There’s no escaping Korea or Korean culture right now.
It has captivated the world and as a result more and more American travelers are planning to visit the country to experience it for themselves.
According to the Korean Culture Minister, Korea plans to take advantage of the growing popularity of Korean culture and use this to attract 20 million foreign tourists to the country next year.
Here are 5 reasons why this country is the top cultural destination for 2024:
A Trending Cultural Explosion
Korea is culturally rich, and its culture is considered the country’s biggest export right now.
From K-pop music to K dramas on our TVs and even a surge in Korean beauty and fashion products, we are being immersed in Korean culture no matter where we are in the world.
But that’s nothing like experiencing these phenomena for yourself in the country.
Surveys show that the main attractions of Korea for international tourists are the country’s food, shopping, music, beauty, and fashion culture.
This modern youth culture is almost everywhere you turn in the country, particularly in the capital of Seoul.
Wannabe K-pop bands perform on the street in K-Star Road, the boutiques in Gangnam are packed full of the latest Korean fashions, and the Hyundai eco-department store employs robots you can ask for directions.
Korea also has a booming café and bar culture, which is ideal for when you’re ready to really let your hair down.
Korean Food Culture
Korea is foodie heaven. The whole country revolves around meals and eating out can be an hours-long experience where dinner is followed by drinks which is followed by more snacks.
As well as an abundance of Korean BBQ restaurants the country is also famous for its eye-watering number of street food stalls which seem to be everywhere.
If you want to really immerse yourself in Korean food culture then the best spots include Myeongdong which is not only Seoul’s shopping mecca but also a street food paradise.
If food is the focus of your trip then head to Jeonju which is considered the food capital of South Korea and is the birthplace of the iconic bibimbap rice bowls.
This dish is so famous in the city that every year there is a Jeonju Bibimbap festival with a full program of cultural performances and food contests.
A Rich History
When we think of Korean culture we tend to think of its modern culture and this is definitely a huge attraction of visiting the destination.
But Korea also has an ancient culture and a rich history that is well worth exploring to really understand the country.
There are a whopping 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Korea right now and a further 12 sites are listed on the tentative list.
Some of the most famous of these sites include the Jongmyo Shrine, which is in the heart of the capital of Seoul. Seoul also boasts 5 vibrant royal palaces.
Outside of the capital, you shouldn’t miss seeing the Seokguram Grotto and the Bulguksa Temple. These are considered some of the most important examples of Buddhist architecture in the world and are fascinating tourist attractions in their own right.
Outside of K-pop and face masks, perhaps the thing most people know about South Korea is the ongoing conflict the country has with the North.
The demilitarized zone (DMZ) feels sterile and cold compared to the rest of Korea. The buildings are functional and there is barbed wire everywhere. This part of the country can only be visited by guided tour and although it is sobering it is also fascinating.
It makes returning to the vibrant colors, neon, and joy of life that characterizes a day in Seoul much easier to understand too.
Contemporary Korea is vibrant and fun. The country seems to have one eye on the future and this is demonstrated by its eco-designs, sleek modern architecture, and soaring skyscrapers.
Friendly And Welcoming People
One of the best ways to really immerse yourself in Korean culture is by getting to know the Korean people.
The good news is that Koreans are considered among the friendliest and most open people in Asia.
They will talk to you (whether you want them to or not), share drinks menu suggestions in restaurants, and give you recommendations for places to visit.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule but in general you will find that Koreans are fun, friendly, and open. They want to share their culture with you.
Let them, and you will learn so much more about their country and have a much more culturally enriching and fun trip.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.