16 days, from Sunday, September 6, to Monday, September 21, 2020
Our comprehensive tour of South Korea includes all the major sights of the peninsula and features excellent hotels, breakfast daily, and many if not most lunches and dinners. The tour leader is Jacques R. Pauwels, author of ‘Beneath the Dust of Time: A History of the Names of Peoples and Places’, London, 2009 .(Meals: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
VISA AND VACCINATIONS: To visit South Korea, Canadians require a valid passport, but no visa. Vaccinations are not required but some are recommended, see https://www.passporthealthglobal.com/ca/destination-advice/south-korea
Afternoon departure on Air Canada’s non-stop flight from Toronto to Seoul, Korea.
(D) Arrival in Seoul around 5 PM local time, and immediate transfer to the first-class/four-star Koreana Hotel or similar. Welcome pork BBQ dinner in a typical restaurant.
(B/L) Sightseeing tour of the Korean capital, with highlights such as Cheongwadae or Blue House, the office and residence of the South Korean head of state; beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace; Bukchon Hanok, a traditional village with restored traditional Korean houses, pavilion, and pond; and Insadong, a maze of alleys with art galleries and tea shops. Group lunch in a typical restaurant. Return to the hotel in late afternoon, and rest of the day at leisure.
(B/L) After breakfast, we board our private coach and motors to Gongjiu (or Jeonju), capital of the historically important Baekje Kingdom (18 BC to 660 AD); this entire region is classified as a. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our visits here will include the Royal Tomb of King Muryeong, Gongsanseong Fortress, the Magoksa Temple, surrounded by a mountain and rivers curving a yin-yang shape, and Jeonju’s Hanok Village, a showcase of traditional Korean houses. Traditional Korean lunch in a typical restaurant. Accommodation in the 4-star Ramada Hotel.
(B/L/D) After breakfast, drive to Suncheon for visits to Naganeupseong folk village and fortress, illustrating the traditional architecture and lifestyle of Korea’s southern provinces, and Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve. Late afternoon arrival in Yeosu, one of the country's most picturesque seaports, located at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. Dinner and overnight in the 4-star Hidden Bay Hotel. Today, lunch will be included as well as dinner in the hotel, to be followed by a leisurely tour of Yeosu’s scenic Odongdo Island.
(B/L/D) After breakfast, we enjoy a ride on Yeosu Cable Car, with great views of the city, the coast, and the neighbouring islands! Then we leave Yeosu and motor to Jinju for lunch, followed by a visit to Jinjuseong Fortress, a historic site associated with a Japanese invasion in the late 16th century. On to Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, tucked between the mountains and the sea and proclaimed as “the No. 1 travel destination in Asia” for the year 2018 by Lonely Planet; the city has it all: a subtropical climate, beaches, hot springs, Buddhist temples, and fine cuisine, especially seafood! (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-asia) Early arrival at our hotel, the Ibis Haeundae. Dinner in the hotel.
(B, L, D) Departure after breakfast. We visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a very popular Buddhist sanctuary situated along the shoreline, then motor north to Gyeongju. capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, which ruled most of the Korean Peninsula from the 7th to the 9th centuries; this cityis now known as “the museum without walls.” After a group lunch, visits to the major attractions, Gyeongju National Museum, with many treasures of the ancient Silla kingdom, of which Gyeongju was the capital, the Daereungwon complex of royal tombs, scenic Anapji Pond, Late afternoon arrival at the K-Hotel for dinner and overnight.
(B/L) After breakfast we visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, an unusual stone temple known as the Seokguram Grotto, and the Bulguksa Temple, also dating back to the Silla Kingdom era. followed by a visit to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yandong Folk Village. Return to the hotel in late afternoon.
(B/L/D) On to the city of Andong for lunch, Andong Hahoe Folk Village, located in a bucolic setting on the banks of the Nakdong River and at the foot of Hwasan Mountain, and featuring picturesque houses belonging to families of the Ryu clan. In the afternoon we continue to Pyeongchang, home of the 2018 Winter Olympics, situated in the Taebaek Mountains region. Dinner and overnight in the Alpensia Holiday Inn.
(B/L/D) After breakfast and a panoramic tour of Pyeongchang, we motor to Gangneung. a city on Korea’s east coast, to view the beach and check out the famous Jumunjin Fish Market. On to Daepohang Port, famous for its fish restaurants, to another seaport, Sokcho, which was part of North-Korea until the end of the Korean War. Overnight in the Hotel Naksan Sokcho.
(B/L/D) Morning exploration of Mt. Seoraksan National Park, including a ride to the top of Gwongeumseong Peak and a visit to Sinheungsa Temple, featuring a huge bronze Buddha statue. In the afternoon we head for Seoul, with a group lunch en route. Arrival in the capital, and dinner and overnight in Hotel Koreana.
(B/L) Full-day excursion to Panmunjeom, site of the armistice that ended (or did it?) the Korean War, with the Armistice Commission Building and the Joint Security Area, and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), including sights such as Dorasan Observatory, where one can peek into North Korea, and Dorasan Station, the northernmost stop on South Korea's railway line. Lunch will be included. Return to Seoul and free evening.
(B/L) Morning visit to the Korean Folk Village (http://www.koreanfolk.co.kr/multi/english). After another group lunch, visit to Changdeokgung Palace and Gwangjang Market one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in South Korea. Return to the hotel in late afternoon. There may also be an opportunity to visit the Seoul Sky Observatory (Seoul Tower), offering panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, on an optional basis.
(B/L) Morning at leisure. After a final group lunch, transfer to the airport and departure on Air Canada’s non-stop flight to Toronto, departing around 6:25 PM and – since we cross the date line! - arriving the same day, around the same time.
- Non-stop flights Toronto-Seoul-Toronto with Air Canada, including all airport taxes, security fees, and fuel surcharges; - Accommodation based on double occupancy, in 4-star/first-class hotels – the single room supplement is $1,250; - Breakfast daily, lunch daily (13 in total), and 6 dinners, as shown in the itinerary; - Overland transportation by private coach; - All visits and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary; - Services of a Pauwels tour escort and local guides; - Airport lounge pass for air-inclusive bookings made more than 90 days prior to departure.
- Beverages such as wine or beer with dinners; - All expenses of a personal nature; - Gratuities for local guides and drivers, in total $100 US, to be collected and disbursed by the tour director; - Travel insurance. Available upon request.
October 10 - 24, 2023
Tour price from Toronto: $5,295 CAD.
October 14 - 23, 2023
Land only: $3,485 CAD based on double occupancy
November 16 - 30, 2023
$8,895 including air based on double occupancy