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SURPRISING SOUTH KOREA
  • Best Time to Visit

    April, May, September & October

  • Duration

    10 Days

  • Theme

    Beaches, History & Architecture, Nature & Landscape

  • Accommodations

    High-end Boutique hotels

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

From the bustling capital of high-tech Seoul to the volcanic island of Jeju that is abundant with waterfalls and white sand beaches, South Korea is a fascinating medley of classic and modern. Ancient palaces to quaint tearooms, karaoke bars to mystical centuries-old Buddhist temples, lava tubes to war relics, this itinerary comes packed with surprises every day, in the backdrop of 5000 years of culture and history.

Itinerary

Day 1: SEOUL

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Begin the Korean holiday with a panorama view of the entire capital city from Seoul Sky Observatory at the top of the Lotte World Tower today. Reconnect with ground level with a relaxing stroll under the cherry blossoms around Seokchon Lake. Then give in to your inner gastronome at Namdaemun Market and sample bibimbap, kalguksu hand-cut noodles or galchi jorim, hairtail fish with spicy red pepper sauce. Celebrate a wonderful first day with a lively night out at Seoul’s own Jazz Club.

Day 2: SEOUL

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Dip into South Korea's culture with the Seoul City Full Day Private Tour that includes the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony and Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village and Insadong, Jogyesa Temple and N Seoul Tower. Make a pitstop at the Korean Bangsan Market for some intricately pressed wrapping paper. Wander in neighbourhoods like Hip Hongdae known for its contemporary art galleries and traditional villages of Namsangol Hanok and Kubkchon Hanok. Continue to the bohemian Ihwa Mural Village and at the top of the village, hit the Seoul City Walland and return via the beautiful downhill hike.

Day 3: SEOUL

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Reserve half day for Gangnam District to enjoy the ambience of snazzy boutiques, traditional temples, and swishy bars. Contrast the experience with a visit to the Bongeunsa Temple and learn of the K-Pop explosion at the Hanryu Experience Hall. Witness the exciting shark exhibit at COEX Aquarium before hopping on to an hour-long Han River cruise. Back in town, pose, preen and pretend with the many illusions at the Trick Eye Museum. Or indulge yourself at the city’s retail destination, Myeong Dong. Let your hair down at Lotte World Theme Park, the world’s largest indoor theme park and Outdoor Amusement Park, Magic Island.

Day 4: SEOUL

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Thrilling moments await you today during a day trip to the De-Militarized Zone, the buffer zone between North & South Korea, situated 60 km from Seoul city. At the world’s most heavily guarded border, you can wander around war relics and monuments in addition to the one-of-a-kind 1.2 km long tunnel dug by North Korea army, Dorasan station and Korea’s Freedom Bridge, which runs next to the Imjingak River. Wonder about how people escape the North and how they adapt to a new life later.

Day 5: BUSAN

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Peruse coastal Busan in a languid half-day tour, spanning Dongbaekseom Island, Busan Cinema Center and Haeundae Beach. The Busan Aquarium containing over 250 species of fish, algae, reptiles, and amphibians spread over three underground levels is a highlight of the tour. Dip into the unique tunnel experience, which feels like a walk along the ocean floor with sea creatures swimming overhead.

Day 6: BUSAN

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Venture out to the coastal city of Gyeongju for the day. Visit the Bulguksa Temple nestled on the slopes of Mount Toham. Get blown away by 8th-century engineering feats at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Seokguram Grotto. See artistic relics at the National Museum. Meander through the Haeinsa Temple, home to the iconic Tripitaka Koreana, a collection of more than 81,000 wooden blocks inscribed with Buddhist scripture. Trace faded Korean royalty at Tumuli Park, where tombs stand covered by aesthetic green mounds. Find Asian mystique at the Bulguksa Temple, set among pine forests and mountains.

Day 7: BUSAN

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Busan’s full-day sightseeing tour takes you through the scenic vistas of Taejongdae, the exciting Songdo Skywalk and the religious atmosphere of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Revel in the vibrance of the pastel-painted houses of Gamcheon Culture Village that lure you up the steep slopes into tiny alleys. Remember to pick up an authentic snack of the city’s famous Ssiat Hotteok. Later, pamper yourself at the world’s largest departmental store, Shinsegae Centum City located at Centum City, symbol of contemporary Busan.

Day 8: JEJU ISLAND

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Fly to the volcanic island of Jeju to soak in eye-candy landscapes against a pleasant subtropical climate. Learn about Korea’s traditional tea ceremonies at the Osulloc Tea Museum. Stretch your legs as you climb the Mount Halla. Then let your heart skip a beat as you discover the 25,000 feet long Manjanggul Lava Tube Caves. Soak into ancient island living when you visit the traditional village before calling it a day.

Day 9: JEJU ISLAND

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Today, get in touch with your spiritual side at Tadao Ando-designed meditation and art complex. Tour Samseonghyeol Shrine, the birthplace of the island’s three main clans. For those with a green thumb, special delights await at a botanical garden specialising in bonsai. Head to Seongeup Folk to explore cultural treasures like Confucian shrines, large millstones, stone statues, fortress ruins as well as soak in the essence of folk plays, cuisine, crafts and local dialect.

Day 10: JEJU ISLAND

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Consider an early morning walk along the ridge of the 600m wide crater of Seongsan Ilchulbong, (translated as Sunrise Peak), accessed via a sloping, grassy hill. Later, ponder over nature’s mysteries at the dramatic shoreline of the Jusangjeolli Cliffs, located near Jungmun Beach, made up of rectangular pillars that look hand carved. Go horseback riding, on the special breed of island pony, the Jorangmal. Conclude this beautiful vacation with a luxurious Korean spa.


Pricing starts from INR 2,00,000 per person

Pricing is indicative and subject to change depending on travel month, duration and selected accommodations.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Return International Airfare to Seoul
  • Domestic flights and inter-city transportation in Korea
  • Accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
  • Private Airport Transfers in all cities
  • Activities & Excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Travel Insurance

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Lunch & Dinner unless specified in the itinerary
  • Visas
Teresa Fisher
Author
"

Teresa Fisher is a National Geographic author and freelance travel writer based in Portsmouth, UK. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Exeter University, she initially worked in London for Sotheby’s auction house; then in Europe as a cross-cultural communications trainer, living in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan. While residing in Bavaria, she commenced a career in travel writing, focusing initially on Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy – destinations which still hold a special place in her heart. Teresa has since penned more than 30 guidebooks and children’s educational books on a wide variety of destinations from Europe to Japan, for publishers such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s and Fodor’s, and including National Geographic Traveler Switzerland. She specializes in European cities, adventure travel to far-flung destinations and all things Alpine, dividing her time between her family-oriented website, familyskinews.com, and photojournalism. Her stories have taken her round the globe, documenting wildlife and culture in some of the world’s more remote places. Highlights include tracking jaguars by dugout canoe in Guyana, tracking orangutan in eastern Sabah, backpacking round Japan, and being part of the first team of husky mushers to cross from Finland into Russia. When she’s not travelling or skiing, Teresa spends summer months aboard her houseboat in the world’s largest natural harbour, Poole Harbour. Teresa speaks French, German and some Italian, plays the violin and piano, and is a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and The Arts Society. She has been leading expeditions for National Geographic in Europe for more than half a dozen years.

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  • Jul 19-28, 2020
  • Sep 6-15, 2020
Patrick Hunt
Archaeologist Author
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Award-winning archaeologist, author, and National Geographic grantee Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and has taught at Stanford University for nearly 30 years. Patrick directed the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project from 1994 to 2012, and has continued project-related fieldwork in the region in the years since. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Society, and he frequently lectures for National Geographic on Hannibal and the European mummy nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman. He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He is the author of 21 published books, including the best-sellers Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History and Hannibal. He has a lifelong love of the Alps, having lived there for several months each year since 1994.

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  • Aug 2-11, 2020
  • Aug 16-25, 2020
Tim Jepson
Author
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Tim Jepson is a British, London-based writer, traveler, and broadcaster. He began his traveling life at the age of 12, exploring the mountains of Britain and Ireland. After graduating from Oxford University, he lived and worked in Italy, writing for a variety of British newspapers and leading high-level expeditions in the country’s remotest corners. His experiences were recorded in a book, Wild Italy. He has since written more than 20 books, including several titles for National Geographic, and numerous articles for publications worldwide. Tim worked as a travel editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and continues to travel extensively, with a passion for the farthest-flung destinations and the untrammeled cultures of Bhutan, Laos, Tibet, and Myanmar. He recently completed The British World: An Illustrated Atlas for National Geographic.

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  • Jun 21-30, 2020
Alexander Murphy
Geographer
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Alexander (Alec) Murphy is at the forefront of the movement to combat geographical illiteracy in the United States. A geography professor at the University of Oregon, Alec is Senior Vice-President of the American Geographical Society, a past president of the American Association of Geographers, and a frequent advisor on National Geographic education initiatives. Research, speaking invitations, and travel have taken him to more than 100 countries on six continents. Throughout his career, much of Alec’s work has focused on Europe; his book, The European Culture Area (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), is the most widely used classroom text on the geography of Europe in the United States. In the late 1990s he began extending his focus to the Middle East and North Africa, and by the early 2000s Alec found himself increasingly drawn to various parts of Asia. He is now a regular visitor to China, and he recently became the first foreigner to give a plenary lecture at the opening session of the Chinese Geographical Society’s annual meeting. Alec holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from Yale University, a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Chicago. Drawing on his expertise in political, cultural, and environmental geography, he will offer his insights into the human and physical forces shaping the places we visit.

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  • Aug 30-Sep 8, 2020
Everett Potter
Author
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Travel writer Everett Potter has been covering the globe for three decades in pursuit of great stories. For the past 15 years, many of his pieces have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, including a recent feature, “Swiss Tracks,” for which he traveled by rail, cog-railway, tram, and lake steamer around the country. He’s also written about various destinations in the Caribbean, Canada, Central America, and other European destinations for the magazine. Everett received his B.A. in English from Boston University in 1974 and his M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. He was a longtime columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, Smart Money, and Ski, and his work has appeared in most major publications, including Outside, The Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, and Forbes Life. He is the author of The Best of Brazil and has been awarded four Lowell Thomas Awards for his travel writing. He lives in Pelham, New York, and spends summers in a rustic cabin in Western Maine.

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  • Jul 5-14, 2020
  • Sep 13-22, 2020
William Saturno
Educator Archaeologist
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William Saturno is an archaeologist and storyteller specializing in the myths and histories of early civilizations and the politics of empire. A National Geographic Explorer and a former NASA research scientist, he has conducted fieldwork around the globe, both on the ground and from space, to understand the ideological and environmental foundations of how the great Czars, Khans, Emperors, and Ajaws of the past ruled over their societies. As an avid student and scholar of the ancient world, Bill weaves together data from archaeology, anthropology, and history spanning from the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia to the deserts and grasslands of Eurasia and from the shores of the ancient Mediterranean to those of Scandinavian fjords, narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings alike to bring the past vividly to life. He has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years in diverse geographies, including Mexico, Guatemala, China, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, and beyond.

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  • Jun 14-23, 2020
David Silverberg
Geographer Geologist Conservationist
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David Scott Silverberg is a geographer working on conservation projects spanning six continents. His mix of exploration, research, and digital photo-video storytelling has been popular with National Geographic travelers for many years. A fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asia Society, David was the executive science director at Earthwatch Institute, set up and managed Boston University environmental field research programs in British Columbia and eastern Africa, and was a founding White House staff member for AmeriCorps. David has worked in more than 100 countries, manages the Environmental Learning Institute, and teaches at several international universities.

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  • Jun 7-16, 2020