Learn about Seoul’s royal and religious history as you sightsee with a knowledgeable local guide. Travel by coach to several stunning landmarks in the capital, including Jogyesa Temple and the pavilions of Gyeongbokgung Palace. During your 3.5-hour morning tour, gape at the awe-inspiring architecture of the Joseon Dynasty, see a Changing of the Guard ceremony and learn about Korean cultural traditions at Cheongwadae Sarangchae. Hotel pickup is included, with drop-off at City Hall or Itaewon, leaving you a free afternoon to explore more on your own.
After pickup from your Seoul hotel in the morning, travel by air-conditioned coach to your first stop: Jogyesa Temple. A primary temple of Zen Buddhism in Korea, Jogyesa is located in the middle of the city. Walk through the tree-lined entrance and admire the seven-story stone pagoda with your guide, then head to the main temple to see a statue representing the Buddha at the moment of enlightenment.Reboard your coach for Cheongwadae Sarangchae, a multi-purpose exhibition hall with an exhibit on Korea’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Be sure to visit the Presidential Hall, where you can follow in the footsteps of Korean presidents and gain insight into the history of Seoul. (Note: closed on Mondays.)After a group photo in front of the Presidential Blue House, continue to Gyeongbokgung Palace, built in 1394, and watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Then head inside to enjoy a guided tour of perhaps the finest of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ of the Joseon Dynasty. (Note: Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed on Tuesdays, on which day you’ll visit Deoksugung Palace instead. This walled compound of traditional palace buildings and forested gardens is home to the Seoul Museum of Art, where you can browse the exhibits with your guide.)Drop by a local ginseng center to learn about Korea’s famous medicinal root, known for boosting the immune system, or choose instead to visit an amethyst factory for a look at these beautiful gems. Afterward, you’ll arrive at City Hall or Itaewon, where your tour ends.