Save up to $805 on all guaranteed Oct-Dec departures.
About your trip
Experience South Korea’s urban and rural wonders on this 10-day adventure. Start by sightseeing and singing your heart out on a karaoke night in Seoul, as well as venturing into the tunnels of the Demilitarized Zone, running along the North Korean border. Admire mountain scenery as you hike through Seoraksan National Park, spend a night in a hillside Buddhist temple and discover the archaeological gems of Gyeongju by bike. You’ll gain an authentic taste of the country’s vibrant food and drink scene with a traditional cooking class in Busan, and plenty of local dishes, like ‘bibimbap’ in Jeonju, before returning to Seoul by train. All of our trips are flightless in destination, with 100% of all carbon emissions offset. It's just part of how we see the world while being good to it.
- Explore the tunnels of the Demilitarized Zone near the North Korean border*
- Go Hiking in Seoraksan National Park
- Practice martial arts and meditation at a hillside Buddhist temple
- Cycle through Gyeongju, the former capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom
- Learn how to cook authentic South Korean dishes in Busan
- Enjoy bibimbap and makgeolli in the foodie hub of Jeonju
Touch down at Incheon International Airport (ICN) and head to your hotel in central Seoul, where our Local Insider will meet you. They will accompany the group throughout the trip. Join your fellow travellers in the lobby for a welcome meeting at 5pm before heading out for dinner together. There’s no better way to start your trip than a Korean barbecue, featuring roasting meats and vegetables over coals before wrapping them in a lettuce leaf with ssamjang sauce. Round off your first night with a visit to the Seoul N Tower for some incredible views out over the city.
Start the day by exploring the capital which, if you’ve seen the Netflix series Squid Game, is full of familiar locations. Your first stop is Gyeongbokgung Palace, the home of the Joseon dynasty from 1395 until its destruction during the Japanese invasion of 1592. Watch the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony before moving on to the Blue House – the South Korean presidential residence. You’ll tuck into lunch at Bukchon Hanok Village before strolling around the historical area’s mazes, alleyways and traditional houses – you can even dress the part by renting traditional Hanbok clothes to wear here. Later on, we'll try our hand at one of South Korea's favourite pasttimes - Karaoke!
Today is an early start as you’ll visit the Demilitarized Zone – a strip of land that runs along the border with North Korea. Catch a glimpse of the closest North Korean villages from the Dora Observatory before descending into the DMZ tunnels, hiking as close as 170m away from the border. En route back to Seoul in the afternoon, a North Korean defector will offer a fascinating insight into life in the world’s most secretive country. Back in the capital you'll visit the HIKR Ground, an interactive exchibition with one level dedicated to K-pop. This evening you’ll have an opportunity to attend a Nanta show (a non-verbal comedy cooking performance) as you explore the Myeongdon district - let us know ahead of time if you'd like to book a spot. * The DMZ border control has currently placed restrictions on the number of tickets that can be sold on a daily basis in order to control capacity in the area. Today will be an early start in order for us to try and obtain these tickets, however should we be unable to enter the DMZ, we will be visiting the Korean War Museum instead to learn about the North/South relations.
Leave Seoul behind as you venture east to Seoraksan National Park – a 398 sq km expanse of mountains and forests, home to over 2,000 animal species, including Korean gorals, musk deer and Siberian flying squirrels. Take in the scenery while hiking to Ulsanbawi Rock, known for its six jagged granite peaks. In the afternoon, ride the Gatbae Boat (featured in famous Korean TV dramas) to Abai Village, which became a refuge for displaced North Koreans in the 1950s. Early evening we’ll head to Sokcho fish market – perhaps a good time for you to tuck into some dinner – before spending a relaxing evening at tonight’s gorgeous hotel and spa – perhaps a revitalizing massage is due before bed?
This morning we’ll transfer to Gyeongju, the former capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom, and check-in to the aptly named Silla Hotel. You’ll embark on a bike tour of the main landmarks, including Cheonmachong Tomb, Gyerim Forest and Cheomseongdae, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in East Asia. We’ll stop for a brew in a charming old tea house, found within a 300-year-old Hanok (traditional Korean house). Enjoy an authentic dinner in another Hanok in Dosol Maeul, followed by a visit to Anapji Pond, part of the spectacular Donggung Palace complex that has to be seen when illuminated at night.
This morning you’ll visit Bulguksa Temple - one of the most impressive temples in South Korea - before your journey continues south to Golgulsa Temple, which is just outside Gyeongju on the slopes of Hamwolsan Mountain. This temple will be you home for the evening! Built in the sixth century, the temple houses 12 caves carved into the cliffside and connected by steep stairs, with a large stone statue of Buddha at the highest point. Enjoy a vegetarian lunch before learning all about temple life, archery and the traditional Buddhist martial art of sunmudo, followed by a delicious vegetarian dinner. Spend the rest of the evening learning all about Buddhist chanting and meditation before settling down for the night.
Enjoy a relaxing morning in the temple before catching a train to Busan on the south coast. Later, you will take the Songdo cable car into the mountains for aerial views of South Korea’s second-largest city - otherwise spend an hour or two at a local cafe. We'll also be visiting Jagalchi Fish Market and BIIF Square. While in Busan, you might want to try a Busan Hotteok – this popular snack is a delicious sweet pancake filled with brown sugar, and a must for any visitors to the city. Today you’ll get to whip up a delicious local meal as you take a cooking class and learn about Korea’s rich culinary heritage. You’ll get to enjoy your creations accompanied by rice wine, with a tea ceremony and tasting of local makgeolli to follow!
Spend the day exploring Busan or take a trip out to visit to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple - one of Korea’s finest. After a day at leisure, we’ll be reconvening later this afternoon at Haeundae Beach for a soju-tasting session (a clear, subtly sweet Korean spirit); non-alcoholic alternatives are also on offer. Later you’ll have the option to treat yourself to an evening of relaxation at Centum Spa Land, one of the most famous jjimjilbangs in the country, where you can enjoy hot tubs, saunas, massages and more. Word of warning – jjimjilbangs are strictly naked bathhouses, so if you prefer to spend the evening with your clothes on, you might want to explore the city at your own leisure.
Jeonju, one of South Korea’s most culturally rich cities, is the ideal place to spend the final full day of your trip. Jeonju has a wonderfully traditional Hanok Village, where we'll be staying for the night. Later on you'll pay a visit to a local craft brewery but tonight we'll enjoy a fantastic Farewell Dinner to celebrate out trip! Jeonju is the birthplace of ‘bibimbap’, a hugely popular rice bowl meal topped with vegetables, meats, sweet and spicy gochujang sauce, and an egg. As well as eating this classic dish, you'll also be able to try 17 different side dishes to complete the experience!
There’s still time to squeeze in a walk along the Jeonjuchun River and a visit to Nambu Market for breakfast in the morning before catching the train back to Seoul – arriving around 5-6pm. An earlier departure is also available should you need to catch an earlier flight. It’s then time to bid farewell to your new friends as you begin your journey home, or opt to extend your stay in South Korea and see what else the country has to offer.
- Four nights boutique hotel accommodation
- Three nights premium hotel accommodation
- One night Golgulsa Temple accommodation
- One night traditional 'hanok' accommodation
- Private and local transport
- Nine breakfasts, six lunches, five dinners
- Local Insider
- Gyeongbokgung Palace visit
- See the Blue House
- Bukchon Hanok Village exploration
- Nanta show (Optional)
- DMZ half-day trip*
- Karaoke night
- Seoraksan National Park hike
- Gatbae Boat ride
- Abai Village visit
- Sokcho fish market visit
- Visit Bulguksa Temple
- Sunmudo demonstration and training session
- Buddhist chanting and meditation session
- Archery lesson
- Gyeongju city cycling tour
- Anapji Pond visit
- BIFF Square visit
- Korean cooking class
- Soju tasting session
- Bibimbap experience
- Hanok village visit
- Craft brewery visit
- Nambu Market visit and Jeonjuchun river-walk
- Train back to Seoul
- Seoul N Tower Visit
What's Not Included
- Travel insurance
- Flights to and from the destination
L7 Myeongdong by Lotte
This modern hotel in the centre of Seoul is classy, comfortable and conveniently located right near the Myeongdong subway station. Enjoy the premium features of this hotel, its fitness centre, great WiFi and spacious rooms. Most notably, you'll enjoy the incredible neon-lit nighttime views of downtown Seoul, which you can take in from the comfort of your room or within the atmospheric backdrop of the hotel’s restaurant.
Hanhwa Resort Seorak
Set amid the majesty of the Seorak mountains is this larger-than-life resort hotel, partnered with a water park that boasts indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and sauna. The resort itself is an expansive complex with cosy rooms and an impressive breakfast spread. Surrounded by mountains but only a short drive away from the beach, Hanhwa Resort places you perfectly to enjoy the stunning Korean countryside.
Immerse yourself in the practice of sunmudo – a Korean martial art and form of moving meditation that dates back over 1,000 years – at this sixth-century hillside temple. Vegetarian monastic food, a traditional tea ceremony and an archery lesson further add to this unique experience, just outside Gyeongju City.
Silla Boutique Hotel Premium
This elegant hotel has all you need for a comfortable overnight stay in Gyeongju City – the former capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom. Make the most of the sauna and plentiful buffet breakfast.
This 5 star hotel is perched above the sandy Haeundae beach and is the ideal base from which to explore the city. Rooms are spacious, stylish and modern and rooms have some incredible views over the beach and Busan city. There are 3 restaurants, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre to keep you entertained and a range of other amenities, features and areas to explore during your stay in Busan.
Expect warm hospitality and a cosy ambience at this authentic hanok-style guest house in central Jeonju. Choose between a Korean or continental breakfast and admire the traditional architecture while relaxing in the private garden.
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority, so we’ve put the following measures in place on all our TRIPS:
- Our average group size is 10 people (max 18), which gives you all the security of being in a group whilst avoiding a crowd.
- Where possible, we use small/ boutique accommodation – this means fewer guests and reduced exposure to other travellers.
- We require all accommodation providers to share protocols around the extra health and hygiene measures they are taking.
- Included activities are exclusive to our group wherever possible, to minimise contact with others.
- Covid-19 negative test results or vaccine certificates may be required. Please check the entry requirements for the destination you are travelling to. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- We recommend you confirm all guidance on official government sites and check that you are able to travel with your travel insurance issuer. Your travel insurance may be invalidated if you travel against government advice. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- You must be aged 25 years or over to join this trip.
- Please be sure to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for further information.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or accessibility requirements, please notify our Customer Support team as soon as possible.
- We won't charge you extra if you travel alone – you'll be allocated a twin room with another traveller of the same gender.
- To upgrade to a private room, share a room with a friend, or book pre- and post-trip accommodation and/or airport transfers, please contact our Customer Support team.
- Please be aware that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. While unlikely, these changes can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. We will always do our best to ensure minimal impact on your experience.
- Please be aware images on this page are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect your itinerary exactly.
- PLEASE NOTE - IN 2024 THIS TRIP WILL HAVE DIFFERENT HOTELS IN SEOUL AND BUSAN. KAROAKE WILL MOVE TO DAY 1, THE SEOUL N TOWER AND HKRI MUSEUM WILL BECOME OPTIONAL AND A FAREWELL LUNCH WILL BE ADDED TO THE FINL DAY.
The world of travel is changing – and that's why we’re offering flexible booking conditions, to take the stress out of booking in times of uncertainty.
Our Ultimate Covid Booking Guarantee applies to any bookings made by 31 October 2021 for travel before 28 February 2022, which means that if Covid-19 changes your plans, we'll rebook you for free. If we cannot rebook you we'll refund your trip.
For bookings outside these dates, we won't impose any change or cancellation fees, and you can get a full refund should you need to postpone or cancel your trip up to 30 days prior to departure. Or you can simply transfer your deposit and any funds paid to a different date without incurring any additional fees.
For full details, see our Booking Terms & Conditions.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.