KR1 South Korea Tour

Dynamic & Traditional

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Seoul: city tour & the DMZ; Welcome dinner at top of Namsan Seoul Tower; 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 below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Wed 09 Oct 2019Wed 16 Oct 2019 $3120 USD
Mon 23 Mar 2020Mon 30 Mar 2020 $3120 USD
Sat 10 Oct 2020Sat 17 Oct 2020 $3120 USD

Final balance payments by cheque or wire deduct $125 USD per person!

Optional Single Supplement: $517 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: The DMZ & City Touring
This morning we hit the ground running with a full highlight-packed day (please bring everything that you'll need for the day, as we will not be returning to the hotel until after dinner).

After an early departure 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. 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 ceasefire that ended hostilities 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.

We return to Seoul in time for a break for lunch in 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. Today 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 flavouring of either almond, peanut or chocolate on the inside. There are also gooey pancakes and spicy Korean dumplings to sample.

From here we proceed to the War Memorial of Korea, an excellent tie-in with what we experienced 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-coloured 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.

* 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 3 Seoul City Touring
This morning we start with a visit to 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.

Afrer a break for lunch at Gwangjang Market, we proceed to 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. The simple and elegant buildings of this shrine have faithfully kept their original forms since the 16th century.

We return to our hotel in the mid-afternoon.

Overnight in Seoul.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Seoul - Fly to Jeju Island
This morning we transfer to the airport for our short flight 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.

After our arrival we'll have a break for lunch and then immediately head out for some sightseeing. We'll pay a visit to the Folklore and History Museum before heading 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 visit Yakcheonsa Buddhist Temple, a relatively new structure built in the style of Buddhist temples of the early Joseon Dynasty.

Overnight on Jeju Island.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Jeju Island Touring
Early this morning we head to Sunrise Peak for a spectacular view of/from this unique caldera/mountain and surrounds. After a break for lunch we'll visit the Jeju Haenyeo Museum, dedicated to the women divers of Jeju before heading to the 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.

Our last stop is Dol Hareubang, a small park featuring stone sculptures associated with local legends, plus a traditional garden.

Overnight on Jeju.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Jeju Island - Fly to Busan: City Touring
This morning we fly to Busan, South Korea's second largest city and largest seaport.

Busan is known for its beaches, hot springs, nature reserves, and events such as the city's renowned international film festival held each fall. Busan is a good destination for those seeking a more laid back atmosphere than Seoul. Located at the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, Busan's important port gives the city an international flair, with sailors from around the world trooping through and a growing number of tourists.

On arrival we'll visit the Gamcheon Cultural Village (a UNESCO site), spread out in a panorama of endless rows of low-rise cubicle homes climbing up the steep hillsides, earning itthe nicknames "Santorini of the East." 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.

We'll head to the Jagalchi Fish Market for a break for lunch, followed by a visit to the impressive UN Cemetery.

Overnight in Busan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Busan: Gyeongju Excursion
This morning we head out of the city to Gyeongju, located on Korea's southeast coast. This was the capital of the 1,000-year Silla dynasty, and is known for its extensive historical remains. We'll visit the 8th-century Bulguksa Temple featuring twin stone pagodas, a series of wooden staircases, and a large bronze Buddha.

Afer a break for lunch in Hwanglidan-gil we'll continue to Tumuli Park, which contains 23 of the over 200 royal tombs found in Gyeongju. At times, the sense of history, and of secrets buried along with the royals, is almost palpable in the quiet between the large grass-covered mounds.

We'll visit Cheomseongdae, the oldest astronomical observatory in all of Asia The 362 stones that make up the 27-level structure represent each day of the lunar year. Built during the reign of Shilla Queen Seon-deok, it was used for observing the stars in order to forecast the weather.

Our last stops include Gyeongju National Museum, largely devoted to relics of the Silla Kingdom; and Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, once part of the palace complex of ancient Silla. Return to Busan.

Overnight in Busan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Departure from Busan
Departure from Busan.

BON VOYAGE!!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*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.

Click here to visit hotel website

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.

Click here to visit hotel website

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.

Click here to visit hotel website


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 17-21C (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

We rate this tour difficulty 'Level 1', which relates mostly to relatively short drives, lack of heat and remote locations, comfortable accommodations, and the likelihood of baggage handling assistance at hotels. One can, however, expect plenty of walking on the tour. Our pace is leisurely, but we have some full days of activities and travel, and numerous sites visited that require that you be prepared to be on your feet for several hours. We also have short walks to/from dinner at the end of our days.

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, 3 & 4-star standard with private bath facilities.

Please click on the "Map & Hotels" tab elsewhere on this page for more information.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

Tourism Partners

Korea Tourism Organization Logo    

KR1 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION8 days

TOUR STARTSeoul

TOUR ENDBusan

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