Korea is one of my favorite travel destinations because of its fascinating culture, complicated history, and sheer fun.

I’ve traveled to both North Korea and South Korea. Separated by the 4km wide Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the nations seem worlds apart even though they share the same language, costumes, and traditional music from an era before the Japanese occupation and all that befell this land afterwards. Even today, both sides are technically still at war, and tensions on the Korean peninsula are at an all-time high.

South Korea

In South Korea, life goes on as it always will. Beneath the gloss of K-pop, Korean vanity, and innovative technology, is an industrialism and stoicism that propelled the nation’s economic growth from poverty to power in just two generations. There is as much to discover in Koreans’ changing worldviews and values as there is in the landscapes, architecture, and products – especially if you travel beyond Seoul.