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This morning we will collect you from your hotel and travel South-west 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 guest-houses, museums, galleries and tea-houses. 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 design and the largest such western style structure in the province. Later depart for Gwangju where you will spend the night.
Leaving Gwangyang we 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, it gives an impressive view of the surrounding landscape. In Namhae we 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 Germans - Koreans who had moved to Germany in the 1960’s seeking work and have since returned. We then continue to Busan for the night.
A morning tour 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 as locals haggle with the fishermen selling their fresh catch 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, the national religion at the time. 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.
Located in the North Gyeongsang province and once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, Gyeongju has remnants of this period leading to the city being known as 'the museum without walls'. 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 measuring 200 metres from east to west and 180 metres from north to south. 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 where board a ferry to visit Danyang’s Eight Scenic Wonders mostly referring to mountain peaks surrounding the lake - Dodam Sambong, Seokmun, Sainam Rock, Haseonam, Jungseonam, Sangseonam, Gudambong and Oksunbong. 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, a private museum created by its curator, Seong Mok Son, and is the first of its kind in the world.
After breakfast we move to Mt. Seorak National Park, a magnificent area with towering granite peaks, lush green valleys, dense forest, Buddhist temples and hermitages, waterfalls and clear streams. Enjoy a tour of Mt. Seorak National Park including a cable car ride to Gwongeumseong Fortress and Sinheungsa temple. Our final stop for the day ia at Daepo Port, one of the finest places to find the freshest fish and seafood restaurants.
After breakfast and hotel check out, we will transfer back to Seoul for your departure flights.