Wellness in South Korea: 8 Hidden Gems for a Therapeutic Escape

8 Hidden Wellness Gems in South Korea for a Therapeutic Escape From Your Busy Routine

Take a timeout in South Korea's underrated wellness destinations.

A big-time wellness destination, South Korea is home to a wealth of places to soothe the mind, body, and soul: Spas are a definite, but there are also many more unique ways to rest and rejuvenate such as teahouses and temple stays. Furthermore, its natural landscape of unspoiled forests, beaches, and hot springs lends well to bone-deep relaxation. 

If you’re willing to leave the lively cityscapes behind for a while, we’ve uncovered the very best wellness escapes in South Korea that lie off the beaten path. Slow down and take a breather at these hidden gems in the country’s less-explored cities. The world awaits, but for now, focus on your much-deserved time out.

Plan your next trip to the Land of the Morning Calm at Korea Tourism Organization Singapore’s physical travel fair, happening from 12–14 May 2023!

Get in touch with travel agencies and regional tourism organisations, who will give you the best advice towards making your dream trip come true.

Plan your South Korea holiday


A coastal city that blends laidback beach vibes and buzzy urban delights, Busan is one of South Korea’s most underrated gems. Beloved Haeundae Beach and Gamcheon Cultural Village are popular stops, as are the bustling BIFF Square and Nampo-dong areas, yet there’s more to discover here, from yummy local delicacies to hiking trails for sweeping views of the city. And if you’re hoping to melt away your stress on vacation, then you’re in luck: Busan is a wonderful spot for a wellness break.

1. Spa Land Centum City

If self-care sounds like spa time to you, then you’ll enjoy taking a wellness break in Busan, South Korea. The port city is best known for its pretty beach and mountain landscapes, but it’s also home to many serene spas and hot spring baths that are perfect for the traveller looking to unplug.

For spa lovers, Spa Land Centum City is not to be missed. An enormous jjimjilbang (Korean spa) in the popular Shinsegae Centum City complex, it lets wellness travellers seek calm and quiet in the heart of the second-biggest city in South Korea. 

The tranquil Spa Land houses 22 natural thermal baths, plus 13 themed saunas, dry saunas, and outdoor foot baths — guests can even enjoy indulgent treatments like massages and scrubs. Different themes draw inspiration from various countries, from the Hamam Room that’s designed like an authentic Turkish bath to the Body Sound Room where soothing music helps lull you into relaxation.

2. SPA 1899 Donginbi

Familiar with red ginseng? Not everyone is, but the herb is widely used in South Korea as a supplement for a variety of benefits, from boosting immunity to improving digestion. In Busan, SPA 1899 Donginbi is devoted to maximising the positive effects of red ginseng on the skin and body.

Here, indulge in special therapies that tap into the anti-ageing and restorative benefits of six-year-old red ginseng. One of the highlights is the rejuvenating Capsule Zone. As you lie relaxed inside the capsule, it releases heat and steam, stimulating the body’s detoxification process and infusing red ginseng concentrate into the skin. 

Other notable treatments include scalp treatments, foot spas, and other therapeutic massages. Before leaving, drop by the Skin Bar to sample products from red ginseng cosmetic brand Donginbi. Tasty red ginseng snacks are also available at the bar.

3. Beomeosa Temple Stay

beomeosa temple stay wellness in south korea

Image credit: Visit Busan

As much as physical treatments benefit us, spiritual care matters, too. And if you’re like many other burnt-out travellers, joining a Buddhist temple-stay program can be a spiritual journey that’s nothing less than transformational. Monks are some of the calmest and gentlest souls on the planet — so when you’re feeling especially turbulent, why not take a few days to live like them?

More than just an overnight experience, temple stays invite visitors to immerse in monastic life in an actual temple. Expect basic accommodations, along with daily temple activities such as meditation, tea ceremonies, prayers, and Buddhist chanting. 

Image credit: Visit Busan

Seek silence and mindful living for a day or two during a temple stay at Busan’s beloved Beomeosa Temple, one of the most famous sacred spaces in South Korea. Hidden on the eastern side of Geumjeongsan Mountain, the 7th-century temple is a quiet place that lets you escape the outside world — at least for a little while. Temple stays typically last around two days.

Plan your South Korea holiday


A city often called the country’s spiritual capital and a centre of traditional Korean culture, Andong is a must-visit for slow travellers seeking a quiet yet meaningful trip in rural South Korea. While many tourists come for the heralded Hahoe Folk Village, this scenic city has more to offer, from the famous Andong Soju to temple stays you’ll never forget.

4. Bongjeongsa Temple

bongjeongsa temple andong wellness in south korea

Image credit: Tour Andong

Travellers exploring the Gyeongsang Province can visit the 7th-century Bongjeongsa Temple for a temple stay in the city of Andong. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic temple houses the Geungnakjeon Hall, famous for being the oldest wooden building in South Korea.

Bongjeongsa Temple Andong

Image credit: Bongjeongsa

The temple, which sits on the slopes of Cheondeungsan Mountain, is a serene pine-filled space you can call home for a day or two. Not only do the beautiful surroundings create an atmosphere suitable for contemplation, but tourists also get to drink tea and converse with the monks — maybe they can even shed some light on the secrets of enlightenment.  

Plan your South Korea holiday


Domestic travellers love Jeonju and often flock to the Jeollabuk-do capital — you’re bound to see the appeal as soon as you step foot in the vibrant city. For one, the street food scene here rivals other Korean cities. What’s more, picturesque mountains surround Jeonju, including Naejangsan and Maisan. If you’re after a back-to-nature wellness experience, this historic city promises to be a great base to start from. 

5. Jeonju Hanok Village

jeonju wellness south korea

Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

Indeed, there’s plenty to see and do in the renowned Jeonju Hanok Village. But if you’re pursuing wellness experiences in South Korea, traditional tea houses are the best places to take it slow — a cup of herbal brew and tranquil surroundings may be exactly what you need to soothe the mind.

teahouse jeonju

Image credit: Manki Kim

There are a variety of teahouses in Jeonju that even stage traditional tea ceremonies for travellers. Dahwawon is an especially idyllic hanok tea house, with large windows overlooking a pretty courtyard and the rest of the village. Gyodong Dawon is also quite popular with locals and tourists in Jeonju Hanok Village.

6. Jeonju Arboretum

jeonju arboretum

Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

A botanical garden may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a wellness escape in South Korea, yet sometimes all you need to put your mind at ease is being out in nature. And in Jeonju, few green spaces are more enchanting than Jeonju Arboretum

A public park managed by Korea Expressway Corporation, the arboretum was built to restore the natural environment that was damaged during the construction of a nearby expressway. It has since blossomed into a lush paradise, from the rose garden and greenhouse to seasonal blooms creating a colourful backdrop to the pavilions in spring.

Plan your South Korea holiday


Cherry blossoms in bloom see Gangneung at its most beautiful in spring, while snowy attractions make it a paradise for winter sports. But this off-the-grid city in Gangwon-do is a year-round destination; if not for Gyeongpo Beach, then for its underrated natural, cultural, and gastronomic delights.

7. Daegwallyeong Healing Forest

wellness in south korea healing forest

Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

A wellness retreat in South Korea is incomplete without some time spent forest bathing. One of the best yet underrated nature spots in the country goes through the Daegwallyeong Healing Forest, an unspoiled forest park in Gangneung with multiple trails for all levels of hikers.

No matter the course, you’ll be rewarded with towering Geumgang pines and lush natural sceneries. Let healing energy from nature flow through you as you make your way through the forest trails. Don’t rush as well; for there are benches strategically placed throughout the trails, ideal for rest or just basking in the forest vibes.

Tip: After your nature walks in Gangneung, drop by Soon Tofu Gelato. You may have visited other ice cream shops but this is one-of-a-kind: Gelato served here is made using soft tofu!

Plan your South Korea holiday


Wellness seekers looking to the sea for relaxation and rejuvenation will definitely enjoy a trip to Mokpo at the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula. Beyond being a jump-off point to Jeju Island and other tourist spots off the coast, the port city welcomes tourists with small-town charm, pretty coastal sights, and uncrowded tourist attractions.

8. Yudalsan

yudalsan mokpo

Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

Finally, make the trip to Yudalsan in Mokpo and draw strength from the majestic peak known for its scenic beauty. The last mountain of the Noryeong Mountain Range, this is one of the must-visit spots in the city with sweeping views of Mokpo in its entirety. Plus, it’s an easy hike for forest bathing: Yudalsan stands only 228 metres.

wellness in south korea yudalsan

Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

Nestled on the slopes of the mountain are five pagodas, along with the first sculpture park in South Korea, an orchid park, and a monument with the lyrics of the song “Tears of Mokpo.”

Wondering what Yudalsan Mountain looks like from above? Hop on the Mokpo Marine Cable Car, the longest and highest cable car in South Korea that will take you on a breathtaking ride above downtown Mokpo, the mountain, and the sea. Travellers can get on and off at three stations: the city, Yudalsan Mountain, and Gohado Island.

Plan your South Korea holiday

Also read: 15 Underrated Places in South Korea That You Should Experience

Is life calling for a timeout? A wellness break in South Korea may be in order. Fortunately for travellers, the East Asian country is just as blessed with wellness attractions as it is in everything else!

Brought to you by the Korea Tourism Organization.

About Author

Celia Grace Nachura
Celia Grace Nachura

There are very few things Celia won’t do for a good story, but her favourite ones always involve the beach, animals, or any type of outdoor activity. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and can usually be found typing away at home with her cute dogs at her feet. Away from work, she spends most of her time trying out every hobby she can get her hands on, from running to crocheting to baking (she’s pretty okay at most things that don't involve cooking).