South Korea Explorer

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08 Nights / 09 Days

The South Korea Explorer tour starts from and ends in Seoul. It is a cultural, religious and historic sites tour that takes 9 days taking you through Seoul, Andong and Gyeongju in South Korea.

From the cosmopolitan city of Seoul to the ancient Silla capital of Gyeongju, South Korea has a lot to offer. Experience the tension at the Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea, witness morning rituals at the Buddhist monastery of Samhwasa and journey through the beautiful Korean countryside. Seoul and surrounds- Explore South Korea’s dynamic capital and travel further north to see the stark contrast with the renown Demilitarized border with North Korea- the DMZ Unique overnight stays- Spend a night in a Buddhist monastery learning about a monks traditional lifestyle and in a traditional homestay in peaceful surroundings UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Visit the Hahoe Folk Village, Seokguram Grotto and the Bulguksa Temple.

Day 01: Arrive in Seoul
Arrive in Seoul, South Korea’s dynamic capital and one of the world’s fastest growing cities. The economic, political and cultural centre of the country, Seoul is a fascinating mix of glass towers, historic temples, parks and museums, spanning the banks of the Han River.

For those arriving on time our representative meet you at airport for the welcome meeting and transfer to hotel. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Seoul at any time.

Day 02: Morning orientation tour of Seoul. Afternoon free
This morning we take an orientation tour around the centre of Seoul, walking through the Myeongdong shopping district and down to the market at Namdaemun, before heading past the City Hall to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. The largest of five great palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung still remains the grandest and we pay a visit before moving on to the National Folk Museum. Later we walk down into the area of Insadong, famed for its antiques and handicrafts. We stop for lunch here, after which the rest of the day is free to enjoy as we wish.

Day 03: Drive to Samhwasa Temple via Gangneung and the Ojukheon House
A different experience today as we make our way to the Samhwasa Temple where we spend the night. Our journey takes us via Gangneung where we visit Ojukheon House, built during the early Joseon Dynasty and still one of the oldest wooden residential buildings in Korea.

This afternoon we have an opportunity to partake in a traditional tea ceremony and learn a little more about temple life. Please note that the sleeping arrangements at the monastery will be on a Korean style thin mattress on the floor with up to four people sharing in a same sex room and you will be asked to pack an individual overnight bag.

Day 04: Discover the Buseoksa Temple and drive to the Homestay in Andong
For early risers there is a chance to watch the monks perform their morning rituals before we leave our temple home and head for one of Korea’s most beautiful temples. Hidden amongst the wooded slopes of Bonghwangsan, Buseoksa Temple dates back to the latter years of the 7th century and differs from many other temples in Korea because of its huge size. From here we continue to the spiritual capital of South Korea, Andong, via the stone Buddha at Jebiwon, an impressive 11th century carving that sits on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the Sobaek Mountains. Arriving at our homestay later this afternoon, we enjoy a local specialty meal of marinated steamed chicken along with Soju, the local liquor of the region.

Please note that the sleeping arrangements at the homestay will be on a Korean style thin mattress on the floor and the group may be split between two or three nearby homes.

Day 05: Visit the Hahoe Folk Village and Mask Museum. Drive to Gyeongju
After a relaxing morning we check out and drive on to the Buyeongdae Viewpoint. From here we continue to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hahoe, where we find the Hahoe Folk Village and its fascinating Mask Museum. We visit the site with a local guide, spending time wandering through the traditional houses of this early Joseon Dynasty village, exploring the museum and the 500 year old Byeongsan Seowon Confucian School. We then continue on our journey to the city Gyeongju, a journey of around two and a half hours.

Day 06: Explore Gyeongju, the Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
We enjoy a full day tour of South Korea’s second largest city today. Once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, Gyeongju ruled over much of the Korean Peninsula between the 7th and 9th centuries. Our first visits this morning are to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Seokguram Grotto and the Bulguksa Temple. We also visit the Silla Kiln and the city’s National Museum, a rich repository for the relics and artifacts of the Silla kingdom, one of the longest dynasties in Asian history.

Day 07: Visit Namsan Mountain and Tongdosa Temple. Take the high speed train to Seoul
There is the option to make an early morning visit to Namsan Mountain which provides a beautiful natural setting for hundreds of temples and Buddha statues. There are hiking trails to enjoy, a boating like and cycles to hire to help you make the most of the area.

In the late morning we’ll drive to Tongdosa temple, the largest in Korea and considered one of the country’s ‘three jewels’. It is said that its Beopdeung, or temple candle, has been burning continuously for 1,300 years.

Later, we head for Busan where there’ll be time to visit the Fish market and Interational market before taking the high speed train to Seoul.

Day 08: Visit the Demilitarised Zone
Today we experience one of the last frontiers of the Cold War – the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea – an area where over a million soldiers remain on high alert on either side. Formally the Korean war technically has never ended – and this geo-political fault line is still raw for the people of Korea. We are escorted by the Military right into the DMZ and stand right at the very edge – both sides literally staring at each other just metres apart. Whilst in the Joint Security Area (JSA) you must be respectfully dressed, no jeans or sandals are allowed nor can you make any arm or hand gestures as visitors are closely monitored (and photographed) by the North Koreans for propaganda purposes. Our next stop is underground to explore a tunnel built by the North into South Korea with the aim to breach the border. This was found by accident – the tunnel is wide enough for 2000 troops an hour to pass through and is just 1 of 4 that were subsequently discovered. Military clearance is obtained for all visitors and you will be in a larger group, please be aware that due to the nature of the area visited this excursion may be cancelled at short notice depending on the security situation.

Day 09: Trip ends in Seoul
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Seoul.

City Nights Hotels
Seoul 02 InterContinental Seoul COEX
Samhwasa Temple 01 Guesthouse
Andong 01 Park Hotel
Gyeongju 02 Kolon Hotel
Seoul 02 InterContinental Seoul COEX

– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
–  08 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.
• Tips.
• 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.

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