South Korea Tours - The Land of the Morning Calm
8 DAY / 7 NIGHTS
Visit South Korea's classic sites on this private journey from the palaces & markets of Seoul to the tombs and grottoes of Gyeongju and then take a boat trip to see the Maritime National Park from the coastal city of Busan.
11 DAY / 10 NIGHTS
Discover the treasures of South Korea on this journey from modern Seoul to historic Gyeongju, from traditional villages to National Parks, and from coastal cities to mountain temples. Select departures throughout 2015.
4 DAY / 3 NIGHTS
The capital of South Korea, Seoul, is home to a rich yet tumultuous history boasting various historic sites, a modern skyline, ancient palaces, and fascinating neighbourhoods blending the old with the new.
This 8 day tour gives the essence of the southern peninsula at great value as you experience Seoul, Daegu, Gyeongju and Busan.
Simply put Seoul holds the most interest for visitors to South Korea, but it’s the indoor & outdoor markets that seem to make the greatest impression. Namdaemun Market is both in & outdoor with stalls selling everything from clothing to kim chi with sellers broadcasting their sales and products for all patrons to hear. Colorful and busy, Namdaemun is a step back in time as you walk off the main streets of modern Seoul. Almost always crowded, expect to be bumped around, but don’t let this deter you. Dongdaemun Market fits the bill as well, and most foreigners also don’t pass up the expat-friendly and gritty Itaewon neighbourhood near the US Army Base, where good shopping and eating is also in abundance. The more traditional Insadong Street feels far removed from the fast paced city with charming teahouses, art galleries and restaurants, and Myeongdong, one of the busiest areas in Seoul, is one of the city’s premier shopping destinations.
With a history over a thousand years old, and as the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom which was ruled by over 50 different kings, the historic relics and importance of Gyeongju are unmatched on the southern peninsula. Buddhism was adopted by the Silla Kingdom and left the city with various cultural vestiges from ancient tombs to the Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, giving Gyeongju the UNESCO World Heritage nod. A well-rounded understanding of Korean culture must include Gyeongju.
The contrasts of the old & new are no more apparent than in Seoul where sky high modern works of art stand alongside the grandeur of a bygone era. Known as the ‘Five Grand Palaces’, Deoksugung, Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Changgyeonggung, and Gyeonghuigung, they are impressive in scale, ornate in design, and peaceful by nature, and a visit to Korea wouldn’t be complete without them. Built by Joseon kings, they are well preserved and a good break from the hectic pace outside the palace walls. If going to just one or two, our picks would be Changdeok & Gyeongbuk. While you are at it, don’t miss Bukchon village, nearby these palaces, where beautifully restored traditional wooden homes (hanok) can be found in a picturesque neighbourhood.
The culinary adventure you embark on while visiting South Korea is nearly unrivaled as the flavors, settings and traditions around Korean cuisine are downright fun and tasty. Floor sitting, BBQ at the table, quaint hole-in-the-wall restaurants, an array of side dishes, and yes, kim chi. Mealtime in Korea is just as much a part of your journey as the palaces, temples, and colorful markets.
The great outdoors are a highlight in Korea with 20 National Parks, a great deal of hiking opportunities, beautiful landscapes, and a great deal of scenic panoramas, some not so far from Seoul itself.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
South Korea has four distinct seasons, similar to Canada and the USA. The ideal time to visit is from September to November when the temperature is warm, skies clear and foliage at its best. Spring, from April to May and into mid-June, is also a comfortable time to visit and when the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom. The summer months are hot and humid and when the monsoons begins, and the winter months are cold and dry with the occasional snow fall.