South Korea in Depth

  • days: 14
  • from $6,705

Flights Included

Countries Visited:

  • South Korea

Description

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Destinations visited icon

1 country

UNESCO icon

3 UNESCO World 
Heritage-listed sites

Festival tour icon

Special departure: Experience the magic of Cherry Blossom (Mar / Apr) or witness stunning Autumn Colours (Oct / Nov)

Spring Cherry Blossom & Autumn Colours

Colours-South-Korea

Experience the magic of South Korea's Cherry Blossom (Mar / Apr departures) or witness stunning Autumn Colours as they sweep the country (Oct departures).

Hurry, book now! Seats are limited!
 

The ‘Land of the Morning Calm’, South Korea has become a melting pot of modernity and tradition. From the elegant skyscrapers and ancient palaces of bustling Seoul, to tea ceremonies and martial arts, experience the beautiful contrasts between old and new on this in-depth journey.

TAKE A PEEK INTO DIFFERENT WORLDS

On this journey we’ll visit the Demilitarised Zone that separates North and South Korea, and peek across the border into communist Kijongdong. In Jeonju, experience a traditional Hanok village that retains its historical charms and culture, despite the industrialisation of the rest of the city.

NATURAL BEAUTY

We head to Mt Seorak and explore Nami Island famous for its stunning scenery, travel by cable car to Gwongumseong fortress and explore some remarkable Zen temples dating back over a thousand years.

THE MORNING CALM

You’ll also experience a traditional tea ceremony with the monks at Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto and get to relax in a traditional Korean spa - a very important part of the Korean way of life.

 

Imagine your Korea

Imagine-your-Korea

The Visit Korea website is a great resource for anyone visiting South Korea.

Click here to view the website.

 

Itinerary

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1. Depart Australia

Day 2. Arrive in Seoul

Welcome to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. This buzzing and vibrant city is a beautiful juxtaposition of modern and traditional, where towering skyscrapers neighbour temples and palaces from centuries ago. Enjoy a group welcome dinner tonight. [D]

Day 3. Seoul

Stepping back in time, we visit the Korean Folk Village to gain an insight into life during the Joseon Dynasty and enjoy a natural colour dyeing experience. After some free time for lunch along famous Insadong Street, we’ll visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, a collection of museums and historical sites. Surrounded by gardens and ancient stone pagodas, these buildings are home to some of Korea’s best treasures. Later this afternoon we visit the iconic N Seoul Tower and admire the views from the observation deck. [B]

Day 4. Seoul - Mt Seorak

This morning we travel to the tiny half-moon-shaped Nami Island, famous for its stunning scenery and open, grassy fields where ducks, chipmunks, squirrels and peacocks welcome visitors. We’ll then continue to Sokcho in Mount Seorak. [B]

Day 5. Mt. Seorak

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 Special Experience: Spend a full day exploring stunning Mount Seorak, visiting Sogongwon Park and travelling to Gwongumseong Fortress by cable car. The views on the way are breathtaking, as we’ll see the ruins of the fortress, the treetops of the Sogongwon area and the imposing Ulsanbawi Rock to the north. 

We’ll visit Sinheungsa Temple, believed to be the oldest Zen temple in the world. It is recognisable by its Great Unification Buddha statue made out of gilt-bronze that represents the crucial wish of the Korean people for the reunification of the divided country. [B]

Day 6. Mt Seorak - Jeonju

Departing Mt Seorak, we continue to Jeonju via Pyeongchang, where we visit Naksansa Temple. This afternoon we’ll arrive in Jeonju and visit the Bukchon Hanok Village, a community of more than 800 traditional hanok houses. These houses are generally divided into 2 sections - the Anchae for women and the Sarangchae for men. [B]

Day 7. Jeonju - Muju

We continue towards Muju, visiting beautiful Mount Maisan and the Buddhist Tapsa Temple along the way. This temple complex is constructed entirely from stones, making for a very unusual, but very impressive appearance. [B]

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 Special Experience: Relax and enjoy a traditional Korean spa, a very important part of the Korean way of life. Try the unique assortment of facilities and treatments, including ‘bubble sense therapy’ and ‘sound floating’.

Day 8. Muju - Gyeongju

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 Special Experience: Learn all about Korea’s traditional martial art, taekwondo, and witness an amazing demonstration.

This afternoon we’ll travel to Mt Gayasan and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Haeinsa Temple. It’s one of the Three Jewel Temples representing Buddha’s teachings, and home to the Tripitaka Koreana - a complete set of Buddhist scriptures engraved on more than 81,000 wooden printing blocks between 1237 and 1248. [B]

Day 9. Gyeongju - Busan

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 Special Experience: Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites of Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto this morning, where we’ll experience a traditional tea ceremony with monks. Bulguksa Temple contains seven of the National Treasures of South Korea, including two pagodas and statues of Buddha.

We’ll explore Chomsungdae Observatory, which dates back to the 7th century, and visit Chonma Royal Tumuli. [B]

Day 10. Busan

We begin our sightseeing of Busan at scenic Igidae Park, where we’ll wander along the trails and admire the rugged natural scenery. We’ll also visit the Oryukdo Skywalk, a glass bridge stretching over the ocean at the dividing point between the East and South Seas. Our next stop is the UN Memorial Cemetery, before lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon we’ll visit the local markets and have some free time to explore. [B,L]

Day 11. Busan - Seoul

This morning we board the high-speed train to Seoul. In the afternoon we’ll step into the kitchen and learn to make Korea’s national dish - the spicy-sour side dish, kimchi. We’ll also get a chance to try on the hanbok (traditional Korean dress). [B]

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

 Special Experience: Enjoy a nanta show - a non-verbal comedy show, and a very popular way to spend an evening in South Korea.

Day 12. Seoul

Today we visit the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) separating North and South Korea. Take a peek into North Korea from the Dora Observatory and stop at Dorasan Station and Freedom Bridge. We’ll also take a tour of the Third Infiltration Tunnel by monorail. The afternoon is free for you to explore at your own pace back in Seoul. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group farewell dinner, accompanied by a traditional Korean performance. [B,D]

Day 13. Depart Seoul

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

Day 14. Arrive in Australia

 

Walking Man

Level of fitness: This tour features 2+ hours of walking, often across uneven ground and in areas of high altitude or heat and humidity on 1 or more days.

Inclusions

Travel

  • Economy-class flights from Australia to South Korea. Taxes included
  • 1 rail journey in South Korea
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour (if using group tour flights)
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Tipping Made Easy, $120pp pre-paid

Accommodation & Meals

  • 11 nights in good quality hotels (4-5 star)
  • 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking locally based national guide throughout

Porterage

  • Porterage included where available

Sightseeing

Urban metropolis

  • Visit a Korean Folk Village in Seoul including participating in a Korean traditional archery experience.
  • Explore Insadong Street and its multitude of alleys with tea shops, cafes and galleries.
  • Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty built in 1395.
  • Visit the iconic N Seoul Tower's observation deck for beautiful views over Seoul.

Breathtaking mountains of Seoraksan National Park

  • Visit Nami Island, famous for its tree lined roads and grassy fields.
  • Spend time exploring stunning Mt Seorak, including Sogongwon Park, and witness breathtaking views from Gwongummseong Fortress.
  • Visit Shinheungsa Temple, believed to be the oldest zen temple in the world.
  • Delve into the Buddhist Culture on a visit to Naksansa Temple in Pyeongchang.
  • Drive through Pyeongchang Olympic Site (from April 2019)

Delve into the traditional Korean way of life and experience its culture

  • Stroll through a Hanok Village with its traditional 'Hanok' houses.
  • Drive to beautiful Mt Maisan and visit the Buddhist Tapsa Temple along the way.
  • Experience true Korean culture and try the unique therapies and treatments at Jinan Red Ginseng Spa.
  • Tour the new Muju Taekwondowon Centre and witness an amazing demonstration of this traditional Korean martial art.
  • Visit the Haeinsa Temple on Mt. Gayasan, home to the Tripitaka Koreana - a complete set of Buddhist scriptures.
  • Enjoy a tea ceremony with monks at Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto.

Discover the diversity of Busan

  • Visit the famous Kukje Market, steeped in history and established in 1950.
  • Wander through the Jahalchi Fish Market, South Korea's biggest fish market.
  • Explore scenic Igidae Park and the Oryukdo Skywalk - a glass bridge stretching out over the ocean.
  • Pay tribute to the UN soldiers and aids killed during the Korean War 1950-1953, during a sobering stop at the UN Memorial Cemetery.
  • Travel to Seoul from Busan via bullet train.

Korean cuisine, clothing and arts

  • Learn the art of making Kimchi, Korea's national dish, and try on a hanbok (traditional Korean dress).
  • Enjoy a nanta show - a non-verbal comedy show and popular way to spend an evening in South Korea.

Peer into North Korea

  • Visit the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, including Freedom Bridge, Dora Observatory and 3rd Infiltration Tunnel.

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
09/03/19 22/03/19   $6,705 Guaranteed Departure book now
15/03/19 28/03/19   $6,705 Guaranteed Departure book now
03/04/19 16/04/19   $6,795 Guaranteed Departure book now
01/05/19 14/05/19   $6,795 Guaranteed Departure book now
09/10/19 22/10/19   $6,795 Available book now
19/10/19 01/11/19   $6,795 Available book now
26/10/19 08/11/19   $6,795 Available book now
07/03/20 20/03/20   $6,795 Available book now
11/03/20 24/03/20   $6,795 Available book now
18/03/20 31/03/20   $6,795 Available book now
25/03/20 07/04/20   $6,795 Available book now
Valid From: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane & Perth
Other departure cities: Please contact our office for applicable pricing
Tips: Total cost includes - Tipping Made Easy, $120pp pre-paid
Taxes: Total cost includes - air taxes, $225pp
Single supplement: from $2,050
  • Day/Date Variations: Due to airline flight schedules day of arrival and day of departure may vary depending on your city of departure
  • Taxes & Fuel Costs: Total cost includes air taxes. Taxes and fuel surcharges change regularly so above levies are shown as a guide only
  • T&C: All prices shown are per person based on twin share and include airfares, all taxes and tips (if applicable). Prices and itineraries correct at current time but are subject to change. Please call for more details. View our full terms & conditions here.

Optional Excursions

Han River Cruise – Dinner 7:30pm, 1hr 30mins - $90pp US (Seat in Coach)

Han River Cruise – Music 7:30pm, 1hr 10 mins - $50pp US (Seat in Coach)

Enjoy magnificent cuisine on a cruise along the Han River, including a combination of western, Asian and local delicacies, while watching the amazing skyline of Seoul at night. Take in the fascinating sights as you soak up Seoul’s relaxing atmosphere. There are two options to enjoy for your convenience.

 

Busan Tiffany 21 Cruise Tour – 7:00pm, 1hr 20 mins - $50pp US (Seat in Coach)

Enjoy a scenic cruise with a fine dining experience. Passengers can take in the views of numerous coastal sites in the area, including Nurimaru APEC House on Dongbaek Island, 49th Square in Suyeong-gu, Namcheon-dong and Centum City in U-dong, Gwangandaegyo Bridge - the nation's largest marine bridge, Igidae Park and Oryukdo Island to name a few. The dinner tour includes a buffet as well as live performances and offers a truly unique way to discover more of Busan.

 

Please Note: All tours are based on minimum 2 participants (unless otherwise stated) and are subject to availability. The length of tours and price are a guide only and are subject to change without notice. Optional tours should be booked directly with your Tour Director whilst on tour. Payment by Cash only, can be paid in local currency or US dollars.

Fitness to Travel

Let's Talk Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.

Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation

In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas

Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats

Accommodation

Accommodation

Accommodation listed is subject to change and the list should be used as a guide only. Every effort is made to avoid changes however if a change becomes necessary then accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

Fraser Place Central, Seoul

Fraser Place Central Seoul is the ideal retreat within the bustling city of Seoul. The hotel restaurant, Union Square, offers the finest fusion cuisine with the option of an indoor or al fresco dining all day. The hotel also features an indoor swimming pool, jet pool and a fitness club with steam and dry sauna facilities that offers hot and cold baths.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box; indoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Lotte Resort, Sokcho

With amazing views overlooking the sea, Lotte Resort Sokcho offers an experience like no other. Features of the hotel include a water park, infinity pool and fitness centre, as well as essential western amenities in the rooms. There are several dining options, including the popular cocktail bar, Rooftop 9. 

Facilities: air-conditioning; wifi; tea & coffee making facilities; minibar; swimming pool; fitness centre

Ramada Jeonju, Jeonju

Located in the heart of downtown Jeonju, the Ramada is close to various tourist attractions such as Jeonju City Hall, the Hanok Living Experience Centre and Pungnammun Gate. The property features a health club, convenience store, restaurant and laundry facilities. Guest rooms are ultra modern and well-appointed.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; safe deposit box; tea & coffee making facilities

Hotel Tirol, Muju

This resort is surrounded by the breathtaking view of Mt Deogyusan National Park. With a distinct Austrian feel, it is often referred to as the ‘Little Alps’ in Korea. Rooms evoke the feelings of a natural forest.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Hilton Hotel, Gyeongju

Discover this ancient city with a stay at the Art Deco Hilton Gyeongju hotel, located on the edge of Lake Bomun and surrounded by beautiful parks, countryside and majestic mountains. Relax on your balcony and wake up to stunning mountain or lake views. Dine on a fantastic array of international cuisine at one of the six internationally-styled restaurants and bars. Taste the hidden subtleties of fine Japanese cuisine at Genji, or opt for Cantonese food at Silkroad. Start the day with a breakfast buffet from Lakeside Café, and relax with drinks in the stunning terrace setting of Stars lounge and karaoke bar.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; safe deposit box (at reception); indoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Novotel Busan Ambassador, Busan

Located on spectacular Haeundae Beach in Busan, Novotel Busan Ambassador is also perfectly located for exploring nearby parks, art centres and the aquarium. The hotel offers one bar and three restaurants and guests can also enjoy the stunning indoor swimming pool, health club, massage facilities and sauna with natural hot springs.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; indoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Weather

Weather

Seoul

Summer: June to August

Autumn: September to November

Winter: December to February

Spring: March to May

Seoul

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Rainy Days

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10

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Currency

Currency

Won

The official currency of South Korea is the Won (KRW; ₩).

  • 1 Won = 100 Jeon
  • Notes are in denominations of ₩50,000, 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000 - Chon means 'one thousand'
  • Coins are in denominations of ₩500, 100, 50 and 10

Reviews for South Korea in Depth

This tour has a rating of 5 stars based on 2 reviews.

Here's what others have had to say about this tour.

South Korea in Depth Experiencing the ancient and modern of South Korea. 5
With our excellent young female guide and driver and small group of 4 we criss crossed this small mostly mountainous country in a people mover. The mountains, as in Japan are covered with trees which are a mixture of pines, firs and many deciduous species which as it was November were displayed in the splendour of their autumnal foliage. We visited many temples and although there are many similarities between them they were all in absolutely beautiful settings often high on a hill, sometimes extremely steep which meant sightseeing has the added benefit of quite decent aerobic exercise. At one such temple we sat on rugs on the floor and were taught basic elements of the Sunmudo martial art which incorporates meditation into its practice. Near Muju we witnessed a most impressive display of Taewkondo in a very new and vast Taekwondowon considered to be the worldwide centre of this martial art. Two hours at the Jinan Red Ginseng Spa was another exper ience we had. In one of the sessions we lay in our bathers on warm rocks the size and shape of hens eggs for over 20 minutes. I find it hard to believe I felt perfectly relaxed. We were also beautifully relaxed and tranquil when we received predominantly facial massage and a unique form of heat treatment to any afflicted areas we individually had at a traditional hospital for Korean oriental medicine. My legs were wrapped in some form of heat pack consisting of herbs which warmed my legs to the limit of tolerance. It was certainly totally relaxing but I was unable to offer a testimonial , which they would have appreciated, to say that I had had permanent symptomatic relief. We also tried our hand at Gukgung (Traditional Korean Archery) At The Suwon Hwaseong Fortress outside Seoul. One night in Korea House in central Seoul we attended a beautiful production of a traditional Korean story. The dancing and music were excellent. After the show we had a Korean dinner with the waitresses d ressed in traditional Hanbok attire. Korea is both traditional and contemporary at the same time. With regard to the internet it is the most connected nation on earth. Modern technology can be overdone. One night I went to turn off the lights in our room only to discover there were no switches. Eventually I found a small touch screen near the bed and after a few pages found one referring to lighting. By touching individual icons for each light I was able to make the room dark. In the same hotel when one sat on the toilet seat a soft bell sounded , the seat immediately warmed and the fan switched on. I didn't press any of the 21 buttons adjacent to the toilet seat in case one ejected me into orbit. The Demilitarized Zone is a short 25 Km drive north of Seoul. It is a misnomer as it is the most heavily armed border in the world as the 2 armies face each other separated by a heavily mined 4 km no go zone. Occasionally there are army casualties as they take pot shots at each other. The zone has become a haven for bir ds and other wildlife as they have space studiously avoided by humans. To approach you go through a South Korean Army checkpoint then proceed past kilometres of barbed wire From a high vantage point we were able to take a peep into the hermit kingdom. Kim Jong-un's response was to blare out propaganda via loud speakers across the valley. As I stood there I could only feel sorrow for the poor indoctrinated inhabitants who at times experience hunger and are at risk of summary execution and have a life expectancy 11 years less than their prosperous southern brothers. Before we left the zone we went down an infiltration tunnel, 75 metres underground, built by the North Koreans and after crouching whilst walking the last few hundred metres got within 175 metres of the border. Koreans are friendly, very polite, and well dressed. Their children too are well dressed and exceedingly well behaved. Few Australians visit Korea. The Koreans would welcome more, and visitors can be assured they will not be disappointed. Geoffrey Pearce - October 2016
South Korea in Depth A well researched tour to satisfy true travellers 5
As travellers, we enjoy any place, any country. We did not know what to expect about South Korea when we made the booking but we were pleasantly surprised. We were impressed about the tour completed by the group of 10 people who got on well together. I personally would not change anything as the sightseeing was splendid at all the destinations. Small group tour is the way to go. Joel & Rosinia Couturaud - September 2014

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Special Experiences!

  • Spend a full day exploring stunning Mount Seorak, visiting Sogongwon Park and travelling to Gwongumseong Fortress by cable car, enjoying the beautiful vistas along the way.
  • Relax and enjoy some time at a traditional Korean spa, a very important part of the Korean way of life.
  • Learn about Korea’s traditional martial art, taekwondo, and witness an amazing demonstration.
  • Stop at a Temple for a tea ceremony with monks.
  • Visit the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) separating North and South Korea. Take a peek into North Korea from the Dora Observatory and stop at Dorasan Station and Freedom Bridge. We’ll also take a tour of the Third Infiltration Tunnel by monorail.
  • Enjoy a nanta show - a non-verbal comedy show, and a very popular way to spend an evening in South Korea.

Trip Info

Group Size

Min: 8 | Max: 20

Transportation

Coach, monorail, plane & bullet train

Tips

Total cost includes - Tipping Made Easy, $120pp pre-paid

Tour Highlights

Visit a traditional Korean hanok village • Explore the Buddist temple complex of Mt Maisan • Visit Haeinsa Temple on Mt Gayasan, home to a complete set of Buddhist scriptures • Spend a full day exploring stunning Mount Seorak • Drive through Pyeongchang Olympic Site • Visit Shinheungsa Temple, believed to be the oldest zen temple in the world • Learn the art of making Kimchi, Korea's national dish

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Bunnik Tours Reviews for South Korea in Depth

This tour has a rating of 5 stars based on 2 reviews.