When we first wrote up our bucket list for Asia, we tended to focus on the big, well known countries and activities such as walking the Great Wall in China, stuffing ourselves full of delicious Japanese sushi and snorkelling in the Thai islands. (I also can’t leave out Katherine’s number one: visiting Harry Potter World in Japan, because that is a MUST do for us!)
But we quickly realized, like with most travels, there are so many more hidden destinations that warrant adding to your list and making some time for during your next adventure. One of these examples is Korea. We have been fortunate enough to get the chance to explore this amazing country and discovered that it is one of Asia’s most underrated destinations. Let me tell you why…
1. More times than not, foreigners are treated with tremendous respect
We’ve been examples of this first point too many times to keep count. From a young group of students walking us directly to the restaurant we couldn’t seem to find, to our taxi driver using his senior discount to get us tickets to an attraction at a cheaper rate, Koreans are very eager to make sure you enjoy your time spent in their country and will often go the extra mile to ensure you do.
2. It hasn’t yet succumbed to tourist traps
Due to not being the first place to visit on many people’s list, tourism hasn’t quite taken off like it has around neighbouring Asian countries. For us, this is a plus! Although some things might be more difficult to find/get to because the country isn’t set up to accommodate foreigners at every stage of travel, it also gives you a much deeper connection to the place you’re visiting (as you are more likely to feel like a local instead of a bumbling tourist just passing through, taking your pictures and leaving). Also, there won’t be people hounding you to buy your 56th souvenir or food item in the last 10 minutes.
3. Transportation across the country is some of the best we’ve ever seen
We’ve touched on this in the past, but we feel it’s worth reiterating just because of how useful and helpful it is. Neither of us spoke a word of Korean before moving here and not once have we ended up in the wrong city or taken the bus in the wrong direction. There are times when we couldn’t find a store or restaurant (like I mentioned earlier) but usually it was because it had closed down or moved lol. The intercity buses and trains are affordable, punctual and suuuuuper comfy. The subway system is a snap to navigate and several airports are available to get into and out of the country.
4. It has a great variety of sites to see, things to do and places to go that is sure to satisfy everyone’s agenda
When we travelled to Iceland almost two years ago (time flies!), we knew that we would be mostly visiting and experiencing the beautiful nature the country is known for. Due to it’s population and location, it simply doesn’t have a big sprawling metropolis. If you are someone that travels to see the big cities of the world, we can’t really recommend visiting Reykjavik over London, for example (even though we still think you should go to Iceland regardless :P). Korea on the other hand has a good variety of places to see and things to do that should have no problems satisfying your entire travel party. Giant cities with lights, stores and life a plenty? Check. Quiet, calm country-side surrounded by mountains? Check. Even a resort vacation island with tropical vibes, you ask? Check.
I’m sure we could make this list hundreds of points long but these are just a handful of reasons why we think Korea is one of Asia’s most underrated destinations. It has easily opened our eyes and minds to even more possibilities to consider for our future travels. Never count anything out until you try it!
Have you been to Korea?
What are some countries you think are underrated destinations?
Let us know in the comment section below!
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