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.
Explore Korea's capital city that is full of rich heritage, culture, history and tourist attractions. Begin with a driving tour of the city featuring sites such as the 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 to 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, the 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 at 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. Behind this serene garden is Geoncheonggung, where the king and queen relaxes peacefully.
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. Explore Gwangjang Market, one of few markets retaining traditional Korean atmosphere. Near the market is Cheonggyecheon stream and a block away from the market is Dongdaemun which once served as the east gate of Seoul. Later enjoy a panoramic view of Seoul over at N Tower observatory.
Travel to Suwon and explore UNESCO World Heritage site of Hwaseong Fortress from the 18th century. Continue on to Haemi and learn about the holy place for the Catholics. Visit Sudeoksa temple from the 6th century then explore Oeam Village, one of the traditional clan villages exuding old and rustic charm.
See Gongju, a charmig city that once served as the Baekje capital for 63 years from 475 to 538 and visit Gongju National Museum to see a fascinating archeological artifacts excavated from the royal tomb of King Muryeong. Travel in to Buyeo, a melting pot of Baekje culture and often regarded as the most artistically sophisticated of the Three Kingdoms, and see the Korea's oldest artificial pond Gungnamji dating back to 634.
Visit Buyeo National Museum exhibiting a precious collection of cultural artifacts from the Baekje Kingdom, and you will marvel at the beautiful gilt bronze incense burner. Stroll up to Busosan and explore Baekje fortification. At the foot of the hill stands a small shrine called Samchungsa dedicated to Baekje's three loyal subjects; Gyebaek, Seongchung and Heungsu.
A little further down the trail, you will see a pavilion called Baekhwajeong perched at the top of the rock. It was built in memory of the women of Baekje who jumped off the cliff. It was called Nakhwaam, literally meaning Falling Flower Rock, on a bluff overlooking the Geum River at the bend called Baekma. Then see Gwanchoksa to see the Korea's largest free-standing stone Buddha image from the 10th century.
Jeonju boasts a time-honored tradition as well as significant cultural and artistic heritage. Explore Jeonju Hankok village, a Korean House complex retaining much of their perfection intact. Head on to Gimje to see Geumsansa temple. It was the main temple for practicing the Maitreya faith during the Silla period.
Next marvel at Gochang Dolmen Museum as it provides 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.
Explore Gochang Fortress and Juknokwon, a theme park landscaped with bamboo. Visit Damyang, which was once the home of Salim, the elite of the society and politics. Soswaewon is a Korean traditional garden from the 16th century. Its name implies a clean and transparent garden where the righteous enjoy the life of being content and taking pleasure of simple and honest life.
Travel to Hwasun to see Unjusa temple from the 9th century. It is a small temple of mysterious pagodas. Next, see Songgwangsa temple which represents Buddha's followers, monks and laity.
Visit Boseong, 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. A short walk along the path lined with cedar trees that had been planted to block the wind leads you to the tea plantation. Later we will make a stop at the Hamel Parl and then at the fish market.
Journey to the southern tip of the Dolsan Island to see Hyangilam hermitage from the 7th century. Explore Nagan fortress village that is surrounded by 1,410-meter long fortress which was built into a mud rampart in the 14th century to repel Japanese pirate raids.
Later we will head on to Gurye and see the 6th century Hwaeomsa.
Enjoy an exotic drive to Hadong, exploring natural wonders and traditional villages. Visit the 8th century Ssanggyesa literally meaning Twin-Streams Monastery. Make a stop at Hwagae Market offering a colorful bazaar of produce. Then journey onwards to Cheonghakdong, literally means 'a community where a crane of blue feathers live'.
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 and continue to Tongyeong, a traditional seaport of great charm and historical interests.
Visit Tongyeong folk and history museum and learn about the city's history and culture. Journey onward 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 continues on 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. Your Busan city tour will begin with a visit to the UN memorial cemetery where 2,300 deceased soldiers from sixteen Korean War. Then explore fascinating Jagalchi fish market and the neighboring block BIFF square.
Going further is Gukjesijang, where thousands of shops scatter around the busiest districts of Busan selling a variety of items such as folk art, bags, clothes, food, kitchen utensils, and more. See the Yongdusan park, located at the head of a steep slope that looks over the city and harbor in a breathtaking view.
Visit to Tongdosa temple, literally meaning 'pass through to enlightenment'. Then, on to Gyeongju, an ancient capital of Silla often dubbed as Museum without Walls. Make a stop at Poseokjeong, the summer pavilion of the later kings of Silla. Next is the Tomb of Kim Yusin, who served as a general under King Muyeol and a little further is the king's tomb.
See Bunhwangsa temple with 10m-high three-storied rectangular pagoda, the main worship hall with Buddha of Medicine, and the legendary well that is said to have saved the kingdom.
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. Next, you will 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 of Anapji, a pleasure garden built to commemorate the victory of Silla. See Seokbinggo, a freezer made of stones. Then head to the world's oldest existing astronomical observatory, Cheomseongdae.
Stop at the 7th century Girimsa temple, once was the largest temple in the area. Then head on to Gampo to see twin pagodas on ancient temple site of Gameunsa dedicated to the Dragon Spirit of King Munmu. About 200 meter off the coast is an unusual underwater tomb of King Munmu.
Enjoy a driving tour to Homigot then see the Light House Museum. The museum features 3,500 items used in the early days of Korea's lighthouse history, along with numerous tourist shops, seafood restaurants, peddler tents and the likes. Travel to Andong, the stronghold of Confucianism in Korea. It was said to have deeply influenced the lives of Koreans in all aspects. Later visit Andong Folk Museum offering in-depth information of traditional life and illustrating traditional Confucian culture.
Explore Hahoemaeul from the 15th century, a home of noblemen. We will check out a traditional paper-making workshop. Get a glimpse of the world of hand-made paper manufacturing. Next, Dosan Seowon, a privately-run Neo-Confucian Academies with a Shrine for a Sage-teacher.
Travel to Punggi and see ginseng market. Tour the Sosu Seowon. It is the first private institute established in Korea, and was a birthplace of Confucian education and a cradle of prominent scholars. Visit Buseoksa from the 7th century, the temple of the floating stone.
Visit the 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. Cave tour is absolutely at your choice. You could opt out by staying outside, or shopping in the store for souvenirs.
Enjoy a stop at Jeongdongjin, a tiny fishing village located by the ocean directly east of Seoul and where you will see a quaint railway station. The world's closest railway to the ocean.
Drive past North Korean submarine that was wrecked in the nearby coastal waters on the 18th of September, 1996. We will journey on to Pyeongchang to see the 7th century Woljeongsa temple. See the Gisamun beach then later on visit the Naksansa temple from the 7th century.
Enjoy a tour at the 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, and give this area an unparalleled popularity around the year.
The word of the day is hiking of varying lengths and difficulty. Entering park and past one-pillared gate, you will see a huge Unification Buddha that was built to symbolize the Korean people's hope for reunification of the country. 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. 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 -
At the northern tip of the east coast sits Unification Observatory. After this visit we will head on to Hwajinpo, a charming coastal town located near the military demarcation line. By the scenic lagoon edged by sweetbriers and reeds, we will see Kim Ilsung villa.
Continue through Geojin where the quaint charm of this coastal town captivates every visitor. Stroll down the fishing port, and enjoy 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.
With time to reflect on your experience of Korea, transfer to the airport for our onward flight.
National Folklore Museum
Gongju National Museum
Buyeo National Museum
Jeonju Hanok Village
Gochang Dolmen Museum
Yeosu Fish Market
Nagan Fortress Village
Tongyeong History Museum
UN Memorial Cemetery
Jagalchi Fish Market
Tomb of Kim Yusin
Tomb of King Muyeol
Gyeongju National Museum
Tomb of King Munmu
Andong Folk Museum
Hanji Paper Workshop
North Korean Submarine
Seoraksan National Park
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.
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6 days / 5 nights
7 days / 6 nights
2 hours and 30 minutes
6 days / 5 nights
6 days / 5 nights