International ferries sailing to and South Korea are worth considering if you’re travelling around North Asia and temporary entry for private cars is allowed for passengers arriving by ferry, providing that drivers obtain the proper documentation.
Several ferry companies, such as the Pukwan Ferry, Korea Ferry and Korea Marine Express, provide regular ferry services that link Busan with the Japanese ports of Shimonoseki, Fukuoka and Hakata. Another ferry service plies between Incheon and the Chinese ports of Tianjin and Weihai.
You can catch a ferry to Incheon in South Korea from a number of Chinese ports, travel around South Korea, and then leave on a fast ferry from Busan to Japan. Another ferry option is travelling to or from Russia via Sokcho in Gang·won-do.
Ferries To South Korea from China
Ferries link 10 Chinese ports with Incheon. Some are crowded with petty traders, but they provide a cheaper option than flying. The cheapest fares offer a thin mattress on a dormitory floor, while the more expensive fares give you a small cabin with a bunk bed and TV. Child fares are usually half the adult fare, and some ferry companies offer students a 20% discount. Prices listed are for one-way tickets and sailing times are subject to variation. Most ferries leave Incheon from Yeonan Pier, but the larger boats depart from International Terminal 2.
A ferry-and-train package is available from cities in Korea to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou or Shenyang in China via the Incheon-Tianjin ferry. Ferries also leave Gunsan in Jeollabuk-do for Qindao in China three times a week and take 18 hours. The international ferry terminal is a W7500 taxi ride from Gunsan bus terminal.
Four Season Cruise runs twice a week between Mokpo in Jeollanam-do and Shanghai in China.
Ferries To South Korea from Japan
First-floor booths in the international ferry terminal near Jungang subway station in Busan sell tickets for overnight ferries to three Japanese cities: Fukuoka, Shimonoseki and Osaka .
For a quick trip to Fukuoka on the Kobe or Beetle hydrofoils, walk upstairs to the 2nd floor. There are five daily departures plus one additional departure on Friday morning. Other destinations are Hitakatsu and Izuhara.
Ferries To South Korea from Russia
Dongchun operates a ferry twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) from Zarubino and Vladivostok in Russia to Sokcho in Gang·won-do. With the cheaper fares you sleep on the floor and share facilities. The more expensive fares entitle you to a cabin for two or four people with your own bed, TV and bathroom. You can connect to the Trans-Siberian railway, although most passengers are Korean and on a package tour to Paekdusan on the Chinese–North Korean border.
Things To Do and Places To See in South Korea
Located along the Hangang River, Seoul has grown into a teeming metropolis with a population of more than 10 million. Over the years, the capital city has greatly expanded in the process of urbanization and industrialization and continues to grow as the thriving center of the country's political, economic, cultural and educational activities.
In Seoul, the must-see attractions are the ancient royal palaces of the Joseon Dynasty: Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung, Changdeokgung, and Changgyeonggung. Jongmyo, the royal ancestral shrine of the Joseon Dynasty, and Changdeokgung's adjacent Huwon (Rear Garden also known as the Secret Garden) are noted for their beautifully landscaped gardens and classical structures.
Other attractions highly recommended for visitors include the National Museum of Korea, the National Gugak Center, the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, the Ho-Am Art Hall and Korea House. The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, a southern satellite town, also deserves a visit.
Seoul Vicinity & Gyeonggi-do Province
Gyeonggi-do Province is located in the western central region of the Korean Peninsula, with the Hangang running through its center. The river divides the province into a mountainous northern area and open fields to the south. While Seoul keeps its visitors busy with so many intriguing and enticing things to see and do, this area outside of Seoul can provide a refreshing and invigorating break.
Gangwon-do Province is located in the central eastern region of the Korean Peninsula. Most of the land is covered with thick forests, providing an abundance of scenic vistas with fewer residential areas than in other provinces. Both its remote wooded mountains and ravines as well as small coastal towns are rich in scenic splendor.
Chungcheongbuk-do and Chungcheongnam-do provinces lie in the western center of the peninsula. Chungcheongbuk-do is the country's only landlocked province, but with the completion of the Government Complex in its capital Daejeon and the newly opened international airport in Chungcheongbuk-do's capital Cheongju, the two provinces are being turned into a strategic heartland for the domestic economy.
Daejeon is about two hours south of Seoul by car and is a major train junction for the Seoul-Busan and Seoul-Gwangju-Mokpo lines. It is rapidly developing into one of Korea's major science and technology centers. Expo Park, the site of the International Daejeon Expo '93, has been renovated and converted into a public science park.
Korea's southwestern region encompasses Jeollabuk-do and Jeollanam-do provinces. The region is relatively flat, containing broad stretches of rice paddies, and its jagged coastline creates many small harbors. It is a fertile and warm region sheltered by high mountains on the east and north and calm seas and many islands on the west and south. Because of the influence of both continental and ocean climates, the region very varied weather.
Korea's southeastern region, encompassing Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeongsangnam-do provinces, is an area rich in tourist attractions, cultural assets and historical places. Hallyeo Maritime National Park and the mountains of Jirisan and Gayasan are among this region's most outstanding natural resources. In addition, the entire city of Gyeongju, ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C.-A.D. 935), is now an exceptional open-air museum. Royal tombs, temple sites with weathered stone pagodas and fortress ruins are scattered all around the city and have yielded many ancient treasures.
Jejudo Island and Southern Coastal Regions
Within an hour's flight from Seoul, Busan or Daegu, travelers in Korea can reach a land of a completely different character. Recognized as the best-preserved area in the nation, Jejudo is Korea's only island province.
The island is Korea's most popular honeymoon destination. Known as 'Little Hawaii' for its volcanic landscape, picturesque subtropical scenery, sandy beaches, waterfalls and hiking trails, it is one of the world's top ten tourist attractions with over seven million visitors a year.