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Upon arrival in Seoul you will be met by our representative at Incheon International Airport and transferred to your hotel. Day 1 is designed as an arrival day, rest of the day at leisure.
Today is spent visiting Seoul’s most famous landmarks, this morning we see Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the last Korean Dynasty, the Joseon Dynasty. We visit Jogyesa Temple learn more of Korean culture, tradition and history at the National Folk Museum. Afterwards we stop at Insadong, “dong,” the picturesque Cheonggycheon stream runs along the main street and divides what were once two villages. The area has a traditional atmosphere and represents Korean culture both past and present with a mixture of modern and historical buildings and alleys. Take the chance to explore the many antique, craft and pottery shops as well as traditional restaurants and teahouses.
Today travel Southwest towards Jeonju the capital of Jeollabuk-do province situated in the fertile Honam Plain. In the afternoon explore Jeonju Hanok Village, home to 700 traditional Korean homes built from clay, wood and stone, a rarity in today’s South Korea. Many are still residential properties while others have been converted into guesthouses, museums, galleries and teahouses. Jeonju is also home to the Gyeonggijeon Shrine in honour of King Taejo the founder of the Joseon Dynasty as well as Jeondong Catholic Church built in 1914 in a western-style cathedral design and the largest such western style structure in the province. Later depart for Gwangju where you will spend the night.
Today tour Boesong with its stunning mountains, the Boseong River flowing through the centre and the rolling green hills of tea plantations famous for its green tea of supreme quality. Before visiting picturesque Seonamsa Temple at the western end of Mount Jogyesan with its beautiful arch bridges then continuing to Suncheonman Bay, the ecological capital of South Korea and part of the United Nations Environment Programme, the UNEP. A 40 kilometre long wetland with its vast fields of reeds makes for a spectacular landscape. Onwards to Gwangyang where you will spend the night.
Leaving Gwangyang travel along the coastline to Namhae, known as the ‘treasure island of Korea’. Connected to the mainland by a 660 metre long and 80 metre high suspension bridge giving an impressive view of the surrounding landscape. In Namhae visit Daraengi Village with its 108 terraces of rice patties covering the hillside and the German village. Built in the style of German architecture and even using German materials imported from Germany. The village was built for German - Koreans who had moved to Germany in the 1960’s seeking work and since returned. Continue to Busan for the night.
A morning tour of Busan takes in the Busan Tower in Yongdusan Park and provides perfect views of the entire city. See the vivid life of the Jagalchi Fish Market before you depart for Gyeongju. Serving as the capital of the Silla Kingdom from 57BC – 935AD, Gyeongju is a living history museum containing archaeological sites of the Silla Kingdom as well as ancient relics pertaining to Buddhism. During the afternoon you will visit the UNESCO listed temples of Bulguska including the Seokguram Grotto, one of Asia’s finest Buddhist shrines, resting 750 metres above sea level and looking out over the Sea of Japan, it is considered to contain one of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world.
An afternoon tour of Gyeongju takes you to Tumuli Park to visit some of the large and small tombs from the Silla period including that of King Michu, the 13th King of the dynasty famed for fending off invaders. Also once part of the ancient Silla complex is Anapji Pond, an immense oval shaped man made pond. During renovations to the area in the 1970’s and 80’s many relics were unearthed and are today housed in the Gyeongju National Museum alongside the Emille Bell, with its shady legend, is the largest extant bell in Korea. Later we visit the oldest surviving observatory in East Asia and one of the world’s oldest scientific installations still in existence, Cheomseongdae Observatory.
An early departure for Yeongju where en-route you visit the Sosuseowon Confucian School, the first private Confucian academy established in Korea before touring Seonbichon Village, the home of the Korea’s classic Confucian scholars, a good opportunity to learn more about traditional Korean ways. Later tour Buseoska Temple, huge in size it is considered one of the most beautiful in all of Korea. Onward to Cheonpung.
We visit Cheongpung Lake and board a ferry to visit Danyang’s Eight Scenic Wonders mostly referring to mountain peaks surrounding the lake. Please note the ferry ride is subject to weather conditions, in the unlikely event that it is cancelled it will be substituted with a visit to Dodamsambong Peak and Gosu Cave. Later pay a visit to Chamsori Gramophone Audio Museum. Travelling along the beautiful coastline to Mount Seoraksan we stop en-route at Unification Park where you can see the salvaged remains of a North Korean submarine which was wrecked off the coast in 1996 before making our final stop for the day at Daepo Port, one of the finest places to find the freshest fish and seafood restaurants.
Today is spent hiking and exploring Mt.Seoraksan National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Korea, with towering granite peaks, lush green valleys, Buddhist temples, dense forests and clear streams. You will be able to view the park in the best way possible as you take a cable car to Gweongeumseong Peak before visiting Shinheungsa Temple nestled at the foot of the park. This afternoon depart for Seoul.
Today is free to spend as you please, why not visit some of the well known open air markets such as Namdaemun or Dongdaemun for some last minute shopping.
Tour ends after breakfast. Included onward transfer to airport.