World ? Asia ? South Korea

South Korea: The Best Views

  • Cheonggyecheon (Seoul): Years ago, a small river that flowed through Seoul was paved over. Although Cheonggyecheon is no longer a "natural" stream, this restored green space in the middle of the city gives new perspective to the skyscrapers towering on either side.

  • Songnisan (Chungcheongbuk-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do): This national park has some of the best hiking trails in South Korea. In a country where hiking is the unofficial national sport, that's saying something.

  • Juwangsan (Gyeongsangbuk-do): The smallest of the country's national parks, it is still one of the prettiest. Jusanji Lake, whose clear waters reflect the surrounding peaks, is well worth the hike.

  • Hong-do (Jeollanam-do): If you have a day to spare, take a ferry to this "red island" in the middle of Dadohae Maritime Park. A protected area, its pebble beaches and quaint seafood restaurants are overshadowed only by its magnificent scenery.

  • Suncheon-man (Jeollanam-do): An expansive marshland and estuary, this is a bird-watcher's heaven, especially during the migratory period (Oct-March). Bundle up and bring your binoculars to see endangered species flying south for the winter.

  • Geumgangsan (Gangwon-do, North Korea): Although this is part of North Korea, the mountains can be reached by tour from South Korea. Not only is it worth a trek just to be able to venture into that closed country, but the scenery is truly gorgeous, too.

  • Inner Seorak (Gangwon-do): Although all of Seoraksan boasts beautiful landscapes, the less traveled inner section is worth the extra trek, especially in the fall when the autumn colors light up the mountainsides.

  • Sanbang-gulsa (Jeju-do): This island grotto and nearby Dragon Head Rock are wonderful examples of the island's natural beauty.

  • Seongsan Ilchulbong (Jeju-do): This isn't called "Sunrise Peak" for nothing. This former parasitic volcano is now home to beautiful rape flowers that bloom in the spring.

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