Following months of limited local and international travel amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, Koreans are now looking forward to planning the perfect getaway to have fun and relax with family or friends this fall.
According to a recent survey conducted by Agoda, one of the big online travel agencies, 63 percent of Korean travelers are most comfortable traveling up to three to four hours from home, and driving oneself to a destination was the second-most preferred form of transportation after air travel.
Moreover, 38 percent of Korean travelers chose beaches as their biggest reason to travel, followed by nature at 33 percent.
Based on the survey, Agoda shared four domestic destinations with beautiful natural scenery and beaches accessible in a less-than-four-hour drive from major cities in Korea.
Buan in North Jeolla Province on the West Sea is a great destination for those who want to wander the great outdoors.
The Byeonsanbando National Park is the only national park in Korea where travelers can admire both mountains and the sea at the same time. Chaeseokgang Cliffs' rocky precipices, which look like a stack of books, and Jeokbyeok River, where visitors can admire the spectacular glow of the setting sun, are also must-see attractions.
|The Byeonsanbando National Park in Buan, North Jeolla Province / Courtesy of Agoda|
Tourists are recommended to take a leisurely stroll along the Julpo Bay Tidal Flat Ecological Park to enjoy the intriguing mudflats, and get a small taste of the sea by trying the local manila clam noodles or porridge at local restaurants.
Recommended accommodation there includes the beach resort Sono Belle Byeonsan.
Suwon in Gyeonggi Province is a city that offers a glimpse into Korea's history.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site that commemorates the filial affection and innovations of King Jeongjo, the 22nd monarch of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), offers the magnificence of science, architecture and art of the 18th century with its four prominent gates.
Hwaseong Haenggung Palace one of the temporary palaces the king and royal family retreated to during a war, is the largest temporary palace of the Joseon Dynasty, mirroring its grandeur.
|Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province / Courtesy of Agoda|
Travelers can explore the culture street, which is full of charming attractions such as traditional tea houses and handicraft workshops, or enjoy a peaceful afternoon at Gwanggyo Lake Park.
Foodies should not miss out on Suwon specialties ― ribs seared with charcoal smoke or crispy chicken.
Recommended accommodation includes I.Y. Hotel.
Travelers wanting to experience idyllic nature in a pristine green forest can take a trip to Inje in Gangwon Province.
Wondaeri Birch Forest, which is well known as the location where Netflix original series "Kingdom" was filmed, offers an exotic view of pure white birch trees.
Mount Jeombong Gombaeryeong, which limits the number of visitors each day for ecological protection, is filled with rare wildflowers to match its reputation as "the garden of heaven."
Those looking to hike are advised to head to Mount Bangtae, one of the 100-most famous mountains selected by the Korea Forest Service, where hikers can walk through cool valleys near waterfalls in dense forests.
|Mount Bangtae in Inje, Gangwon Province / Courtesy of Agoda|
Recommended accommodation includes Sol Beach Yangyang, a seaside hotel.
Tourists are invited to visit Pohang in North Gyeongsang Province to experience the East Sea's deep blue water.
Travelers can visit Homigot Sunrise Square, which is famous as a unique photo spot to catch the sunrise behind a hand-shaped sculpture.
The city has invigorating beaches including Guryongpo Beach and Yeongildae Beach.
Visitors can also enjoy trekking along the coastal trail while checking out the ocean waves and gorgeous view of the coast.
The Pohang Canal, which offers unique seaside and city views via a boat cruise, is a must-do attraction.
Recommended accommodation includes Benikea Hotel Pohang.