What To Expect
Touching down at the ultramodern Incheon International Airport places us at the heart of Korea which is known as the Land of Morning Calm. After clearing immigration and customs, you will be met by a gracious tour guide and escorted to the hotel.
Your touring will be private today until you reach Imjingak, at which time you will board a bus with other tourists as private tours of the tunnel and DMZ area are not allowed. Travel through Jayuro or Freedom Road to Imjingak, the northernmost point bordering North Korea. Imjingak is a park with an array of monuments to the Korean War. Visit Mangbaedan, a memorial site where displaced North Koreans pray for their ancestors. Near Mangbaedan is the Freedom Bridge, which crosses the Imjin River and was an important site where 12,773 prisoners of war returned to freedom in South Korea.
There is a locomotive engine that symbolizes the tragedy of the divided Korea. See a collection of stones from 86 battlefields in 64 countries known as the Peace Stones that have witnessed suffering and grief of war. Board a bus to continue with other tourists on to the Demilitarized Zone, known as DMZ that separates South and North. Explore The 3rd Tunnel, which is one of four known tunnels passing under the DMZ, dug secretly by the North.
Move to Dora Observatory, where you can see across the Demilitarized Zone and into North Korea. See North Korea's propaganda village, Gijeongdong, where the world's largest flag (35m x 28m) hangs on a 160m-tall flagpole, and South Korea's Daeseong-dong, the only two villages allowed in the Demilitarized Zone.
Explore Dorasan Station is the last railway station in South Korea before the North Korean border. Drive through the city featuring historical sites such as the Gwanghwamun Plaza and a statue of Yi Sunsi. Enjoy a city tour at the Gyeongbokgung Palace or Palace of Shining Happiness and see its magnificent gates, graceful architectures and lovely gardens, all directly inherited from the Joseon Dynasty.
Standing majestically in the whirl of city traffic is Gwanghwamun, the main gate of the palace. Gangnyeongjeon, a king's main residing quarters with its fourteen chambers, rests on top of a tall stone foundation while Gyotaejeon, the queen's domain with ten chambers sits in the back of the king's quarters. Hyangwonjeong features a small pond with a manmade islet that supports a beautiful two-story pavilion and is one of the famous sites in the palace.
Stroll down the cobblestone walkways and admire upscale art galleries and antique shops in Insa-dong. Drive past Cheonggyecheon stream and later explore centuries-old Namdaemun Market where well over 11,000 shops selling anything you can imagine. At the western entrance of the market in the middle of a traffic circle stands Namdaemun, officially known as the Sungnyemun Gate.
Travel to Suwon and explore UNESCO World Heritage site of Hwaseong Fortress from the 18th century, and learn Korea's history and see its beautiful natural surroundings. Next, on to Asan and see Oeammaeul, one of the traditional clan villages exuding old and rustic charm.
Explore to Gongju, an ancient capital city of Baekje and later see the Gongju National Museum and see a fascinating archeological artifacts excavated from the royal tomb of King Muryeong. Next, Songsanri Tombs. It is a group of Baekje-period royal tombs that just look like a cluster of grassy knolls.
Tour begins with a visit to the Korea's oldest artificial pond Gungnamji dating back to 634. In the center of town, a stone Buddha image sitting on a stone pedestal and a five-storied stone pagoda standing tall on the ancient temple site of Jeongrimsa with the ruins of the lotus pond remain to recall the glory.
Visit Buyeo National Museum exhibiting a precious collection of cultural artefacts from the Baekje Kingdom. Stroll up paths to Busosan to explore Baekje fortification. Enjoy a drived over 33.9km long dyke. This seawall, located on the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula, is the world's longest man-made dyke linking two headlands between the industrial port city of Gunsan and Buan.
Stop at Naesosa. At Naesosa entrance, fir trees stand tall providing a tunnel under which you will walk into the main gate of the Buddha's world. Next up is Gochang Dolmen Museum providing a comprehensive information about Dolmen with its theme park featuring a life-size village replica. See Gochang Dolmen Museum providing a comprehensive information about Dolmen with its theme park featuring a life-size village replica. Near the museum is UNESCO World Heritage site of Dolmen Park, the largest concentration of dolmens perhaps anywhere in the world.
The day begins with Damyang. This small town was once the home of Salim, the elite of the society and politics. Visit Soswaewon, a Korean traditional garden from the 16th century. Next is Unjusa, a small temple of the 9th century with mysterious pagodas.
Boseong is known as the home of tea, hemp clothes and Sori or a Korean traditional genre of singing. See a number of tea plantations where the carefully trimmed tea trees stretch endlessly over steep mountain slopes - a lush green carpet that is a sight to behold.
Dolsan Park in the city will offer scenaries to remember. Yeosu is definitely a hidden gem of beautiful views. Stop at the Hamel Park and check out Yeosu fish market. Enjoy a drive to the southern tip of the Dolsan Island to see Hyangilam hermitage from the 7th century. See Nagan fortress village, surrounded by 1,410-meter long fortress which was built into a mud rampart in the 14th century to repel Japanese pirate raids.
Journey on to Gurye and visit the 6th century Hwaeomsa. On the hill behind Gakhwangjeon stands the most uniquely designed three-story stone pagoda supported by four lions each of which represents the four primary human emotions: love, sorrow, anger, and joy. Here, you will enjoy the intricacies of this masterpiece as there are numerous other designs etched onto the pagoda.
Enjoy an exotic drive to Hadong, exploring natural wonders and traditional villages. En route, visit the 8th century Ssanggyesa literally meaning Twin-Streams Monastery. Visit the Hwagae Market offering a colorful bazaar of produce then journey onward to Cheonghakdong. Jinju is a charming city set by the picturesque Namgag river.
Explore Jinju fortress, which is built on the cliffs along the Namgang river. Jinju fortress contains gates, pavilions, shrines, watch towers and the Jinju National Museum displaying historic artifacts and documents that speak to the Hideyoshi's invasion.
Tide permitting, explore dinosaur footprints at Sangjogam in Goseong, which is considered one of the top dinosaur sites in the world - the top three being: Goseong, a site in Colorado, and Argentina's tracks. Stroll through stone wall alleys in Hakdong village. Then, head on to a shipbuilding Mecca of Geoje featuring several natural harbors. Geoje was the final port of call of the SS Meredith Victory at Christmas 1950. It is best known for evacuating more than 14,000 refugees in a single mission and the largest humanitarian rescue operation by a single ship during the Korean War.
Visit POW Camp. Founded in early 1951 by U.N. troops, it once held around 170,000 prisoners in 28 facilities until an armistice was concluded in 1953. Journey to Busan through a 8.2km-long Geoga bridge, a combination of a 4.5km cable-stayed bridge and a 3.7km undersea tunnel, which is the world's deepest immersed roadway tube tunnel constructed 48m below mean water level on the open sea.
Busan is Korea's second largest city surrounded by the ocean on one side, and mountains on the other. Explore the fascinating Jagalchi fish market and see the neighboring block, BIFF Square. A little further on is Gukjesijang where thousands of shops scatter around the busiest districts of Busan. Visit the Yongdusan park, located at the head of a steep slope that looks over the city and harbor in a breathtaking view.
Visit Tongdosa temple, literally meaning 'pass through to enlightenment'. Stop at Gampo. About 200 meter off the coast is an unusual underwater tomb of King Munmu. On the nearby open temple site stands twin pagodas of Gameunsa dedicated to the Dragon Spirit of King Munmu. Enjoy a ride along the scenic coastal road to Homigot, a cape jutting out into the Sea and one of the easternmost points on the Korean peninsula.
Near the sculptures sits Light House Museum, featuring 3,500 items used in the early days of Korea's lighthouse history. Explore World Heritage site of Yangdongmaeul, a traditional clan village which embraces simple, unadorned natural beauty. Travel to Gyeongju, an ancient capital of Silla often dubbed as Museum without Walls.
Explore two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Seokguram grotto and Bulguksa temple which were both built during the glorious period of the Silla kingdom. A short ride from the grotto is Bulguksa temple. Stop at Gwaereung, the tomb of the King Wonseong, which dates 798.
Marvel at the priceless archaeological and historical artifacts including splendid gold crowns, earrings, belts, ornaments, glassware, potteries, and clay figures as well as a royal barge in Gyeongju National Museum. Enjoy a tour tour Anapji, a pleasure garden built to commemorate the victory of Silla which was later used as the recreational area for the Silla's royal family.
Head to the world's oldest existing astronomical observatory, Cheomseongdae. Nearby Tumuli Park encompasses 23 huge tomb mounds where Silla rulers were buried. Make a stop at Poseokjeong, the summer pavilion of the later kings of Silla.
Visit Goryeong Tumuli Museum located below the group of ancient tombs and see a perfect replica of the Jisan-dong Tomb. Then travel through a scenic countryside to Gayasan national park to see a magnificent Haeinsa temple from the 9th century, housing world's oldest and a complete collection of the Buddhist sutras.
Continue on to the Songnisan national park, weaving through the countryside with its rural vistas. The Songni literally means an "escape from vulgar". See Beopjusa temple which was founded in AD 553. The temple boasts of three national treasures and numerous cultural assets. The temple holds a Dharma bell striking ceremony at sunset.
Journey to Andong, deeply influenced by Confucianism, it has affected many lives of Koreans in all aspects. Then visit Hahoemaeul from the 15th century - a home of noblemen. Stop at a traditional paper-making workshop to get a glimpse into the world of hand-made paper manufacturing.
Visit includes Andong Folk Museum offering in-depth information of traditional life and illustrating traditional Confucian culture.
En route, stop at Jebiwon Buddha. The awe-inspiring Buddha statue stands guard over the northern entrance way to Andong for nearly 1000 years. While in Punggi, see ginseng market. Tour the Sosu Seowon, the first private institute established in Korea, and was a birthplace of Confucian education and a cradle of prominent scholars.
Visit Buseoksa, the temple of the floating stone. Explore Hwanseongul Cave. The legend has it that long time ago, a monk came to this cave to meditate but no one ever saw him came out. People thought that he became a hermit, thus it was named Hwanseongul.
Stop at Jeongdongjin, a tiny fishing village located by the ocean directly east of Seoul. It is where you will find a quaint railway station, the closest to the ocean anywhere in the world. Journey to Pyeongchang to see the 7th century Woljeongsa temple. Drive past Gisamun beach, in the middle of which runs the 38th parallel north latitude that divided the country in 1945.
The journey continues to Seoraksan national park. The rugged peaks, fantastic cliffs, numerous waterfalls, unique rock formations, and scenic valleys altogether make this park and surrounding area some of the best scenery on the Korean peninsula.
The word of the day is hiking of varying lengths and difficulty. Signs are well established and there is a constant flow of people coming and going from the hiking trails. Following the left fork leads you to Cheonbuldong valley, the most impressive valley in the park, leading to Biseondae, Yangpok waterfalls and finally the peak of Seoraksan.
Near Biseondae rises Janggunbong majestically and among the crags of it is Geumgang Cave with a tiny temple inside. The right fork is Ulsan Bawi trail. At the foot of the Ulsan Bawi sits Gyejoam hermitage from the 7th century in front of which on a spacious stone slab is a huge spherical rock called Heundeul Bawi. Biryong waterfall trail is relatively easy for anyone to enjoy and you will see a very pretty waterfall at the end that is fairly unusual, long and thin. And for non hikers, there is a cable car that picks you up at the valley floor to the Gwongeumseong while enjoying the panoramic view of the entire valley.
Among the recommendable trails from Sogongwon or park entrance (230m) are as follow and the given times are based on round trip starting and ending at Sogongwon in a relaxed pace.
Biryong waterfall (310m) (4.8km): 2 hours
Biseondae (334m) (6km): 2 hours
Biseondae + Geumgang cave (495m) (7.2km): 3 hours and 30 minutes
Biseondae + Yangpok (715m) (13.2km): 6 hours and 30 minutes
Heundeulbawi (797m) (6.6km): 3 hours
Heundeulbawi + Ulsanbawi (base elevation 810m) (7.6km): 4 hours 30 minutes
En route stop off at Geojin where the quaint charm of this coastal town captivates every visitor. As you stroll down the fishing port, you will take in the view of boats sailing in and off, drying fishes in the sun, fishermen tending their nets and, on the sleepy roadsides off the dock, elderly women selling fishes - a delightful treat to a rural lifestyle.
Head on to Hwajinpo, a charming coastal town located near the military demarcation line and by the scenic lagoon edged by sweetbriers and reeds, and see Kim Ilsung villa. Situated at the foot of a small mountain by the beach, it is where Kim Ilsung and his family spent their summer holidays until 1950. When the Korean War ended in 1953, the border between the Koreas was redrawn, and the Hwajinpo wound up in the South. The villa displays photos of Kim Ilsung and documents chronicling his life and modern Korean history. The museum is not to glorify him but to show Korea's complicated modern history. Later visit Baekdamsa temple from the 7th century.
With time to reflect on your experience of Korea, transfer to the airport for our onward flight.
The 3rd Tunnel
Onyang Folklore Museum
Gongju National Museum
Buyeo National Museum
Gochang Dolmen Museum
Yeosu Fish Market
Nagan Fortress Village
Jagalchi Fish Market
Tomb of King Munmu
Gyeongju National Museum
Goryeong Tumuli Museum
Hanji Paper Workshop
Andong Folk Museum
North Korean Submarine
Seoraksan National Park
Geojin Fishing Village
Kim Ilsung Villa
Full coverage of accommodation (sharing basis, 4* hotel)
Meals as per itinerary
Full coverage of transfers and transportation as per itinerary
Optional activity costs
Tips and gratuities
German, French, Spanish or Russian speaking guides are available at an additional cost.
Rates for 3 pax and up are available. Please inquire.
*Full Name, Passport number, Date of Birth and Nationality must be received at least 72 working hours before tour departure.
*You must have your passport with you on the tour.
*Those who suffer from asthma, claustrophobia or a weak heart cannot enter the tunnel.
All our card payments are protected by thawte to give you peace of mind.
6 days / 5 nights
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6 days / 5 nights
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6 days / 5 nights