.

Have lunch in one of the many cafes and restaurants of Insa-dong street . Also, there are many souvenir shops and other stores on Insa-dong street if you feel like shopping.

In the afternoon

All of the attractions above are located within walking distance to each other. But to get to the next point of the itinerary you would need to take a bus or a subway. Read about using public transport and paying with Tmoney cards in Things to know before travelling to South Korea .

Travel by Example - our first day in South Korea

In the afternoon, go to Naksan Park to enjoy the views over the city. For the best night views over Seoul go to Eungbong Mountain Park. 

Finish Day 1 with night views from the Eungbong Mountain Park

Read our detailed post on the 3 Day Itinerary for Seoul .

First stop on Day 2 is Jogyesa Buddhist Temple . Its main building – the temple with the Budha statue – is surrounded by a spacious courtyard decorated with paper lanterns. Jogyesa is open to the public and the entrance is free.

Day 2 in South Korea - Jogyesa temple

Next, walk to Bukchon Hanok Village – a traditional Korean village with small alleys and houses with hanok architecture. It’s located on the top of a hill between Changdeok Palace and Gyeongbok Palace. 

Gyeongbokgung Palace (or Gyeongbok Palace) was the main and the largest royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. It’s a big complex with many historical buildings and gardens. Plan to spend at least 1-2 hrs exploring Gyeongbokgung.

Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul

Just south to the Gyeongbok Palace lies Gwanghwamun Square . The square is surrounded by tall modern buildings and has two massive statues – the statue of King Sejong and the statue of Admiral Yi Sun Shin. 

Continue walking from the Gwanghwamun Square towards Cheonggye Plaza and Cheonggyecheon. Cheonggyecheon is a public recreational space right in the heart of Seoul. It has lots of cafes and restaurants around and is a great place to stop for lunch.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary - Cheonggyecheon in Seoul

In the afternoon explore Seoul on the other side of Han river. In that part of Seoul you will find the famous Gangnam suburb, a viewpoint to Banpo bridge with its colourful fountain, the 123-story Lotte World Tower with its Seoul Sky observation deck, as well as Lotte World Magic Island amusement park, as well as many other Seoul attractions.

Enjoy some shopping at Lotte World Mall or visit Lotte World Aquarium . Get to the observation deck of the Lotte World Tower – the tallest building in South Korea and the 6th tallest building in the world.

Observation deck at the Lotte World Tower, Seoul

Last stop of the day is Banpo Bridge and its colourful show of the Banpo Bridge Moonlight Fountain. You can watch it from the Banpo Hangang Park, which is a 20 min by bus from Gangnam.

On the Day 3 of the South Korea 7 Day Itinerary, take a day trip from Seoul. 

There are quite a few day trips you can take from Seoul – check them out on Klook or GetYourGuide . We would like to recommend the one that we took ourselves – a day trip to Gapyeong county . 

On the day we were picked up in the morning by a tour bus (you can choose one of the meeting points when booking the tour). We visited three places in the Gapyeong county – Petite France and Italy villages, Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm.

Petite France and Italy are purpose built miniature villages (one French and one Italian) with cute houses, display rooms, small alleys and squares. Built on a hill the villages have nice viewpoints over the Korean countryside.

Day trips from Seoul - recreated French village

After making a stop for lunch (with traditional Korean food of fried chicken, veggies and spices), we went on a ferry to Nami Island . Nami Island on the Han River has lots of alleys with tall trees on the sides, gardens, sculptures, cafes and a few small shops. It’s a nice destination not only for nature lovers, but also for those who watch Korean drama series – Korean drama “Winter Sonata” was shot at Nami Island.

Day trip from Seoul - Nami Island

Last stop of the day is the Garden of Morning Calm – one of the oldest private gardens in Korea. We visited in spring and it had many blooming trees and flowers. In autumn you will find there abundance of fall colours. In winter they decorate gardens with colourful lights and illumination. And in summer, of course, you can enjoy all the greenery of the plants in the gardens. 

Visiting Garden of Morning Calm in spring

The tour bus will bring you back to Seoul in the evening around 7pm. If not too tired, take a walk in the center of Seoul after dark. Seoul is always a busy city, even at night.

Spend the last day in Seoul with leisure walks in city parks, shopping in popular shopping districts and visiting traditional Korean markets.

Start the day with a walk along the Seoul City Wall and in the Naksan park . From the Naksan Park, walk down to Ihwa Mural Village and then continue downhill to Dongdaemun gate .

Walking trails of Naksan Park, Seoul

Dongdaemun is a large shopping district in Seoul. There are many shopping malls, Dongdaemun Market and DDP – Dongdaemun Design Plaza. 

Dongdaemun Gate (also known as Heunginjimun gate)

Next, take a metro to Myeongdong – another popular shopping and dining area in Seoul. Have a break for lunch at Myeongdong.

In the afternoon walk to the Namsan Mountain cable car station at the foot of the mountain. Take a cable car to the top to see N Seoul Tower and enjoy the views over Seoul. Then walk  through the Namsan park down to the city below.

Namsan park and N Seoul Tower

Finish your day with an evening walk in Seoul and visiting one of Seoul’s night markets, for example, Namdaemun Market . You can buy food from the stalls and eat it on the way, or sit down to eat at one of the food kiosks/shops.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary - Traditional Korean BBQ for lunch

We spent our last day in Seoul in a very relaxed manner. Slow walks, just taking in the views and the city, making stops to taste Korean snacks, drinks and food, enjoying the atmosphere of the busy and diverse city of Seoul.

Next in our South Korea 7 Day Itinerary is the city of Busan. Busan is known for its beautiful beaches and a laid back atmosphere typical of a coastal city. 

In the morning – take a train to Busan

A direct speed train from Seoul to Busan takes only 2.5 hours. Read the ‘Travelling by Train in South Korea’ section in our post Things to know before travelling to South Korea for the information on how to get train tickets and a special KORAIL pass for tourists. 

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary - Busan

Arriving in Busan, first of all, go to your hotel to leave the bags. Most of the hotels will store your suitcases before the check in time. Alternatively, you can store the bags at Busan train station and get them later when you’re ready to check in to the hotel.

First point of interest in Busan is Haeundae . You can take a bus or a subway from Busan train station to Haeundae. Visit Haeundae Market to grab a bite at one of its food stalls or to have lunch in one of its food restaurants. A short walk from the market is Haeundae Beach – a 1.5km long sandy beach popular with the locals and tourists alike. Have a walk at the beach, go to Dongbaek Park and Lighthouse or visit SEALIFE Busan Aquarium. 

When in Busan, visit Haeundae beach.

Visit Busan X the Sky – an observation deck in a skyscraper located at the far end of the Haeundae Beach. Pay a small admission price and take a lift to the 100th floor. Floors 98 to 100 are open to the public and have amazing views over Busan and its coastline.

View from the 100th floor of Busan X the Sky

Next, take a leisure tram ride along the coast. Walk to ‘ Haeundae Blueline Park – Mipo Station ’ and take a beach tram from there to the end of the line to Songjeong Station. All the seats in the tram are facing windows, so you will enjoy seascape views while on the tram. 

Get off the tram at the Songjeong Station and walk to the Songjeong Beach . Songjeong beach is another nice beach in Busan, and it’s usually not as crowded as Haeundae beach. Have a walk at the Songjeong Beach and stay for lunch at one of the waterfront’s cafes along the beach.

Travel by Example at Songjeong Beach, Busan

From Songjeong Beach either walk or take a bus to Haedong Yonggungsa temple. Haedong Yonggungsa temple is a buddhist temple built on a rocky seashore. The setting of the temple is very picturesque and it’s well worth a visit when in Busan. On the way to the temple, at the end of Younggung-gil street there is a small market with street food/snacks and souvenirs. Prepare to spend 1-1.5 hrs at Haedong Yonggungsa temple and around.

Haedong Yonggungsa temple. Busan

Depending on your interests, not far from Haedong Yonggungsa temple you can visit Busan National Science Museum, Skyline Luge Busan, Lotte World Adventure park or Lotte Mall.

In the evening we returned to Haeundae Market to eat a variety of Korean street food and sweets. This is where we tried Korean sweet pancake Hotteok filled with honey and seeds, and Korean 10 Won bread filled with molten cheese. Alternatively, have dinner in one of the many cafes and restaurants of Haeundae.

Haeundae Market, Busan

If you’re not too tired, take a bus to either Millak Waterside Park or Namcheon Seaside Park – to finish the day with the night views over Busan cityscape and Gwangan Bridge .

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary - Busan at night

Read our detailed post on the  2 Days in Busan Itinerary

On the Day 6 of the South Korea 7 Day Itinerary, take a day trip from Busan to Gyeongju. Gyeongju was the ancient capital of Korea and has lots of historical sights and places to visit. Attractions in Gyeongju are quite spread from each other and so we decided the easiest way to see them would be with a guided tour. We recommend this day tour from Busan that can be booked on Klook – Gyeongju day tour from Busan .

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary - Gyeongju

First stop of the day is the Buddhist temple complex – Bulguksa Temple . Bulguksa Temple is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the most important historic and scenic sites in South Korea. If you visit in spring, make sure to also make a stop at the park nearby to admire cherry blossoms.

Day trip from Busan - Bulguksa Temple

Next stop is Hwangnidan-gil – a busy street with traditional Korean architecture and lots of small shops and cafes. We had a nice lunch there at a restaurant serving traditional Asian hot pot food, and afterwards enjoyed a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop.

Lunch at Hwangnidan-gil in Gyeongju

Minutes from Hwangnidan street is Daereungwon – a large ancient tomb complex. You will recognize it by several tombs next to each other looking like big green hills in a park. One of the tombs is open for visitors and has excavated artefacts on the display.

Ancient tombs of Daereungwon

Next, visit Gyochon Traditional Village to have a look how people used to live in the olden days when Gyeongju was the capital. Walk the alleys of the hanok village, admire the traditional Korean architecture and make sure to get down to the river to take a picture of the rebuilt 8th century Woljeong Bridge.

Gyochon Traditional Village, South Korea

Last stop of the day trip to Gyeongju is Donggung Palace & Wolji Pond . There is a reason why tour guides leave visiting Donggung Palace until the end. While not that impressive during daylight, after sunset the place transforms with all the lights on and reflections in the pond. 

Donggung Palace, Gyeongju

Return to Busan for the night.

On the last day of the South Korea trip explore the southern parts of Busan city . 

First thing in the morning of our last day in South Korea was breakfast in one of the bakery cafes in Busan. Travelling in South Korea you will notice that bakeries are quite popular and the variety of baked products is great! So, after a cup of coffee with local baked goods we checked out of the hotel and went to Busan train station to store our bags. Then, with a camera and a small backpack we took a bus to Gamcheon Culture Village.

One of the many bakery shops in South Korea

Gamcheon Culture Village is a neighbourhood in Busan featuring many colourful houses spread over a hilly landscape. Historically, this is where the poor lived for a long time, until in 2009 the government decided to renovate and make the village into a culture hub. Now, with the colourful painted houses, art installations, cafes and souvenir shops, Gamcheon Culture Village is a popular place to visit in Busan.

Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan

After walking in the village and taking hundreds of pics from its different viewpoints, walk to BIFF square. BIFF square is a busy area with shopping, cinemas, street food and alleys with handprints of famous Korean actors. Not far from BIFF square is Yongdusan Park and its Busan Tower (also known as Diamond Tower). It was on our itinerary until we realised we spent too much time trying all the different street foods and searching for a Busan souvenir magnet in the shops around BIFF square. As we were flying from Korea in the evening, we were conscious of time on our last day in Busan. But if you have enough time then I’d recommend going for a walk in Yongdusan Park and getting up to the observation deck of the Diamond Tower.

Visit BIFF Square when in Busan

Next, visit Jagalchi Market – a famous seafood market that is the largest in South Korea. You will find here a huge variety of fresh seafood. In the indoor section of the market you can order takeaway or eat-in food made out of the fresh seafood right there at the market. We didn’t eat at the Jagalchi Market (we were too full after the stalls at BIFF square), but it was still an interesting experience to see such a huge fish market with so much seafood variety.

Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan

Next point of interest is a man-made beach in Busan – Songdo Beach. Together with its pedestrian bridge-trails – Songdo Cloud Trails, surrounding cafes and coastal views, Songdo Beach is a nice place to visit in Busan.

Songdo Beach - a man-made beach in Busan

Take a cable car (Busan Air Cruise) from the Songdo Bay Station to the Songdo Sky Park . Enjoy the nice views from the Songdo Sky Park, have a walk at Amnam Park or walk the suspension bridge to the small island of Dongseom.

Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge, Busan

If you still have time (depending on when you need to leave Busan for Seoul and Incheon International Airport) I’d recommend taking one of the walks at Yeongdo . Go to Hynyeoul Munhwa Maul – a cultural village with a nice waterside walk, then walk along the coast and up to the Yeongdo Haneul Observation Deck to admire the views.

South Korea 7 Day Itinerary - Busan

That was the end of our trip in South Korea as it was time to take a train from Busan back to Seoul and then to Incheon International Airport to take our flight back home. 

This South Korea 7 Day Itinerary was just perfect for us – not too long, but enough time to see South Korea’s biggest cities, many historical and cultural sites, enjoy Korean food and see some of the natural sights in the country. 

Read next –  2 Days in Busan Itinerary

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Travel by Example - South Korea 7 Day Itinerary

4 thoughts on “ South Korea 7 Day Itinerary ”

That sounds a great itinerary, the unique buildings are definitely something that piqued my interest.

I just recently started to contemplate going to Korea. 1 week seems to be the perfect time for a visit. Seoul and Busan sound like interesting destinations! Thank you for this great itinerary!

I have always wanted to visit South Korea. It looks like you thoroughly enjoyed your trip there. Lots of things to see and do and defintely eat. I hope the language wasn’y much of an issue. Thanks for sharing your itinenary with us.

Jan –

Language wasn’t an issue at all. Many Koreans speak English, and sellers know some basic words. And everyone so friendly and ready to explain with signs if necessary:)) Plus, we quickly picked up few words in Korean too 🙂

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100+ Korean Phrases You’ll Need for Smooth Travel

One often-overlooked aspect of preparing for travel is learning a bit of the local language. 

While English will get you quite far in South Korea (especially in the bigger cities), nothing can replace learning a little Korean to get around. It can make things easier for you, and the natives will appreciate the effort!

Here’s a list of essential phrases to get you started.

Basic Greetings

Common courtesy, communicating in korean, important places, navigating around, transportation, accommodations, tourist attractions, emergency situations, travel essentials, miscellaneous, and one more thing....

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

travel essay in korean

The bare fundamentals, a simple “Hello” or “Goodbye,” can be much appreciated by any native speaker.

안녕하세요 — Hello

This can be said at any point in the day, and you can reply to this in exactly the same manner.

반갑습니다 —  Nice to meet you

If you meet someone, especially someone of importance, you can illustrate your respect with this short phrase.

어떻게 지내세요? —  How are you?

잘 지내요 — I am good

A positive response to the above question of “How are you?” 

이름이 뭐예요?   — What is your name?

This is a polite way to ask, but if you want to be more casual, you can say 이름이 뭐야? instead.

제 이름은 _____  — My name is _____

안녕 / 안녕히 계세요   / 안녕히 가세요   — Goodbye

“Goodbye” comes in different flavors in Korean.  안녕  is informal and should be used for friends and closer acquaintances.  안녕히 계세요 (lit. “Please stay well”) is specifically for when you are leaving the premises, but the other person is staying. Conversely,  안녕히 가세요 (Please leave well) is when you are staying, but the other person is leaving.

좋은 아침   — Good morning

If it’s your first time seeing someone in the morning (up until 11 AM), you can greet them with this since it’s pretty common. 

좋은 저녁 —  Good afternoon

좋은 저녁 —   Good evening

These two phrases aren’t used as much as a general 안녕하세요  (Hello), but you’re more likely to come across them in formal situations, such as a work event. 

travel essay in korean

South Korea holds courtesy in high regard, so you’ll definitely want to learn some ways to express gratitude and respect. Doing so, especially when you’re a foreigner, will help you leave a good impression on those you interact with.

감사합니다 —  Thank you

This is a formal, all-around safe way to offer your gratitude . Alternatively, you may say 고맙습니다 .

천만에요 — You’re welcome (formal)

It’s not often that Koreans actually respond to a “Thank you” with a “You’re welcome,” but if you wish to be extra polite, then you can throw in this phrase. Normally, you can respond to thanks with a simple, humble 아닙니다 , which means “It’s nothing.”

실례합니다 (polite) / 잠시만요  — Excuse me

실례합니다  is a very polite phrase used to get someone’s attention, such as for when you approach a stranger for help.  잠시만요  more or less means “Wait a moment” but can be used for situations such as when you need to push past or be a minor physical hindrance to people.

여기요 — Over here

Use this phrase with a raised hand or some kind of physical gesture to get someone to come over to you. This can also be used to flag down a waiter in a restaurant.

죄송합니다 / 미안합니다  — I’m sorry

Used for any situation where you need to excuse your behavior. Both ways of saying sorry are formal and have an almost equal amount of weight (are interchangeable).

[object] + _____ 주세요 — Please give _____  

Use this if you’re politely requesting an object from another person. This can be said alone, or follow after you specify what you want.

To learn more about how to be polite in Korean—and listen to how some of the super common situations in this post sound in real life—you can use a learning program like FluentU . 

Getting confused is an unavoidable experience when traveling to another country that speaks a different language! By knowing some key vocabulary, though, you can make communication easier. 

잘 모르겠네요 — I don’t understand

한국말 잘 못해요 — I don’t speak Korean well

It’s highly likely that you won’t understand every word of Korean you hear, and it’s best to let whoever’s talking to you know that! Many will be kind enough to try and simplify their message for your comprehension.

영어 할 수 있어요? — Do you speak English?

Most Korean natives know some English to be able to help you out in a tough spot, so don’t be afraid to ask!

천천히 말씀해 주세요 — Please speak slowly

다시 한 번 말해주시겠어요? — Can you please say that again?

Korean is a rather quickly-spoken language, especially when the speaker is quite emotional ( Korean dramas , anyone?), so keep these two phrases in mind just in case. 

종이에 적어 주세요 — Please write it down

This is essential when you’re asking about the name of a place or getting someone’s phone number.  

street in south korea

Wherever you’re going in Korea, some of the most helpful vocabulary to know would be place names: 

  • 지하철역 — Subway station
  • 기차역 — Train station
  • 버스 정류장 — Bus station
  • 공항 — Airport
  • 호스텔 — Hostel
  • 식당 — Restaurant
  • 관광 안내소 — Tourist information center
  • 박물관 — Museum
  • 시장 — Market
  • 약국 — Pharmacy
  • 편의점 — Convenience store
  • 쇼핑 센터 —  Shopping center

Even if you go off-track at some point or lose your way, don’t worry — getting lost can make for a great adventure in your travels and be a perfect opportunity for you to practice your Korean with locals.

왼쪽 / 오른쪽 / 직진 — left / right / straight

북쪽 / 남쪽 / 동쪽 / 서쪽 — north / south / east / west

These direction words are self-explanatory, and if you’re asking for directions, you’ll most definitely be hearing these words. Make sure to be familiar with them so you can at least pick up general directions.

근처에 _____ 이(가) 있나요? —  Is there a _____ nearby? 

This will tell any native that you’ll need some navigation help. Follow up with something that will indicate where you’d like to go.

_____이(가) 어디인지 아세요? — Do you know where _____ is?

어떻게 _____ 에 가나요? —  How do I get to…?

Ask any of these two phrases for specific directions.  

_____이(가) 얼마나 먼가요? —  How far is _____? 

_____ 까지 얼마나 걸려요? —  How long does it take to get to _____ ?

It might feel quite different from English, but you’d put the name of the place at the start. You can use the table in the previous section as a reference!

_____ (으)로 가 주세요 —  Please take me to _____

If you need a guiding hand, then this will be the phrase to use. You can quickly find people willing to direct you to where you need to go. This phrase can also be used to inform a taxi driver of your destination. (When the place name ends with a consonant, use “으로,” otherwise use “로.”)

화장실이 어디예요? —  Where is the bathroom?

Because in the world of travel, being able to find a bathroom is essential. Note that 어디예요 ,   by itself, means “where is it.”

train station in korea

South Korea has a convenient transportation system that also makes it easy to travel from city to city. Here are the main forms of transportation: 

  • 지하철 —  subway
  • KTX — high-speed train

These phrases will help you get around: 

버스 정류장이 어디에 있나요? — Where is the bus station? 기차역이 어디에 있나요? — Where is the train station? 지하철역이 어디에 있나요? — Where is the subway station? 

Bus stations are pretty much everywhere, while subway stations are only in major cities like Seoul, Busan and Daegu. Train stations are inter-city and meant for long-distance trips so they’re a bit more spread out.  

표를 예매하고 싶어요 —  I want to book a ticket

Aside from a simple ticket, you can also get a transportation card ( 교통 카드 ), which covers both train and bus trips. 

표는 어디서 살 수 있나요? —  Where can I buy tickets?

Bus or train stations usually have ticket machines, but tickets are available online too, which might be more convenient.  

버스가 몇 시에 도착하나요 ? —  What time does the bus arrive?

버스는 몇 시에 출발하나요? —  What time does the bus depart?

다음 버스는 몇 시에 있나요? —  What time is the next bus? 

You can replace 버스 (bus) in these sentences with 기차 (train) or 지하철 (subway). For real-time bus or train scheduling updates, locals often check apps like Kakao Map and Naver Map .

[place] + 로 가려면 어떤 버스를 타야 하나요? —  Which bus should I take to go to [place]? 

이 버스는 _____ (으)로 가나요? —  Does this bus go to _____ ? 

It’s not uncommon to get lost! The bus system in Korea can be confusing at first because it uses numbers to represent routes. 

You’d mainly say this when riding a taxi. For extra politeness, you can add 주세요 , which means “please,” at the end.  

택시 요금은 얼마예요? — How much is the taxi fare? 

Most taxis use the meter to track payment, but to avoid confusion, it’s best to ask the driver before you get in around how much it’ll cost. Remember too that you don’t have to tip taxi drivers in Korea!

traveler in korean hotel

Settle into your accommodations more quickly and move on to exploring with the practical phrases below: 

체크아웃 / 체크인 시간은 언제인가요? —  What time is check-out / check in? 

룸 서비스를 이용하고 싶어요 — I would like to use room service 

Depending on the hotel, 룸 서비스  usually means food from the in-hotel restaurant, amenities like towels and blanket and sometimes laundry service. 

추가 비용이 있나요? —  Is there an additional charge? 

Sometimes this isn’t obvious, such as when you’re getting drinks from the minibar. 

_____을(를) 추가로 받을 수 있을까요? —  Can I have more _____ ?

You can usually ask for items like 타올 (towels), 물 (water), 이불 (blankets), 베개 (pillows), 샴푸 (shampoo), 비누 (soap), 칫솔 (toothbrush) and 치약 (toothpaste). 

전기 변압기가 필요해요 —  I need an electrical adapter

Most hotels have extra adapters on hand since it’s a common request. 

방을 변경하고 싶어요 — I would like to change my room

택시를 부르고 싶어요 — I would like to call a taxi

와이파이 비밀번호가 무엇인가요? —  What is the wi-fi password?

Having internet access is pretty much invaluable when you’re in a foreign city, so this is worth remembering not just for hotels, but also for when you’re out and about.  

gazebo in busan

Whether you’re going to a heritage site, museum, theme park or traditional village, these phrases will let you make the most out of your visit. 

이곳은 언제까지 열려 있나요? — Until what time is this open? 

가이드 투어가 있나요? —  Is there a guided tour available? 

Major museums, palaces and cultural heritage sites often have guided tours in English, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace ( 경복궁 ) and National Museum of Korea ( 국립중앙박물관 ). 

사진 찍어 주실 수 있나요? — Can you take a photo of us? 

Unless you have a lengthy selfie stick, you’ll likely have to make this request to strangers. If you’re not sure whether you can take photos, you can ask the staff 사진을 찍어도 되나요? to confirm. 

입장료는 얼마예요? — How much is the admission fee? 

This works for pretty much any tourist attraction and even performances and concerts. 

티켓을 구매하고 싶어요 —  I would like to purchase a ticket 

_____ 장 주세요 —   _____ ticket/s, please 

When buying tickets, just place the number before 장 주세요 . For example, for one ticket, you’d say 한 장 주세요 , while for two or three tickets, it’d be 두 장 주세요 or 세 장 주세요  respectively. 

할인 티켓이 있나요? —  Do you have any discounted tickets?

어린이 요금이 어떻게 되나요? —  What is the children’s fare?

경로 요금이 어떻게 되나요? —  What is the senior’s fare?

If you’re buying tickets as a group or you’re with children or seniors (60 years old and above), you might get a discount. 

안내 지도를 얻을 수 있을까요? —  Can I get a map?

명소를 추천해 주실 수 있나요? —  Can you recommend some attractions?

근처에 추천해 줄 식당이 있나요? —  Can you recommend any restaurants nearby?

Asking locals for recommendations can point you to cool spots that you won’t find easily online, and they might give you practical tips too.  

travel essay in korean

South Korea is a food-lover’s paradise . On every street, you’ll find indoor and outdoor food venues, selling everything from traditional Korean meals to trendy snack foods. These phrases will help you when you’re up for some indulgent dining .

_____ 주세요 — Please give me _____  

To order your meal, simply state it and tack on  주세요  afterwards. Short and simple!

메뉴 주세요 — Menu, please

More often than not, Korean restaurants won’t have the menu out on the tables. To get one, simply raise your hand and state this phrase.

계산서 주세요 — Bill, please

Waiters in Korean restaurants often will not personally ask if you’ve finished your meal, so once your stomach is satisfied and you’re ready to head out, ask for the bill!

싸 주세요 — Please wrap / It’s to-go

If you want wrapped leftovers, you definitely have to let your servers know as they probably will assume otherwise. Note that you’ll likely only get your meal, not any side dishes, packed up.

제가 알레르기가 있어요 — I have an allergy

If you have an allergy, then you must say so, preferably in Korean so that they know exactly what to exclude.

어떤 음식을 추천하시나요? —  What food do you recommend?

Asking for the staff’s recommendations is one of the surest ways to try what’s good in a restaurant. 

영어 메뉴가 있나요? —  Is there an English menu?

Restaurants that get plenty of travelers are likely to have English menus. 

좀 덜 맵게 해 주세요 —  Please make this dish less spicy

Korean food can be quite spicy, so you can make this request if you prefer milder flavors. To minimize the spiciness, you can even say 안 맵게 해 주세요 — Please make this dish not spicy. 

예약했어요 —  I made a reservation for a meal

따로 계산해 주세요 — Please separate the bill. 

This is for when you want to split the bill and get separate receipts for less hassle. 

물 한 잔 주세요 —  Please give me a glass of water

A lot of Korean restaurants have water stations or dispensers so you can get water whenever you want. In case there’s none, though,  you can ask the staff directly since it’s usually free.

얼마나 기다려야 하나요? —  How long do I have to wait ? 

Thankfully, once you’re at the table, 반찬  or side dishes tend to be served pretty quickly, so you can munch on something while waiting for your order. 

젓가락 하나 더 주세요 —  Please give me an extra pair of chopsticks

숟가락 하나 주세요 — Please give me a spoon

Chopsticks and spoons are the main utensils in restaurants in Korea. Note that 포크 or forks are less common in traditional restaurants!

Since eating out is likely going to be a major part of your itinerary, here are some more survival Korean expressions for ordering food:

travel essay in korean

With its plethora of food establishments, South Korea also has a huge variety of shopping outlets. You definitely won’t get bored by what’s available for purchase, so you’ll want to know what exactly to say when something catches your eye and makes you reach for your wallet.

_____ 있어요?  — Do you have _____?

얼마예요? — How much is it?

It’s highly recommended to know how numbers work in Korean , as there are two distinct systems that are used in different contexts. However, if you’re not overly familiar with them, it’s probable that the cashier will be able to tell you the price in English.

카드 받으세요? — Do you take credit cards? 

South Korea has a high credit card usage rate, so you shouldn’t have a problem if you’re strapped for cash and only have your card on hand.

환불해 주세요 — Please give me a refund

Be prepared with a good reason for your request! Even if you’re a foreigner, you’ll still need to explain yourself (and explain well!) to the store employee.

교환해 주세요 — Please give me an exchange

If your shopping purchase is damaged or needs to be switched to fit your needs, then use this phrase to notify the employee. You shouldn’t have a hard time with this request, especially if you have a valid reason.

할인해 주실 수 있나요? — Is there a discount?

You never know when there might be a sale or promo!

이거 더 작은 사이즈로 있나요? —  Do you have this in a smaller size?

이거 더 큰 사이즈로 있나요? — Do you have this in a bigger size? 

Korea’s size system for clothes can seem very familiar at first because it also uses letters like S, M and L. Sizes can be different from those in other countries, though, so you’ll definitely want to try on the clothes first before buying them! Some stores have free alteration services too. 

피팅룸은 어디에 있나요? —  Where are the fitting rooms? 

이거 살게요 —  I’ll buy this 

When you’re done at the fitting room and you’re satisfied with the clothes, then you can let the store employee know. 

travel essay in korean

In the event that an urgent situation pops up and you’re in need of direct, quick help, you’ll need some quick phrases to get proper attention.

도와주세요! — Help!

A straightforward call for assistance. This literally means “Give me help,” to which a proper response might be 도와줄게요 , which means “I will give you help.”

긴급 상황이에요 — It’s an emergency

Whatever the nature of your problem, this phrase will get you rapid assistance. Consider who exactly you need to help you, whether it’s the police or the paramedics, for example.

경찰 / 경찰을 부르세요 — Police / Call the police

It’s helpful to know that in South Korea, the phone number to contact the police is 112. But in case you don’t have a phone or are in quick need of legal service, saying the above phrase to a native will most likely get the help you need.

병원 — Hospital

If you say this phrase alone to a native, that could be enough of an alert for them to aid you. If you need quick medical attention and know you need care at a hospital, then use this phrase.

여기가 아파요 — It hurts here

This is useful for any injury you receive that needs to be treated. Along with this phrase, point to where exactly you feel pain.

의사가 필요해요 — I need a doctor

Along with the word for hospital, this is good to know if there’s ever a possibility that you need professional care. It’s possible someone will call an ambulance for you, should the situation be dire, but you should also know that the Korean phone number for the fire brigade and ambulance services is 119.

man giving his passport

Your passport is the most important document to have while traveling, so here’s some helpful vocabulary: 

여권 —  Passport

This can be useful to know how to say in Korean because some places — like hotels and bars — might look for your passport. A related word is 비자 (visa). 

여권 잃어버렸는데, 보셨나요? —  I lost my passport, have you seen it? 

Fingers crossed that this won’t actually happen! If you lose something else, you can replace 여권   (passport) in this sentence. Other valuables are 지갑 (wallet),  핸드폰   (mobile phone), 신용카드 (credit card) or 가방  (bag). 

[Your country] 대사관은 어디에 있나요? —  Where is the… embassy?

If you lose your passport or get visa-related issues, then you’ll have to head to your country’s embassy in Korea.

환전소는 어디에 있나요? —  Where is the currency exchange? 

Aside from banks, you can get currency exchange done at the airport, hotel and major shopping centers. Look for signs that say 환전 or 외화 교환 , which both mean currency exchange.

travel essay in korean

Here are some phrases you may hear anywhere, anytime, and aren’t necessarily attached to any one context.

화이팅! / 파이팅! — Fighting!

Slang used for encouragement, you can passionately exclaim this to boost one’s morale. It’s usually accompanied nu a firm shake of the fist.

괜찮아요 — It’s okay

The equivalent to the English “It’s fine.” You can say this in a multitude of situations, such as expressing the state of your physical health or accepting a certain circumstance.

진짜요? — Really?

Just in case you need some extra affirmation about something. This phrase is also commonly used as an exclamatory statement.

안 돼요 — It doesn’t work/It cannot (be)/No way

This phrase differs slightly in meaning depending on the context. You can use it for a variety of situations, from talking about a dysfunctional washing machine to adamantly denying a particular circumstance.

재미있어요 — It’s fun

Of course, if you’re having fun and want to say so, then by all means you should! This phrase will be relevant quite frequently while you’re out and about adventuring in Korea.

With these phrases as part of your mental luggage, you’ll be more confident and have a more satisfying trip to Korea.

Safe travels, or as you would say in Korean, 여행 잘 하세요, 조심해서 가세요 !

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Travel Daily

Korean Air recognised for 45 years of serving New York

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Korean Air held an event to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its New York route together with the Korea Tourism Organization, Incheon International Airport Corporation, and Delta Air Lines in Manhattan, New York. On this occasion, Korean Air received a Senate and General Assembly Citation from New Jersey for the airline’s contribution to America’s eastern region.The airline also presented a plaque of appreciation to the Korean American Associations of New York and New Jersey for their support over the years. “We extend our deep gratitude to the Korean communities in the region and our esteemed partners for their steadfast support throughout the past 45 years,” said Jin Ho Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Americas Regional Headquarters at Korean Air. “We look forward to bringing you upgraded customer services, including the opening of new lounges, upon the completion of the new Terminal One in 2026.”

The event was attended by Euy Whan Kim, Consul General of Korea in New York; Kwang S. Kim, President of Korean American Association of Greater New York; Adrian Lee, President of The Korean American Association of New Jersey; Grace Lee, New York Assemblywoman; Ellen Park, New Jersey Assemblywoman; Julie Won, New York City Council Member; and Steve Rowland, Executive Director at JFK Terminal One. About 130 people participated in the celebration including representatives from 60 major local travel agencies.

Korean Air provided attendees with a specially produced 45th anniversary wine in collaboration with New York Del Vino Winery and a specially-designed tote bag crafted in collaboration with the Korean Association of New York Artists (KANA), a non-profit culture and arts organization based in New York.

All of the co-hosts promoted Korea as a tourist destination and introduced its strengthened hub competitiveness following the expansion of Incheon International Airport. In addition, companies such as Ceragem and LG, also celebrated the airline’s 45th anniversary through various sponsorships.

Since launching its first service to New York on March 29, 1979, Korean Air has played a key role in facilitating cultural, art, and economic exchanges between the two countries. The airline currently operates two daily flights between New York JFK and Seoul Incheon: flight KE082 departs from JFK at 13:20 and arrives at Seoul Incheon at 17:50 the next day, while flight KE086 leaves JFK at 00:50 and arrives at Seoul Incheon at 05:20 the next day.

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Annie Jacobsen: 'What if we had a nuclear war?’

The author and Pulitzer prize finalist, who has written the latest pick for the New Scientist Book Club, Nuclear War: A scenario, on the "shocking truths" about a nuclear attack

By Annie Jacobsen

12 April 2024

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The Titan nuclear missile in the silo in Arizona, US

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Not long after the last world war, the historian William L. Shirer had this to say about the next world war. It “will be launched by suicidal little madmen pressing an electronic button. Such a war will not last long and none will ever follow it. There will be no conquers and no conquests, but only the charred bones of the dead on an uninhabited planet.”

As an investigative journalist, I write about war, weapons, national security and government secrets. I’ve previously written six books about US military and intelligence programmes – at the CIA, The Pentagon, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency– all designed to prevent, or deter, nuclear world war III . In the course of my work, countless people in the upper echelons of US government have told me, proudly, that they’ve dedicated their lives to making sure the US never has a nuclear war. But what if it did?

“Every capability in the [Department of Defense] is underpinned by the fact that strategic deterrence will hold,” US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which is responsible for nuclear deterrence, insists publicly. Until the autumn of 2022, this promise was pinned on STRATCOM’s public Twitter feed. But to a private audience at Sandia National Laboratories later that same year, STRATCOM’s Thomas Bussiere admitted the existential danger inherent to deterrence. “Everything unravels itself if those things are not true.”

If deterrence fails – what exactly would that unravelling look like? To write Nuclear War: A scenario , I put this question to scores of former nuclear command and control authorities. To the military and civilian experts who’ve built the weapon systems, been privy to the response plans and been responsible for advising the US president on nuclear counterstrike decisions should they have to be made. What I learned terrified me. Here are just a few of the shocking truths about nuclear war.

The US maintains a nuclear launch policy called Launch on Warning. This means that if a military satellite indicates the nation is under nuclear attack and a second early-warning radar confirms that information, the president launches nuclear missiles in response. Former secretary of defense William Perry told me: “Once we are warned of a nuclear attack, we prepare to launch. This is policy. We do not wait.”

The US president has sole authority to launch nuclear weapons. He asks permission of no one. Not the secretary of defense, not the chairman of the joint chief of staff, not the US Congress. “The authority is inherent in his role as commander in chief,” the Congressional Research Service confirms. The president “does not need the concurrence of either his [or her] military advisors or the US Congress to order the launch of nuclear weapons”.

When the president learns he must respond to a nuclear attack, he has just 6 minutes to do so. Six minutes is an irrational amount of time to “decide whether to release Armageddon”, President Ronald Reagan lamented in his memoirs. “Six minutes to decide how to respond to a blip on a radar scope… How could anyone apply reason at a time like that?” And yet, the president must respond. This is because it takes roughly just 30 minutes for an intercontinental ballistic missile to get from a launch pad in Russia, North Korea or China to any city in the US, and vice versa. Nuclear-armed submarines can cut that launch-to-target time to 10 minutes, or less.

Today, there are nine nuclear powers, with a combined total of more than 12,500 nuclear weapons ready to be used. The US and Russia each have some 1700 nuclear weapons deployed – weapons that can be launched in seconds or minutes after their respective president gives the command. This is what Shirer meant when he said: “Such a war will not last long and none will ever follow it.”

Nuclear war is the only scenario other than an asteroid strike that could end civilisation in a matter of hours. The soot from burning cities and forests will blot out the sun and cause nuclear winter. Agriculture will fail. Some 5 billion people will die. In the words of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, “the survivors will envy the dead”.

I wrote Nuclear War: A scenario to demonstrate – in appalling, minute-by-minute detail – just how horrifying a nuclear war would be. “Humanity is one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” UN secretary-general António Guterres warned the world in 2022. “This is madness. We must reverse course.”

Nuclear War: A Scenario   by Annie Jacobsen, published by Torva (£20.00), is available now. It is the latest pick for the New Scientist Book Club: sign up  here  to read along with our members

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90 Day Korean

How To Say “Travel” In Korean

Last modified: Aug 21, 2023 | 7 min read | By Laura Toyryla

Today we will go over how to say “travel” in Korean . Raise your hand if you also love to travel! It wouldn’t be a surprise if many of you did, in fact, raise your hands just now; even if, in general, you may not be the biggest friend of travel, you’ve likely got some fun travel plans for South Korea cooking up. 

illustrations of different travel items

And since you’re already learning Korean, it’s only natural to then learn how to say travel in Korean – as well as all the vocabulary that goes along with it!

In this article, we’ll also teach you other related vocabulary, from transportation words to anything having to do with culture, for example. Once you have a hold of this vocabulary, you can have an exciting conversation with your Korean friends about your upcoming trips, be that to South Korea or elsewhere!

Read on for explanations, associations, and usage examples. Or just get the 80/20 below! If you want to learn more great Korean vocabulary with us , we’re happy to help!

  • 1.1 “Travel” in Korean (Noun)
  • 1.2 “Travel” in Korean (Verb)
  • 2 Association for “Travel” in Korean
  • 3.1 Vocabulary for types of travelers and travels in Korean
  • 3.2 Vocabulary list for types of travels and travelers
  • 3.3 Vocabulary for modes of transportation in Korean
  • 3.4 Vocabulary list for transportation in Korean
  • 3.5 Miscellaneous words related to travel
  • 3.6 How to say “Have a nice trip” in Korean
  • 4 A word of caution about Romanization

How to Say “Travel” in Korean

There are two ways to say “travel” in Korean, depending if you’ll use it as a noun or a verb . You’ll also find some sample sentences that can be of aid in learning how to use this vocabulary in Korean sentences.

“Travel” in Korean (Noun)

The word for how to say “travel” in Korean, as a noun, is 여행 (yeohaeng) . 

일본에 벚꽃을 보러 가려면 여행하 기 위해 필요한 표와 호텔방 일찍 예약하세요. (ilbone beotkkocheul boreo garyeomyeon yeohaenghagi wihae pillyohan pyowa hotelbang iljjik yeyakaseyo.)

If you want to go see the cherry blossoms in Japan , you should book early everything you need for your trip.

여행  잘 다녀와요! (yeohaeng jal danyeowayo!)

Have a nice trip!

비행기에서 일등석을 타고 여행 을 다녀본 적 있어? (bihaenggieseo ildeungseogeul tago yeohaengeul danyeobon jeok isseo?)

Do you have experience traveling in the first class of an airplane?

다음에 언제 여행 떠나?  (daeume eonje yeohaeng tteona?)

When do you next go travel?

여행 일정을 어떻게 짰어? (yeohaeng iljeongeul eotteoke jjasseo?)

How did you plan your trip?

난 지난주에 여행 에서 돌아왔어. (nan jinanjue yeohaengeseo dorawasseo.)

I came back from my trip last week.

여행  잘 다녀왔어? (yeohaeng jal danyeowasseo?)

How was your trip?

“Travel” in Korean (Verb)

“Travel” in Korean is typically used in its verb form, either as 여행하다 (yeohaenghada) , which translates simply to “to travel,” or as 여행 가다 (yeohaeng gada) , which has a meaning closer to “to go on a trip.”

You may also replace 하다 (hada) and 가다 (gada) with 다니다 (danida) and 돌아다니다 (doradanida).

Sample sentences:

어디로 여행 가요? (eodiro yeohaenggayo?)

Where are you traveling to?

여행 가는 것을 좋아해요? (yeohaeng ganeun geoseul joahaeyo?)

Do you like to travel?

대학교를 졸업하자마자 취직하기 전에 1년 동안 여행했 어. (daehakgyoreul joreopajamaja chwijikagi jeone ilnyeon dongan yeohaenghaesseo.)

As soon as I graduated from university, I traveled for one year before finding a job.

제 꿈은 세계 여행하 는 것이에요. (je kkumeun segyeyeohaenghaneun geosieyo.)

My dream is to travel around the world.

내일 여행 가니까 오늘은 일찍 잡시다.  (naeil yeohaeng ganikka oneureun iljjik japsida.)

Since we’re traveling tomorrow, let’s sleep early today.

나는 국내 여행 갈 때마다 버스만 타요. (naneun gungnae yeohaeng gal ttaemada beoseuman tayo.)

I only travel by bus whenever I travel inside the country .

우리는 그 결혼식 위해 파리까지 여행 갔 어요. (urineun geu gyeolhonsik wihae parikkaji yeohaeng gasseoyo.)

We traveled all the way to Paris for that wedding.

Association for “Travel” in Korean

To remember how to say “travel” in Korean, we’ll create an English association for it. This can be any word, phrase, or image that helps you recall the Korean word and its meaning .

How to remember (association):

     When I travel , I tell my friends, “ Yo , let’s hang “ . ( 여행 | yeohaeng )

*80/20 Pareto Principle – The 20% you should learn that will give you 80% of the results.

Essential vocabulary related to travel in Korean

Right away, let’s look at some vocabulary in relation to travel. For your convenience, we’ve divided them into separate categories.

Vocabulary for types of travelers and travels in Korean

Here we have a section for different types of trips you can take and a different type of traveler you can be. These can be incredibly handy when describing the type of travel you like to do or plan to do.

“Backpacker” in Korean

The word for “backpacker” in Korean is 백패커 (baekpaekeo). As you know, the word for “backpack” in Korean is 백팩 (baekpaek), so just like in English, the term for backpacker is directly derived from it. The word for hiker in Korean, on the other hand, is 등산객 (deungsangaek).

“Cruise” in Korean

The word for “cruise” in Korean is 크루즈 여행 (keurujeu yeohaeng). There are at least half a dozen different types of travelers that may go on a cruise. For example, for some, the below-mentioned luxury travel can mean a cruise around the Caribbean islands.

나는 크루즈를 타본 적이 없어요. (naneun keurujeureol tabon jeogi eopseoyo.)

I have never been on a cruise.

“Luxury travel” in Korean

The word for “luxury travel” in Korean is 호화 여행 (hohwa yeohaeng). There is no specific term for luxury traveler, but you can perhaps say it as 호화 여행객 (hohwa yeohaenggaek), as 여행객 means “traveler.”

“Tourist” in Korean

The word for “tourist” in Korean is 관광객 (gwangwanggaek). Alternatively, you may also opt to describe yourself as a traveler as opposed to tourist. As mentioned above, the word 여행객 means traveler. Another word for traveler in Korean is 여행자 (yeohaengja).

어떤 종류의 여행자예요? (eotteon jongnyuui yeohaengjayeyo?)

What kind of traveler are you?

Vocabulary list for types of travels and travelers

Vocabulary for modes of transportation in korean.

Previously, we have already covered extensively the vocabulary for car in Korean and train in Korean. In addition, we also have an article that’ll teach you all about using the bus in Korea ! Thus, in this section, we will shortly highlight some other types of transportation, although they may not be as commonly used in comparison.

“Ship” in Korean

The most common word for “ship” in Korean is 배 (bae). However, in some cases, different words may apply. For example, a mail steamer, which is a boat carrying post and mail, is called 우편선 (upyeonseon) in Korean. Meanwhile, a cruise ship, which is the type of ship you’d use during your travels, is called 유람선 (yuramseon). And the word for “ferry” in Korean is 연락선 (yeollakseon).

“Airport” in Korean

You can say “airport” in Korean as 공항 (gonghang). Here, you’ll be able to ride an airplane which is called 비행기 (bihaenggi) in Korean.

The word for “flight” in Korean is 비행 (bihaeng). The word for “domestic flight” is 국내선 (gungnaeseon), and for “international flight,” it is 국제선 (gukjeseon).

하와이에 정말 가고 싶은데 비행기 타는 게 무서워요. (hawaie jeongmal gago sipeunde bihaenggi taneun ge museowoyo.)

I want to go to Hawaii, but I’m scared to go on an airplane.

Vocabulary list for transportation in Korean

Miscellaneous words related to travel.

Here’s one more list of travel-related vocabulary that you may find useful. They may consider any area of travel.

“Passport” in Korean

The word for “passport” in Korean is 여권 (yeogwon). Never leave for the airport without it!

여권이 만료돼서 새로 만들어야 할 것 같아요. (yeogwoni mallyodwaeseo saero mandeureoya hal geot gatayo.)

Seems like my passport has expired, and I need to make a new one.

How to say “Have a nice trip” in Korean

If you have a friend or family that will be traveling soon, here’s how you can wish them a nice trip. Listen carefully to learn how to say this phrase correctly!

How do you say “HAVE A NICE TRIP” in Korean?

A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their Romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea . Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes .

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier, and the country won’t appear so foreign to you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?

Here’s how you can learn Hangeul before you eat your next meal.

So, do you like to travel? What kind of traveler are you? Let us know below in the comments with the newly learned vocabulary! Next, let’s learn about the weather and seasons in Korean !

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4 thoughts on “How To Say “Travel” In Korean”

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What is the meaning of Yeohaengsa?

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Hello! 여행사 means “travel agency.” ^^

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How do you say ‘I was on tour’ since I’m a bit confused here. Also your website has been of so much help. 감사합니다! ????

Hi, It’s Me! You can say “저는 여행 중이었어요.” ^^

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South Korean Parliamentary Election Projected to Hand Defeat to Leader

The vote on Wednesday was a big test for President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has forged closer ties with the United States and Japan but whose domestic agenda has stalled.

A person casting a ballot as an election official looks on.

By Choe Sang-Hun

Reporting from Seoul

In the two years since he was elected, President Yoon Suk Yeol has made his mark in foreign policy, forging deeper ties with the United States and Japan. But his business-friendly domestic agenda has been stalled by his own missteps and an opposition-controlled Parliament.

Now, Mr. Yoon is facing the threat of being a lame duck for the remainder of his single, five-year term.

In a parliamentary election held on Wednesday, voters were projected to have handed Mr. Yoon and his party a crushing defeat, giving the opposition one of its biggest electoral victories in recent decades. Polls closed at 6 p.m. and official results were expected on Thursday morning.

Dozens of parties were vying for the 300 seats in the National Assembly, South Korea’s single-chamber legislature. However, the contest was largely between Mr. Yoon’s conservative People Power Party and the main opposition camp, the liberal Democratic Party.

This was the first general election since Mr. Yoon won the presidency in 2022, beating Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party by a razor-thin margin. While the results will decide the makeup of the Assembly for the next four years, they also serve as a verdict on the two rival leaders .

Exit polls conducted Wednesday by South Korea’s three major TV stations predicted that Mr. Yoon’s People Power Party and an affiliate would win no more than 105 of the 300 seats in the Assembly. Mr. Lee’s Democratic Party and a partner were projected to garner as many 197. A separate exit poll by the cable channel JTBC predicted a similar outcome.

For the past two weeks, candidates have greeted voters at subway stations, woven through their districts on trucks mounted with loudspeakers, and even knelt and bowed before voters, as is customary in the country. All that canvassing stopped as voters began filing into balloting stations across the country at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, which was declared a national holiday for the election.

The outcome of the contest is unlikely to have any immediate impact on Mr. Yoon’s efforts to expand security cooperation with Washington and Tokyo to deter North Korea, as foreign policy is concentrated in the hands of the president.

But Mr. Yoon’s long-stalled domestic agenda — corporate tax cuts and other business-friendly measures as well as his efforts to drastically increase the number of doctors — looks increasingly imperiled.

In contrast, Mr. Lee is likely to get a big push from the election if the exit poll projections are accurate. He hopes to run for president again in 2027.

The rivalry between the two leaders has become symptomatic of the deep political polarization in South Korea.

Mr. Lee’s party billed the election as an opportunity for South Koreans to punish Mr. Yoon over everything from rising consumer prices to allegations of corruption and abuse of power involving his family and the government.

“We must serve a warning that if the worker is not faithful enough, he can be driven out of his job,” ​Mr. Lee said this week​,​ a comment that South Korean news media said hinted at the possibility of impeaching Mr. Yoon if the opposition wins enough seats.

Under Mr. Yoon, Mr. Lee and his wife have been scrutinized by prosecutors and now face various criminal charges. The opposition for its part has passed bills that mandate investigations into allegations of corruption involving Mr. Yoon’s family and former prosecutors and judges. The president has vetoed those bills.

Each side, analysts said, focused on demonizing the other instead of offering policy proposals. Mr. Yoon’s party called Mr. Lee and his party “criminals.” The opposition warned that South Korea under Mr. Yoon was turning into a “dictatorship,” accusing him of using prosecutors and state regulators to suppress unfriendly journalists and politicians; at times, Mr. Yoon’s bodyguards have even gagged and carried away citizens who shouted criticism at him.

“I have never seen an election like this: No campaign promise or policy has become an election issue, except for the forces from the opposite poles clashing to win at all costs,” said Heo Jinjae, an analyst at Gallup Korea.

For one voter, in Seoul, the capital, the choice was between bad and worse.

“Instead of it being a battle of good policy, the election is about picking the least worst candidate,” said the voter, Hong Yoongi, 28, who lives in the city of Seongnam, just outside Seoul. “It’s a shame.”

Kim Eun-joo, a resident in her early 40s, voiced a similar notion but said she cast her vote as a warning against Mr. Yoon’s government.

“I don’t trust any party,” she said. “But I know that the economy has worsened and politics have become more disruptive under President Yoon.”

Nearly a third of the country’s 44 million eligible voters had already cast their ballots in early voting on Friday and Saturday. Experts said that the election would be decided largely by two overlapping blocs of swing voters. The first was people in their 20s and 30s. The second was the roughly 20 percent of eligible voters who hold the middle ground between progressives​ and conservatives. Many voters in their 40s and 50s are progressives, while people in their 60s and older tend to vote conservative.

The two main rival parties competed for swing voters by playing up their enemies’ gaffes and past remarks.

Mr. Yoon committed one such gaffe when he visited a grocery store last month and made a comment that left South Koreans wondering whether he knew how much green onions, a staple, cost amid inflation. Since then, opposition candidates have brandished green onions at campaign rallies as a symbol of Mr. Yoon’s supposed disconnect from everyday life.

Pre-election surveys showed that a majority of voters in their 20s and 30s and those who called themselves moderates disapproved of Mr. Yoon’s performance.

“If anything, this election serves as a report card on Yoon Suk Yeol’s two years in office,” said Jaung Hoon, a political science professor at Chung-Ang University in Seoul.

Jin Yu Young contributed reporting.

Choe Sang-Hun is the lead reporter for The Times in Seoul, covering South and North Korea. More about Choe Sang-Hun


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