South Korea group tour

Description of South Korea group tour

South Korea has a rich cultural heritage which contrasts sharply with its ultra modern image of bright lights, big cities and industrial and technological advances. This 11-day classic group tour takes in the highlights of this intriguing country which many people will find pleasantly surprising.

Explore the bustling metropolis of Seoul with its high rise buildings and super efficient subway juxtaposed with the serenity of sites such as the grounds around what remains of the Gyeongbok Palace. Explore the impressive reproduction of local life in the Korean Folk Village which teaches you a little about Korean culture in the 18th and 19th centuries and enjoy panoramic views of the city from atop Seoul Tower.

Explore scenic Songnisan National Park, known for its excellent walking trails, and the famous Beopjusa temple which is home to a number of golden Buddhas and the largest Buddha in Korea standing at 33 metres high. Drive to Gyeongju, the 'museum without walls', an area of important archaeological interest where relics are being unearthed on a regular basis.

Discover the Tripitaka Koreana, a set of complete Buddhist scriptures in Haeinsa temple, a UNESCO registered site of historical importance and take a boat trip on Chungju Lake before departing for Samhwasa Temple for an authentic overnight stay. Dress the part and partake in the evening Buddhist ceremonies of bell-ringing and chanting mass and enjoy meals from the organic garden. Rise early for morning mass and to enjoy the remote sunrise vistas before heading to the DMZ for views into North Korea.

Return to Seoul via Mount Seorak National Park for a cable car ride to visit the Shinhuengsa Temple and choose to enjoy the relaxing hot springs. This interesting and varied group tour explores remote national parks, historical temples and bustling cities to give an excellent all-round South Korean experience.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1Land in Seoul and transfer to the hotel for the next two nights. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 2Start a half-day city tour. Visit the National Museum of Korea which was built in 2005 and boasts a fantastic collection of Korean art and relics. From here head to Changdeok Palace & Huwon (Secret Garden) both UNESCO World Heritage sites. End the day with a visit to Seoul Tower on Mt. Namsan to enjoy a birdís eye view of the metropolitan city of Seoul and the chance to explore Gwangjang Market. (B)
Day 3Transfer to the Korean Folk Village located just outside Seoul. Discover the tastefully reconstructed traditional Korean village before continuing on to pretty Songnisan National Park which offers excellent walking trails. Visit the Beopjusa Temple which is regarded as one of the largest and most impressive temples in the country. After time here drive to Daegu via the expressway. (B)
Day 4This morning explore the Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine and the Seomun Market which is steeped in history. Drive to Gyeongju which was the capital of the Silla Kingdom for almost 1,000 years, a truly impressive statistic. Explore Gyeongju with visits to the Cheomseongdae Astronomic Observatory and the Royal Tumuli Park with its Royal tombs. There is the chance to enter one of the excavated tombs to see the Royal Kings burial chambers. (B)
Day 5After breakfast, start a full day tour of Gyeongju. Visit Bulguksa Temple and the Seokguram Grotto, established in the 8th century on the slopes of Mt. Toham. The grotto contains a monumental statue of a sitting Buddha looking out to sea and it is considered a masterpiece of Far East Buddhist art. Drive along the pretty coastline to Guryongpo Port. (B)
Day 6Check out and transfer to Unmoonsa Temple (Buddhist Nun's temple) before proceeding to Busan, the second largest city in South Korea. Enjoy a half-day tour taking in Busan Tower on Mt Yongdusan with its observation deck offering stunning views of the city and beyond, the interesting Jagalchi Fishery Market and Nampodong Street. (B)
Day 7Drive to Mt Gayasan National Park and visit Haeinsa Temple which has an important Korean cultural treasure called Tripikata Koreana. Proceed to Andong, the best-preserved village in the country, visit Hahoe Village and proceed to Chungju Lake. (B)
Day 8Board a sightseeing boat and head out on the lake. Afterwards drive to Woljeongsa Temple for a unique temple stay experience. Upon arrival don your temple uniform and this evening attend the bell-beating ceremony along with chanting mass and a meditation course. Spend the night in a shared Korean-style room. There are no 'phones/TV's and bathroom facilities are separated for men and women. No alcohol is allowed. Overnight at the temple (there is a private room in the monastery OR a hotel option available for a supplement). (B)
Day 9There is the option to wake up at 3am for morning worship and to enjoy sunrise. After breakfast, transfer to Pine City Gangneung to visit the Chamsori Gramophone & Audio Museum. Transfer to Mt. Seorak National Park and enjoy a cable car ride to Gwongeumseong Fortress and a visit the Sinheungsa Temple. (B)
Day 10After breakfast transfer to Yanggu and visit the War Memorial Museum built to commemorate the sacrifice and heroism of those who fought in the Korean War. Explore the 4th infiltration tunnel dug by the North Korean Army and discovered in 1990 and the Eulji Observatory which sits about 1km from the military demarcation line. Transfer to Gapyeong to visit the Garden of Morning Calm Flower and Tree Park, which displays unique Korean Wild Flowers and trees in the garden located in a mountain valley. Return to Seoul for the afternoon at leisure, why not try a spot of shopping at Itaewon shopping District. (B)
Day 11Today is at leisure until you return to the airport for your onward flight (departure transfer not included). (B)

Travel Team

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
South Korea is a country where 'green' policies and principles are only slowly making inroads into the country so it's all about the little things adding up to slowly start to make a difference. The very nature of this tour as a shared transport, group tour helps to minimise the environmental impact of visitors compared to many individual travellers using separate vehicles. Many of the hotels used on the tour are locally owned and staffed and, while some of them may be larger properties, all are important employers of local people from hospitality staff right up to management level.
We are always talking to our local ground agents about the need to stress to clients the importance of basic responsible principles such as appropriate waste disposal, not to waste water, turning off lights on leaving the room in hotels, not replacing towels and bedding daily etc.
As a company we have introduced responsible practices in our UK office including paper, cardboard, aluminium and plastic recycling. We also support local UK charities including the RNIB and various charities around the world. 50% of our office staff use public transport (bus and train) and cycle to work. Management encourages this with their introduction of the cycle to work scheme which offers subsidised cycle ownership.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

On our South Korea holidays all services are provided by local Korean people which includes your local English-speaking group guides, the drivers, local guides at various monuments/sites (such as the DMZ) and hotel staff. All staff are paid a fair wage for South Korea and all wages are kept within the local communities thereby supporting local people. Furthermore, by visiting these hotels and sites additional income is brought into the region, further helping to develop the local area. All meals are included on the itinerary and food is sourced locally whether it is served in the hotels or a local restaurant.
The holiday includes a stay in a traditional Buddhist temple which offers an insight into local Buddhist life with the participation in their ceremonies and meditation classes. This overnight stay is an inportant source of income for the temple with the payment for each guest but also with the purchase by the group operator of all food from the temple's on-site organic garden.

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