From Soothing Saunas to Horse Sashimi and Historic Street Markets: Four Must-Visit Destinations in Korea 

In my 2 weeks in South Korea, I have managed to see quite a bit of the country, visiting Seoul, Busan, and Jeju. When I was sightseeing, eating, and shopping, there were places that were severely underwhelming and places that were completely unexpected.  

In this list, these are four places that I strongly recommend to friends and will definitely visit again on my future trip to Korea. 

Gwangjang Street Food Market (광장시장)

In the center of Seoul at 8.30am, the nation’s first market, Gwangjang market wakes up with life. Little stalls are set up along the long roads stretched within the mall, where hundreds of tourists and locals will sit in small stools beside the stalls to eat their meals.

If you are a foodie, this place is a must go! These stalls sell traditional Korean food like Bindaetteok, Kalguksu, Mandu, and many others. Instead of restaurants, these vendors have small stalls in the middle of a road. Stools are laid out right in front of the cook for you to see, smell and taste the action. 

When you see it for the first time, it may be daunting as you might not know what to do. Fear not, for its as easy as seeing a stall that sells food that you want to try, sitting in their stool without needing to ask, saying “yeogiyo (excuse me)” for their attention, and order away. It’s that easy! One tip, look for stalls that have photos showing that they were on TV / Netflix. These stalls are usually more friendly to tourists, having an English menu, having English speaking helpers and being tastier than the other stalls who sell the same thing.  

Foods I would recommend trying :  

  • Bindaetteok (Crispy mung bean pancake made popular by “Running Man”)) 
  • Kalguksu (Knife cut noodles made popular through Netflix) 
  • Eomukguk (Fish cake soup) 
  • Tteokbokki (Spicy rice cakes) 
  • Naengmyeon (Cold noodles) 


Foods for the adventurous foodie:  

  • Yukhoe (raw seasoned beef) 
  • Soondae (pig intestines stuffed with cellophane noodles, barley and pork blood) 
  • Sannakji (live octopus) 
  • Chicken feet 

However, these are just recommendations. If you have the opportunity (and space in your belly), try out as many things as possible. Don’t be afraid to go multiple times!

If you are looking to have an authentic Korean meal, it really can’t get any better than this.  

Korean Sauna & Spa : Jjimjilbang (찜질방)

If relaxation, peace and comfort are your thing, a Jjimjilbang is a place you won’t regret visiting. Jjimjilbangs are essentially public bath houses with more. Hot spas, steam rooms, health rooms, food, drinks and so much more. The one I went to was in Busan, called Shinsegae SPALAND Centum City.


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I had a culture shock when I went into the locker room. In Korea, it is completely normal to be fully nude in the locker room. With my little research, I was stunned when I walked into the men’s locker room not knowing it was a public bath house. People there are very open about their bodies, they will not hide or be ashamed, so do not be too shocked when you get there and see it for yourself.  

Once you get past the open showers, donned the clothes provided by the Jjimjilbang, you are free to walk to the other facilities there. There are rooms made from a certain rock, and there are rooms that plays a sound at a certain frequency, there are rooms that mimic space or the ocean, and many others. These rooms are to help aid in health, having health benefits if you go in. These rooms are very interesting, relaxing, and peaceful. You could adventure in the place for hours and you won’t feel bored. If you ever get hungry inside, you can also purchase food at their cafes or restaurants. A common food that people eat in Jjimjilbang’s are instant noodles and sauna eggs. 

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A jjimjilbang will genuinely make you feel at relaxed and comforted and is a place I will easily recommend for all people to try out. I know I will be going back.  

Myeongdong Shopping Street (명동)

If you love shopping, eating and skin care, Myeongdong is THE destination. This place is filled with stores that fulfil all these interests. International brands, local brands, and popular skin care have stores located along this street. If you’re looking to shop, you should come before 4pm so that you can get unobstructed views of the stores while walking the street.

International brands like Puma, New Balance and Fila are cheaper compared to Singapore’s stores as they are actually Korean brands. Certain stores have clothes that are exclusive to Korea as they are inspired by Korean street fashion. So, buy them when you are there so that you can get better clothes at a better price.

Skincare stores are widespread along the street, being at every other store and selling similar products. Every store is inviting you in to take a look at their products to hopefully make a sale. With all this competition, these stores are the best place to buy skin care. Products there are ridiculously cheap, especially Korean brands. Facial masks are commonly being sold at 1+1 (meaning 1 for 1) and prices can drop as low as SGD$0.50 per mask! Korean big name brands like DrJart or Innisfree are significantly cheaper than Singapore. I bought about 90 masks for about SGD$60, 60 pieces from Nature Republic at SGD$30, and 30 pieces from DrJart at SGD$30. They sell cleansers, moisturizers, toners and so much more. If you care for your skin, be called in to these stores. You and your wallet will walk out happy. 

At 4pm, carts are seen moving in and setting up along the street. The street gets livelier as more tourists and locals arrive, and the aroma of food floods the air to attract you to buy them. These carts sell things like Japchae, Tteokbokki, fried chicken, cube steaks, lobster with cheese, and many others. There is definitely something new for everyone to try.

Beware that, you may think street food should be cheap, they are nowhere near cheap. Stalls with simple foods like Japchae or ice cream are priced affordably, pricing around 5000 won to 10000 won, however other stalls like lamb sticks, steaks or lobsters may cost around 15000 won to 25000 won.  So, make sure you know the price before buying them.  

To the adventurous foodies, I would recommend trying boneless chicken feet. I was yucked by it at first but after trying I am still thinking about it until this day

Horse Sashimi, the local delicacy of Jeju Island 

When you hear sashimi, you would typically think of fish or beef. Jeju Island has something different, horse sashimi. When I heard it, I wasn’t very keen to try, however my friends were all very keen and I found myself in front of a plate of horse sashimi (Malgogi).

When I tried it, I was surprised to say that I loved it! Horse sashimi is sweet and tender, having the likeness to beef and venison combined. The restaurant also served many dishes that had horse in it. BBQ style, Steamboat style, Soup, and tea. I hate to admit it, but it was all good.  

If you are ever in Jeju and are feeling brave, please do not hesitate to try horse sashimi. It is an experience that I will not forget easily.   

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