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See South Korea’s history up close, from the 600-year-old Bukchon Hanok village to a piece of more recent history at the Demilitarised Zone, spend a couple of days soaking up the soul of Seoul! This buzzing city has reshaped itself into a culture-filled design-centric capital worth exploring. Shop for bargains at the traditional markets in the port town of Busan before relaxing on the holiday isle of Jeju – and when you’ve had enough of your downtime there are activities galore to choose from scuba diving, hiking or museum visits.
Our Highlight itineraries cover the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Enjoy them as they are or extend them to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
Welcome to South Korea! You'll have the day free to explore the capital, followed by a tour briefing in the evening.
You will spend the next two days exploring the capital and its surrounds. One of your first stops will be Gyeongbok Palace, built in 1395, and the most exquisite of all the five palaces in South Korea. South Korea's rich history is explored at the National Folk Museum, and you will also visit the Bukchon Hanok Village to see what daily life was like here 600 years ago.
Namdaemun Market is next on your hit list. With everything from food to clothes to flowers, you'll spend your time wandering through the stalls, soaking up the ambience of this bustling market.
Today you'll head out to the DMZ. Your full day tour will explore some of South Korea's more recent history.
After breakfast at the hotel, you'll drive out to Yangyang. En route, you'll stop off at the Osaek Mineral Springs, where you can test the cosmetic benefits and healing powers of the springs.
Tonight's accommodation is in the Naksansa Temple. You'll get a tour of the ancient site, as well as a special sunset ceremonial service and meditation insights. You'll stay in the monastery, where you will be broken up into groups (men and women) for sleeping. This is an amazing, spiritual place, and dinner with monks is a real highlight.
You will have an early morning start for a dawn service, before taking tea with the monks to learn more about their lives and journeys. You will have lunch at the temple, and then transfer to Mt. Seorak National Park. This is a magnificent area with towering granite peaks, lush green valleys and clear streams.
An 1100m cable car will carry you to the Gwongeumseong Fortress. Built around 1213~1259, the ruins speak volumes for the rich history of the area. A short hike from the Fortress, you will find Biseondae Rock Flat, named after a legend about an angel ascending to heaven from the rock flat.
The grand scenery of rocks and cliffs here do seem to reach to the heavens, and Biseondae has inspired many poets and scholars through the ages. Tonight you will stay in a hotel near the park.
You will depart for Andong this morning, on the way you’ll stop off at Buseoksa Temple. Built in 676 and known as the Temple of the Floating Stone, it is believed that the monk Uisang received help from a lady friend (who had turned into a dragon upon her suicide) when an angry mob tried to stop him building the new temple. Uisang brought down three stones from heaven to stop the crowd that had gathered. One of the stones that floated down from the heavens now stands to the left of the main hall, Muryangsu-jeon. So the temple is named after this “floating rock” story.
The myth and magic continues as you visit the Jebiwon Buddha, a giant 12 metre Buddha, carved into a single boulder. Tonight you will stay in a traditional guesthouse, where you’ll sleep in an Ondol room, on a heated floor, rather than in western style beds. A real cultural experience - you'll be surprised at how comfortable the Korean 'yo' (mattress) is.
Korea is full of history, and today you will feel like you're a part of it! You will have a full day tour of Andong Hahoe Village, which has preserved the housing architecture and the village structure of the Joseon dynasty. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List under the category of “Historic Villages in Korea” in 2010.
Hahoe Village boasts exquisite scenic sights: the elegant Nakdong River flowing around the village, the magnificent Buyongdae Cliff, endlessly unfolding sandy beaches, and lush, ancient pine trees. You can take the boat to Buyongdae Cliff for a panoramic view of the village. At the end of the day, you'll head to Gyeongju, where you'll spend the night.
Your local guide will provides you with a tour of World Heritage Listed Gyeongju today. The sites include Tumuli Park, a collection of royal tombs from the Shilla period, as well as the Gyeongju National Museum that preserves much of the Silla heritage including magnificent gold crowns, pottery, Buddhist artifacts, stone sculptures and the legendary Emille Bell - one of Asia's largest and most resonant bells, 25 tons of bronze standing 11 feet high.
You will also explore Seokguram Grotto, one of Asia's finest Buddha shrines, and Bulguksa Temple, a monument to both the skill of the Silla architects and the depth of Buddhist faith at the time. Tonight you will stay in Gyeongju.
Today you’ll head to Busan, we're you'll visit the Tongdosa Temple.
Nestled deep within mountains, and in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature, the Tongdosa Temple is famous for not having any Buddha statue. Built in 646, Tongdosa is known for keeping Buddha's sarira. When returning from the Tang Dynasty, monk Jajang Yulsa brought with him part of Buddha's sarira and robe and enshrined them in the temple.
Once you arrive in Busan, you'll visit the Jagalchi Fish Market, filled with both fresh and dried seafood. The 'ajumas' (married women) who work the market are a force to be reckoned with and make wandering through the market all the more exciting.
When you've reached your seafood limit, you will head over to the Gukje Marekt, where clothing, silk, linen, curtains, bags, glasses, and many imported items are sold.
Explore more of Busan before taking a flight from to Jeju. There is so much to do on this volcanic island - beaches, waterfalls, museums and Manjanggul, one of the world's longest lava made caves.
You'll also visit Seongup Folk Village, where many cultural properties and the local dialect are handed down; Seongsan Ilchulbong (sunrise peak) that rose from under the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago; the Haenyeo Museum (Museum of Women Divers), a great source of information on haenyeos and the island’s fishing industry; and O’Sulloc Tea Museum, where you can learn about Korea’s traditional tea culture.
Your trip will come to an end this morning after flying from Jeju to Seoul.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Superior:||from AU $8,674|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Busan - Jeju and Jeju - Seoul) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.
Availability of accommodation and season.
"The trip was magnificent in Korea. All of the guides were amazing from the personal ones to the group ones… In South Korea going to see the Nanta Theatre Show was a treat. It is dance, rhythmic, acrobatic, magical and comedic. We went to the Korean War Memorial and that is sobering. It is very well done. They have from Goryeo times way back up to the Korean War. It was most impressive. We did miss on seeing some things in Korea due to them being closed unexpectedly or our understanding on how close/far things were was a bit off but that just means we can see them when we go back and it all adds to the experience. South Korea had its own 'buzz'. We definitely want to explore more. " — Michelle and Sandra, Melbourne, August 2018