Seoul is a fantastic city. There are plenty of places open around the clock, new cafes and restaurants popping up around the corner every week, almost seemingly unlimited shopping opportunities all across the city, and simply so much exploring to do that even the thought of winding up bored here doesn’t cross your mind.
But as great of a place as Seoul is, sometimes your heart and soul simply are begging for a short escape from the bustling big city life. You might begin to dream of hopping on the next train to Busan, you might long for your hometown, or you might even be making fictional plans to get your bum to the beaches in Jeju. However, oftentimes you might be too pressed for time or money to do any of those things, and so you look for an alternative that’s accomplishable within one day. Lucky for you, Seoul’s surroundings – and Korea in general – offers a vast amount of fun day trips for you to go on, no matter the season. Here are some great day trips outside of Seoul for you to consider!
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Everland (& Caribbean Bay)
Within an easy bus ride away – and accessible by subway as well – is a glorious amusement park, home to one of the greatest roller coasters you’ll ever ride, not to mention a wonderful variety of other fun rides and activities. It’ll easily take you a day to plow through the massive area and can be enjoyed 365 days out of the year. And, if you really want to make it a day trip, why not spend the earlier part of the day in the water park called Caribbean right next door, and then head over to Everland for the afternoon and evening?
An Itty Bitty Incheon Tour
Why not hop on the subway and take it all the way to the end of line 1 on Incheon’s end for a day trip for some of the sights in the neighboring city? Incheon is surprisingly big and difficult to cover all of it in one day, but visiting Chinatown and Fairytale Village, located side by side to each other, is definitely one of the highlight options. And once you’ve snapped a ridiculous amount of pictures at the Fairytale Village, and filled your tummy with yummy in Chinatown, hop on a bus or a taxi to get to Wolmido, an easily accessible island nearby, famous for its small theme parks.
Asan Blue Crystal Village (jijunghaemaeul, 지중해마을)
This little spot in the middle of the town of Asan is a hidden gem of sorts. You won’t often find it on lists like these, and it’s unknown to a lot of Koreans as well. It might take a bit of time out of your day to get to if you don’t time yourself right, as the bus from nearby Asan Station (line 1 on the Seoul subway line) to the village only runs once in an hour, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. It’ll feel like you’ve just stepped outside of Korea, and landed somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea cities, with vast options of restaurants and cafes around you to keep you well-fed and hydrated as you snap a million pictures of the gorgeous architecture you’ve suddenly found yourself surrounded by.
Gapyeong, Chuncheon, and Their Surroundings
Only some of Gapyeong and Chuncheon’s great finds are within the access of a train from Seoul, but local buses will get you from point A to point B just fine. If you go during the summer, you should get off the train at Cheongpyeong or one of its nearby stations, and spend some time by the lake having fun with water rides such as water ski or banana boat, but excluding the lake, the area is a great destination for a day trip any time of the year. Gapyeong has many great pensions for group of friends and for couples, as well as Garden of the Morning Calm. Meanwhile, Chuncheon has the best chicken ribs (dakgalbi, 닭갈비) you can find in all of Korea, and the gorgeous Nami Island, plus Petite France and rail bikes. However, if you want to do ALL of that in one fell swoop, you might want to make it a weekend trip instead.
If you wish to travel just a bit further from Seoul, Jeonju is a great option for a place that can be explored in one day. If you go in early July, you might visit DeokJin Park for its lotus flowers. Otherwise, most of what you’ll want to see is right at the Jeonju Hanok Village! You can rent a traditional hanbok to strut the streets for a day, you can try local makgeolli (막걸리), you can visit one of the many cute cafes and restaurants, and if you climb up the small hill close by, you’ll even get a view of the whole hanok village at once. Isn’t that a nifty day trip itinerary or what?!
West Coast and East Coast Beaches
During the summer season, one of your favorite activities just might be hitting the beaches, whether to swim or just to suntan. South Korea’s beaches might have nothing on those you could find in many places in South East Asia, but for East Asia they’re quite nice. Especially Sokcho on the East Coast, and Daecheon Beach on the West Coast are within easy access to you from the bus terminals of Seoul, if wearing a bathing suit for a few hours is on your list of things you wish to do. Unlike in the West, it’s almost customary in Korea to keep a t-shirt over your swimsuit or bikini or swim trunks – however, don’t let that scare you from showing the world the new bathing suit you got for just this trip, nobody will judge you harshly for it. Besides sun tanning and swimming, you may also want to try the water activities such as banana boat, which are available by almost every public beach. Also, do keep in mind that renting a parasol will cost you money, and a majority of the beaches do not have beach chairs to lay on. Lastly: do keep tabs of when the beaches are open for swimming, as beaches such as Sokcho Beach might only be available for swimming for a short period of time in the summer.
Now that we’ve laid down a bunch of day trip options for you, we’re dying from the curiosity know where you’ll next be headed to! Aren’t you just itching to have go on more outside of Seoul day trips? What are your favorite day trips in Korea? Let us know in the comments below!
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