- Seoul palace and market tour with a friendly and knowledgeable guide
- Marvel at the pavilions and gardens of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Jogyesa Buddhist Temple
- Peruse antique artifacts and local artwork at the Insadong Antique Market and Namdaemun Market
- Enjoy an authentic Korean lunch at a local restaurant
What You Can Expect
Your first stop is Gyeongbokgung Palace, constructed in 1395. Because much of this royal palace was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, there are many restoration projects underway. With your guide, marvel at the grandeur of the original and new portions.
Inside, visit the National Folklore Museum, whose historical replicas illustrate traditional Korea. Browse the extensive artifacts to learn what life has been like for Koreans from ancient times to the 20th century. You’ll also learn about the deep roots of Confucianism in Korean culture.
(Please note that Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed on Tuesdays, in which case you’ll visit Deoksugung Palace instead. This walled compound of traditional palace buildings, forested gardens and a statue of King Sejong the Great is home to the Seoul Museum of History, where you’ll discover Seoul's traditional culture as you browse the exhibits with your guide.)
Next up is Jogyesa Buddhist Temple, the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Admire the lovely locust and baeksong trees lining the entrance and enter the main temple, dating back 500 years, to see the statue of Seokgamoni, the historic Buddha at the moment of enlightenment.
At midday, enjoy a tasty Korean lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Changdeokgung palace, a perfectly preserved palace from the Joseon Dynasty. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, discover the grand pavilions, massive gate, several halls and the Geumcheongyo Bridge – the oldest bridge in Seoul. At the Huwon (Rear Garden), marvel at the beautiful landscape of lotus ponds, lush lawns, trees and flowers.
(Please note that on Mondays, you’ll visit Changgyeonggung Palace instead. It is another one of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ of the Joseon Dynasty, featuring incredible ancient structures.)
Head next to the Insadong Antique Alley in central Seoul . With your guide, wander down alleys to browse traditional Korean restaurants, teahouses and galleries full of antique artifacts and local artwork.
Finish your tour at Namdaemun Market, the largest traditional market in Korea, opened in 1964. with various goods in store. You can find great bargains here and snatch up the perfect souvenir to remind you of your trip to Korea! You’ll then be taken back to your hotel.
A wonderful day spent in thei company of the delightful guide Saywa (I should have asked how to spell her name), a day of Temples and Palaces and many wonders to behold. My main impression is one of colour. There are stark contrasts between the very new and the traditional in terms of architecture and art and all the while there is the background hum of traffic. Dragon flies and plants, trees on the tops of buildings speak of the continuum of nature in the midst of man made activity. Go on this tour and have a good taste of Korean culture and culinary skill - lunch, bibinbap, was lovely.