Why I love South Korea
“For all of its headlong rush into the 21st century on a hallyu (Korean popular culture) wave, what charms me most about the ROK is its proud promotion of age-old traditions and culture. I fondly recall meditating at a Buddhist temple retreat where the honk of traffic was replaced by the rhythmic predawn chants of shaven-headed monks; hiking along Seoul's 600-year-old city walls; and walking parts of the Jeju Olle...” Read More
Top experiences in South Korea
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South Korea activities
DMZ and JSA 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.
DMZ Past and Present: Korean Demilitarized Zone
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.
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.
Korean Palace and Market Tour in Seoul Including Insadong and Gyeongbokgung Palace
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.
Private Arrival Transfer: Seoul Incheon International Airport to Hotel
When you land at Seoul's Incheon International Airport, you'll be met by your English-speaking driver at the arrivals gate. Whether you're traveling individually, with a partner or in a group, your ground transportation needs will all be covered by this private arrival transfer. When making a booking, you will need to advise your flight number and arrival time and your Seoul accommodation details. Your one-way private transfer will be confirmed instantaneously and you will be provided with a travel voucher to present to the driver. It's that easy!Price is per person, based on 9 adults per car/vehicle.
Seoul History and Culture Small-Group Tour
Experience both the urban modernity and historic traces of Seoul on a three-hour walking tour. Meet your local guide and head to Bukchon Hanok village, a residential area dating back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). The village is lined with hundreds of hanoks (traditional Korean houses). Walk along the quiet alleys and admire the latticed windows and patterned brick walls. Today, many of these hanoks operate as cultural centers, restaurants and tea houses, providing an opportunity to become immersed in traditional Korean culture.Next, visit the Tteok Museum, a unique museum detailing the history, culture and preparation of tteok, the ubiquitous Korean rice cake. Gain insight into the tteok-making process through hands-on programs. Learn about the use of rice cakes in Korean rites of passage, and see displays of the 180 varieties of tteok. Be sure to sample this beloved Korean treat on the first-floor café.Continue on to Changdeokgung Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The royal palace is renowned for its traditional Korean architecture and garden design. Changdeokgung is one of the famous Five Grand Palaces and a favored palace of many princes of the Joseon Dynasty. (Please note: Due to opening times, tours that fall on a Monday will visit Kyungbokgung Palace instead.) Visit the Gwangjang Market and browse through a wide selection of high-quality silk, satin and linen bed sheets and apparel. Inside the market, find more than 200 food stalls selling a wide variety of snacks, from spicy Korean rice cakes to bibimbap (mixed rice). Try the gyung dan, sweet Korean rice balls, and hobaak jook, a delicious pumpkin porridge.Your tour concludes with a visit to Gwangjang Market. You can then use your newfound knowledge of Seoul to continue exploring or return to your favorite spots for another look.