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.
We will spend the morning sightseeing around Korea's capital city. Visit Myeongdong Cathedral, the holiest Catholic ground in Korea, the cathedral is the birthplace of Catholicism in this country and holds the remains of martyrs who gave their lives to realize their religious beliefs. It is the Korea's first Gothic building and an important milestone in the country's architectural history. Built by French priest Coste in 1898, it is the first brick church and purely Gothic style architecture of Korea.
Make a stop at Jeoldusan, a spot near a cliff along the Han River. When French navy ships sailed up the Han River in February 1866 to protest the Catholic persecution, the enraged ruler Daewongun ordered the beheading of a mass of followers.
See 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 (1592-1598). 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 (1392-1910).
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. The two-tier edifice stands on a high platform reached by stone steps.
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. The noted feature of these buildings is an absence of a top roof ridge. 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 games, beliefs and rituals, and socio-cultural life of the Korean people from the prehistoric age to the Joseon Dynasty.
Stroll down the cobblestone walkways and admire upscale art galleries and antique shops in Insa-dong, drive past Cheonggyecheon stream that tumbles gently through downtown Seoul and 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. It is a formidable and iconic construct that served as the southern gate of the wall that surrounded Seoul during the period of the Joseon Dynasty.
Visit Saenamteo in proximity to the Han River used to serve as the training ground for soldiers from early Joseon period. It is also where those found guilty of heavy crimes were executed and a persecution ground for Catholics. Today there is a cathedral commemorating the 200 years history of Catholicism in Korea.
After Saenamteo we move to Jeoldusan, the beheading mountain. Known before as Jamdubong hill, it is a spot near a cliff along the Han River where the enraged ruler Daewongun ordered the beheading of a mass of followers after a protest to the Catholic persecution. The memorial in Jeoldusan today holds historic materials on the religion in Korea, articles once belonging to the dead, as well as the 28 remains of martyrs, a pilgrim church, education hall and an outdoor exhibition space.
In the afternoon we make our way to Cheonjinam, originally home to a Buddhist temple (Jueosa) where Korean Catholicism was born. Cheonjinam holds a large space available for outdoor masses, the 200th year anniversary monument of the church and a cemetery of the five founding members Jeong Yak-yong, Lee Byeok, Gwon Cheol-shin, Gwon Il-shin and Lee Seung-hun.
Onto Silleuksa temple from the Silla dynasty (BC 57-AD 935). Most Korean temples were built high in the mountains to avoid worldly noise and trouble.
Next, Yeongneung, one of 119 royal tombs of Joseon dynasty. The tombs have different names of 42 Neung, 13 Won and 64 Myo, which were given based on the status of their owner. Yeongneung is a tomb of royal couple of King Sejong, who promulgated Korean Alphabet in the 15th century.
Catholicism had a bloody beginning in Korea, as its early years were marked by persecution and martyrdom. Mirinae is the holiest Catholic pilgrim site in Korea, the place where the faithfuls gathered together and created a community at the time of harshest persecution in 1801 and 1839.
The lights peeking out from the house windows at night formed a shape reminiscent of the milkyway, and it was since then called as Mirinae, the Korean word for milkyway.
At the entrance of Anseong is a magnificent cathedral built in commemoration of the canonization of 103 saints. Behind the church building are a series of bronze statues that chronicle the tribulations of Jesus from his capture by the Roman soldiers to crucifixion and entombment.
We will also find the grave site of martyr Kim Dae-geon, and a hall holding father Kim's remains and the Gethsemane hill. It is frequently visited by pilgrims of all religions, and an annual spiritual meeting is held in September.
On our way back to Seoul, visit Korean folk village, an open-air real life museum that recreates the Korean life of several centuries ago, preserving some of the country's rich traditional and cultural heritage. The Korean Folk Village, peopled by real artisans and craftsmen dressed in traditional costumes, also offers performances on a daily basis. A traditional marketplace offers the exotic flavors of Korean cuisine from different regions. Shops stock a variety of traditional handicrafts and souvenirs.
On to Suwon to explore UNESCO World Heritage site of Hwaseong Fortress from the 18th century, and learn some of Korea's long history, see beautiful natural surroundings, and get a lot of exercise all at the same time.
With all these features combined, the tour offers a fascinating insight into the unique Korean lifestyle of the days gone by.
With time to reflect on your experience of Korea, transfer to the airport for our onward flight.
Jeoldudan Beheading Hill
National Folklore Museum
Saenamteo Execution Site
Korean Folk Village
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.
All our card payments are protected by thawte to give you peace of mind.