Travel Highlights Wellness Tourism

25 Must-Go Wellness Attractions in Korea

Korea’s harmony of tradition and innovation makes it the best destination to improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organisation have released a list of 25 Must-Go Wellness Attractions in Korea.

The various spots are categorised into beauty and spa, traditional Korean medicine, nature and forest, and healing and meditation, providing a perfect summary of the country’s wide variety of wellness attractions.

Learn more about Wellness travel in Korea →

Beauty & Spa

The desire for beauty is timeless, and countless methods have been experimented with over the years. Korea has numerous facilities filled with high-quality wellness programmes that make achieving beauty easy and fun, and enable you to eat, sleep, enjoy, and become more beautiful during your travels.

Sulwhasoo Flagship Store, Seoul
The largest spa facility operated by a beauty brand in Korea, featuring two spas with different concepts. Sulwhasoo Spa offers a luxurious anti-aging traditional Korean medicine programme, while the Sulwhasoo Balance Spa, overlooking the beautiful Dosan Park, offers a more casual spa experience.

Traditional Korean Medicine

Traditional medicine in Korea contains Korea’s unique medical knowledge and wisdom, and below we are introducing wellness facilities that reinterpret traditional medicine in a modern way.

Herb Lab Bom Dong, Seoul
Herb Lab serves visitors medical teas that match their individual physical states. There are two main kinds of tea here: ‘6 Roots’, which is good for physical symptoms, and ’48 Vitals’, which is a special mental supporter. A medical doctor is always present to give advice.

Find a traditional Korean medicine wellness programme that matches your physiology and body condition
In Korean medicine, there is a belief that everybody is born with a certain physiology. Sasang physiology divides people into four types, each with its own healthcare methods and lifestyle habits. No matter how good medicine or food is, argue Sasang practitioners, if they do not match your type, they can be useless or even harmful. You can try and determine your Sasang type by using our special guide. The higher the number of features that apply to you in one category, the more likely you are have that kind of Sasang physiology.


Spleen and stomach are Weak, kidneys work faithfully. Upper and lower body shapes are balanced.

  • Narrow chest, big hip, prominent lower stomach
  • Gentle and kind personality
  • Worried about small things
  • Introverted and shy
  • Hesitant to express own opinion
  • Is modest and leaves good impressions on others
  • Suffers from stomach aches or diarrhea when eating pork or doughy foods
  • No energy when sweating

Biggest bodies among the Sasang types. Well-developed back and weak around chest and neck.

  • Round face and thin neck
  • Belly and back are well-developed
  • Well-grown bones
  • Versatile in social environments
  • Thinks big and is very understanding
  • Often enjoys leisure and laziness
  • Craves meet after only a few days without it
  • Fish has evoked a skin reaction or food poisoning before

Easiest type to identify. Laughs a lot and is masculine.

  • Well-developed upper body and weak lower body
  • Is more comfortable with a vegetarian diet than when eating meat
  • Creative and often comes up with new ideas
  • Lively and eager, has integrity, is an honest character
  • Often gets to hear that he's careless
  • Outdoorsy and neglectful when it comes to household and personal work
  • Can't sleep after even one cup of coffee
  • Has had stomach or skin trouble from eating chicken before

Often skinny body shape, can't walk long because of weak legs.

  • Big head, sturdy neck and round face.
  • Small but sparkling eyes.
  • Upper chest is well-developed, weak back and hip.
  • Often prodigious and able to think bigger than others.
  • Strong leadership, forward-thinking and courageous
  • Clicks with people but tends to be audacious. Strong heroism or pride, often exaggerates.
  • Has difficulty digesting meat.

The Healing Power of Forest and Nature

The positive effects of forests have been verified in a number of studies, and if you take a walk or spend some time in a forest, you can increase your immunity levels, stabilise high blood pressure and cardiac impulse, and relieve depression. Pytoncide and anions produced by trees in forests relieve fatigue and stress, providing us with a feeling of well-being and vitality and comforting your body and soul.

Suncheonman Bay National Garden & Wetland Reserve, Suncheon
This 1.1 million square metre area contains 79,000 trees of 505 different kinds, and 150,000 plants of 113 different types. It’s the perfect place to de-stress and enjoy some peace and quiet, and you can also enjoy a herbarium, a traditional Korean medicine experience centre, and more. The Wetland is one of the world’s five greatest coastal wetlands.

For more information about wellness travel in Korea and the various destinations listed above, as well as to receive coupons for many of the facilities, visit Here.

Download Map of Wellness Spots → Download Wellness Korea Coupons →

Medical Tourism

As the NHS finds it more and more difficult to provide the care that people need and private health insurance becomes more and more expensive and unfordable now is the ideal time to consider medical treatment in South Korea and combine it with a stay in one of Asia’s undiscovered but most exciting destinations.

Hospitals in South Korea continually update their infrastructure, systems and facilities to ensure that they provide the best possible service and treatments to the local population making the healthcare system amongst the best in the world. This has led to a growing interest in medical tourism to South Korea and is attracting patients from around the globe. The government is now investing heavily in this sector in order to attract more medical tourists.

A huge range of assessments and treatments are available from dentistry to cosmetic surgery to high tech cancer treatments. There is also a fascinating mix of western and oriental medicine on offer, creating even more options for treatment. There are a number of centres in the major cities that have been created especially for the medical tourist, with multi-lingual staff and comprehensive services that include travel, accommodation and recuperation packages.

Korea’s Medical Tourism Growth

For the last 6 years, the number of international medical tourists coming to Korea grew by 30.5% annually, and the number is steadily rising.

2015 International Patient Service Result Survey, Korea Health Industry Development Institute
According to the OECD’s findings, Korea is the healthiest country in the world.

Average life expectancy for Koreans

Koreans are healthy thanks to Advanced Medical Technology

Behind Korea’s Medical Tourism Growth

1. World’s Best Medical Technology

Unsurpassed competency in treatments for difficult diseases, such cancer, cardiovascular and spinal disorders, and complicated procedures such as transplants.

Five-Year Cancer Survival Rates: International Comparison

Source: National Cancer Information Centre

Highly Complex Surgical Procedures Statistics

Source: OECD Indicators (2014)

A pioneer in plastic/cosmetic surgery and dentistry.

In 2015, Korea was recognized as the third-largest market for plastic surgery in the world, next only to the United States and Brazil. The Korean plastic surgery market is estimated to be KRW 5 trillion inannual value, making up almost 25 percent of the entire global market value, estimated at KRW 21 trillion.

There is growing interest worldwide in tooth whitening, orthodontics, and double jaw (orthognathic) surgery.

Korea is famous worldwide for its topnotch cosmetic dentistry.
Korean cosmetic dentistry businesses are rapidly increasing their share of the global market, and already boast a 40-percent combined share of the Chinese market.
Sources: International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), Korean Trends Total 2017


2. Excellent Medical Practitioners & Medical Facilities

Hospitals in Korea boast of excellent medical practitioners and facilities. The Korean government has a strict regulation over the hospitals to ensure the optimum medical services.

Medical Hardware (MRI and CT Machines and Hospital Beds) and Medical Practitioner (Doctors and Nurses) Statistics

All hospitals in Korea are nonprofit organizations and they put the safety and satisfaction of patients ahead of profits.

Number of Hospital Beds for Every 1,000 in OECD Member States

The OECD statistics count only hospitals, and do not reflect statistics concerning clinics, dental clinics, traditional herbal medicine clinics, and midwifery centres common in Korea.

The Number of Practicing Physicians

Source: OECD Indicators (2014)


3. Affordable Medical Costs

In Korea, patients can receive high quality of health care and treatments at affordable prices through cutting-edge hardware and infrastructure.

OECD-wide Comparison of Medical Insurance Costs (Unit: USD)

Sources: International Federation of Health Plans (2011) and KHIDI (2012)

Medical costs in Korea are only 20-30% of those in the United States or Japan while medical services are still on a similarly high level. The medical bills in Korea are even cheaper than those in China, and comparable to the rates charged by private clinics in Singapore.


4. Accessibility and Safety

As Korea is easily reached from major cities in Asia, North America and Europe, patients can enjoy a more comfortable journey to Korea.

The Korean government has the certification policy for hospitals receiving foreign patients to guarantee a high level of medical services for them.

Various support systems are available to foreign patients such as medical visa, medical translator or coordinator services, etc.

Medical Tour Packages

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Suggested Tours for Medical Tourists

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Visas for medical tourism (C-3-3, G-1-10)

1. Target group for visa issuance

Those wishing to be hospitalized at specialized medical clinics or rehabilitation facilities for treatment of diseases and disorders, or for recuperation purposes, and for cases requiring treatment periods of 91 days or longer. The patient and members of the patient’s immediate family, including patient’s spouse to help provide care and patient’s children (Duration of stay is one year; multiple-entry visa is effective for one year)

  • C-3 (M): For cases where the period of treatment and travel is 90 days or less (Simple procedures, e.g., cosmetic procedures, including plastic surgery, etc.)
  • G-1 (M): One year (i.e., long-term treatment and rehabilitation)


2. Where to apply

Embassies or consulates of the Republic of Korea


3. How to apply

Direct application :
Patient may apply for the visa at the consulate directly – documents to be submitted : visa issuance application, copy of passport, diagnosis document, document issued by a medical institution in Korea confirming appointment for treatment/recuperation, affidavit of financial support proving ability to procure funds to cover the cost of treatment and stay, other documents requested by the consulate (documents proving family relationship)

Agency application :
Medical institution or agency may apply for visa issuance certificate to the immigration office through online HUNET. The visa will be issued when the patient submits the certification to the consulate. – documents to be submitted : application for confirmation of visa issuance, copy of passport, 1 photo, documents issued by a medical institution confirming medical purpose of visit (documents proving family relationship)

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