This is sponsored content for Korea Tourism Organization Sydney
If the dream of a luxury wellness vacation has helped you get through the past two years, it's time to manifest those visions. Borders are opening and collectively, we've never had a greater need for a spa holiday.
One global wellness destination you might not have considered yet is South Korea. In fact, Korean wellness and beauty offers an intriguing and unique mix of nature and science, as traditional rituals meet cutting-edge research.
To help spread the word, Korea Tourism has begun compiling an annual guide to the country's outstanding wellness travel destinations.
The list spans four broad categories – healing and meditation; beauty and spa; Korean traditional medicine; and nature and forest – and all the facilities on the list offer a true wellness experience. Start planning your trip by taking a look at these five must-visit facilities.
Healing & Meditation
Healience Seonmaeul is a hillside haven. Photo: Korea Tourism Organization Sydney
Healience Seonmaeul (Zen Village) is billed as Korea's first resort dedicated to ageing well (the name Healience combines 'healing' and 'science'). The resort is perched on a hillside and surrounded by undulating valleys and lush forest. At around one hour from Seoul, it's close enough to travel with ease and distant enough to truly disconnect and feel embraced by nature.
The resort divides its program into four core pillars, including nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. The fourth has less of a literal translation into English. Dubbed 'life rhythm' it offers practice methods for sleeping, foot baths and lower-body bathing in order to maintain the best condition during everyday life.
Programs at Healience Seonmaeul run for a minimum of two days and one night.
Beauty & Spa
Sulwhasoo Flagship Store offers luxurious treatments with long-lasting results. Photo: Korea Tourism Organization Sydney
Korean beauty treatments are typically luxurious and holistic, but also focused on delivering long-lasting visible results.
Sulwhasoo Flagship Store is owned by one of the world's largest and best-known beauty companies, Amorepacific. Located in Gangnam, Seoul (a renowned destination for beauty aficionados), it houses two different spas.
Sulwhasoo Spa offers the pinnacle of luxurious anti-ageing traditional Korean medicine spa programs, while the Sulwhasoo Balance Spa is for a more casual experience. Be sure to book the Intense Ginseng Journey, a heavenly full-body treatment that starts with a foot bath before moving to a neck and shoulder massage, all harnessing the revitalising powers of ginseng.
Or head further south to Busan, where Spa Land Centum City in Shinsegae Department Store has 13 themed spas featuring some of the most futuristic-looking treatment rooms in the world. Water is a recurring motif – fitting for this beachside city.
Many of the signature treatments tap into the natural hot spring waters that lie a thousand metres below the surface. Others offer saunas or a traditional Korean bath-house experience.
Korean traditional medicine
The so-called 'oriental medicine theme park', Donguibogam Village. Photo: Korea Tourism Organization Sydney
For the world-weary traveller, a number of wellness facilities offer modern-day interpretations of traditional Korean medicine and treatments. From medicinal teas to herbs like ginger, mint and clove, these remedies and rituals are steeped in history but given a 21st century spin.
Donguibogam Village in the country's south has been nicknamed an 'oriental medicine theme park' and covers a vast area on Wangsan Mountain. At 480 metres above sea level, the resort is known for the three huge stones in its grounds that are said to radiate positive energy, health and luck.
Nature & Forest
Suncheonman Bay is home to more than 600 varieties of trees and plants. Photo: Korea Tourism Organization Sydney
Many of the 40 wellness facilities on the list tap into Korea's incredible natural beauty but those in the nature and forest category are centred on this theme.
The grounds of Suncheonman Bay National Garden and Wetland Reserve span an extraordinary 1.1 million square metres and are home to more than 600 varieties of trees and plants. The wetlands are considered one of the five greatest coastal wetlands in the world. Plus, the on-site traditional Korean medicine centre has the advantage of direct access to a stunning herbarium.
Visit Korea Tourism Organization Sydney for more details on these and other wellness facilities.