Known for its high-tech cities, rolling countryside and quaint villages, South Korea is a bucket-list destination. The country offers an event experience unlike any other, and attendees are sure to be impressed by the culture, food, stunning architecture and more. Starting in Incheon up north and heading down to Yeosu in the south, both traditional and modern venues are available, as well as tons of fun activities to do in between sessions.
After a long international flight, it’s nice not to go far to get to your hotel. Just a 10-minute drive from Incheon International Airport, the Paradise City Hotel isn’t your average airport hotel. Opened in 2017, the 700-room property features seven restaurants and more than 31,000 square feet of event space, including five small meeting rooms, two banquet halls and a grand ballroom that holds up to 1,824 people. The hotel boasts an "art-tainment" concept with 3,000 pieces of art, a casino, an indoor theme park and a traditional Korean spa.
On the 65th floor of the 423-room Oakwood Premier Incheon Hotel, Panoramic 65 Bar & Dining offers unobstructed views of the city and the West Sea. The event space has been designated as a Korea Unique Venue, one of a collection of venues throughout the country chosen by the Korea Tourism Organization based on their charm and regional characteristics. Panoramic 65 will elevate — pun intended — any corporate event.
Straying from the traditional Korean architecture, Cosmo 40 has a warehouse/industrial vibe. The vertical venue has four floors of event space, totaling more than 10,000 square feet. The second floor can be part of the main area for large conferences or separated for different functions. The third floor has an on-site café and the smaller fourth floor is mainly used for lounges. Full buyouts of Cosmo 40 are available for large events.
The capital of South Korea, Seoul is about an hour from Incheon International Airport. In the heart of the central business district, the Lotte Hotel Seoul has 1,015 rooms, eight food-and-beverage outlets and more than 24,400 square feet of meeting space. In their free time, attendees can explore nearby attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Unhyeongung Royal Residence, and the former Seoul train station, which has been restored into a cultural space.
Seoul Dragon City is a grand complex consisting of four hotels: Novotel Suites, Novotel Hotels and Resorts, Ibis Styles, and Grand Mercure. With a total of 1,700 rooms and more than 34,000 square feet of event space, it’s one of the largest properties in the country. It’s also connected to the I’Park Mall, allowing attendees to shop both local and international brands during their free time.
The Floating Island Convention Center takes "waterfront venue" to a whole new meaning. On a manmade island in the Han River, the facility has seven banquet halls, a restaurant with a private balcony for outdoor events and a rooftop, totaling more than 23,000 square feet of meeting space. Another Korea Unique Venue, it’s the only waterfront convention center in the country.
The National Museum of Korea has been in Seoul since 2005, but opened in 1945 in another part of South Korea during the Japanese Occupation. The venue is the most expansive museum in the country and includes exhibitions on calligraphy and painting, ancient central Asian artifacts, and bodhisattva statues. Named a Korea Unique Venue, the museum has more than 92,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.
Also known as the Blue House, Cheongwadae is South Korea’s version of the White House. Comprised of a separate office and residence, as well as gardens and trails, the property usually houses the leader of state, but the current president has decided not to live there. For visitors, the offices are open for tours.
The Royal Room of King Hotel in Jeonju, 30 miles from the Gunsan Aiport or 1.5 hours from Seoul by train. Upon arrival, is a great example of a Korea Unique Venue. The hotel’s 11 buildings were constructed in the traditional hanok style, giving guests an authentic experience. The 64 rooms are spread across the buildings and the on-site meeting space consists of three small banquet rooms, making it an ideal venue for boutique-sized events.
While the rest of the city has been industrialized, Jeonju Hanok Village retains the destination's historic charms and traditions, including more than 800 hanok houses. Many shops sell hanboks, the traditional Korean clothing. Before the pandemic, this small village received an eye-popping 10 million visitors a year.
Instead of serving drinks at your event, have attendees make their own at the Jeonju Korean Traditional Wine Museum inside Jeonju Hanok Village. Guests can get a guided tour of the museum, participate in a liquor tasting and make their own rice wine. PSA: Homemade rice wine is not a TSA-approved item and must be consumed prior to traveling back to the United States.
Open since 2015, the 814,000-square-foot Asia Culture Center is a massive venue of five different buildings with indoor and outdoor event spaces, including a theater, library, art exhibits and more. The ACC has a meaningful history, as it was constructed on the location of the Gwangju Uprising against the South Korean government in 1980; one of the five buildings stands where the final battle took place.
One of the southernmost cities in Korea, Yeosu is home to a 100,000-square-foot convention center that was built for Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, an international exposition that ran for three months and hosted 105 countries and more than 8 million visitors. The Yeosu Expo Convention Center has a 96,000-square-foot digital gallery and an outdoor concert venue that can hold up to 3,000 people. With a train station, a bus station, an airport and a cruise port nearby, the city is easily accessible.
Overlooking the South Sea, the 311-room Sono Calm Yeosu features five dining outlets and more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space. Twelve rooms are decorated in themes such as Spanish, Arabian and Japanese styles. For a truly authentic experience, opt for the Korean room where both the desk and bed are on the floor. The hotel’s proximity to the Yeosu Expo Convention Center makes it a popular choice for meetings.
Attached to the convention center is Korea’s largest immersive media-art exhibition, Arte Museum Yeosu. Every room offers a different visual experience, including an endless surreal beach, and a garden of light and starlight made with paper. In one room, visitors can get hands-on by coloring their own sea creatures, getting them scanned and watching them come alive in a sketchbook coral-reef exhibit.
Incorporating wellness/fitness into events has been on the rise since the pandemic. A quick drive from Yeosu is the Suncheonman Bay Nature Reserve. The 45-minute hike to the top culminates at an overlook with views of the entire wetlands. Sunscreen, bug spray, water and sneakers are highly recommended.