The Korea Tourism Organization launched a program back in 2012 called “Pilgrimage to Korea’s World Heritage Sites” to encourage locals and foreigners to visit South Korea’s 15 cultural and natural heritage sites. The program proves to be a success with the influx of many local and foreign tourists on these living national treasures.

The program features the following heritage sites: Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple, Haeinsa Temple Janggyeongpanjeon, Jongmyo Shrine, Changdeokgung Palace, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, Gochang Dolmen Site, Hwasun Dolmen Site, Ganghwa Dolmen Site, Cheomseongdae Observatory, Daerungwon Tomb Complex, Seonjeongneung Royal Tombs, Yunggeolleung Royal Tombs, Andong Hahoe Village, and Gyeongju Yangong Village. All sites are spread out from South Korea’s far north area of Gangwon-do, to its southernmost continental tip, Jeollanam-do.

How to sign up

Visit one of Korea Tourism Organization’s offices around South Korea and inform the desk officer of your interest to sign up for the Pilgrimage to Korea’s World Heritage Sites program. You will be given two booklets: one is an easy-to-read information guide on all 15 sites, and another is for marking your stamps as you visit each site. Booklets are currently available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. A tourist officer on each site will officially mark your every visit, so show this stamp booklet every time.

The Palace is one of South Koreas most popular pilgrimage sites.
Image: WIkimedia

Although the campaign officially ended on December 31, 2016, you can still submit your stamps to Korea Tourism Organization for an update of the official record of finishers. So, in essence, there is no time limit to complete visiting all sites.

Joining the program is free of charge.

What you get

While there is no financial compensation for completing all sites, you get a lifetime of reward for seeing South Korea’s well-preserved natural and cultural heritage sites at their finest. No money can ever buy this personal achievement, so if you are staying in South Korea for study, work, or even a short-term visit, do not forget to put these sites into your itinerary.

And yes, you can keep your booklets for life!

  • Raizel Albano

    Currently working as a Regional Reporter for GoUNESCO and Chief Traveler for Anthroonfoot.

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