Welcome to South Korea


Welcoming Hospitality

Decorum plays a major role in Korean people’s generosity to outsiders, and their instinctive graciousness possesses a highly endearing quality. Helpfulness abounds, whether it’s at a tourist office, asking someone for directions or finding yourself deep in a conversation with a stranger. Time-honoured Confucian principles have set a template for strong civic pride in a society that is introspective, perhaps, but also decorous and affirmative. You may pass glorious landscapes and gaze out across dazzling seas but don't forget, half of your travel journey will be about the people, and the Korean tribe are a joy to be among.

Urban Buzz

Korea might be known as the Land of the Morning Calm, but dive into its capital Seoul, the powerhouse of Asia’s third-largest economy, and serenity may be the last thing you’ll perceive. This round-the-clock city is constantly in motion, with a work-hard, play-hard mentality that epitomises the nation’s indefatigable, can-do spirit. You can hardly turn a corner without stumbling across a helpful tourist information booth, a bustling subway station or a taxi in this multifaceted metropolis where meticulously reconstructed palaces rub shoulders with teeming night markets and dramatically modern architecture.

Idyllic Countryside

South Korea’s compact size and superb transport infrastructure mean that tranquillity is always within easy reach of urban sprawl. Hike to the summits of craggy mountains – some of which transform into ski slopes come winter – enveloped within densely forested national parks. Get further off the beaten path than you thought possible by sailing to remote islands, where farming and fishing folk welcome you into their homes or simple seafood cafes. Gaze up at the distant stars from serene villages surrounded by rice fields, sleeping in rustic hanok (traditional wooden house) guesthouses.

Festivals & Food

Rest assured the ROK also knows how to rock. A packed calendar of festivals and events means there’s almost always a celebration of some sort to attend wherever you are – it might be Boryeong for its mud fest, or Gwangju for its Biennale or its annual salute to that most Korean of foods: kimchi. Koreans are proud of their culinary culture and rightly so – there's a tantalising array of dishes, flavours, aromas and textures in the local cuisine, to be washed down with plenty of toasting involving a head-spinning array of alcoholic concoctions.


Top experiences in South Korea

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South Korea activities

$134.90 Cultural & Theme Tours

N Korea DMZ and Joint Security Area Panmunjom Tour from Seoul

After pickup from your Seoul hotel in the morning, hop aboard your comfortable coach and head to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which divided North and South Korea during the Korean War. Now the world’s most heavily fortified border, the DMZ includes historical sites of conflict as well as the last remnants of the Cold War.Drive along Freedom Road, which stretches along the banks of the Imjin River – bordered by an 8-foot (2.4-meter) razor wire fence and military watch posts – and stop in Imjingak Park to see artillery used during the Korean War. Continue to Freedom Bridge and explore the area on foot as you learn from your guide about the nearly 13,000 POWs who crossed on their return to freedom in South Korea. Re-board the coach and head to the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. In the DMZ exhibition hall, which now stands as a monument to peace, you’ll see photographs and war artifacts on display. Afterward, head to the Dora Observatory to look through telephoto lenses and observe the village of Kijongdong as your guide describes life on the other side. After a stop at Dorasan Station, proceed to the Unification Village to witness life in this small farming community. Your guide will take your group to a local restaurant for lunch before the Panmunjom portion of your tour. Situated in the middle of the DMZ, this former ‘truce village’ was the site of the 1953 armistice, ending the Korean War and splitting the peninsula in two. The JSA was established as the negotiating site between North Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) and is now used for diplomatic dialogue by the two Koreas.First, pass through a series of checkpoints where your ID will be verified, and stop at Camp Bonifas, a small base where about 5,000 U.S. and South Korean soldiers reside just 440 yards (402 meters) south of the DMZ. Disembark from the bus and head to Ballinger Hall to watch a slideshow, hear historical facts about the JSA’s significance and receive a briefing. Visit the Freedom House, a four-story building topped with a transparent roof, a facility that functions as a liaison between the South and the North. Visit a conference room and hear how the house supports various forms of inter-Korean dialogue, contracts and exchanges. Your final stop is the Bridge of No Return, first used for POW exchanges in 1953. The bridge was named for the irreversible choice of whether to remain in the country of their captivity or return to their place of origin. Afterward, your guide will accompany your group back to Ballinger Hall before your return to Seoul.

$45.89 Tours & Sightseeing

Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Tour from Seoul

After pickup from your Seoul hotel at your selected departure time, you will be taken by comfortable coach to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a strip of land splitting North and South Korea, becoming one of the tensest fronts during the Cold War and the Korean War.Stop first in Imjingak, a park located in the banks of Imjin River where you’ll see artillery and war artifacts that were used during the Korean conflict. Proceed to Freedom Bridge, crossed by nearly 13,000 Korean POWs on their return back to freedom. As you explore by foot, learn from your guide about the powerful significance of this bridge.Re-board the coach and head to the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, located beneath the border of North Korea and South Korea. Here, learn about the role of these tunnels, which are believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. See where the South Koreans have blocked the actual Military Demarcation Line with concrete barricades. Continue to the DMZ exhibition hall to browse photographs and war artifacts. This hall now stands as a symbol of peace – an attempt to mend the damages wrought by Korea's history. You’ll then be taken to the Dora Observatory, where you can use binoculars to scope out North Korea. Listen to your guide explain the lifestyle across the river as you observe the village of Kijongdong. Next, head to Dorasan Station, a historic and symbolic spot that marks both the division and a gateway of exchanges between the north and the south. Proceed to the Unification Village to observe the daily life of this small farming community, which specialized in creating soybean milk, traditional soy sauce and corn goods. Then you'll stop by the Amethyst Factory or Ginseng Center before being dropped off at the Seoul City Hall.If you choose the morning tour or afternoon tour only, you’ll end back in Seoul at City Hall. If you choose the morning tour with lunch, you’ll stop first at a local restaurant for lunch. If you choose the full-day tour, you’ll enjoy lunch and then head to Insadong Antique Market, which was once the largest market for antiques and artworks in Korea. Browse the various shops, peruse crafts and bargain for that perfect souvenir with the help of your guide. Your tour will end here.

$45.50 Day Trips & Excursions

Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul

You will be picked up at your accommodation in Seoul and taken to Imjingak Park. Once you arrive at the park, you can see the Freedom Bridge and an old steam train that shows the extremity of the tragedy that was the Korean War at Imjingak Park. Then, the DMZ bus will head to the 3rd Tunnel that North Korean Army built to infiltrate South Korea in 1970s. You will walk down to the tunnel wearing a safety helmet. After coming out of tunnel, you will have some time to look around the DMZ Exhibition Hall which shows the Korean War, old weapons, and a brief film about Korea's history. After the Exhibition Hall, you will head to Mt Dora to see North Korea from the Observatory. There are many telescopes to look at North Korea’s propaganda village. Then you will move to Dorasan Station, the last station before entering North Korea from South Korea. You can get a stamp that resembles the immigration desk in the airport, as a souvenir (You will not be entering North Korea).  On the way back to Imjingak Park, your vehicle will pass by the Unification Village before heading back to Seoul. Once you return to Seoul, you will stop-by a Korean Ginseng Center (skip if you choose no shopping tour option) before you will be dropped off at the City Hall.You can choose 1 of 2 half day tours with morning or afternoon departure.

$87.99 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Small-Group Korean Night Food Tour

Take your appetite for a ride on this 4-hour journey through Korean food culture! Your night food tour will take place in the popular district of Jongno-gu. Begin in the neighborhood of Nagwon-dong, brimming with food outlets and stalls, and continue to Jongno (Bell Street), one of the most historic and cultural areas of Seoul.With your culinary guide, an expert in local Korean food and culture, stop at three different restaurants and food stalls, as well as a shijang (traditional Korean flea market), along Nagwon-dong and Jongno-gu. Try traditional Korean eats like dubu and kimchi appetizers and Korean BBQ and spicy braised chicken entrees. Visit a shijang for some savory North Korean pancakes, which closely resembles an egg omelet.Wash everything down with traditional Korean liquors like makgeolli and soju while enjoying some fun Korean drinking games with your group, your guide and possibly a few new local friends!To see a map to the school location, please click on the 'View Additional Info' icon.

$95 Day Trips & Excursions

Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour

Meet your guide at your Seoul hotel in the morning and board your transportation for the day. Begin your tour with a visit to Jogye Temple, famous for its beautiful lotus lanterns hanging from the ceilings. Next, Pass by the nearby presidential residence, called The Blue House.Pass through Gwanghwamun Gate and back in time with a tour of Gyeongbok Palace, former residence of Joseon Dynasty royalty. Your guide will tell you about the history of each building on on the scenic grounds. After you've walked up an appetite, head to the artistic neighborhood of Insadong, famous for its antique stores, galleries, and traditional restaurants, for a typical Korean lunch. While you're in the neighborhood, feel free to pick up some gifts or souvenirs from the National Korea Souvenir Shop.After lunch, your guide will take you to one of the most famous hanbok shops in Seoul, where you can try on this typical Korean dress and wear it during your visit to Bukchon Hanok Village, a residential area with a collection of well-preserved traditional Korean buildings. Be sure to snap a few photos before changing back into your modern clothes. Next, make your way to one of the highest points in Seoul, Bugak Skyway atop Bugak Mountain, where you can take in panoramic views of the South Korean capital below.Finish your city tour with some time in Myeongdong, a popular shopping area teeming with street vendors, boutiques, department stores, shops, and restaurants. You'll be returned to your Seoul hotel at around 5:30pm.

$82 Tours & Sightseeing

Seoul Palace and Market Tour: Insadong and Gyeongbokgung

After pickup from your Seoul hotel in the morning, travel by air-conditioned coach past the Blue House, the residence of the South Korean head of state and the President of the Republic of Korea. Your first stop is Gyeongbokgung Palace, constructed in 1395. Because much of this royal palace was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, there are many restoration projects underway. With your guide, marvel at the grandeur of the original and new portions.Inside, visit the National Folklore Museum, whose historical replicas illustrate traditional Korea. Browse the extensive artifacts to learn what life has been like for Koreans from ancient times to the 20th century. You’ll also learn about the deep roots of Confucianism in Korean culture.(Please note that Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed on Tuesdays, in which case you’ll visit Deoksugung Palace instead. This walled compound of traditional palace buildings, forested gardens and a statue of King Sejong the Great is home to the Seoul Museum of History, where you’ll discover Seoul's traditional culture as you browse the exhibits with your guide.)Next up is Jogyesa Buddhist Temple, the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Admire the lovely locust and baeksong trees lining the entrance and enter the main temple, dating back 500 years, to see the statue of Seokgamoni, the historic Buddha at the moment of enlightenment before stopping by a Ginseng Center.At midday, you'll enjoy a tasty Korean lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Changdeokgung palace, a perfectly preserved palace from the Joseon Dynasty. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, discover the grand pavilions, massive gate, several halls and the Geumcheongyo Bridge – the oldest bridge in Seoul. At the Huwon (Rear Garden), marvel at the beautiful landscape of lotus ponds, lush lawns, trees and flowers. (Please note that on Mondays, you’ll visit Changgyeonggung Palace instead. It is another one of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ of the Joseon Dynasty, featuring incredible ancient structures.)Head next to the Insadong Antique Alley in central Seoul . With your guide, wander down alleys to browse traditional Korean restaurants, teahouses and galleries full of antique artifacts and local artwork. Afterward, stop by the Duty Free Shop before heading to Namdaemun.Finish your tour at Namdaemun Market, the largest traditional market in Korea, opened in 1964. with various goods in store. You can find great bargains here and snatch up the perfect souvenir to remind you of your trip to Korea! You’ll then be taken back to your hotel.