KR1 SOUTH KOREA TOUR

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Dynamic & Traditional

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Seoul: city tour & the DMZ; Welcome dinner at top of Namsan Seoul Tower; Fast train to Busan - city tour; Unique & beautiful Jeju Island Immersion in Korean culture, ancient & modern

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (see note below, if applicable) - All pricing reflects twin-sharing, per-person pricing for the TOUR AND INTERNAL FLIGHTS ONLY; however, we can book flights from your home airport to join the tour for an added cost. Contact us for a no obligation quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Wed 28 Mar 2018Wed 04 Apr 2018 $2850 USD
Thu 11 Oct 2018Thu 18 Oct 2018 $2850 USD
Wed 27 Mar 2019Wed 03 Apr 2019 $2850 USD
Wed 09 Oct 2019Wed 16 Oct 2019 $2850 USD

Optional Single Supplement: $490 USD (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


This highlight-packed South Korea tour touches down in Seoul, one of the most exciting, dynamic and rapidly evolving cities in the world, and one that boasts historic and cultural attractions around every corner. We visit the National Folk Museum, the beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace and a Folk Village, which showcases Korean life as it was in the past through its centuries-old architectural style and the traditional lifestyles of its inhabitants. An especially attractive inclusion is Jeju Island, a culturally-distinct and scenically stunning volcanic island famous for coastal scenery and laid-back atmosphere.

Regions visited: Central Asia And Far East
Countries visited: South Korea


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in Seoul
Arrive in Seoul / Incheon, South Korea and transfer to our hotel.

Seoul is a city of contrasts. In this rapidly evolving metropolis, the traditional exists with the modern in a state of harmony. For over 500 years the seat of Joseon Dynasty kings, Seoul is now the beating heart of modern Korea, the centre to which all else in the country is drawn.

Overnight in Seoul.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Seoul: City Tour
This morning we begin a full day* of Seoul sightseeing, starting with Gyeongbokgung Palace, where we plan to arrive in time for the very colourful changing-of-the-guard ceremony.

Of all the tourist attractions in Seoul, the Joseon Dynasty Palaces and, particularly Gyeongbokgung Palace, are the most tangible link between modern Korea and its not-too-distant monarchical past. Not merely inert relics, they are symbols of a deep history and rich culture. Although substantially reduced in number, the remaining palace buildings provide a glimpse of traditional architecture and the overall organization of a palace grounds.

As part of our visit, we also include the National Folk Museum, contained within the palace. This excellent museum presents historical artifacts that were used in the daily lives of Korean people in the past. Through the displays, visitors can learn about the domestic and agricultural lifestyles, as well as Korea’s cultural beliefs.

From here we proceed to the War Memorial of Korea, an excellent tie-in with what we will experience tomorrow at the DMZ. This huge museum documents the history of the Korean War (1950–53) with documentary footage (with English commentary) of the main battles and events. Along with photos, maps and artefacts, the films give a fascinating insight into what the war was like. There's also plenty of military hardware outside – tanks, helicopters, missiles and planes, plus stirring war memorials.

We finish our day at Namsan Seoul Tower, built in 1969 as Korea's first integrated transmission tower beaming television and radio broadcasts across the capital. Since opening to the public in 1980, it has become a much-loved Seoul landmark. The tower's main attractions include multi-colored digital art projected onto the tower at night, a digital observatory, a roof terrace, and a number of viewing platforms where visitors can enjoy the cityscape. 32 LCD screens recount the 600-year history of Seoul.

This evening we'll have our dinner at the top of the tower and enjoy a typical Korean meal and nighttime views of the city. * Bring everything that you'll need for the day, as we will not be returning to the hotel prior to dinner.

Overnight in Seoul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Seoul & the DMZ
Today we travel along the Jayuro (Freedom Road) to Imjingak, the northernmost point bordering North Korea.* On the way, we will be able to view barbed wire fences and military guards on duty all the way along the river, as well as serene rice paddies and the North Korean propaganda village over the confluence of the Han River and the Imjin River. At Imjingak, we visit the Mangbaedan memorial ritual altar which was established in 1985 for those who were separated from their families or displaced from home during the Korean War. It is a symbolic spot used to hold traditional memorial services for ancestors or to pray for separated family members living in the North and for reunification of the country.

We will see the Freedom Bridge, the very locale where 12,773 Korean War prisoners walked to freedom to South Korea in 1953. We then board a tour bus that will take us to the 3rd infiltration tunnel dug up by North Koreans. On the 20-minute ride to the tunnel, we pass through the check points, military camps and mine fields.

Before going down to the tunnel, we will view a short video presentation and visit exhibition hall for information on the divided Koreas. A seven-minute tram ride (if available) or a walk down a steep access through a narrow and steep interception tunnel, leads us to the lower platform, a point where we are only 170 meters from the Military Demarcation Line.

Our next stop is the Dora Observatory where we can see the whole expanse of the Demilitarized Zone, North Korean propaganda village, Gijeong-dong, where the world's largest flag hangs on a 160 meter-tall flagpole, South Korea's northernmost village of Daeseong-dong and Panmunjom where the armistice that ended Korean War was signed.

Finally, we visit the functioning northernmost railway station Dorasan, located 700 meters from the Southern Limit Line of DMZ. Here, the mile marker "Seoul 56km/Pyeongyang (the North Korean capital) 205km" still stands tall for all to see.

Return to Seoul.

* Due to an ever-changing security situation, our activities today may be altered, re-routed, or curtailed without notice.

Overnight in Seoul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Seoul Sightseeing Continues
This morning's program begins at Bukchon Hanok Village, reflecting 600 years of Seoul history. The village streets are lined with traditional hanok (Korean traditional house). Unlike other hanok villages, Bukchon was not created for tourists and is a residential village inhabited by Seoulites.

In recent years, the charms of traditional hanok have been receiving increased attention. With recently-opened hanok galleries, craft workshops and hanok restaurants, a new kind of hanok culture is developing in Bukchon. Every nook in this village seems to contain traces of history and young Koreans are re-discovery their pride for hanok through visits to Bukchon.

We head to Insadong, a lively district known for it's vast array of restaurants, small museums, and shopping. Insadong was originally two towns whose names ended in the syllables "In" and "Sa". They were divided by a stream which ran along Insadong's current main street. Insadong began 500 years ago as an area of residence for government officials.

Here you'll have plenty of time to find some lunch, wander, and maybe do some souvenir shopping. Insadong has some of the tastiest food vendors in all of Seoul. One of the main attractions in the area is the ‘Kings Dessert’ or the ‘Dragons Beard Candy’, 16,000 strings of honey wrapped multiple times with a flavoring of either almond, peanut or chocolate on the inside. Another popular street food is the corn cookie, which isn’t actually a cookie but a twisty ice cream cone with sweet fillings. There are also gooey pancakes and spicy Korean dumplings to sample.

Also recommended is the Shin Old Tea House, tucked away in an alleyway away from the main hustle and bustle of the area. It's small and only provides floor seating like a traditional Korean tea house. The lighting is dim and provides a very relaxing aura, while the tea list is extensive and boasts some fantastic regional specialities.

Our last stop is Jongmyo, a royal shrine dedicated to the performance of ancestral rites for the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. Being the place where the royal ancestral tablets are enshrined, Jongmyo's atmosphere is solemn and sacred rather than splendid like the royal palaces (a nice change of atmosphere after the bustle of Insadong). The simple and elegant buildings of this shrine have faithfully kept their original forms since the 16th century.

Return to hotel; dinner and overnight. Ask your Tour Leader about an optional excursion to the Banpo Bridge lights water show after dinner (Fall dates only).

Overnight in Seoul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Seoul - Fast Train to Busan: City Touring
Today we travel by KTX, the fast train to Busan (approx 2 hours), arriving around midday.

Korea's second largest city (formerly Pusan), Busan's name derives from two place names: Suwon, which means "water source" -- the land depression that the city occupies was for centuries known for its clear-water wells. High above the city rises P'aldal-san, a tall hill at its height of beauty in the spring, with its slopes awash with the colour of pink cherry blossoms. In the late 1600's the military established a garrison here as one of the five principal fortifications set up to protect the approaches to Seoul. Intending to move the official capital from Seoul to Suwon, King Chongjo the 22nd Joseon Dynasty King, had the fortress wall constructed in 1794. Battlements and palace buildings were erected, but the king died before he could initiate the move. Although there were great plans for this city, they never had the opportunity to mature, as the decision was made to keep the capital at Seoul.

Our tour continues with a visit to the Jagalchi Fish Market where we can have a break for lunch. We will also visit the impressive UN Cemetery and Gamcheon Cultural Village, spread out in a panorama of endless rows of low-rise cubicle homes climbing up the steep hillsides, earning it the nicknames "Santorini of the East" and "Lego Village." The cheerful blue, yellow and pink hues a delight to the eye. Narrow stone and concrete alleyways wind their way through the homes, yielding something new at every turn. The village used to house the city’s poorest people, but during the Korean War, refugees fled their homes for Busan, which was the only area which was free from fighting.

Overnight in Busan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Busan - Jeju Island: Island Touring
This morning we fly the short distance to Jeju Island.

Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and foreigners. It remains the top honeymoon destination for Korean newlyweds. The island is known for beaches, rugged coastal scenery, volcanic geography, and a unique culture which stands in stark contrast to the mainland (and much of Asia) as being matriarchal. Stemming from this basis, and some odd tax reasons, the role of seafood gathering on the island has been dominated by women. As such, a common sight around Jeju's coastline is that of the "haenyo" or "woman diver", a figure that has become somewhat iconic of the island.

Today we'll visit the O’sulloc Museum, which teaches visitors about Korea’s traditional tea culture. The “o” in “o’sulloc”, means to appreciate and enjoy. We'll then head for the coast where we'll see Jusangjeolli, stone pillars formed when the lava from Hallasan Mountain erupted into the sea of Jungmun. They are rock pillars shaped like cubes or hexagons of various sizes and almost seem as if stone masons had carved them.

We also see Jeongbang Falls, the only waterfall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean.

Overnight on Jeju Island.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Sunrise Peak, Seopjikoji & Manjanggul Lava Tube - Seoul
Early this morning we head to Sunrise Peak for a spectacular view of/from this unique caldera/mountain and surrounds. We then head to Seopjikoji, located at the eastern shore of Jeju Island. The name came of the place was derived from the dialect of the Jeju, "Seopji" meaning a narrow piece of land, and "koji" for cape or peninsula. The shoreline was striking, showcasing volcanic rocks in different shapes, some of these were preserved and even had an observation deck.

Our last stop on Jeju is Manjanggul Lava Tube. Jeju has an extensive system of lava tubes, natural conduits through which magma once flowed, now empty caves that are some of the largest in the world. The insides of the tube is adorned with multi-coloured carbonate decorations and innumerable cave formations commonly found in lava tubes. They include lava stalactites and lava stalagmites, lava columns, lava flowstone, lava helictites and lava blister, cave corals, benches, lava raft, lava bridges, lava shelves and striations.

We then connect with our flight back to the mainland and transfer to our hotel for our last night in Seoul.

Overnight in Seoul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Departure from Seoul
Departure from Seoul.

BON VOYAGE!!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Tmark Grand

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Seoul
Country: South Korea

Tmark Grand Hotel Myeongdong is conveniently located in the heart of Seoul with convenient transportation access to Myeongdong, Namdaemun market,
... Nam, Seoul Station, National Theater, Seven Luck Casino, Cheonggye Stream and Insadong…etc.
Read More.

Haeundae Grand Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Pusan
Country: South Korea

Featuring city or sea views, the bright, contemporary rooms include flat-screens and free Wi-Fi, plus sitting areas, and tea and
... Some rooms offer tatami floors and traditional short-legged tables. Suites add living rooms. Club rooms include access to a private lounge offering complimentary breakfast.

Read More.

Ramada Jeju

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Cheju
Country: South Korea

Overlooking the ocean on the northern coast of Jeju island, this grand hotel in a modern building is 2.5 km
... Downtown. Polished rooms feature flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. Upgraded rooms add ocean views and/or balconies.
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner (mostly at local restaurants) are included daily. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals.

Seasonality and Weather

Spring can expect warm temperatures with moderate humidity. March / April dates can expect daytime high temperatures of about 17-21 C (63-68 F), with chilly mornings and evenings. Our fall departure coincides with the beginning of the drier time of year and cool temperatures with highs ranging 15-18 C (60-66 F). Rain showers can occur at any time, though their likelihood decreases the later we get into the fall. Our fall date is set to coincide with autumn leaf colour, though this varies from year to year.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Private air conditioned bus; internal flight via scheduled carrier. You must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces.

There is also a very strong culinary element to this trip. Breakfasts feature Asian as well as Western items, but our dinners out at local restaurants will feature a wide range of local specialties. Eating is very much a cultural experience in this part of the world, and this aspect of our program is an integral part of the overall experience. Though individual tastes and requirements will be taken into account by your leader who will be organizing our evening meals on-the-go, if you are strictly a meat-and-potatoes person, or a strict vegan / gluten-free etc, you may find your preferences significantly challenged on this tour.

Accommodation

All hotels are centrally-located, Western style, air-conditioned, 4-star standard with private bath facilities. Laundry service is available at most hotels for a rather high price. All hotel rooms are well equipped and usually include coffee/tea making facilities. Most hotels have hairdryers and irons. Some hotels have indoor/outdoor swimming pools.

NOTE: Specially designated non-smoking rooms are generally not available (they are unfamiliar with the concept). We automatically request non-smoking rooms wherever they are available, though we cannot promise this. Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions').

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-18 (plus Tour Leader)