South Korea: Deep-Rooted History, Modern Nightlife, and More

Dongdaemum Design Plaza shops

South Korea is more often thought of as a meetings destination, but the truth is, it also makes a compelling site for an incentive trip. With its deep-rooted history and culture, natural beauty, and its compelling mix of both traditional and modern, the country is filled with a variety of experiences to suit any group. Here are just a few ideas for adding fun activities to your meeting.

Culinary Confections in Gyeongju
Thwack! That was the sound that our giant mallet made each time one of us struck the sticky mound of white rice set atop a wooden stump. We were at Yangdong Village in Gyeongju, a historic area located on South Korea's southern peninsula, attempting to make injeolmi, a traditional Korean sweet rice cake dusted in soybean powder. After each member of our group took a turn with the heavy mallet, and the rice reached the right consistency, we hungrily savored the fruits of our labor. UNESCO-designated Yangdong Village is home to hundreds of houses that date back four centuries to the Joseon Dynasty, and descendants of the original villagers still live there to this day.

Sunset Sail in Busan
Busan is South Korea's coastal getaway hot spot and you'll understand why when you arrive there. Being out on the water is a must for groups who visit Busan, and it's especially nice to set sail at night when the Gwangan Bridge, the largest ocean-crossing bridge in Korea, is lit up. Every day and season, the lights change, but no matter what time of day you go, it's still a sight to behold on the seas.

Make Your Mark in Changwon
Changwon, also located in the southern region of the country, is a paradise for bird-watchers and nature lovers, but it's also home to one of Korea's best shooting ranges. In fact, in 2018, the Changwon International Shooting Range will host the 52nd World Shooting Championships. For smaller groups who want to brush up their shooting skills, the range is an inviting spot for learning how to hit flying targets.

Shopper's Paradise in Seoul
If Psy's "Gangnam Style" music video proved one thing, it's that Gangnam is a shopper's paradise, especially for luxury goods. That neighborhood, as well as many others in Seoul -- including Myeongdong and Dongdaemun -- are ideal for shopping. Dongdaemun Design Plaza has a few shops inside that showcase some of the newest, design-driven apparel, accessories, housewares, and much more.  

Step into History
As thoroughly modern as cities like Seoul and Songdo International Business District can be, there are many monuments throughout the country that remind you of Korea's rich cultural heritage and past. In total, the country is home to 11 UNESCO World Heritage Cultural sites, ranging from ancient shrines and temples to stunning palaces and historic villages.

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This article appears in the March 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.