• My name is Travel

South Korea. Mountains, Jeju island and megapolises

13 +2 to transfer

Tour description

We will spend two weeks in a unique country, which has achieved unprecedented technical progress and at the same time fully preserved its traditions and very authentic culture.

  • Walk between the skyscrapers in Seoul and Busan, see ancient palaces, museums and super high-tech
  • See the burial mounds of the Korean kings and unique buddhist monasteries
  • Climb the Hallasan volcano - the highest point of South Korea
  • Meet the Haenyeo female free-divers on Jeju Island

Tour departures

12 October 2024 - 24 October 2024
17 April 2025 - 29 April 2025

The price of the tour includes

Domestic flights; Accommodation in double rooms of hotels and guesthouses; Almost all breakfasts; All transportation, including buses, trains, subway; Entrance tickets to temples, parks and other places of interest (up to $200); Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included

Flight to Seoul and back home. (Let us know if you need help finding the best deals); I nsurance (mandatory); Visa; Food ($25-40 per person per day).

Tour map

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Tour itinerary

Day 1-4

Main Palaces of Korea, Mount Soraksan, National Museum

We arrive in Seoul and check into the hotel. Depending on the group's arrival time, we explore the city to start getting acquainted with Korean culinary traditions. We visit the city center and take a leisurely stroll through the central streets.

The next morning, we head to Changdeokgung Palace. Built in the 15th century, this residence of Korean rulers from the Joseon Dynasty housed the last emperor of Korea, Sunjong, until his death in 1926. The palace grounds include Seoul's oldest bridge and a vast secret garden. We also visit another Joseon Dynasty palace, Gyeongbokgung. Everyone will have the opportunity to dress in traditional Korean clothing called "hanbok." The first advantage of wearing hanbok is free entry to the palaces, and the second is a memorable photo opportunity in the traditional attire.

We explore the art district of Insa-dong, and then we head to N-Tower (or Lotte Tower) to enjoy the best view of the 10-million-strong city of Seoul. In the evening, we admire the architectural masterpiece of Zaha Hadid - the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in the style of neo-futurism.

On the third day, we depart by bus to Soraksan National Park (3 hours on the road). Here, we embark on a short trek through the Soraksan mountains. This national park is one of Korea's most famous reserves and a beloved place for active recreation among Koreans. There are two routes - one leading to waterfalls and the other to a scenic overlook. Those interested can take a cable car to reach one of the peaks. After the national park, we visit the nearby town of Sokcho, where we explore a local seafood market. Our goal is to try Korean sashimi made from fresh, raw sea fish, prepared right before our eyes. Tired and satisfied, we return to Seoul for the night.

The following day, we visit the National Museum of Korea, home to the most famous artifacts found on the peninsula, including the original golden crowns of Silla rulers, dozens of Buddhist statues, and examples of national painting. The museum is modern and interactive, offering a 3-4 hour exploration. We also explore a massive military memorial dedicated to the Korean War of 1945-1951. The memorial consists of a historical exposition and a powerful museum of military technology from that era. Our plans also include a visit to Seoul's most famous Buddhist temple, Jogyesa, the tourist area of Myeongdong, and the fantastic Gwangjang Market, where you can try almost all types of Seoul street food, Korean sausage, pancake jeon, and dumplings mandu.

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My name is Travel
My name is Travel
My name is Travel
Day 5

Danyang. Buddhist Complex Guinsa

In the morning, we take a high-speed train to the town of Tanyang, located on the riverbank near the Sobeksan Reserve (3 hours on the road). This town offers a charming atmosphere of a Korean province with traditional houses. We stroll along the riverbank, enjoying the views of the unusual Dodamsambong islets.

An hour's journey into the mountains brings us to the enormous Buddhist temple Guinsa, located in the Sobeksan Reserve amid forests. Here, we have the opportunity to taste temple food, generously offered to all visitors for free. Importantly, all the products are cultivated by the monks on their own farm. The monastery's kitchen can feed up to 20 thousand parishioners daily! Additionally, we learn about the specifics of Korean Buddhism, Chontae, as we ascend to the top to visit the tomb of the temple's founder, following a very picturesque path.

Tanyang is also renowned for its cuisine, particularly local garlic bread, river fish, and river snails. We spend the night in Danyang.

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Day 6-8

Ancient Capital Gyeongju, Bulguksa Temple, Busan

Three hours from Tanyang lies the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom - Gyeongju. We depart there in the morning by train. After settling into our accommodation, we head to the ancient burial mounds of Korean kings, reminiscent of Scythian kurgans. One of them houses a museum displaying numerous gold ornaments found in the mounds. Additionally, we explore the famous "Heavenly Horse," an ancient stone carving of a horse with wings discovered in a royal kurgan.

Next, we visit the 8th-century Bulguksa Temple, the most famous Korean temple. The temple grounds house gilded Buddha statues, stone steps, one of which is featured on a 10-won coin, and other iconic sites. Here, the world's oldest printed book was found - a Buddhist sutra printed on Japanese paper in the 8th century! We then proceed to the Sokkuram Grotto, where a monastery existed in the cliffs since the 8th century, featuring the most famous Buddha statue in Korea.

Gyeongju has preserved many ancient hanoks, traditional Korean houses, dating back to the 15th century. These houses have wooden frameworks, walls made of earth and grass-mixed bricks, windows and doors covered with hanji paper, and even underfloor heating pipes leading from the kitchen fireplace.

In the evening, we travel to Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, approximately an hour's journey from Gyeongju. We arrive late in the evening, concluding our Gyeongju program. Dinner is planned in the Haeundae Beach area, home to numerous seafood restaurants.

Busan, a metropolis on the shores of the Korea Strait, impresses with modern architecture, rich cultural life, parks, and beaches. We stroll through the famous Dongbaek Park and Haeundae Beach. We also visit the impressive Busan Cinema Center, the venue for the famous film festival. If weather permits, we take a leisurely boat ride along the coast.

We explore the largest seafood market in Korea, spanning several square kilometers. An interesting dinner awaits us here, featuring various shellfish.

The next day, we head to the modern cultural village of Gamcheon. Although it is part of a vast metropolis, this area consists of small, colorful houses and narrow streets, creating a unique atmosphere. We take a cable car to Mount Janggun, enjoying panoramic views.

Next is a short trek to one of Korea's most unusual temples, the Sokpulsa Cave Monastery. Images of Buddha and his disciples are carved directly onto vertical cliffs. This place is rarely visited by tourists, and it's absolutely worth it! The atmosphere is special, serene, and the view of Busan unfolds like a palm.

Evening is free, but we recommend visiting one of Busan's traditional saunas - jjimjilbang. Busan has many to suit every taste and budget, operating late into the night.

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My name is Travel
My name is Travel
My name is Travel

Is this trip for you?

This trip is of medium physical grade. It includes two short domestic flights, and short bus and train rides. We will also walk in national parks and hike up the 1950 meters tall mountain for 8-11 hours. (It will be possible to change this hike for one of the easier ones in the same area). Accommodation in double/twin rooms of 3-star class hotels and guesthouses. All will have hot water and wi fi internet.

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