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South Korea has ridden a helter-skelter of economic, political and social rebirth through the ravages of the 20th century but is now a flourishing, delightful and absorbing destination that blends both modern cosmopolitan and traditional Confucian elements. Our tour of this historic country has been carefully planned to showcase its natural beauties and ancient culture as well as the bustling high-tech capital. We show you quaint alleyways and thousand-year-old palaces that stand aloof from Seoul’s glittering neon lights.
The itinerary is subject to availability at the time of booking.
Air France Business Class upgrades from £1595 return
13 days visiting Seoul, Gwangju, Suncheon, Busan, Gyeongju and Andong
Depart London Heathrow at around 1750 on the Air France flight to Seoul via Paris.
Arrive Seoul around 1555 and transfer to the Center Mark Hotel for 3 nights.
Join a full day seat in coach tour of Seoul, visiting the Jogyesa Temple and the Gyeongbok Palace, which is undergoing extensive restoration to its former grandeur. In the grounds is the National Folk Museum where you can see thousands of everyday utensils and ceremonial items. Explore the shops and galleries along Insadong Antique Alley where you can buy ceramics and other traditional crafts. Continue to a Korean folk Village. (BL)
Join a seat in coach tour to the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone along the 38th parallel that divides North and South Korea, and which is the most heavily fortified border in the world. Also see the 3rd Tunnel, one of four tunnels under the border. Continue to Imjingak Park, Dora Observatory, Dorasan Station and the Unification Village. The tour ends at Itaewon Street and you return to your hotel on your own. (B)
Drive to Boseong and visit a tea plantation. Continue to Suncheon and visit the visit Seonamsa Temple where you can see Korea’s most beautiful arched stone bridge and Nakaneupseong Fortress Village that contains a town castle. The castle has been very preserved and about 100 families still reside there. Overnight at Suncheon Ecograd Hotel. (B)
Drive to Yeosu and visit Odongdo Island, famous for its camellia forest and Hyangiram Hermitage, located in the top of Mt. Geomosan and established by monk Wonhyo in the 7th century. Continue to Busan, the largest port city in South Korea and stay at the Busan Tower Hill Hotel. (B)
Full day tour of Busan pausing at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple first built in 1376 and situated on the coast of the north-eastern part of Busan. Continue to Dongbaekseom Island, noted for its beautiful natural landscape accented by dense camellia and pine trees, Haeundae Beach, Busan Tower for fantastic panoramic views of Busan city, and Jagalchi Fish Market, the largest seafood market in Korea. Drive to Gyeongju and stay 2 nights at Gyeongju Commodore Chosun Hotel. (B)
Full day tour of Gyeongju visiting Gyeongju National Museum, which preserves much of the Silla heritage, including magnificent gold crowns, pottery, Buddhist artifacts, stone sculptures and the legendary Emille Bell - 25 tons of bronze standing 11 feet high. Continue to Tumuli Park, a collection of royal Silla tombs, Cheomseongdae Observatory, the world's earliest known existing observatory, Anapji Pond, Seokguram Grotto designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bulguksa Temple, a monument to both the skill of the Silla architects and the depth of Buddhist faith at the time. (B)
Drive to Andong and visit Hahoe Village where the housing architecture and the village structure of the Joseon dynasty has been preserved. Overnight at traditional hanok guest house. (There is no western-style bed, there will be a Korean-style mattress on the floor, called a ‘yo’). (B)
Breakfast at a local restaurant (the guest house doesn’t provide meals). Return to Seoul by road and stay at the Center Mark Hotel. (B)
Day at leisure to enjoy this fantastic city at your own pace. (B)
Early transfer to the airport for your return flight to London Heathrow flying with Air France via Paris arriving later the same day. (B)
The Center Mark Hotel enjoys a central location and has a total of 250 guest rooms, all with modern conveniences including LED TV, heating and air conditioning, wifi, in-room safe and hairdryer. There are a range of restaurants serving International, Japanese, fast food and Korean barbecue.
The Commodore is a welcoming hotel with a selection of rooms and suites all with modern amenities such as heating/air conditioning, wifi, and hairdryer. There is a Korean Restaurant. A Japanese Restaurant and a third which serves International cuisine, as well as a lobby lounger/bar. There is also an outdoor swimming pool and a sauna.