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.
Early afternoon departure on Air Canada’s non-stop flight from Toronto to Seoul, South Korea.
Arrival in Seoul around 5PM local time, and immediate transfer to the first-class/four-star T-Mark Grand Hotel (or similar). Welcome dinner in the hotel.
After breakfast, we board our private coach and motors to Gongju, capital of the historically important Baekje Kingdom. Baekje Kingdom (18 BC to 660 AD); this entire region is classified as a. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our visits here will include Magoksa Temple, surrounded by a mountain and rivers curving a yin-yang shape; the tomb of King Muryeong; and Gongsanseong Fortress, a mountain castle dating back to the Baekje Era. Arrival in Jeonju for overnight and accommodation in the 4-star Ramada Hotel. Traditional Korean dinner in a typical restaurant.
This morning we explore Jeonju Hanok Village, a showcase of traditional Korean houses, followed by a lunch of a local specialty, Jeonju Bibimbab, which we help to prepare!Afternoon visits to two temples, the Gyeonggijeon and Hyanggyo Shrines, as well as the Jeonju Korean Traditional Wine Museum. No group dinner this evening. Accommodation in the 4-star Ramada Hotel or similar
After breakfast, departure for Boseong Green Tea Plantation for a visit and a tasting of the famous Boseong Green Tea. On to Suncheon and visit Naganeupseong Folk Village, illustrating the traditional architecture and lifestyle of Korea’s southern provinces, and Suncheonman Bay Ecological Park, famous for reeds taller than a full-grown man. 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 Yeosu Ocean Hill Hotel, or similar.
After a visit to Hyangiram, a famous Buddhist hermitage, we enjoy a ride on Yeosu Cable Car, offering great views of the city, the coast, and the neighbouring islands! On to Jinnamgwan Hall, a historic building associated with the victories of Admiral Yi Sun-sin in the 16th-century Imjin War against Japan. We conclude today’s program with a walk (via a causeway) to scenic Odongdo Island, famous for its lush vegetation. No group dinner this evening. Overnight in the 4-star Yeosu Ocean Hill Hotel or similar.
We leave Yeosu and motor to Jinju for a visit to Jinjuseong Fortress, another historic site associated with the Japanese invasion in the late 16thcentury. Early arrival in Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, and 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) We stay in the five-star Haeundae Grand Hotel (or similar), and there will be enough free time to enjoy the local sights on our own before our group dinner.
Our local sightseeing program will include sights such as Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a very popular Buddhist temple situated along the shoreline, the spectacular new Gwangan Bridge, Busan Tower, the coastal walking path through Igidae Park, and Jagalchi Fish Market. Lunch in a seafood buffet restaurant. Also free time to shop and/or explore this great city on your own. Our hotel is the 5-star Haeundae Grand Hotel, or similar.
After breakfast, we motor north to Gyeongju, capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, which ruled most of the Korean Peninsula from the 7thto the 9th centuries and now known as “the museum without walls.” Our sightseeing program here includes two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bulguksa Temple and an unusual stone temple known as the Seokguram Grotto, as well as the Silla Arts & Science Museum & Folk Craft Village, the Gyeongju National Museum, the Daereungwon Tomb Complex, and the picturesque Anapji Pond. No group dinner. Accommodation in the 5-star Gyeongju Hilton Hotel or similar.
Today we travel first to Andong to visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Andong Hahoe 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. On via Wonju and its theme park devoted to the production of traditional hand-made paper, known as Hanji. Transfer to Pyeongchang home of the 2018 Winter Olympics, situated in the Taebaek Mountains region. We stay in the 5-star Pyeongchang Ramada Hotel or similar.
After breakfast and a panoramic tour of Pyeongchang, we motor to Gangneung. a city on Korea’s east coast, and visit Gyeongpodae Beach and Jumunjin Fish Market Continue via 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 4-star Sokcho Ramada Hotel or similar.
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 reach Seoul and check into the 4-star T-Mark Grand Hotel or similar.
Full-day excursion to Panmunjeom, site of the armistice that ended 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. No group dinner.
This morning, part one of our sightseeing program in Seoul, with as highlights Gwanghwamun Gate, the city’s main gate, where we enjoy the changing of the Royal Guard ceremony; Gyeongbokgung Palace, arguably the most beautiful and the grandest of all five palaces; the National Folk Museum of Korea; Insadong-gil Street, connected to a quaint multitude of alleys with art galleries and tea shops; Jogyesa Temple, the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Group lunch in a typical restaurant, and the rest of the day is free to shop and/or explore on your own.
After breakfast, part two of our local sightseeing program, with visits to Namsangol Hanok Village with its restored traditional Korean houses, pavilion, and pond; the Seoul Tower, offering panoramic views of the city and its surroundings; Afternoon at leisure, and group dinner in a Korean BBQ restaurant.
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 6:30 and – since we cross the date line - arriving the same day, around the same time.
- Return flights Toronto-Seoul with Air Canada, including all airport taxes, security fees, and fuel surcharges; - Accommodation based on double occupancy, in 4-star/first-class hotels and occasionally 5-star deluxe hotels. The single room supplement is $1,150; - Overland transportation by private coach; - Breakfast daily and many lunches and/or dinners, as shown in the itinerary; - All visits and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary; - Hotel porterage services.
- 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.
June 06 - 16, 2019
$3,775.00 including return air from Toronto
June 13 - 14, 2019
$635 + HST based on sharing accommodation
August 05 - 20, 2019
$4,995 from Toronto