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  • Location: Seoul, South Korea
  • Duration:  5 days (approx.)
You’ll see the best of South Korea while visiting sites in and around Seoul on this 4-night private tour with an expert local guide. Tour historic sites from the Joseon era, including Hwaseong Fortress and Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Korean Folk Village. Witness the effects of 20th century wars at the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) where you’ll stop at the Freedom Bridge, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel and Dora Observatory. In the evenings you’ll have time to enjoy Seoul, a city with bustling shopping districts, restaurants, theaters, bars and cafes.

Highlights

  • 5-day private tour of South Korea with professional guide, based in Seoul
  • Admire the architecture of Hwaseong Castle, which blends the best of 18th-century East Asian and European architecture
  • Learn about daily life in the Joseon dynasty at the Korean Folk Village
  • Visit the labrynthine complex at Gyeongbokgung Palace where the royal family and a staff of thousands once lived
  • Explore vibrant Insadong Antique Street where you’ll find arts and antique galleries, Korean tea houses and restaurants
  • Tour the DMZ and see historic artifacts from the Korean War
  • Stop in Dorasan Station in the DMZ, now symbolic of the desire for the unification of Korea

What You Can Expect

4-Night Private South Korea Tour: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Folk Village and DMZ

DMZ - behind a fence

Learn about Korean culture, history, architecture and food as you tour ancient palaces, fortresses, temples and the DMZ between South and North Korea. You'll also have time to explore modern day Seoul. With ample shopping opportunities, great restaurants, and everything from quaint tea houses to top-notch entertainment, you'll find plenty to do in your free time in Seoul.

Four nights of accommodation in Seoul in a 3-star, 4-star or 5-star hotel (your choice), transportation by comfortable coach, four breakfasts and two lunches are included. Depending on the day’s schedule, for meals you’ll have time to explore a location and try restaurants of your choice, and at other times you’ll go to a restaurant with your guide.

Please see the Itinerary section below for details about each day.

Itinerary

Day 1: Seoul
Welcome to Seoul! Arrive anytime and you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel; you will have the evening at your leisure.

Overnight: 3 star - Benhur hotel or similar; 4 star - Seoul Rex or similar; or 5 star - Riverside hotel, La'mir hotel or similar - in Seoul

Day 2: Seoul (B)
Meet your guide after breakfast for a day of history and culture in Seoul! First you’ll travel by air-conditioned minicoach to Cheongwadae Sarangchae, an exhibition and museum space that introduces visitors to Korea’s famous historic figures, UNESCO World Heritage sites, cultural heritage and government.

Next you’ll head to Gyeongbokgung Palace, built in the late 14th century by King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled Korea for more than five centuries. Gyeongbokgung served as the main palace until it was destroyed in a 1592 Japanese invasion, rebuilt in 1867, and destroyed again in 1915. Restoration of the palace’s 330 buildings has been underway since 1990. You’ll see impressive architectural sites, including Geunjeongjeon, the main palace building, and Gyeonghoeru, a large pavilion where kings and state guests were entertained.

On the grounds of Gyeongbokgung, you’ll enter the National Folk Museum, where you’ll find more than 4,000 artifacts that illustrate the religious rituals, customs, food and social dynamics of daily life in Korea.

Then you’ll encounter the largest Buddhist shrine in Seoul at the nearby Jogyesa Buddhist temple decorated with intricate murals of the Buddha. Experience the religious practices as worshippers light candles and incense and say prayers.

Leave the contemplative quiet of the temple and head to the shopping area around Insadong Antique Street, one of the cultural hubs of Seoul. Enjoy perusing the antique stores, boutiques, restaurants, tea houses and galleries that line the alleys off the main street. You’ll have the evening at your leisure.

Overnight: 3 star - Benhur hotel or similar; 4 star - Seoul Rex or similar; or 5 star - Riverside hotel, La'mir hotel or similar - in Seoul

Day 3: Seoul - Hwaseong Fortress and Korean Folk Village (B, L)
You’ll start the day with a drive of 19 miles (30km) to Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in the late 18th century, the fortress represents the pinnacle of 18th century military architecture. Marvel at the fortified walls that extend nearly four miles (6km) and contain four gates, firearm bastions, artillery towers, bunkers and more. Your guide will explain how the fortress influenced the development of Korean architecture, urban planning and landscaping arts.

After strolling around, you’ll have a traditional Korean lunch before exploring the Korean Folk Village. You’ll see artifacts from the Joseon Dynasty and note more than 260 traditional houses that have been restored at the folk village. Pop into workshops and watch artisans make traditional crafts such as pottery, baskets, wooden clogs, straw sandals and musical instruments. Or perhaps catch one of the daily performances featuring tightrope acrobatics, a traditional wedding ceremony or an equestrian show. Afterward, return to Seoul and spend the evening at your leisure.

Overnight: 3 star - Benhur hotel or similar; 4 star - Seoul Rex or similar; or 5 star - Riverside hotel, La'mir hotel or similar - in Seoul

Day 4: Seoul - DMZ (B, L)
In the morning you’ll travel about one hour north of Seoul to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 2.5-mile (4km) wide stretch of land dividing North and South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

You’ll first stop in Imjingak, a park with war artifacts and artillery from the Korean conflict. Continue to the Freedom Bridge, where nearly 13,000 Korean POWs were exchanged at the end of the war.

Next you’ll proceed to the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. Found in 1978, it was blocked by the South Koreans at the border’s military demarcation line.

You’ll then drive to the Dora Observatory, where you can scope out North Korea with binoculars. Observe the North Korean model village of Kijongdong as you listen to your guide explain the conflicts and symbolism evident in the border area.

Then head to Dorasan Station, a train station that used to connect North and South Korea and now has symbolic significance. To wrap up your time at the DMZ, you’ll pass by the Unification Village, a small farming community that models traditional South Korean farming life.

In the afternoon, you’ll return to Seoul and have the rest of your day to spend at your leisure.

Overnight: 3 star - Benhur hotel or similar; 4 star - Seoul Rex or similar; or 5 star - Riverside hotel, La'mir hotel or similar - in Seoul

Day 5: Seoul (B)
Today there are no activities planned and you are free to leave when you wish. You will be transferred to the airport if you are departing by plane.
From USD $ 892.94

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Tour code: 5749ICNESN5D4N

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