South Korea is always a great idea especially if you’re traveling with friends and loved ones. In this post, I’ll share 10 fun things to do in South Korea that you can enjoy with your best buddies!
Just a quick back story. I went to South Korea with my two travel buddies slash high school BFFs back in November 2015. It was our first out of the country trip together. So this was such a memorable trip for us. I remember I scored a cheap Cebu Pacific airfare deal for this and booked them right away!
⚠️ IMPORTANT REMINDER: Postpone, don’t cancel! Let’s save the tourism industry. Some information in this post may have changed due to the pandemic and it might affect your travel plans. Always be a responsible traveler and keep yourself updated by reading COVID-19 advice from your local authorities and in your point of destination/s before traveling. You can go ahead and take inspiration from this post, bookmark it, or save it on your Pinterest travel board for future reference.
Don’t have time to read everything now? I gotchu boo! Save this “Top Things To Do in South Korea” article on Pinterest for later by clicking any of the images below! 😉
We spent 6 days in South Korea and we made sure to include as many fun activities as we could. Come and reminisce with me! And start planning your South Korea adventures with your friends soon! So let’s get started!
10 Fun Things To Do In South Korea With Friends
Experience 3D optical illusions at Trick Eye Museum Seoul
This list of fun things to do in South Korea is not arranged in any particular order. But let’s start with Trick Eye Museum Seoul. Ready your cameras or phone cams when you visit this one of a kind interactive museum! You will definitely have a blast taking shots and figuring out the best angles to make the photos appear real enough. Make sure to showcase your best acting skills too!
The gallery combines traditional art with trick art techniques and augmented reality technology to provide visitors with various 3D optical illusions. Aside from that, you can also enjoy the winter wonderland Ice Museum and Carnival Street filled with mini-games inside.
TIP: Book via Klook to get discounted Trick Eye Museum tickets
📍 Where is Trick Eye Museum Seoul located?
20, Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul (Open Google Maps)
Be cute at the Hello Kitty Cafe in Myeongdong
The Hello Kitty Cafe in Myeongdong is a must-visit for all Hello Kitty fans! It’s overloaded with pink and cuteness – the food, the interior, the ambiance, everything.
Although the food was just so-so… the main attraction really was the Hello Kitty experience.
Note: As of this writing (Nov 2020), the Hello Kitty Cafe branch in Myeongdong is permanently closed already. 😞 I think their other branches in Seoul are permanently closed too. You can instead visit Hello Kitty Island in Jeju. They have more than just a Hello Kitty Cafe — you can also find a gift shop, Kitty History Hall, Art Education Hall, and many more themed around this beloved cat!
📍 Where is Hello Kitty Island located?
340, Hanchang-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do (Open Google Maps)
Visit different Korean Palaces
Get a glimpse of South Korea’s rich history when you visit any of the five grand palaces of Seoul. But if you don’t have time to visit all, here are the top ones you can add to your things to do in South Korea list.
Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 and was used as the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. It’s the largest of all five palaces and is said to be the most beautiful. You can also find the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum within the premise.
Don’t miss out on the traditional changing of the guard ceremonies in Gyeongbokgung Palace (you can check the schedule here).
During our visit, we were approached by a group of middle school students who offered free tours around Gyeongbokgung Palace. They do so to practice their English to foreigners, so it’s a win-win for all! Grab the opportunity to be toured by a local if you do spot them!
Visit Changdeokgung Palace if you want to see genuinely old structures. It has the most pre-20th century structures still standing up to this day, compared to other palaces that already underwent many modern reconstructions.
If you’re not into grand palaces but still want to experience seeing one, then Deoksugung Palace might be the one for you. It’s much smaller than the others so it’s not so overwhelming. Located near it is another small palace, Gyeonghuigung, so you can combine these two palaces and have a nice stroll in between.
Try their famous chicken and beer combo
If you’re obsessed with k-drama, I’m sure you have noticed how Koreans love pairing chicken with beer! They actually have a term for it called “chimaek,” which is a combination of the English word “chicken” and “maekju,” the Korean word for beer.
Chimaek is considered a classic combination in South Korea beloved by many office workers, families, and friends hanging out. In the evening, you will usually see many Koreans crammed into booths enjoying a handful of chicken and gulping their bottle of beer.
We particularly enjoyed this yummy combo especially because we visited during the chilly autumn/winter season. They helped warm us up!
Shop till you drop at Myeongdong shopping district
Myeongdong is the ultimate shopping haven, especially for Korean skincare lovers! You can find Innisfree, Nature Republic, Too Cool For School, Skin Food, Etude House, and many more lined up along the streets and alleys. You can also find many international brand stores like H&M, Uniqlo, Adidas, Nike, etc.
It’s impossible to visit Korea’s best-known shopping and fashion district and NOT buy anything – even just some face masks as a souvenir. There are also many dining restaurants in the vicinity for when you get hungry.
Wear the traditional Korean garment Hanbok
South Korea’s traditional garment is called a hanbok. It’s a two-piece dress worn for formal or semi-formal traditional events like festivals and ceremonies. Don’t miss your chance to look like a Korean from way back in history.
There are many hanbok rental shops around Seoul (for a minimal fee and for a certain number of hours). If you visit any of the palaces I mentioned above, chances are you’ll see many tourists wearing this colorful, beautiful Korean garment. It makes for a great photo-op opportunity, and one of the popular things to do in South Korea.
But did you know that you can rent a hanbok in Seoul for FREE? And you don’t even have to sweat under the sun to get a nice photo with it! You can have it done in a studio. That’s what we did! Yes, the photos above are not from the actual places. They’re all taken from a studio!
Head over to Myeongdong Tourist Information Center for your FREE hanbok experience. You can choose from their pretty selection of hanbok (plus head accessories), then choose a backdrop (mostly popular Korean tourist spots) from the touch screen TV, position yourself in front of the camera, and snap away. You can then have the photos emailed to you at no extra charge. Note that there’s a 10-minute rule per attire.
📍 Where is Myeongdong Tourist Information Center located?
43-1 Myeongdong-gil, Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Open Google Maps)
Stroll around Nami Island
Aside from being known as the shooting location for the 2002 hit Korean drama Winter Sonata, Nami Island is also one of South Korea’s most recognized tourist destinations. Visitors flock to this island for its refreshingly beautiful natural landscape.
We visited during autumn, and everything was covered in orange foliage. It was nice to walk around, breathe in the fresh air, and simply appreciate Mother nature. We even lied down and just enjoyed everything around us.
We visited during autumn, and everything was covered in orange foliage. It was nice to walk around, breathe in the fresh air, and simply appreciate Mother nature. We even lied down and just enjoyed everything around us. Definitely one of the fun things to do in South Korea.
Another one of the popular things to do in South Korea is to visit Petit France (a bus ride away from Nami), but we didn’t get a chance. Oh well, next time. 😊
Seal your friendship at N Seoul Tower’s Love Locks
The iconic Namsan Seoul Tower aka “N Seoul Tower” is the second-highest point in Seoul. It makes for the perfect place to view the breathtaking Korean cityscape! You can reach the tower by riding a cable car (among other ways).
This famous tourist spot is also known for its viewing deck on the rooftop where couples hang padlocks on the Tower fence to symbolize their eternal love. Many people refer to this particular area in the N Seoul Tower as “Love Locks” or “Locks of Love.” You’ll be reminded of Pont Neuf bridge in Paris.
But it’s not only for lovers or couples! Who said friends cannot seal a lock onto the railings? We definitely did it and we even scribbled our initials on the padlock to immortalize the moment.
TIP: Bring your own padlocks when going to Namsan Tower’s Love Locks! You can also buy from the shops there in case you forgot.
📍 Where is N Seoul Tower located?
105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Open Google Maps)
Be kids again at Everland Theme Park
Everland is South Korea’s largest theme park with five different zones to explore. The 5 different themed zones in Everland are American Adventure, Zoo Topia, Global Fair, Magic Land, and European Adventure. You can even get up close with a huge variety of wildlife at Safari World!
Visiting a theme park in Korea is probably not as common as say, in Japan or Hong Kong, but I say go give Everland a visit! It’s not Universal Studios or Disneyland kind of level, but the rides and attractions here are not disappointing!
If you’re a daredevil and enjoy adventurous, heart-stopping rides then make sure to visit Everland!
And don’t miss this T-Express ride, their world-famous rollercoaster ride. It’s considered the world’s steepest wooden coaster and will definitely give you the ultimate adrenaline rush.
Here watch the video from their IG:
Unfortunately, my friends are afraid of heights and rollercoaster rides so I wasn’t able to try it. I’m not that crazy to ride it alone… although, in a hindsight, I probably should have given it a chance. Lol. 🙈
But I did ride this one alone:
It’s called the Double Rock Spin Ride. At first, it looks harmless, but the powerful spin and rhythm are sure to make you scream at the top of your lungs! Safe to say I made it out alive! And I’ll definitely add this ride again to my top things to do in South Korea for my next visit. 😂
💸 BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: Book your Everland tickets from Klook to get exclusive discounts!
Experience the nightlife in Seoul
Last but definitely not least, experience the nightlife in Seoul! No out-of-town country trip with friends is complete without trying the nightlife in a different city! Definitely add it to your top things to do in South Korea itinerary!
There are three well-known clubbing or nightlife districts in Seoul, namely, Itaewon, Gangnam, and Hongdae. Itaewon and Gangnam are more for the international adult crowd; while Hongdae clubs target the young local students (it’s near Hongkik University).
We were supposed to go clubbing in Gangnam, but for some reason, we ended up in Hongdae, in a club called NB2.
I wasn’t able to capture any good photos or videos inside (because hello darkness, my old friend... lol), so go ahead and watch the video I discovered on Youtube to get a feel of Korea’s nightlife. The club (NB2) we went to was included in their roundup.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK!
So there you have it for this post about the top 10 things to do in South Korea with friends! There are definitely many fun activities in Korea that you can enjoy with your travel buddies and barkada. What other fun things to do in South Korea would you like to add?
I hope you enjoyed reading this post about the top things to do in South Korea. Stay tuned for more! I’ll share more about my South Korea trip in my upcoming posts! Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions or other South Korea travel tips to share.
💡 PRO TIP: Learn more travel tips in this Ultimate Guide To Planning Your Trip In 8 Easy Steps! I covered the basics of planning a trip and also included the tried and tested websites and apps I normally use to score cheap deals.