South Korea has many unique aspects and funky qualities that make it a popular place to both visit and
live. The soaring capital of Seoul is one of the most developed, modern cities in the world, home to the
famous Psy creating an international Korean craze following Gangnam style. The style is eclectic
and trendy. The contrast between tradition and contemporary roots through the city means it’s one for all
travel types. It is world renowned for it’s beauty and healthcare, but that isn’t just skin deep. Health and
wellness is taken very seriously in South Korea, whether it be workshops to rejuvenate the body or the
mind, people are always trying to stay healthy and happy both inside and out.
People come to visit the club scene, the high-tech industry and the pop culture that oozes through every
city in the country. That is not what this post is about however. People also come to the most plugged in
country in the world to DE plug. In a country with the fastest internet in the world, the best public
transport system and incomparable efficiency it may surprise you that the slower paced, soothing side of
South Korea is also highly sought after.
Because of its tradition, its culture and even its beautiful terrain and mountainous landscapes, health and
wellness is a huge part of Korean society and should be regarded as much of a representation as kimchi
If you’re new to this side of South Korea, or you’re thinking of coming here and would like to dip your
toes into a pool of relaxation, here are a few ways to unplug your mind, loosen your body and disconnect
from the most connected country in Asia.
A Temple Stay
Many people visit temple sites scattered around the country as it’s an integral part of learning about
Korean culture and enjoying the beauty it entails. You can go one step further and fully immerse yourself
in it. Doing a temple stay is utter rejuvenation in mind and body, as you commit to a strict Buddhist
lifestyle for a night or two.
The details vary from temple to temple, but most will include early morning meditation, service, chanting,
physical training and a strict vegan diet. There are no distractions, nothing but silence and serene
countryside to fill your thoughts with.
It may open your eyes to a completely fresh perspective on things, on new values and how to treat our
bodies and minds as a temple itself. It is an experience that will benefit everyone differently; depending
on your willingness to commit, and what you take from it.
Read all about my first temple stay in an ancient Buddhist martial arts temple.
Visit a Jimjilbang, Spa Land in particular (Busan)
This should be on everyone’s bucket list no matter what you’re intentions while staying here are. A
jimjilbang (heated – room) is so famous in Korea that you need to go to get in on the conversation.
Basically a spa with different hot baths and heated rooms to relax in, they are taken very seriously around
the country and people enjoy a soak anytime of the day. If you want the best of the best, you should go to
Spa Land. Located in Shinsegae, noted to be the biggest shopping center in Asia.
With indoor and outdoor bathing pools, saunas and numerous heated rooms you won’t know where to go
with all your options. There are plenty massage and therapy options on the second floor of the spa, along
with my favourite invention to date – their message chairs. A 20 minute deep full body message that is
absolute heaven after a soak in a Jacuzzi.
Buddhism is the most practiced religion in Korea, and meditation is one of it’s key aspects. Many temples
and temple stays offer meditation as an aspect of the experience. However you can go one step further and
stay at a meditation center, to submerge yourself in your practice. There are meditation courses that you
can take over the space of a day, or even ten. Dhamma Korea Vipassana Meditation Center near Jeonju
offers a ten day silent meditation course that is run by volunteers and is hugely popular for those that are
interested in this kind of thing. Silence for ten days without any distractions; an intriguing challenge or an
impossible one? Why don’t you find out 🙂
As I’ve said in most of my posts on South Korea, hiking is the number one activity for all types, all over the
country. As the land is 70 percent mountainous you can imagine the ample opportunity for scenic hikes
and climbs. There are so many national parks full of challenging peaks, ridges and trails to get your blood
pumping while enjoying the stunning landscapes before you. Sunrise hikes up Seoraksan to find the
floating clouds that meet your gaze is a captivating moment that is worth the effort. Jirisan has the most
gorgeous waterfalls scattered through the woodland and intriguing rock formations to go with it.
After hiking for hours on end with the sun beating down on you, it’s easy to forget about the beauty of where you are, because all you can focus on is the immediate step ahead of you. That is until you reach a wonderful view point like this one, from the top of a waterfall. Then you realise all those aches and pains are completely worth it – and then some! 😊 ✌ 👌 #outdoorwomen #fitness #active #keepitwild #mountains #mountaingirls #shewentwild #theglobewanderer #adventureculture #afar #adventure #FTB #adventuretravel #vscogood #openmyworld #exploretocreate #visualgang #globe_travel #welivetoexplore #traveldiaries
The third most popular hike and the largest mountain is in fact a volcano on Jeju Island. Hallasan
mountain is unique in it’s stature and stands alone among Korean climbs. Not only because it is off the
mainland, but because most of the mountains around Korea are Jurassic themed fluffy green hills and
forested trails. Mt. Hallasan, being a volcano has it’s own thing going on. A UNESCO World Heritage Site,
standing at 1,950 meters it should be visited for a bit of rejuvenation.
Another thing to note when hiking in Korea, is that many of these mountains were sacred during the Silla
Dynasty and through tradition many people were buried among them. Many Buddhist shrines statues,
tombs and temples are perched around these mountains that are now home to royals and noblemen from
Read about my favourite cultural hike, “Namsan, the Museum without Walls” here.
Ginseng is the representative medicinal crop in Korea. Korean ginseng (Panax Ginseng) is highly sought
after worldwide. Although it is grown in various countries, because of the distinct four seasons and
amount of annual rainfall in Korea the terrain is perfect for growing Ginseng to it’s highest standard.
Did you know that heaven grade ginseng (the best quality) is only produced and sold in South Korea? It takes 6 years to cultivate to a mature standard, and another 10 years for the soil to regrow enough nutrients to cultivate the root again, which is why it isn’t exported. The “miraculous medicine” has many health benefits and is available in any form from face cream to chocolates or even powder! I’d recommend exploring your options and trying some out while in Korea, but more importantly take a picture of how wonderfully weird it looks! #ginseng #convention #seoul #southkorea #healthy #explore #wanderlust #adventure #touristfortheday #asia #travel #culture #FTB #discover #girlvsglobe #visualsoflife #ABMtravelbug #lovetravel #visualgang #globe_travel #vscogood #openmyworld #wandertheworld #travelgram
This “miraculous medicine” is known for it’s many health benefits, and you should definitely explore the
market while discovering Korea. Enjoy some tea, sample some lotions or taste food full of ginseng extract.
You can even go to a Ginseng convention or event that will educate you in the benefits of various ginseng,
and what is best for you.
Taekwondo is the most recognized Korean martial arts form in the world. It is globally practiced because
of its emphasis on mortality, humility, peace and respect for ones opponent. There is also as much focus
on mental strength as there is on physical with this practice. This traditional martial art form trains you in
both offensive and defensive tactics without using weapons. You can give it a go at one of the many
Taekwondo programs around the country, try it out at a traditional hanok, or even choose a temple stay
that includes taekwondo training.
This is just the tip of the ice berg. There is so much more to explore if health and wellness is what you are
after in South Korea. In a country that strives for perfection in everything it does, the wellbeing of it’s
citizens and visitors alike is not taken for granted. Take advantage and enjoy.