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South Korea – I.Seoul.U - 5 Days

Korea might be known as the Land of the Morning Calm, but dive into its capital Seoul, the powerhouse of Asia’s third-largest economy, and serenity may be the last thing you’ll perceive. Over the last decade Seoul has worked hard to soften its industrial hard edges into an appealing urban ideal of parks, culture and design. Glass, concrete and steel are crafted into natural forms at the spectacular Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park and City Hall. The popularity of the beautifully landscaped parks alongside the central Cheonggye stream and the Han River has spurred on the creation of more green spaces and cycle routes. Join Seoulites enjoying time out shopping in stylish boutiques and drinking at cool cafes and convivial bars.

The quantity of beautiful national parks, remote beaches, islands in the south, and rugged mountain peaks make Korea a stunningly diverse country and one that is great for outdoor adventures. Tradition juts up against technology as skyscrapers and temples coexist. No matter how much you know (or don’t know) about Korea’s customs or etiquette, if you arrive here with a friendly smile and a sincere and respectful attitude, you will be welcomed with open arms. Koreans are fiercely proud of their country and have good reason to be.

Until relatively recently, Korea was an insular place, existing under dynastic rule for centuries, with hundreds, some say thousands, of invasions over the centuries. However, the 35-year Japanese occupation from 1910, the split of the peninsula after WWII and the subsequent Korean War shattered all that. Difficult times have however made the Koreans a resilient lot, succeeding economically whilst still holding onto their unique traditions and fascinating culture.

Weather

Korea has four seasons, with a wet monsoon/summer in the middle of the year, and a cold winter from November to March. The island of Jeju off the southern coast is the warmest and wettest place in the country. The ideal time to visit Korea is during the autumn months (September-November). During this time, the country experiences warm, sunny weather, skies that are cobalt blue. Winters are cold and dry and are a good time to visit if you are interested in winter sports as there are numerous ski resorts. Spring (April-May) is also beautiful with all the cherry blossoms in bloom. The summer months are muggy and hot, and rather crowded.

Day 1
Arrival in Seoul

Arrive Incheon Airport (ICN) in Seoul; you are transferred to Mt. SORAK: visit the Shinheungsa Temple along with the great Bronze statue and the Gwongeumseong Fortress by cable car (weather permitting), Daepo Fishery Market. Overnight in Mt.SORAK

Places to visit:

Songnisan National Park

There are mountains all over Korea, and hiking is the most popular weekend activity. One of the most spectacular mountains is Songnisan National Park in central Korea. Beopjusa Temple, with a huge Gold Buddha statue is a good start to any of the hikes. At the mountain village, there are hordes of restaurants and home-stays where you can sleep the night. 1/2 way up the mountain, is a hut called Birosanjang where you can find some authentic wilderness, which is quite rare in Korea. And the hiking! Not so difficult, but with amazing views!

Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan National Park is Korea’s most famous. It’s located outside the fishing village of Sokcho, in the North-East corner of Gangwon-Do. During the peak fall seasons, it seems like 1/2 of Korea is climbing the mountain. Also in the area are some luxurious gambling resorts, rafting rivers, bungee jumping and beautiful beaches. In winter, there are some nice Ski Resorts in the area. You could spend a week or two exploring this place, so make sure you leave a few days.

Day 2
Mt. Sorak / Danyang

*Transfer to Danyang. *Gosu Cave: a huge limestone cave formed over 450 million years ago. It is among the best known natural caves in Korea, called the “underground palace” *Chung Lake Cruise: Chungju Lake is the largest and cleanest multi-purpose reservoir in Korea. Take a cruise on the ferries along the Chungju Lake. Overnight in DANYANG

Places to visit:

Gongju and Buyeo: ancient capitals of the Baekje Dynasty

The former capitals of the Baekje Kingdom, Buyeo and Gongju are tucked away in the heart of Chungnam provinces. They are filled with cultural and historical relics from 2000 years ago. Tombs, fortresses, and temples can be found at every corner. The best way to see the sights would be by car, so either rent one or get a Korean friend to take you.

Deokjeok Island: an expat beach paradise!

Deokjeok Island is a 2 hour ferry ride from the port at Incheon. You can camp at the beach, or stay at one of the local motels. It’s a beautiful, secluded kind of place and you’ll be able to get your own piece of beach for the entire day. The best part is at night, having some drinks on the beach with a campfire and fireworks.

Busan: the most popular beach spot in South Korea

Korea’s second major city, Busan is down in the South-east corner of the country. It has plenty of sights to keep you occupied for days, but the top attraction is Haeundae Beach, where hordes of Koreans descend to get their summertime fun.

Day 3
Danyang / Yeoju / Seoul

*Transfer to Yeoju Green Village: experience Korean Kimchi making, Korea Traditional Costume (Hanbok) wearing; then guests will visit the Ginseng plantation to have a chance to taste Ginseng Juice. After that, transfer to Seoul and visit the lotte theme world with unlimited ticket. Overnight in Seoul.

Places to visit:

Jeju Island

A semi-tropical island south of the mainland, Jeju is indeed a paradise. The highest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan is a challenging one-day hike. Awaiting you at the top are spectacular views and an extinct volcano crater. White sandy beaches abound at every corner, and there is spectacular scuba diving down south, near Seogwipo. Be sure to check out some of the Crater Tubes, which are massive caves created by receding Lava from Hallasan Volcanic Eruptions.

Gyeongju: the Ancient Capital of the Shilla Dynasty

A capital from the Shilla dynasty 2000 years ago, this place is filled with cultural relics at every corner. You could spend months here and not see everything. Walking down the street, or hiking up the local mountain, history is inescapable. The best way to see the sites is to rent a bicycle, get a handy tourist map and enjoy your day.

Andong Folk Village

Andong is a small city in the South-east corner of the country. It’s famous for food and right near the train station is a food street where deliciousness awaits you at every turn. The highlight of the city is the “Hahoe Folk Village.” They are famous for the mask dance that happens every weekend and their 2 week long festival they hold every year in the fall. The best part is that you can sleep overnight in the village in one of the traditional houses.

The DMZ: a surreal, intense experience.

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), is the border between North and South Korea. It’s less than 100 km from Seoul. Things are tense, with American, South and North Korean soldiers standing at armed attention. You can’t do it alone but must join up with a tour, which will take you to the tunnels that the North dug to try and sneak into the South undetected. You’ll also visit an overlook and see what’s happening on the other side. Check it out for a dose of the surreal.

Day 4
Seoul

Cheongwadae Sarangchae (Guest house at Presidential house) is a place filled with hope and joy. You can learn about past presidents and the history of the capital, Seoul, Gyeongbokgung palace the oldest and grandest of Seoul’s royal palaces, Gyeongbokgung Palace is a masterpiece of Korean traditional architecture and one of Seoul’s most visited locations. National folk museum exhibiting the religious rituals, customs, food and social dynamics of traditional Korean Life. Jogye Temple is chief temple of the Jogye order which represents the Korean Buddhism. Nat’l Ginseng outlet or Amethyst factory. Lunch (Bibimbap). Myeongdong shopping district N Seoul Tower, Asia’s most beautiful tower, this tower is also where you can get the most exciting view of Seoul; it shows made by skyscrapers, inner city highways and the long bridges of Han River. Back to hotel. Overnight in Seoul.

Places to visit:

Seoul

South Korea’s capital city Seoul is a sprawling metropolis of 20 million people and with one of the most massive subway systems in the world. It’s a fascinating mix of old and new, with ultra-modern apartment complexes mixed in with 1000 year old temples and palaces. Koreans love to eat and drink, and tucked away in every corner are delicious, cheap restaurants and Hofs (beer and chicken pubs) that stay open to the wee hours of the morning. People here love to sing and to finish a night; they’ll often head to a Norae-bang (singing room). After a few nights out in Korea, you’ll understand why it’s called the “Land of the Morning Calm” because the streets will be eerily silent until mid-morning.

If shopping is your thing, you can get it all here. From the most luxurious name brands in Apgujeong, Myeongdong and Gangnam to some excellent deals at Namdaemun or Dongdaemun Markets. For a bit of culture, head over to Insadong for some nice restaurants, tea-shops and souvenir shopping. To check out the nightlife, head over to Hongdae and explore Korea’s Youth Culture.

Day 5
Final departure

After the breakfast you can have some last minute shopping. Then you will be transferred to the Airport to catch your return flight

Inclusion

  • Songnisan National Park
  • Seoraksan National Park
  • Mt. Sorak / Danyang
  • Gongju and Buyeo
  • Deokjeok Island
  • Danyang / Yeoju / Seoul
  • Jeju Island

Exclusion

  • Tips for guides, escort, drivers etc.
  • Optional shows and meals mentioned in the itinerary, which will be added up if the clients desire to take the activities.
  • Personal expenses such as excess luggage fees, postage, communications and beverages.
  • Travel insurance
  • Any other changes caused by the acts of god, natural disasters, fires, weather, governmental and local authority orders, political change , strikes, war, riot, quarantine, custom regulations, damages or injury caused by accident.
  • Any items not specified in the plan.
  • Visa fee
  • Airfare

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Price From USD 800 USD $ 699/person
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Price
Cost Per Adult Traveler:
$ 699 USD
699
Total $ 699 USD

Trip Facts

  • 1 - 10
  • $$$
  • plane, train, bus
  • breakfast
  • all year long

Customer Reviews

Gabriel Max
Gabriel Max
12:57 25 Aug 19
Shishu tours were fantastic, nothing was a problem for them as they go out of their way to make sure your trip is fantastic! From guides to porters they do a wonderful job, thanks for some amazing memories.read more
orla santiago
orla santiago
12:44 25 Aug 19
I visited Nepal in early 2015 for the Shishu Tours' Everest Base Camp trek. It was well organised, with a thorough briefing from Sonu before we started. The guides, led by Hari, were knowledgeable, friendly and skilled. They ensured everyone in the group was save and well looked after, as well as being informative, conveying a true sense of love and awe for the environment. The accommodation in Thamel was good and out on the trek it was as good a standard as could be expected. This was my second trip to the Everest region and I if I get the opportunity to go again, I would certainly consult with Sonu and her Shishu Tours team.read more
chilou zhuu
chilou zhuu
12:42 25 Aug 19
I hiked with a group of 11 people with the goal of Everest Base Camp. When I got to Namchee Bazaar, I had a lot of diarrhea and fatigue. I discussed with my head guide that I did not feel I had the stamina to continue to higher elevations. The head guide arranged for a porter to accompany me back to Lukla over the next 2 days. All arrangements for accommadations and flight back to Kathmandu were arranged by Shishu Tours. The rest of the group successfully went to Everest Base Camp. I am very grateful for the excellent adaptability of the head guide Hari to help my special situation. And I appreciated the help of my porter Krisha on the trip back down to Lukla. Shishu Tours did a great job with all the travel arrangements.read more
felix yeap
felix yeap
12:34 25 Aug 19
This was a magic experience and the team at Shishu tours where exactly what we needed. They looked after us, where professional and most I felt safe in their hands. Would recommend them to anyone wishing to trek in the Everest especially if it is your first time trekking and first time in Nepal.read more
oliver rim
oliver rim
12:32 25 Aug 19
I can't recommend Shishu Tours enough. Throughout the trip, it really did feel like MY trip. Any extra/ side trips I wanted to make, any extra days I wanted - my guides were more than happy and quick to accommodate.read more
babu kaji maharjan
babu kaji maharjan
12:26 25 Aug 19
I have just returned from what I can only describe as a once in a lifetime opportunity to trek to Everest Base Camp. Thank you so much to Sonu who were my points of contact for the trek. When my flight got cancelled due to poor weather , Santosh did everything he could to get me to Lukla so I would not miss the trek and stayed at the airport with me until a helicopter was arranged. Sonu met me in Lukla and was a great porter and guide for the entire duration. He helped me get through my altitude anxiety and we made it to base camp on the most beautiful day ever. Santosh kept in contact with me the whole way and was very helpful advising me to drink lots of water, stay hydrated and not to sleep during the day ( all of which are very useful tips for the trek).Trusted his advice 100 percent especially since he has summited Everest. Thank you so much...Would love to do Annapurna in future perhaps !read more
Gautam sharma
Gautam sharma
12:23 25 Aug 19
It was my first time to Nepal, first time trekking, and a friend of mine recommended Shishu to me as she already went with them before so I did EBC trekking with them. From the minute they picked me up from the airport, I knew everything is gonna be alright. Guys were so cheerful and paid a lot attention to my needs. I felt like traveling with friends, we talked a lot, shared a lot, with the great view of Himalayas and delicious meals. This has been one of my best trip and not the last. Go with them and you won't regret!read more
shrisha gurung
shrisha gurung
12:17 25 Aug 19
We went to EB trek with Shishu Tours last November, it’s kind of surreal. In the middle of nowhere and then you come across this amphitheater of a town with coffee shops and bakeries. Most travel through it going north but it worth ha gong out for a couple of days. Go to the art shop and buy something special for yourself. So genuine and humbleread more
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