Temples, palaces, beaches, and gleaming skyscrapers—South Korea has it all. On a South Korea cruise, you’ll see a wide variety of all the different facets that make the country special, from its stunning natural landscapes to its futuristic cityscapes.
When searching for an Asia cruise vacation that visits South Korea, look for our itineraries titled Japan, Korea, and China Cruises or China and South Korea Cruises. The latter also includes stops in Taiwan and Japan. Our South Korea cruises include relaxing days at sea and are 13 to 14 nights long.
Whether you’re most excited to experience city life, admire natural scenery, or visit historic temples and palaces, you’ll find it on a cruise to South Korea.
A trip to South Korea isn’t complete without a visit to Seoul, the country’s capital city. This beautiful and bustling metropolis is the perfect place to learn about South Korea’s present-day culture and dive into its long history with visits to museums and ancient sites. You’ll also want to see its structural wonders, like Yeongjong Bridge.
South Korea is home to many historically significant palaces and temples. Popular sites include the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul that was built in 1394, and Tongdosa Temple in Busan, which is home to several shrines and over 800 relics.
South Korea has a multitude of mountains; there are seven around Seoul alone. The Taebaek Mountains and Sobaek Mountains are the two main mountain ranges. The highest peak in South Korea is Hallasan, an active volcano home to Hallasan National Park.
South Korea’s coastline is known for its blissful beaches, where you’ll find soft sand and fun beach bars. The shores of South Korea are also home to a number of fishing villages that give you a taste—both literally and figuratively—of why the sea is important to South Korea’s economy.
We sail to three different ports of call in Korea. The most well-known port is Seoul (via Incheon), where cruisers get to explore the vibrant capital city. Another port city on South Korea’s mainland is Busan, where you’ll find a mixture of beaches, temples, and skyscrapers all close to each other. For more beaches, sail away to Jeju Island, located off of the country’s southern shoreline..
Whether your idea of a fun time in port is trying the local food and drink or experiencing a country’s culture and art, you’ll be able to spend the day your way during your South Korea cruise. Along the way, you’ll also learn more about South Korea’s history and the modern-day way of life of its residents.
If you want to get beyond the fast-paced city life of Seoul, book a shore excursion that teaches you the proper way to drink tea in South Korea and how the practice was established at local temples.
A tasty way to spend time in Busan is on a shore excursion that takes you to the city’s bustling fish market, where you’ll witness seafood being prepared and sold by local fishermen. You’ll also visit the Temple of the Heavenly Fish, one of the largest temples in South Korea that’s locally referred to as Beomeosa Temple.
On Jeju Island, take an island tour that includes a visit to Seongeup Village, where you can see the traditional Korean village way of life along with local dance and music performances. In Seoul, you can go on a shore excursion to museums, an antique quarter, and a natural habitat park.
The cuisine in South Korea is delicious, especially the seafood from the coastal areas of the country. A must-eat is the hot pot, a Korean-style stew. In Jeju Island, try the local abalone served grilled.
If you’re planning to go shopping during your South Korea cruise, look for souvenirs that will help you remember the country once you’re back home. Some interesting options include anything K-pop related, intricately decorated paper fans, and dojang stamps. If you like to bring home packaged food, look for dried seaweed, soju liquor, and Korean tea.
Our Asia cruise itineraries sail to South Korea cruise ports in fall and spring, typically in October or March. Therefore, pack layers so you can be comfortable throughout your day in port, no matter how the weather changes. Fall temperatures usually hover in the upper 60s (Fahrenheit), while early spring gets down into the low 50s.