The Discover South Korea tour starts from and ends in Seoul. It is a cultural, religious and historic sites trip that takes 12 days taking you through Busan, Hahoe Folk Village, Andong, Gangneung and 4 other destinations in South Korea.
South Korea, the “Land of the Morning Calm” has long been overshadowed by neighbouring Japan. A dynamic country steeped in culture, tradition and history it offers vibrant cities, rich landscapes, friendly locals and staggering nature. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in bustling Seoul’s contemporary culture, meditate and spend the night in an ancient temple, discover the beauty of Seoraksan N.P and explore Busan’s colourful markets. This, combined with the chance to taste some of the most underrated cuisine in the world, makes a trip to Korea unforgettable!
Day 01: Arrive Seoul
Arrive in Seoul. Time permitting and depending on the arrival time. The representative will arrange a short orientation tour in proximity of the hotel. In the evening we have the chance to visit the Gwangjang market, one of the oldest food markets in Seoul, where locals meet after work to enjoy traditional foods and liquor. The market also sells vintage clothing and textiles during the day, but comes alive in the evenings when unique foods such as ‘bindaetteok’, a popular pancake with ‘makkolli’, the traditional Korean rice wine, are served.
Day 02: Explore Seoul
Full day Seoul walking tour including Insadong artisan area, Jogyesa Temple and Gyeongbokkung Palace. Today we will enjoy a walking tour of Seoul.We first head towards the Cheonggyecheon, an age old canal in downtown Seoul that was filled with concrete in the 1960’s but reopened in 2005 in its original state. Continue to Tapgol Park, the central point of the Korean independence movement in 1919. From there, we continue on to Insadong, the artisan neighbourhood where traditional teahouses and souvenir shops are lined up in a cosy, welcoming atmosphere.After, we visit Jogyesa Temple, one of the most beautiful temple complexes in the heart of Seoul. At Gwanghwamoon you can admire the impressive statues of Admiral Yi and King Sejong; men who played vital roles in Korean history.The next stop for the day is at Gyeongbokgung Palace. Built by the Joseon Dynasty in 1394, this immense complex was the centre of power up to Japanese occupation at the start of the last century. At the Palace, we may see the changing of guards. Our last visit for today will be Bukchon Hanok Village which is home to hundreds of traditional houses, called hanok, that date back to the Joseon dynasty.(Please note that the order of these activities may change).
Day 03: Visit Panmunjom to learn how Korea was divided
Today we will have an excursion to Panmunjom, the only place on the peninsula where North and South Koreans can meet face to face. It was here that the peace treaty was signed in 1953 and where both parties agreed on a Joint Security Area (JSA) in the middle of the border between the two countries, also known as DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). After a short briefing by US army personnel you will enter the JSA; here you will visit Freedom House, the blue barracks sharing a conference room for talks between both North and South Korea, the visitor’s observation post and the bridge of no return. En route you will enjoy a traditional Korean dish for lunch. Please note that due to government restrictions in place this excursion is guided by a local JSA specialised guide and not by your tour leader. Please also note that the Panmunjom tour may be withdrawn at any time and in such cases this trip will be substituted with visits to other key areas in the North/South Korean history, such as the Third Tunnel. We must also mention that some nationalities will not be permitted to take part in the tour (at time of writing this includes nationals from Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria) and it will be more difficult to obtain permission for South Korean and Chinese nationals to join the tour. Strict rules are in place for DMZ tours and as such passport details must be provided in advance. For dual passport holders, please ensure you provide Exodus with the exact passport details you will be entering South Korea with (and will be required to carry on the day tour).During the tour, it is critically important that you follow instructions from military personnel and guides whilst on the tour. Please refer to the ‘What To Take’ section for information on required attire for this day trip.
Day 04: Transfer to Gangneung; afternoon Korean cooking demonstration
Today will begin with a private transfer to Gangneung on the east coast (approx. 3hrs). In the heart of Gangwon Province we will visit one of Korea’s most picturesque culinary bases, where all the food is produced and processed naturally and according to centuries-old recipes; fermented food such as kimchi, red pepper paste, doenjang (bean paste) and fish sauce is stored and aged in clay vessels, sometimes for over 5 years! Herbs are grown and harvested from gardens, and wild herbs collected from the mountains surrounding the area.Here we learn how bibimbab is made, a traditional dish of rice with vegetables, herbs, meat and several side dishes. You will then lunch on this freshly-cooked, healthy food.In the afternoon we transfer to the hotel in Sokcho, a lively coastal city which belonged to North Korea from 1945 until the end of the Korean.
Day 05: Enjoy an easy walk in Seoraksan N.P.
Situated on the beautiful east coast, the Seorak Mountains are the most famous in Korea. At the foot on the mountains we will find an enormous Buddha statue and from this point one may follow a variety of different trails between 2 and 10 km. The leader will guide those who wish on an easy and short optional walk. A more leisurely option for those not wishing to walk is to take a cable car to one of the mountain tops to enjoy the fantastic views.
Day 06: Transfer to Andong; visit the Andong Hahoe Folk Museum
Transfer from Sokcho to Andong by private minibus (approx. 4hrs). Visit to the Andong Hahoe Village where century old traditions, influenced by the teachings of Confucius, are still alive. The inhabitants live in the same way their ancestors did; in simple houses for the common farmers and in richly decorated houses for the “Yangban” aristocrats.
Day 07: Andong to Gyeongju
Transfer from Andong to Gyeongju by private vehicle (approx. 2.5hrs) stopping en route for a visit to the Dosan Confucian School. In the afternoon Visit the Tumuli Park with the royal tombs dating back to the Shilla Dynasty. The numerous artifacts being found in these tombs show a remarkable technological and cultural advancement in that period (600-900 CE). We also visit Cheomseongdae, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia. The 362 stones used to build the Cheomseongdae represent the 362 days in the lunar calendar.
Day 08: Full day sightseeing including Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple and Anapji Pond
Seokguram Grotto, which we will visit this morning, was discovered by a postman sheltering from the rain. Inside the man-made cave he found an astonishing beautiful statue of Buddha, constructed during the Shilla Dynasty. The grotto is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. From here we will visit Bulguksa Temple, constructed in the same period.This afternoon we visit the National Museum of Gyeongju, where one can relive the rich and advanced culture of the Shilla Dynasty and see the numerous archaeological findings. Our day ends with a stop at Anapji Pond, an artificial pond constructed in the royal palace grounds, before exploring Gyeongju food market.
Day 09: Gyeongju to Haeinsa Temple
This morning we transfer from Gyeongju to Haeinsa Temple (approx. 3hrs).Haeinsa Temple is one of the oldest in Korea and home to the Tripitaka Koreana, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, engraved on 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 and 1248 which gained the UNESCO status in 1995.Here we will experience a strict Buddhist lifestyle and meet the monks who dedicate their lives to prayer and meditation. On entering the temple you exchange your own clothes for simple monks’ clothing and after the initial introductions and opening ceremony you have the opportunity to walk around the beautiful temple complex. After the vegetarian Buddhist dinner we will partake in a tea ceremony. Lights out at 9pm this evening, ready for our early morning wake-up.Please note, during our stay at the temple, the program and order in which it runs can be subject to changes.
Day 10: Transfer to Busan; city tour including local markets
Start your day early; wake up at 3.30am to participate at the first ceremony and meditation. After breakfast at 6:00, depart the temple and transfer to Busan (approx. 2hrs).From the impressive Gwangalli Bridge we can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Busan shoreline. We will learn the tragic history of the Korean War (1950-1953) at the UN War Cemetery. Continue the tour and visit the Nurimaru APEC House, a wonderful location with gorgeous views over the ocean. We will also discover Jagalchi Fishmarket, one of the largest markets of its kind, selling a dazzling array of fish. Here you can taste the famous Korean sashimi before heading into the adjacent Gukje Market, where you can shop for souvenirs. After dinner, enjoy an optional visit to the Busan tower (118m high) for some amazing night vistas!
Day 11: Bullet train to Seoul; transfer to hotel. Free afternoon
This morning we take a bullet train back to Seoul (approx. 3hr) and transfer to our hotel. This afternoon is free for some last-minute shopping or to perhaps visit the vibrant Hongdae university district. You may also like to spend your final evening in Seoul exploring lively Itaewon neighbourhood’s nightlife!
Day 12: Depart Seoul
The tour ends this morning after breakfast for land only clients.
|Seoul||03||InterContinental Seoul COEX|
|Gangwon||02||Ramada By Wyndham Gangwon Sokcho|
|Haeinsa Temple||01||Haeinsa Temple Stay|
|Busan||01||Crown Harbor Hotel|
|Seoul||01||InterContinental Seoul COEX|
– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– 11 nights accommodation as per program
– English speaking guide
– Meals: Breakfasts & Dinners
– Bullet Train, Metro,
– Entrance fee as per itinerary
– All transport and listed activities
– All present government taxes
• International Flights.
• Personal Expenses.
• Camera / Video Camera Fees.
• Medical Aid.
• Travel Insurance.
• Accommodation in good hotels.
• Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
• Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost. – Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
• A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
• If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
• Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
• In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
• In Asia, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
• While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
• Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
• In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.