The Soul of Korea

The quintessential journey of South Korea exploring the heart and soul of the country, a land steeped in ancient traditions and heritage, history and a proud legacy. On this sojourn, we see and taste the best of South Korea on an unforgettable journey of discovery less explored. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in boutique charming hanoks in Seoul and Gyeongju

Experience the best of South Korea's ancient folk villages

Savour the finest Korean cuisine

Experience the country with local regional specialist guides

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE INCHEON / BUSAN

Arriving at Incheon Intl Airport, connect to a short domestic flight to Gimhae Intl Airport. Upon arrival, be met and transfer to Busan - South Korea's second largest city, a major sea port and essentially the seafood capital of the country. Begin with a visit to Yongdusan Park where we ride an elevator to the lookout point inside Busan Tower to take in marvellous views of the city and seascape. Thereafter, a short drive takes us past the Gwangan Bridge en route to Dalmajigil for a scenic admiration of Busan's famous Haeunde Beach against the forested pine forests of Mount Wausan. Continue next to the 14th Century Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, built on the rocky outcrops against the sea during the Goryeo Dynasty. This evening, we visit the busy and bustling Jagalchi Market where you will witness an astonishing variety of fresh seafood caught from the Sea of Japan. Most of the fish sellers are women since the Korean War took the lives of many men from fishing families. Known as "Jagalchi ajummas", witness their exceptional skills at slicing and preparing fish. We then enjoy a sumptuous Seafood Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant near the market. 

Overnight: Park Hyatt, Busan

Meals: Lunch & Dinner

DAY 2: BUSAN (EXCURSION TO JINHAE & GAMCHEON)

Today we begin a visit to the colourful neighbourhood of Gamcheon Cultural Village, a fascinating hillside enclave decorated with beautiful pastel houses, sculptures and art installations. Referred to as the "Santorini of the East", Gamcheon was built during the rebuilding phase after the Korean War. Explore the labyrinthine alleyways, artisan workshops as we walk with a Gamcheon local offering deeper insights into this beautiful town. Enjoy a sumptuous and traditional hot stone rice dish for lunch in a charming local restaurant before continuing to the cherry blossom capital of Jinhae where spectacular cherry blossoms blanket the whole town in Spring. Take a walk along the iconic Yeojwacheon Stream which spans over 1.5km with beautiful arched bridges. Return to Busan later and spend the rest of the day at leisure. 

Overnight: Park Hyatt, Busan

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

 

DAY 3: BUSAN / GYEONGJU / ANDONG

After breakfast, we leave Busan and travel north to Gyeongju - capital of the ancient Shilla Kingdom between the 7th and 9th centuries. Visit the UNESCO-listed Bulguksa Temple - the Temple of the Land Buddha, a testimony to both the skills of Shilla architects and the depth of Buddhist faith at the time. Continue next to another UNESCO site, the Seokguram Buddhist Grotto which displays world religious arts. We then visit the Cheomseongdae Observatory - the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia. Finally, transfer to Andong, soul and heart of the Joseon Dynasty with a strong influence in Confucianism. Enjoy a stay in a charming "hanok", a traditional Korean guesthouse to experience a warm and sincere Korean hospitality with sumptuous courses of traditional Korean cuisine. 

Overnight: Gurume, Andong

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 4: ANDONG (VISIT OF HAHOE FOLK VILLAGE)

Today, we visit the UNESCO-listed Hahoe Folk Village - home of traditional Korean culture and blessed with cultural items from virtually every period of Korea's history. There are many wonderful cultural artefacts preserved from the memories of the past, allowing you to appreciate the culture and legacies of Korea's ancestors. Take a walk with a local specialist guide showing you the village's ancient setting with its collection of large tile-roofed houses enveloped by the elegant Nakdong River. For a panoramic view of the village, head to the Buyongdae Cliff. Catch the traditional Hahoe Masked Dance drama performance (March to December every Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun). 

Overnight: Gurume, Andong

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 5: ANDONG / DAEGU / SEOUL

Today, transfer to Daegu (1hr drive) where then, embark onboard the high speed KTX bullet train to Seoul (2hrs train journey). On arrival at Seoul Station, be met and enjoy an orientation tour of Seoul's main districts with its atmospheric shopping, entertainment and dining districts of Dongdaemun, Insadong and Myeongdong. We then arrive at the Rak Ko Jae Seoul, a 130 year-old Korean traditional home embodying the aristocratic spirit of the Chosun Dynasty. Enjoy a delightful Welcome Dinner in exceptional traditional Korean style.  

Overnight: Rak Ko Jae, Seoul

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6: SEOUL (CITY & SUWON EXCURSION)

We travel to the nearby city of Suwon today for a visit to the Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site built by King Jeongjo in the late 18th Century during the Joseon Dynasty as a defensive fortification against political rebels. Thereafter, spend some time at the Paldamun Market to experience the vibe of local life with street vendors, shops and street snacks. Return back to Seoul where we will visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace - the first royal palace built during the Joseon Dynasty and the most comprehensive and grandest of the five palaces. 

Overnight: Rak Ko Jae, Seoul

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7: DEPART SEOUL

Spend the morning at leisure. Consider a stroll at the charming Bukchon Hanok Village, an area primarily occupied by the upper class in the Joseon Dynasty with heritage buildings and shops that have been here for centuries or perhaps make a last minute shopping spree in the commercial areas of Insadong, Myeongdong or Dongdaemun. Later, be transferred to Incheon Intl Airport for your onward journey. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Located in Haeundae District next to Busan Marina, the luxurious Park Hyatt offers exquisite rooms and suites featuring a sky lobby on the 30th floor and 2 restaurants. Rooms are furnished with warm beige tones, wood and textile decor and French oak flooring and offers floor to ceiling windows and exceptional views of the city and Busan Marina. 

Park Hyatt, Busan

Gurume Andong is a traditional Korean hanok combining traditional charm with understated modern luxurious elegance situated in the Seonggok neighourhood in Andong. Seven traditional old houses were completely refurbished to provide guests the opportunity to experience Andong's aristrocratic Confucianism past, warm hospitality and fine traditional Korean cuisine in a luxurious retreat. 

Gurume, Andong

Rak Ko Jae Seoul is a Korean traditional hanok and retreat with a history of 130 years. It was renovated by Human National Treasure Master Carpenter, Chung Young Jin in 2003 and received international acclaim. Rak Ko Jae offers the opportunity to experience the traditional beauty of Korea enjoying the fine hospitality and savouring exquisite Korean cuisine in a refined environment. 

Rak Ko Jae, Seoul

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