British tourists are heading to South Korea in increasing numbers, attracted by the variety and seclusion it provides compared with Asia’s more popular tourist spots, according to the country’s tourism office.
UK visitor numbers to the country in August 2011 showed an increase of 11 per cent on 2010 figures, demonstrating the desire among more experienced travellers for trips away from the tried-and-tested destinations and the accompanying crowds. South Korea boasts it fair share of impressive sights, however, including no fewer than ten Unesco World Heritage sites. Palaces, shrines and natural wonders such as the island of Jeju, along with the country’s vast mountain ranges providing dramatic landscape scenery, give visitors a wealth of options when exploring.
The capital city Seoul combines ancient and modern in a unique way, with centuries-old palaces rubbing shoulders with ultra-modern business and entertainments districts. Signage in the city, like the rest of the country, is in English, and transport is reliable and safe. The country’s tourist organisation even runs a 24-hour helpline for travellers, offering a reassuring backup should tourists encounter problems during their stay in Korea.
Shopaholics are well catered for in the major urban areas, with electronics being a particularly good investment as Samsung and LG are both local brands and the country’s currency has fared better than the Japanese yen in recent times. The Korean Tourist Organisation is currently also running a range of promotions for UK visitors around the theme ‘recharge your energy.’ The promotion includes various health-boosting ideas for visitors, from trekking trips in the mountains to relaxing sessions at one of the country’s many natural hot spring spas and sauna facilities.