14 Underrated Places in South Korea to Add to Your Bucket List

14 Ways to Enjoy South Korea That They Don’t Tell You in Travel Guides

Take the path less travelled and marvel at all that South Korea has to offer!

Do you love the Land of the Morning Calm but crave a new adventure aside from its popular tourist attractions? Then it’s about time you traverse less frequented and underrated places in South Korea! Luckily, the majestic nation boasts green, hilly countrysides and centuries-old Buddhist temples, many of which you might not be aware of. Now, it’s time to skip the usual tourist hotspots of Busan and Itaewon in Seoul, and explore these underrated gems instead!

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Jeju Island

underrated places in south korea

Image credit: jaemin don

Firstly, we’ll explore the largest island in South Korea: Jeju Island! Locally known as Jeju-do, this island famous for its beach resorts and volcanic landscape of craters. And of course, since it’s off the mainland, you can’t forget the array of water sports and beachfront restaurants and hotels that populate the island. Besides the famous Hallasan National Park that occupies central Jeju, here are some more underrated places this South Korean paradise offers.

Also read: 2021 Vacation Guide: Where to Go and Stay for Much Needed Time Away

1. Walk along the scenic landscape of Sangumburi Crater

Located on the southeast of Jeju Island is the national monument of Sangumburi Crater. This significance is perhaps because every corner of this underrated attraction boasts different types of vegetation, from trees to vibrant flowers! Regardless of which path you take to the sizable crater in the centre, you’ll be greeted with lush forests of magnolia, pine, and strawberry trees (to name a few) — making Sangumburi Crater the ideal oasis for nature lovers. 

Sangumburi Crater underrated places in south korea

Image credit: whyyan

Furthermore, the wide field of cogon grass or lalang, makes the perfect backdrop for photo opportunities. Simply wait for the golden hour of sunset to strike, and hopefully you’ll feel a cooling breeze dancing through the field simultaneously too. 

Address: 768 Bijarim-ro, Jochon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea 

2. Dip your toes into the cool waters of Hamdeok Beach

Hamdeok Beach is split into three beaches: Two are popular for water sports like surfing, scuba diving, and snorkelling. There’s even a rental place for water sports equipment in the area! The third one, however, attracts families as the waters are shallower. 

Thus, it’s no wonder that Hamdeok Beach is the perfect place for you to bask in the sun, regardless of whether you’re travelling with more adventurous souls, or with your little ones. 

You can enjoy the crystal clear blue waters by the beach; Otherwise, if you’re not one for wading in the water, why not saunter along the beach’s boardwalk or visit one of the many restaurants in the vicinity, like the fresh bakery of Cafe Del Moondo

After all, there’s nothing quite like spending your day listening to the sound of waves crashing against the shore as the warmth of the sunlight shines down on you. (Just remember to pack sunscreen, and you’re all set!) 

And of course, there’s no better way to end off the day than by relishing the picturesque sunset. 

Address: 519-10, Johamhaean-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do

3. Ride a train through the Gotjawal forest at Ecoland Theme Park

Have you come across a forest theme park before? If your answer is no, don’t worry, because we haven’t come across one either! That is, until you hear about Jeju Island’s very own Eco Land Theme Park. Over here, visitors get to sit on an 1800-inspired steam-powered Baldwin train, and ride through lush flower fields and the spectacular ecosystem of Gotjawal

On the other hand, if you prefer to explore the theme park’s grounds on foot, why not stroll through its abundant flower fields? We’re sure that the sights and smells will certainly lift your spirits. 

Don’t be surprised if walking on the grounds reminds you of Holland, for the quaint windmills and lakes will certainly remind you of Dutch attractions. Nevertheless, with the scenic backdrop of this underrated South Korean paradise, you simply can’t ask for a better photo opportunity. 

Address: 1278-169, Beonyeong-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do

4. Venture into a blast from the past at Gwandeokjeong Hall

Gwandeokjeong Hall things to do jeju

Image credit: Matt Kieffer

For a rare glimpse into South Korea’s rich history right in the middle of Jeju’s city centre, step into the historical monument of Gwandeokjeong Hall. Opened in 1448, Gwandeokjeong Hall is one of the oldest buildings on Jeju Island; it used to serve as training grounds for soldiers during King Sejong’s reign. 

Later on, in 1963, the premises were gazetted as a national monument. Today, the building serves as a model of excellence in the nation’s soldier training. 

Gwandeokjeong Hall things to do jeju

Image credit: Kitty Schweizer

Visitors now flock to Gwandeokjeong Hall, eager to learn about South Korea’s rich history and tradition. Besides, with majestic walkways and pavilions aplenty, every corner boasts the history and culture of South Korea, lending you the perfect backdrop for a themed photoshoot in your hanbok

Address: 19 Gwandeong-ro, Samdo 2(i)-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea 

5. Learn about Jeju’s rich history at the Jeju National Museum

Now, before you explore Jeju National Museum, stop at the entrance and look up. Take a moment to admire the impressive glasswork on the building’s ceiling. 

But of course, like many museums, Jeju National Museum offers you the chance to learn about the place’s rich history and heritage. The museum is an open cultural space where the natural environment, culture, and history of Jeju coexist. 

Above all, you’ll be happy to know that admission is free, and it takes only about an hour to go through the museum! 

underrated places in south korea

Image credit: Republic of Korea

Before you leave, don’t forget to wander around the outdoor exhibition behind the museum, which features statues, pagodas, and a lush garden. Why not snap some beautiful shots while you’re at it? 

Where to stay

Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Jeju Ocean Front

Address: 66 Tapdong-ro, Samdo 2(i)-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea 

And certainly, when you travel anywhere, you’ll need a comfortable place to unwind in at the end of a long day of exploration and sightseeing. Fortunately, at the Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Jeju Ocean Front, you can look forward to majestic ocean views right from the comfort of your own room! After all, what better way is there to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, than by staying along Jeju’s breathtaking waterfront? 

Finally, after a long day, unwind in your waterfront room. However, if you prefer to be closer to the water, simply head down to the boardwalk across the road to enjoy uninterrupted views of the sunset against the Yellow Sea

With round-the-clock service, pools for the kids and adults, and a hot tub and steam room, there really is no better home away from home for your Jeju vacation.

Feeling hungry? Then simply make your way over to the hotel’s extravagant bar and restaurant! It’s decked out with carpeted floors, soft, grey chairs, and gold accents. 

Furthermore, being a waterfront hotel, it comes to no surprise that nearby restaurants only serve up the freshest seafood that Jeju has to offer! That is why if you prefer local delicacy, hop on over to Sanho Jeonbok, an abalone restaurant, or Badajanchi (바다잔치), a Halal-certified humble seafood eatery across the road. 

With so much to look forward to, why not stay at the Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Jeju Ocean Front to enjoy the beautiful waterfront that Jeju Island is famous for?

Book now with the Holiday Here promo of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and enjoy savings of up to 25% off plus earn 3,000 Wyndham rewards points! Simply book direct by 28 Aug 2021, and complete your stay by 30 Aug 2021 to enjoy this exclusive offer.

Book Your Stay Now!


things to do in suwon

Image credit: jeejong58

Secondly, we have Suwon, traditionally known as “The City of Filial Piety,”. Boasting one of the richest histories in South Korea, Suwon stands as the last remaining city in South Korea that’s completely walled. With its beginnings as a small settlement, the city is now a major industrial and cultural centre.

Therefore, with an impressive mix of history and technology, Suwon successfully combines the past and present into one. Take a look at the list of underrated places in this South Korean city, and hopefully, this will give you inspiration for your next trip! 

6. Wander through Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 18th century

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

Image credit: Seungh

Built in the 18th century, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Suwon Hwaseong comprises an impressive 48 historic structures that surround the Haenggung-dong district. For example, a few you can stop by are the Hwahongmun Gate, a floodgate that illuminates at night, and the Sinpungru Pavilion

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

Image credit: jeejong58

The challenge, of course, is to see whether you’re able to walk past all 48 statues. Why not give yourself a true test of fitness and snap some Instagram-worthy scenes along the way? 

Address: 320-2 Yeonghwa-dong, Jangan-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Also read: 10 Most Famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites You Need to Visit in South Korea 

7. Immerse yourself in exciting local experiences at the Korean Folk Village

Korean Folk Village

Image credit: AKuptsova

First opened in 1974, the Korean Folk Village or Minsok Village displays elements of traditional Korean life, culture, and customs. The folk village offers guests insight into Korean culture, with activities like horseback riding and a showcase of traditional life experiences.

To get the best photos, visit the folk village in the autumn donning a hanbok. During this season, the trees turn warm shades of red and orange, and the air is cooler. Rest assured, you can tour the area comfortably!

suwon attractions

Image credit: cotaro70s

Over 260 traditional Korean houses known as hanok have been restored from the Joseon Dynasty of the 14th century and populate the grounds today. These houses give a peek into the daily life of different social classes (peasant, landowner, and yangban, or the traditional ruling class) of that time.  

Also, celebrations of seasonal changes and traditional performances are held in the Minsok Village. For instance, be treated to presentations of tightrope play, horseback martial art play, and a traditional wedding. With these performances occurring twice a day, it’s time to skip the usual theme park parades, and delight in these enriching cultural performances instead! 

underrated places in south korea

Image credit: Adam Honeybell

Once you’re inside, there are many pavilions like this one photographed above. Attractions such as the Hong-Yegyo bridge will make beautiful backdrops for your photoshoots. Also, see if you can spot one of the many cats that call the grounds their home! 

Address: 90 Minsokchon-ro, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do 

8. Find peace at the garden oasis of Wolhwawon

In need of a calming respite? Well, look no further than the tiny and majestic Wolhwawon Garden!

Once you’re here, you might realise that the architecture of the pavilions and bridges remind you of the traditional gardens of Guangdong Province in China! And there is an explanation for this: Wolhwawon Garden was established in 2006 to signify the cultural friendship between the provincial governments of Gyeonggi-do in Korea and Guangdong in China. 

Also, with a mini waterfall in the premises amidst a calming and quiet oasis, there’s really nothing much else you can ask for in a garden in the city. 

Can you picture the perfect #ootd with this pleasingly symmetrical entryway? That might just be your next profile photo!

Address: 397 Dongsuwon-ro, Ingye-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

9. Tap into your techie side with a visit to the Samsung Innovation Museum

Samsung Innovation Museum

Samsung Innovation Museum | Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization Official Website

Above all, you can’t leave Suwon without visiting the Samsung Innovation Museum! Did you know that the birthplace of the multinational electronics brand, Samsung, is Suwon, South Korea? 

Head on in and learn about the past, present, and future of electricity and the world-renowned electronics empire. With futuristic and interactive displays, you’ll feel as if you’re in Tony Stark’s A.I. hideout. 

Address: South Korea, Gyeonggi-do, Suwon-si, Yeongtong-gu, Maetan-dong, Samseong-ro, 129 KR

Where to stay

Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Suwon

Address: 940 Ingye-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea 

After gallivanting through the myriad of cultural experiences in Suwon, you’ll need a quiet respite to rejuvenate for yet another day of activities! That is why a rest at the majestic Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Suwon will soothe your sore muscles and ease your mind. 

Of course, since the four-star paradise is located in the heart of downtown Suwon, you only need to step out of the door to experience the beautiful nightlife of the city! With a multitude of malls, cafes, and theme parks near you, your stay here will never be boring. 

Enjoy the range of amenities at Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Suwon — from a whirlpool room to the fully-equipped fitness centre, and not one but three onsite restaurants! Regardless of what you’re craving — whether it’s Asian or Italian cuisine or a little bit of everything — be spoiled for choice at Jinmao Chinese Restaurant, Cheefos Buffet, and Vistore Italian

To revel in a mix of tradition and city life, enjoy a stay in the heart of Suwon at the Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Suwon.

Book now with the Holiday Here promo of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and enjoy savings of up to 25% off plus earn 3,000 Wyndham rewards points! Simply book direct by 28 Aug 2021, and complete your stay by 30 Aug 2021 to enjoy this exclusive offer.

Book Your Stay Now!


things to do in dongdaemun

Image credit: Sandi Benedicta

Last but not least, we have the shopping mecca of Seoul, Dongdaemun. This downtown Seoul district boasts a wide range of malls, with some staying open till as late as 5am! However, why not take the time to explore some of the more beautiful and underrated places in South Korea, right in the heart of Dongdaemun?

These underrated gems in Dongdaemun certainly do not receive as much attention, and one can only wonder why. 

Also read: 11 SEA Holiday Staycation Ideas for a Safe Year-End Getaway Close to Home!

10. Admire hilltop views of Dongdaemun at Naksan Park

underrated places in south korea naksan park

Image credit: Ko Byungsuk

The beautiful Naksan Park was built all the way back in the 14th century, and gets its name from its appearance. To clarify, this wave-like appearance of Naksan Park is attributed to its iconic stone wall, which surrounds the park’s entire east side! 

underrated places in south korea Seoul City Wall Trail

Image credit: anokarina

Known as The Seoul City Wall Trail, many visitors have suggested walking along the trail either at sunrise or sunset. Picture this: You’re exploring Dongdaemun and all the sights it has to offer against the warm, golden rays of the sun. How peaceful and serene, right? 

But of course, within Naksan Park itself, you simply can’t miss the perfect photo opportunity of a bright red pagoda against the pink hues of the warm sunset in the background. 

Address: 54, Naksan-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

11. Immerse yourself in the youth lifestyle at Daehangno

Marronnier Park

Marronnier Park | Image credit: Google Street View

Meanwhile, be treated to spectacular views of Daehangno while strolling around Naksan Park. Known by locals as college street, this is a popular gathering spot for the city’s university students! 

Daehangno underrated places in south korea

Map of Daehangno | Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

A vibrant spot peppered with hip student bars and cafes, artsy hangouts like Marronnier Park, local street food stalls, and small indie shops, there’s really no better place to experience South Korea’s youth culture minus the crowds! 

marrionner park

Artist House (Arts Council Korea) | Image credit: Wei-Te Wong

Moreover, the art scene here is impressive! Have your pick from museums like the Arko Art Centre and Performing Theatre with works by experimental artists, and the Hongik Art Centre (to name just a few!).

Address: Jongno-gu, Seoul

12. Snap Insta-worthy pictures at the Ihwa Mural Village

ihwa mural village

Image credit (L-R): Wei-Te Wong; travel oriented

Finally, end your walk along the Seoul City Wall Trail at the picturesque Ihwa Mural Village. This little town is very hard to miss, as it’s lined with streets of colourful and vibrant murals and mosaic-tiled staircases! 

ihwa mural village

Image credit: Wei-Te Wong

Many of these murals are home to the village’s cafes, shophouses, and some even line the underpasses of roads. With so many possibilities for the perfect photo, you might find yourself lingering a little bit longer here! 

Address: 49 Naksan 4-gil, Ihwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea 

13. Explore the picturesque and quaint Ikseondong Hanok Village

Coined as Seoul’s hippest area, Ikseondong Hanok Village was first established in the 1920s. Interestingly, this quaint village is home to traditional Korean brick-walled houses that have been repurposed into modern, colourful shops and cafes! 

Every alleyway is a narrow path of bite-sized beauty, making every corner of this quaint village the perfect backdrop for photogenic moments. Regardless of which corner you turn, be treated to Instagrammable cafes, spectacular street food, and indie shops selling cute trinkets and antique furniture! 

Address: Ikseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

14. Marvel at the architectural wonder of Kyung Hee University

underrated places in south korea Kyung Hee University

Image credit: Kys951

If you initially thought this building was a white chapel church, you certainly wouldn’t be alone in thinking so. To clarify, this is the Central Library and Museum of Kyung Hee University! Located in northern Dongdaemun, the impressive Neoclassical architecture that boasts this campus is reminiscent of The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels, Belgium

And there is an explanation for this — apparently, Kyung Hee’s founder Dr. Choue Young-seek became so fascinated by this Gothic cathedral that he insisted on creating a replica just like it in Seoul! 

We’d recommend dropping by the university between late March to mid-April. During this springtime, you’ll get to witness thousands of cherry blossom trees in bloom! That being said, you might’ve found it much easier to get through school if you’d been able to study on such a beautiful campus. (I personally would’ve had many more study sessions if that were the case!) 

Address: 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea 

Also read: 5 Prettiest Universities in Seoul That Will Make You Want to Study There 

Where to stay

Ramada By Wyndham Seoul Dongdaemun

Address: 5GA, 275-3 Euljiro-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Feeling exhausted after a long day of traipsing through the villages and architectural spaces of Dongdaemun? Not to fret, for you can unwind at the four-star Ramada By Wyndham Seoul Dongdaemun. Simply lie back and enjoy comfortable entertainment right from your own room with their 42-inch LCD TVs streaming international channels!

However, we’ve got the solution for you if you don’t feel like calling it a night just yet. To experience Seoul’s nightlife at its finest, simply head over to the popular districts like Myeongdong and Jungboo Market. Among many others, these glitzy attractions are only a 10-minute drive away!

Alternatively, if you feel like staying indoors, you’ll be glad to know that the four-star hotel has an onsite restaurant. Get ready to tuck into delicious buffets with a wide variety of options!

After fueling up, get ready for another adventure. Thankfully, you’re just five minutes away from the nearest subway station, bringing the chance to explore all of South Korea’s underrated places right at your fingertips! 

Want to enjoy the spectacle of Dongdaewon of both its city sights and quaint villages? At the Ramada By Wyndham Seoul Dongdaemun, you’ll get to enjoy all that Dongdaemun has to offer just 10 minutes away from your doorstep.

Book now with the Holiday Here promo of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and enjoy savings of up to 25% off plus earn 3,000 Wyndham rewards points! Simply book direct by 28 Aug 2021, and complete your stay by 30 Aug 2021 to enjoy this exclusive offer.

Book Your Stay Now!

To sum up, we hope this list has given you some travel inspiration for your next trip to South Korea. After all, with so many underrated places that are yet to be discovered, it’ll only require an adventurous soul to uncover all that South Korea has to offer (and more). 

While you’re at it, remember to book your trip direct with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to enjoy special discounts! #HolidayHere to get the best value-for-money stays during your Korean adventure. Annyeong and see you! 

Brought to you by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

About Author

Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.