Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

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10 Days From

$4029

$3848

Soulful South Korea

10 Days Starting and ending in Seoul

Visiting: Seoul, Seoraksan National Park, Abai Village, Seorak Beach, Golgulsa Temple, Gyeongju-si, Busan, Jeonju-si

Tour operator:

Culture Trip

Tour code:

SKO

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

5 - 16

Physical rating:

Medium

Age range:

25-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:
$4029
$3848 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$181

NB: Prices correct on 26-May-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

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.

Highlights

  • Explore the tunnels of the Demilitarized Zone near the North Korean border

  • 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

  • Go Hiking in Seoraksan National Park

Places You'll See

Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

Soulful South Korea

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Arrive In Seoul

Location: Seoul

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Four Points by Sheraton, Josun

Meals Included: Dinner

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 Karoake experience as we embrace South Korean culture and set the tone for the adventures to come!

Activities Included:
Welcome dinner
Karaoke Experience

Day 2 : Visit Seoul’S Most Important Sights, Explore A Traditional Village And Sing Karaoke

Location: Seoul

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Four Points by Sheraton, Josun

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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 mazey alleyways and traditional houses – you can even dress the part by renting traditional Hanbok clothes to wear here. Later on you may choose to visit the Seoul N Tower and capture some spectacular views of the city from above.

Activities Included:
Gyeongbokgung Palace visit
See the Blue House
Bukchon Hanok Village exploration

Optional Activities:
Seoul N Tower Visit

Day 3 : Visit The Demilitarized Zone (Dmz) *

Location: Seoul

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Four Points by Sheraton, Josun

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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 can unwind or perhaps choose to visit the HiKR Ground, an interactive exhibition 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.

Activities Included:
DMZ day trip

Optional Activities:
Nanta Show

Day 4 : Hike In Seoraksan National Park And Visit Abai Village

Location: Seoraksan National Park, Abai Village, Seorak Beach

Accommodation: Resort, Resort

Accommodation Name: Hanhwa Resort Seorak

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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?

Activities Included:
Seoraksan National Park hike
Gatbae Boat ride
Abai Village visit
Sokcho fish market visit
Lighthouse Observatory Visit

Day 5 : Take A Cycling Tour Of Gyeongju And Dine In A Hanok

Location: Golgulsa Temple

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Silla Boutique Hotel Premium

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Take a cycling tour of Gyeongju and dine in a Hanok
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.

Activities Included:
Gyeongju city cycling tour
Traditional dinner in a Hanok at Dosol Maeul
Anapji Pond visit

Day 6 : Learn Traditional Martial Arts And Meditation At A Buddhist Temple

Location: Gyeongju-si

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Golgulsa Temple

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning you’ll visit Bulguksa Temple before your journey continues south to Golgulsa Temple, which is just outside Gyeongju on the slopes of Hamwolsan Mountain, and will be your 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. For this unique temple experience, you'll sleep on cosy Korean floor matresses in rooms of 3 or 4 people, split by gender, just as the monks do.

Activities Included:
Visit Bulguksa Temple
Golgulsa Temple stay
Vegetarian lunch and dinner
Archery lesson
Sunmudo demonstration and training session
Buddhist chanting and meditation session

Day 7 : Ride A Cable Car In Busan And Enjoy A Cooking Class

Location: Busan

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Youngmu Parade Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a relaxing morning in the temple before catching a train to Busan on the south coast. Later, you will take the 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 also recommend 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 also 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 to follow

Activities Included:
Train to Busan
Songdo Marine Cable Car ride
Jagalchi Fish Market and BIIF Visit
Traditional Korean Cooking Class
Tea Ceremony and Makgeolli tasting

Day 8 : Explore Busan And Taste Soju On The Beach

Location: Busan

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Youngmu Parade Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Spend the day out 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 saunas, so if you prefer to spend the evening with your clothes on, you might want to explore the city at your own leisure.

Activities Included:
Soju tasting session
Optional Activities:
Visit to Centum Spa Land Jjimjilbang
Visit to Haedongg Yonggusa Temple

Day 9 : Gorge On Bibimbap And Explore The Hanok Village Of Jeonju

Location: Jeonju-si

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Laon Hanok Gguljam

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

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 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!

Activities Included:
Hanok village visit
Craft brewery visit
Bibimbap Dinner experience

Day 10 : Return To Seoul To Mark The End Of Our Trip

Location: Jeonju-si, Seoul

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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 a Farewell Lunch awaits! After this, we'll be 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.

Activities Included:
Nambu Market visit and Jeonjuchun river-walk
Train back to Seoul
Farewell Lunch

What's Included

  • Local Insider

  • Accommodation

    Four nights boutique hotel accommodation Three nights premium hotel accommodation One night Golgulsa Temple accommodation One night traditional 'hanok' accommodation

  • Private and local transport

  • Meals described in the itinerary

    Nine breakfasts, five lunches, five dinners

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace visit

  • See the Blue House

  • Bukchon Hanok Village exploration

  • DMZ half-day trip

  • Karaoke Experience

  • Seoraksan National Park hike

show more

What's Not Included

  • International flights

  • Meals not in the itinerary

  • Visas (if required)

  • Airport transfers

  • Optional activities

    Nanta show

Accommodation

Four Points by Sheraton, Josun
This modern hotel in the centre of Seoul is classy, comfortable and conveniently located right near the train 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.

Golgulsa Temple
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.

Youngmu Parade Hotel
This hotel is set perfectly in the cultural heart of Busan and you'll be located close to galleries and only a 10 minute walk to the nearby beachfront strip of Haeundae. Rooms are clean and minimal in design and there is a fantastic restaurant, concierge service and refreshing air-conditioning for warmer days.

Laon Hanok Gguljam
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.


Please note that, while unlikely, the accommodation indicated may be subject to change (see T&C’s). On a rare occasion, alternative arrangements may be necessary – this may be due to a lack of availability at our preferred accommodation, or other reasons outside our control. We’ll do everything we can to prevent this from happening; however, in cases where it is unavoidable, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Check out our Q&As

  • Can I travel in my own private group?

    Yes you can. Our team of Travel Experts can put together a bespoke trip to suit all group sizes in most destinations around the world. Please contact us for more details.

  • Why should I travel with Culture Trip?

    We know the world's best bits – our award-winning content proves it. Now we’re using that expertise to bring you curated trips that combine thoughtful planning with authentic experiences and hand-picked accommodation. Led by Local Insiders, our trips bring together small groups of curious travellers who embrace the value of shared experiences, cultural immersion and travel that never feels rushed.

  • What is the group size?

    Our maximum group size is 16, although our average group size is 10-12 people. Group travel is a great way to meet other people, and you will have the safety of travelling with a group, but you can also decide how much time you want to spend by yourself.

  • Do I need any vaccinations?

    As a tour operator we are unable to give medical advice, however we suggest you contact your doctor, a professional medical travel clinic or check out the World Health Organisation website for more details.

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    Tips are not included in the price of your trip but are entirely optional and at your discretion.

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    You must be 25 or over to travel on our trips, however there is no upper age limit. You just need a sense of adventure.

  • Will there always be a guide on the trip?

    Absolutely yes. We pride ourselves on our expert Local Insiders - they are an integral part of what makes our trips so special. Your Local Insider will accompany you throughout the trip and is there to help and assist in any way possible as well as ensure everything works to time.

  • Are flights / transport to the destination included?

    No - our travellers come from all over the world so flights and / or transport to the start destination are not included.

  • What happens if I am travelling on my own?

    Most accommodations on our trips are reserved on a twin share basis. Therefore, if you are travelling on your own you will be sharing a room with another Culture Trip traveller of the same sex. However, most of the time it is possible to pay a supplement for your own room. Please ask your Travel Expert for more information.

  • What is not included in the trip?

    We don’t include the following in our trips: insurance (however you must have insurance to travel on one of our trips), flights, tips for local guides, optional activities and other meals and services not mentioned in your itinerary.

  • What kind of luggage should I bring?

    It depends on the type of trip you have booked, but we usually recommend a soft sided bag or case as they are easier to handle on a trip.

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    Depending on your passport and your destination, you may need a visa to travel on one of our trips. It is up to you to ensure you have any and all necessary visas before you travel. We recommend you check with a specialist visa agency at least 6 weeks before you travel.

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    Yes - all travellers must have travel insurance before they join one of our trips. You are strongly advised to take out your policy at the time of booking to protect your holiday payments in the event of cancellation.

  • How many meals are included?

    Breakfast is included daily and then depending on your itinerary, some lunches and dinners. This is clearly indicated in the trip details or ask your Travel Expert to confirm.

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    This will depend on how long your trip is, your destination and how much you intend to spend on personal expenses and any meals that aren’t included. It is a good idea to check out the cost of a local lunch and dinner in your destination before you travel.

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    You can change the date of your tour up to 60 days prior to departure and cancel at any time, although cancellation conditions may apply.

  • What kind of transport do you use on your trips?

    We use a mix of public and private transport on our trips, but usually a small and comfortable minibus, so we can access more remote destinations that larger groups can’t get to.

  • When will I know if my trip is guaranteed?

    We usually wait until we have a few travellers booked on a trip before we guarantee it will run. The latest we will guarantee a trip is 60 days ahead of departure, often it will be long before.

  • Can I book extra nights accommodation before or after my trip?

    Yes, call or email one of our Travel Experts who will be able to add accommodation to your booking.

  • I booked but cannot travel anymore. What are the amendments and cancellation options?

    We understand plans can change and that’s why we offer flexible booking conditions. You can change or cancel your booking at any time up to 56 days prior to departure and receive a full refund of any funds you have already paid towards your trip.

  • Do I have to make full payment at the time of booking?

    You do not have to make full payment at the time of booking. We only require a small, fully refundable deposit of $100 to secure your spot on the trip. Full payment is due at the latest 56 days prior to departure.

  • Do I have to take part in all the activities? Will there be free time on my trip?

    The amount of free time varies per trip. Please enquire with our travel experts to get a proper understanding on the amount of free time on the trips you are interested in. You do not have to take part in all activities but we strongly encourage you to do so! We have carefully crafted each trip to show you the best of every destination, so you’d be missing out! Also taking part in activities is a great way to get to know your travel companions and make new friends. Nothing like a positive and supportive group environment to venture outside of your comfort zone and surprise yourself!

  • What is a Local Insider?

    We believe there’s no better way to discover a new place and a new culture than by experiencing it through the eyes and experience of a local. That’s why we only work with local guides - whom we name our Local Insiders. They know their region inside out and have a passion for sharing it with travellers. All our Local Insiders have years of experience guiding and speak English. Importantly, they like to travel the way we like it too: away from crowds, tourist traps and queues. Focussing on the true essence of a destination, teaching you all about the local culture and profusely sharing local hidden gems and insights.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Kimberley  

The soulful South Korea trip was amazing

05-May-2023

The soulful South Korea trip was amazing! Well organised tour from start to finish and our local tour guide (Jay) went above and beyond to ensure we all had a great experience!

Trusted Customer  

I was extremely satisfied with Culture Trip

12-May-2023

I was extremely satisfied with Culture Trip and the provided itinerary for a first time traveller in South Korea. Jay was an awesome guide and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tour.

Kari  

Quick and thorough customer service

10-May-2023

This was an exceptionally planned tour, with lots of delicious and fun inclusions. I felt the itinerary as described on the website either met or exceeded my expectations in real life. All my communication with Culture Trip was quick and professional. I do wish they more clearly showed sale pricing on the website. At the time I booked this tour it was part of a sale, but you had to contact them to get the sale price as only the full price was displayed on screen. I would have booked more trips if this info was readily available.

Susan  

Had a wonderful time in South Korea

06-May-2023

Met some wonderful people on this trip. Jay, our local guide, went out of his way to ensure we had a wonderful time and some understanding of South Korea culture.

Trusted Customer  

Excellent trip

09-May-2023

Overall excellent trip, guide was great very attentive, food was brilliant

Sarah  

Fantastic , crammed a lot in but worth every minute

09-May-2023

I would recommend this trip as a great way to get a brief but varied introduction to Korea . We managed to go from bright city lights to amazing scenery in National Parks, a night in a monastery to THE most fantastic variety of food and pottering in markets with a running commentary of Korean History . Thankyou

Read all 6 reviews

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Culture Trip allows you to make 5 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 55 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Culture Trip allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform culture trip, 55 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Culture Trip requires a minimum deposit of 100 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 55 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of culture trip charges.

    At 54 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 29 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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