Tongyeong is a port city in the southern part of Korea, on the coast of Gyeongsang Province. It's a great weekend getaway if you are looking for a slower, more relaxing trip. Here you can enjoy the stunning landscapes, fresh seafood, hiking or island hopping. From Seoul, getting to Tongyeong is about a 4 hr bus ride. Unfortunately, there are no express trains going there but it's definitely worth the trip.
In Tongyeong has a population of around 140,000. The town is small but has a lot to offer. Make sure you take the cable car up to Mireuksan Mountain for wonderful views on the city. Walk along the sea port and take a look inside the historic Korean Turtle Ships. If you have enough time you can island hop to the many islands around Tongyeong. Bijindo Island is one of the most scenic islands in the area. Also, eat some seafood! You can walk around the fish market and buy fresh seafood which can be prepared for you.
Read more: Tongyeong-- A beautiful city by the Sea, A Day trip to Bijindo, Tongyeong Cable Car
The first time I ever came to Ulsan I fell in love with it. I don't see a lot of blog posts about why you should visit Ulsan, so I will tell you. Ulsan is located on the South-Eastern side, just above Busan and is the 7th largest city. Ulsan is known for being home to Hyundai's assembly plant. This city has many attractions that are worth seeing.
First of all, Ulsan has 4 beaches; Jinha, Gangdong, Ilsan and Shin-myung. The most popular one would be Ilsan beach but Jinha beach isn't far behind. If you aren't really into the beach then check out the Ocean views at Daewangam Park and Ulgi Lighthouse. If you are into nature like me then you should check out Ulsan Grand Park or Taewhagang River Park. At Taewha, there is a picturesque bamboo forest. They also have the most beautiful riverside flower garden with 7 different species. You can also rent 1, 2 and 4 person bicycles. Sailing is also another popular thing to do here. Ulsan has a large population of migratory whales and dolphins, so make sure to go on a whale watching cruise. Ulsan is definitely a difference experience than being in Seoul. It's a place you need to see and experience for yourself.
Read more: A Weekend in Ulsan
Pohang is located on the eastern side or Korea and is a large industrial port. However, Pohang is known for their 5 beaches which often get very crowded. The Hand of Harmony is one of the most iconic statues in Korea. Take a walk though Jukdo Market and purchase your own fresh seafood, which can then be made for you to enjoy. Dedicate onr full day to visiting Bogyeongsa Temple. This temple needs a full day because it's a gateway to a valley which has multiple waterfalls, gorges, hiking, plus check out the actual temple. As you can see this is a place not to miss.
Busan is one of the two cities most people visit when they come to Korea. Busan is the second largest city and is located in the south eastern tip of Korea, which makes the city considerably warmer than in the north. Busan is famous for seafood, beaches, mountains and it's seaside temple. Busan has the largest beach in Korea, as well as the largest department store, Shinsegae Centum City, in the world. Now, there are way too many attractions to name, but I will tell you the ones you cannot miss!
Why visit Busan? Haeundae! Yes, it is crowded, but the coastal views are amazing both night and day. Busan aquarium is also located right on the beach! Gamcheon Village is another great place to see. This village has hoards of brightly painted little houses sitting hillside. The views are amazing and it truly is picturesque. Haedong Yeonggunsa is the most popular temple in the city, as it sits on cliffs along the sea. The sounds of the waves crashing into the cliffs and peaceful atmosphere make for a great experience. If you are looking to relax and soak in a nice hot bath or just experience the Korean Spas then check out Spa Land. Spa Land is the largest spa in Korea. There are 22 baths, all natural spring water and they evern have tradition baths from all over the world (ie. Turkish, Roman, etc.). The last place I will talk about is Oryukdo. Oryukdo is about an hour bus ride from Busan but is another place with amazing views. Depending on the weather and tide you can see 5 or 6 islands. There is also a skywalk above the sea with a glass floor. There are many more things to do in Busan like the Jagalchi Market, museums, etc!
Read more: Haeundae Beach and Busan Aquarium, A weekend trip to Busan--Gamcheon Culture Village, Haedong Yeonggunsa Temple, Oryukdo, Jagalchi Market
Incheon is located in the north west part of Korea and is home to the largest airport in the country. Incheon is relatively close to Seoul and is the 3rd largest city. From Seoul it takes about 90 mins (by public transportation) to get here but is worth the hassle. This city is also home to the only offical Chinatown in the country. There are a number of islands that are also easily accessible to visit. Make sure to check out the futuristic Songdo Central Park and the architectural masterpiece "Tribowl".
Read More: Incheon Chinatown
Boryeong is located on the west side of Korea along the Yellow Sea. The city is know for their beach and also the mud festival held every year. The mud is said to be asthetically pleasing for your skin. Boryeong is also a gateway to a number of islands, so you can island hop while you are here.
Donghae is one of the most eastern cities in the country. It is also the hub to the famous Ulleung Island. The town has unique beaches, like Chuam Beach, with rock formations and amazing sunrises that has visitors flocking to see. Korea has a large amount of caves, but Cheongok is not one to be missed. Mural villages are also a "thing" in Korea, so make sure to walk through Nongoldam-gil for snap worthy pictures.
Nestled way up north near the North Korean border is Sokcho. Sokcho is visited for a number of reasons-- However first is because of the DMZ (Demilitarized Military Zone) that is close by. If you are adventurous, well even if you aren't, your trip will not be complete without climbing Seoraksan for the breathtaking views. Seoraksan National Park is best to visit in the fall as it is said to have the most beautiful fall foliage in the country. If you're lucky, you might actually spot a black bear. Sokcho beach is a great place to relax. The lighthouse makes for great views of Sokcho city and the East Sea. Seafood anywhere on the coast is a must, so here is no exception. Depending on the season you visit you could also visit a ski resort. There are a number of activities to do in Sokcho no matter what season you visit. The views make this town one of the most desirable places to visit.
What is your favourite Korean coastal city?