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, we will be met by gracious tour guide and escorted to the hotel.
Travel to Cheolwon for birding. Cheolwon Plain is the most popular area in Korea for visiting cranes.
Cheolwon is one of the bloodiest battle fields during the Korean War. One such site is Baekmagoji Hill.
Then, visit the ruins of a Russian style structure - Labor Party Building. This is a three-story, non-iron concrete building that was completed on 1946 with the compulsory labor and fund-raising under the communist government.
Travel to Ganghwado, a fascinating island that is often called a microcosm of Korean history. Then visit Ganghwa History Museum displaying historical records of the entire spectrum of Korean existence, from the mythical foundation of Korea to the opening port to the outside World marked by Ganghwado Treaty signed in February 1876.
On the nearby ground sits a huge Ganghwa Jiseokmyo Dolmen. This 53-ton capstone of 6.4 meters long, 5.2 meters wide and 1 meter thick rests on two sturdy supporting prop stones. This prehistoric dolmen including many others in Gochang and Hwasun has been registered by UNESCO in December 2002 as a World Heritage for their archaeological value.
Later stop at Ginseng market which has a good smell, better than it tastes. Tour the Jeondeungsa, an active Buddhist temple dating back to 381 providing a glimpse into Buddhist culture. On the way to Suwon, stop off at one of Ganghwa fortresses, Chojijin that speaks to the battles against foreign powers.
Onto Anmyeondo for birding. En route. stop off at Haemi Fortress. It is one of the holy places for the Catholics. Haemi has been the military base since the construction of fortress in 1491.
Bird watching at Cheonsuman Bay. This shallow water and a large tidal range was turned into a farm land after a large-scale reclamation project in the 1980s, creating 155 square kilometers of land from the sea. This manmade habitat has resulted in an ideal environment for winter birds.
With time for birding in the morning, see the 6th century Sudeoksa temple. The temple is rather unremarkable, laid out along a more-or-less central axis with the standard entry sequence of multiple gates placed on land that slopes up toward the main courtyard.
Next, on to Gongju, a charming city that once served as the Baekje capital for 63 years from 475 to 538. Visit Gongju National Museum and see a fascinating archeological artifacts excavated from the royal tomb of King Muryeong (501-524), one of the last rulers to reign in the capital of Gongju. Of those, 12 have been designated National Treasures. Next, Songsanri Tombs. It is a group of Baekje-period royal tombs that just look like a cluster of grassy knolls. Of the most important tomb is number 7, which belongs to King Muryeong (462-523) and his wife, the queen.
Buyeo is a melting pot of Baekje (BC18-AD660) culture and often regarded as the most artistically sophisticated of the Three Kingdoms. Visit Baekje Culture Complex. It is a history theme park with its Sabigung palace, the example of the palace from the three kingdom era, an elegant 5 story wooden pagoda, and a fascinating museum where you may observe the history and culture of the glorious kingdom.
See Korea's oldest artificial pond Gungnamji which dates to 634. Built as a pleasure garden for the Baekje royal family, this circular pond ringed by bare-branched weeping willow trees create a colorful spectacle with its stock of water lotuses in summer.
Visit Buyeo National Museum housing a huge collection of relics of this glorious kingdom, and you cannot definitely miss the magnificent gilt-bronze incense burner, which measures 11.8Kg and 61.8cm high.
Stroll up paths to Busosan, a hill where Baekje fortification and royal palace stood.
Know the story behind Nakhwaam, literally meaning Falling Flower Rock, on a bluff overlooking the Geum River at the bend called Baekma. As enemies swarmed into the capital, the court ladies flung themselves into the water from this bluff rather than suffer the shame of submitting to atrocities of the conquering enemy armies. Below the bluff is a small temple, Goransa, which takes its name from crypsinus hastatus having medicinal properties that grows behind this temple.
Bird watching at Geumgang estuary. The lake formed by the dike in the mouth of Geumgang River with its huge area of reed field, is an ideal habitat for migratory birds.
Enjoy drive over the 33km-long dyke. This seawall, located on the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula, is the world's longest man-made dyke linking two headlands from the industrial port city of Gunsan to Buan.
Stop at Naesosa. At its entrance, fir trees stand tall providing a tunnel through which you will walk to the main gate of the Buddha's world. Tour at Gochang Dolmen Museum providing a comprehensive information about Dolmen with its theme park featuring a life-size village replica.
Bird watching at Haenam. The Haenam region with its extensive dammed lakes and fields is most probably the most important wintering area for waterfowl nationwide with an estimated 300,000 plus individuals and 7 species in internationally important concentrations as defined by the Ramsar Convention. Especially Gocheonam Lake is the most significant of the Baikal Teal Anas Formosa. Ducks, geese, Oriental Stork, raptors and Chinese Grey Shrike are all possible here.
Gangjin Bay is a home for wintering swans. Some 100 species of migratory birds winter in Yeongam Lake area. Time permitting, you may visit National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage is a type of museum that exhibits impressive artifacts recovered from underwater excavations of shipwrecks.
En route, stop off at Boseong. It is a small town better known as the home of tea, hemp clothes and Sori or a Korean traditional genre of singing. A short walk along the path lined with cedar trees that had been planted to block the wind leads you to the tea plantation.
Bird watching at Suncheon Bay. This bay is famous for its huge wetland area filled with reed field and perhaps the last habitat of rare bird species.
Travel to Gurye and visit the 6th century Hwaeomsa.The temple is dedicated to the Virocana Buddha, the cosmic head of the Hwaeom trinity.
Enjoy an exotic drive to Hadong, exploring natural wonders and traditional villages. Make a stop at Hwagae Market offering a colorful bazaar of produce.
Bird watching at Junam reservoir. Its neighboring reservoirs covering an area of 3.3 square kilometers is among the famous habitats of migratory birds in Korea.
Bird watching at Nakdonggang Delta with its Eulsukdo Island at its center.
Explore fascinating Jagalchi fish market. Located on the downtown docks, this bustling market offers a wide variety of fish including sea bream, sea bass, snapper, saury, pollack, halibut, corvina, cutlass fish, mackerel, octopus, sea squirt, cuttlefish, frogfish, flounder, abalone, crab, shells, to name just a few, and a flexible pricing system, which makes it a big draw among locals and visitors alike.
Neighboring block is BIFF square, packed with trendy shops movie theaters and even a walk of fame where famous stars and directors have pressed their handprints into the sidewalk. A little further on is Gukjesijang where thousands of shops spill out into the busiest districts of Busan and a variety of items, including folk art, bags, clothes, food, kitchen utensils, and more are available at very reasonable prices.
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. Following the one-pillared gate and the four guardian's gate, you will reach two double level arched stone staircases - the symbolic bridges, leaving the world of sufferings behind and to enter Buddha's land.
Stop at Gwaereung, the tomb of the King Wonseong, which dates 798. The tomb is a 7.7m high circular ground mound made of piled-up soil with a bottom diameter of 21.9m.
Onto Gyeongju National Museum, which contains thousands of priceless archaeological and historical artifacts including splendid gold crowns, earrings, belts, ornaments, glassware, potteries, and clay figures as well as a royal barge.
Cheomseongdae is known as the world's oldest existing astronomical observatory. Nearby Tumuli Park encompasses 23 huge tomb mounds where Silla rulers were buried.
Drive through Gwanghwamun Plaza and a statue of Yi Sunsin, who had engaged in twenty-three naval battles against Japan and emerged victorious in all of them during the Hideyoshi invasion.
Enjoy a city tour with such highlight as 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. Following two other gates up, you will get to the Geungeongjeon, a throne hall where the king granted audiences to his officials, presided over large official functions and met foreign envoys.
At the back of this hall is a group of three offices; Manchunjeon, Sajeongjeon, and Cheonchujeon where the king used to meet with his top officials. Gyeonghoeru literally Pavilion of Joyous Meeting, supported by 48 stone pillars set in a lotus pond, was a favored place for the King to entertain visiting dignitaries.
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.
You cannot miss Amisan Garden landscaped with four hexagonal chimneys in orange bricks and decorative roof tiles, and artistic patterns of brick on the walls of queen's quarters which are seldom noticed by the hurried visitors. Jagyeongjeon is the queen dowager's residence.
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. Behind this serene garden is Geoncheonggung, where the king and queen could relax in peace and quiet.
Learn about the cultural wealth of this friendly and picturesque nation at National Folklore Museum showcasing life and work, costumes and ornaments, handicrafts and technology, educations, living quarters, dietary life, oriental medicine, performing arts and more.
Stroll down the cobblestone walkways and admire upscale art galleries and antique shops in Insa-dong, which is a unique area of Seoul that truly represents the traditional Korean art and antiques.
After this wonderful trip exploring Korea and with time to reflect on your surprise in your experience, you will return to the airport in time for your flight.
Birding watching at Cheolwon
Labor Party Office Building
Ganghwa History Museum
Birding watching at Cheonsuman
Gongju National Museum
Buyeo Culture Complex
Buyeo National Museum
Birding watching at Geumgang Estuary
Gochang Dolmen Museum
Birding watching at Haenam
Birding watching at Gangjin
Birding watching at Yeongam
Birding watching at Suncheon Bay
Birding watching at Junam Reservoir
Birding watching at Nakdong Delta
Jagalchi Fish Market
Gyeongju National Museum
National Folklore Museum
Full coverage of accommodation based on 2 people sharing standard twin rooms in 4 star combination hotel
Meals as per itinerary
Full coverage of transfers and transportation as per itinerary
English speaking guide
Optional activity costs
Tips and gratuities
German, French, Spanish or Russian speaking guides are available at an additional cost
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