South Korea. Mountains, Jeju island and megapolises

Price
$1794
+ flight to Seoul and back
Duration
15 days

What you get

South Korea
Megacities and nature
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader-traveler
Tickets
All domestic flights
Accommodation
14 nights
Physical grade
Level 2 (easy) out of 5

South Korea. Mountains, Jeju island and megapolises

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 unusual vertical gardens and super high-tech
  • See the burial mounds of the Korean kings and unique cave monasteries  
  • Climb the Hallasan volcano - the highest point of South Korea 
  • Watch the traditional mask show in the old village of Hahoe
  • Meet the Haenyeo female free-divers on Jeju Island

Trip code
WAKI
South Korea,Seoul,Busan,Jeju,Gyeongju

The price of the trip includes:

  1. Domestic flights;
  2. Accommodation in double rooms of hotels and guesthouses;
  3. Almost all breakfasts;
  4. All transportation, including buses, trains, subway;
  5. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Seoul and back home. (Let us know if you need help finding the best deals);
  2. Insurance (mandatory);
  3. Entrance tickets to temples, parks and other places of interest (up to $200);
  4. Visa;
  5. Food ($15-40 per person per day).

Departures

2020
Price
Book
13 April, Mon 27 April, Mon
$ 1794
21 October, Wed 04 November, Wed
$ 1794

Day 1 - 2

Vertical gardens in Seoul City Hall Changdeokgung palace

We arrive in Seoul and check into a hotel. We begin our acquaince with the rituals of Korean food and then walk in the famous vertical gardens of the Seoul City Hall. 

Next morning we go to the city palace Changdeokgung. This residence of the Korean rulers was built in the 15th century, and the last emperor of Korea, Sunjong, lived here until his death in 1926. The palace also boasts the oldest bridge of Seoul and a huge secret garden. 

We walk around Insadong art quarter, and then go to the N-Tower to enjoy the best view of the 10 millionth Seoul. In the evening, we study the architectural masterpiece of Zaha Hadid - the building of Dongdaemun Design Plaza. The architect managed to inscribe in this super modern building the remains of an old fortress and even a whole park on the roof.

Day 3 - 4

Городок Сокчо Прогулка по горам Сораксана

Early in the morning we take a bus to the port town of Sokcho (3 hours on the way). Here we will begin our hike through the mountains of Seoraksan. This is one of the most famous Korean reserves, a favorite place for active recreation of Koreans. It boasts two routes - one leads to the waterfalls, the other - to the picturesque observation platform. Those who do not like to walk can take a cable car to one of the peaks. Tired and refreshed, we return to Seoul for the night. 

In the morning we take a comfortable bus and train on a picturesque road to the town of Danyang, located on the bank of the river near the Sobaeksan reserve (3 hours on the way). This town is a charming Korean province with traditional houses. We walk along the embankment of the river, watching the unusual islands of Dodamsambong.

Day 5

Guinsa temple Gosu caves

We explore the huge Buddhist Guinsa temple, located on the territory of the reserve among the wooded mountains. Here we will be tasting the temple food, which is served for free to all visitors. By the way, all the products of the monks are grown on their own farm. The monastery kitchen can feed up to 20 thousand worshipers per day! And here we will learn about the features of Korean Cheontae Buddhism. We will walk to the top of the hill to the grave of the founder of the temple on a very picturesque road. 

Then we go to the unique limestone caves of Gosu. In prehistoric times, primitive people lived here. We will wander through the huge dark corridors and admire stalactites. In some places you have to squeeze between very narrow passages! In the evening we go by train to the town of Andong (about an hour and a half on the way).

Day 6

Hahoe folk village Show of masks Masks museum

In the morning we go to the 16th century Hahoe folk village. Previously, families of Confucian scholars lived here. Now their descendants continue to live in these traditional houses, which are more than 600 years old! We will join the local folklore, and we will observe a cheerful traditional performance of masks. In ancient Korea, masks were of two types - religious and theatrical. 

Some Korean masks were worn during the battle by the warriors. Other were used by priests or actors. We will visit the Museum of masks, where ritual masks are collected not only from Korea, but also from different Asian and African countries. 

If there is time, we will take the ferry to cross over to the other side of the river. There we walk among the winding "dancing" pines.

Day 7

Ancient capital of Gyeongju Sokkuram caves 8th century Bulguksa temple

In the morning we travel to the ancient Korean state of Silla called Gyeongju (1 hour on the way). We check into a traditional Korean house-hanok. Koreans lived in such houses since the 15th century. All the supporting structures in such a house are wooden, and the walls are lined with bricks made of soil and grass. Windows and doors are covered with rice paper hanji, and the floor, even in ancient times, was heated with pipes that led from the hearth in the kitchen. 

After reviewing our new home, we head to the ancient kurgans - a type of burial mound, heaped over a burial chamber of the Korean Vans (kings). One of them is turned into a museum where we will see golden jewelry and other things found in kurgans. The museum also hosts the famous "heavenly horse" - an ancient stone image of a horse with wings. 

Next we head to the Sokkuram caves, where from the 8th century there was a monastery in the rocks. We wander through the dark passages, looking at the famous Buddha statues and images carved into the rocks. We walk down to the 8th century Bulguksa temple. This is the most famous Korean temple! It boasts gilded statues of Buddha, stone stupas, one of which is depicted on the 10 won coin and other significant places. Few people outside South Korea know that the most ancient printed book in the world was found in this temple. It was a Buddhist sutra printed on Japanese paper in the 8th century!

Day 8 - 9

The city of Busan Gamcheon Culture Village Hongdae beach Seokbulsa Temple

An hour bus ride and we are in Busan - a metropolis on the shores of the Korean Strait. This city impresses with its modern architecture, rich cultural life, parks and beaches. We walk along the most famous local Dongbaek park and along the Hongdae beach. We will also see the impressive Busan Cinema Center, where the famous film festival is held every year. If we are lucky with the weather, we will take a ride on a pleasure boat along the coast. 

The next morning we go to the Gamcheon Culture Village. Yes, this area of small colorful houses and narrow streets is part of a huge metropolis! Although here it is difficult to believe it. On the cable car we get to the Mount Kumgang, enjoying the views. Then we go to the most unusual temple of Korea - a monastery in the rocks of Seokbulsa. Here the images of the Buddha and his disciples are carved right on the cliffs. Tourists do not get here - and it is their loss! The atmosphere here is very special, calm, and the view of Busan is magical. 

Day 10 - 12

Jeju island Haenyeo divers museum and show Hallasan volcano

In the morning we will go to the pearl of South Korea - Jeju Island. We check into the hotel, and explore the island. We will see the the only waterfall in Asia, which flows directly into the sea! We will also get acquainted with the culture of the local female Haenyeo divers. As early as the 17th century, women of this island professionally engaged in diving to depths of up to 20 meters, picking up from the bottom of the mollusks and other delicacies. Now this profession is considered endangered. We will visit the museum of Haenyeo, and see their diving show on the seashore.

We will also take a walk on the extinct volcano Sonsan Ilchulbong, which became one of the symbols of Jeju. And we will climb to the highest point of Korea - the Hallasan volcano (1950 meters above sea level), from which fabulous views of the island and the sea open up. The walk will take about 6-7 hours. We will reach the crater itself and discover the lake inside!

Day 13

Seoul Itaewon district War Memorial of Korea Dragon Hill Spa

In the morning we go to the airport (1.5 hours) and fly to Seoul (1 hour), where in the afternoon we will continue to get acquainted with the city and visit the colorful Itaewon district. We walk along the bright streets of traditional shops, and then we go to the War Memorial of Korea dedicated to the Korean War. In the evening, visitors can stay in the Itaewon area to plunge into the atmosphere of vibrant nightlife. 

In the evening we go to the largest Dragon Hill Spa in Seoul. Here we will see how Koreans spend their time here with their entire families. Steam rooms, hot whirlpools, infrared saunas, various swimming pools, including one outside, salt rooms, and the traditional Korean herbal bath. This place has it all!

Day 14 - 15

Demilitarized zone on the border of South and North Korea

Free day. You can go shopping. Pay attention to the traditional Korean tea with different herbs, and tteok - Korean rice cakes made of rice flour, dried fruits, nuts and honey. And of course how to leave Korea without the famous Korean cosmetics?!

Those interested can go to the amusement park, or book a trip to the demilitarized zone on the border of South and North Korea. 

The next day we will fly back home.

Tour leader

Yevgeniy Ikhelzon
co-founder, tour leader

Is this trip for you?

This trip is of light 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 mountaint for 5-7 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 tourist class hotels and guesthouses. All will have hot water and wi fi internet.

Visa

South Korea is visa free for citizens of most countries. 

Citizens of some countries do need visa which should be applied for in the country of residence before the trip. 

We provide free visa consulting for our clients. 

Additional options

Excursion to the border of South and North Korea
Price: + $50
Half-day excursion to the demilitarized zone on the border of South and North Korea.

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