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Treasures of Korea

8 days

A private journey for departure any day

Overall Rating
based on 2 Reviews

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Private Discoveries for our World Travelers

+ See the Changing of the Guard in Seoul and join city residents shopping in world-famous Gangnam.
+ Learn to prepare traditional Korean dishes with our hands-on cooking class.
+ Return to the days of the Cold War on our special visit to the DMZ between South Korea and North Korea.
+ Step into the Shilla Dynasty in ancient Gyeongju.
+ Includes 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites

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Day
1

Welcome to Seoul

Upon arrival, your private car and driver will take you to the 5-star JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square.  Meals D

Day
2

Discover Seoul… Past + Present

Your exploration into Korea’s rich history begins at the resplendent 500-year-old Gyeongbokgung Palace where you’ll see the Royal Changing of the Guard, a colorful spectacle that traces its roots to 1469! Then step aboard a traditional rickshaw to explore the ancient lanes of Bukchon Hanok, an authentic village-like enclave in the heart of the capital. Fast forward to the 21st century in Gangnam, a bustling district that gained worldwide fame in 2012 when the music video Gangnam Style garnered more than 2 billion YouTube hits! Mingling with city residents in the vast underground complex that houses more than 1,000 specialty shops and boutiques offers a genuine look into the daily life of Seoul’s residents – young and old, wealthy and middle class. Meals B

Day
3

Flavors of Seoul

This morning’s hands-on culinary class is the best way to learn about Korea’s wonderful culinary traditions. You’ll learn how to make some of the country’s most popular dishes including Soondubu Jigae, a hearty stew with vegetables and tofu that is deeply flavored and richly spiced. There are different variations and many recipes also call for beef, pork or seafood. After a congenial lunch featuring your culinary creations, you’ll tour Jogyesa Temple. Spending time here in Korea’s principle Zen Buddhist temple offers an authentic look into the country’s deep spiritual traditions. Next up is Gwangjang Market. Established in 1905, this was the country’s first daily market and although it’s become popular with visitors from abroad, it’s still where many local residents come to shop for the finest quality silks, textiles, beddings and handicrafts. And with numerous food vendors specializing in traditional Korean snacks, it’s also a foodie’s paradise!

On our special Cherry Blossom Departure in April, your touring continues into the evening at a local park where you’ll join festive city residents who are out strolling and enjoying the profusion of delicate pink blossoms.  Meals B+L

Day
4

Visit the DMZ + Travel to Gyeongju

Your privately guided visit this morning to the Demilitarized Zone is a fascinating yet stark reminder of the Cold War legacy. From the Dora Observatory, located on the South Korean side of the 38th Parallel, you’ll be able to see the spectacularly rugged Geumgangsan Diamond Mountains as well as North Korean military personnel. Not far from the Observatory is the infamous Third Tunnel; discovered in October 1978, this is one of four known tunnels under the border between North and South Korea. Apparently designed for a surprise attack on Seoul, it’s estimated that it would have taken only one hour for 10,000 soldiers to pass through the mile-long tunnel!

After your tour of the DMZ, you’ll board the KTX, often called the Korean Bullet Train, for Gyeongju – the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty for 1,000 years. Upon arrival, enjoy a traditional dinner of Korean barbecue and then visit Anapji Pond. Originally part of the ancient palace complex, this manmade reservoir is surrounded by forests and pavilions which are beautifully illuminated at night. Enjoy a 2-night stay at the deluxe Gyeongju Suites Hotel.  Meals B+D

Day
5

Discover ancient Gyeongju

Your exploration into Korea’s ancient past begins in the forested mountains where the perfectly preserved village homes of Yangdong c offer a glimpse into life 500 years ago during the peak of the Joseon Dynasty. Today’s lunch features ssambap, a Gyeongju specialty of meat and rice wrapped in a fresh lettuce leaf. Then tour Bulguksa Temple c, an exquisite complex of ancient wooden pavilions and pagodas built on stone terraces amidst picturesque forests and hills. At Seokguram Grotto c, established in the 8th century, you’ll behold a monumental statue of Buddha looking out to the sea. After visiting Gyeongju National Museum to learn more about Korea’s ancient dynasties, you’ll tour the Daereungwon Tomb Complex where 23 kings and noblemen of the Shilla Dynasty were laid to rest under large burial mounds.  Meals B+L

Day
6

Fly to Jeju Island

After breakfast, embark on a scenic drive to the bustling Pacific port of Busan to board your included flight to Jeju Island. Upon arrival, join your guide for a tour of the Jeju Bunjae Artpia Museum. Also known at the Spirit Garden, this delightful park opened in 1992 and comprises more than 9 acres, all beautifully landscaped with ponds, waterfalls, graceful stone bridges, centuries-old pine trees, maple, wisteria and more than 100 rare species of indigenous plants. Then marvel at the lovely Cheonjiyeon Falls, surrounded by lush tropical greenery, before continuing to the deluxe Shilla Jeju Hotel where your evening is free to dine and enjoy as you wish.  Meals B+L

Day
7

Discover Jeju Island

Your first stop on today’s privately guided exploration of this beautiful island is Yeomiji Botanical Garden where more than 2,000 rare tropical and subtropical plants are brilliantly displayed in a vast indoor setting. Outside, you can explore unique gardens that reflect the different aesthetics and traditions of Korean, Japanese, Italian and French landscaping principles. Situated at the foot of Mt. Halla, Seongeup Folk Village offers an authentic look into the distinctive lifestyle and cultural traditions of Jeju Island. Behind unusual walls of black lava rock, you’ll stroll with your guide along village lanes that transition from straight to curved and back again to block the wind. Here among the ancient trees, traditional homes, thatch-roofed farmhouses and livestock, you’ll experience a slice of island life. Next up is the unique geological wonder of Manjanggul Cave c, the longest lava tube in the world. The day ends on a high note atop Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak c where you’ll have a magnificent view of the sun setting over the Pacific.  Meals B

Day
8

Farewell, Korea

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight back to Seoul where our tour ends for your onward journey.  Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Add our Backroads & Teahouses of Japan

Add 8 days in Japan from $4,999 per person

Add our Backroads & Teahouses of Japan tour to your Korea trip for a sweeping survey of these two distinctive countries and experience for yourself their surprising similarities and fascinating differences. As a special offer, you’ll SAVE $1,000 per person off the total price for this once-in-a-lifetime 2-week vacation. See page 34 for our complete Japan itinerary featuring exclusive cultural experiences and off-the-beaten path exploration.

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Day
1

Welcome to Tokyo

Check in to your Deluxe Room at the city-center Hilton Hotel.

Day
2

Out and about in Tokyo

Your day begins with a guided stroll through Hamarikyu Garden, a lovely oasis surrounded by the city’s skyscrapers. Refresh with a cup of macha in a teahouse set on a garden island and then enjoy a cruise along the Sumida River. Step off in Asakusa, one of the city’s oldest districts, to visit Asakusa Kannon Temple and the bustling Nakamise Arcade. Enjoy a hands-on class in the preparation of both nigiri and maki sushi and then sit down to a congenial lunch. Tour the Meiji Shrine before returning to your hotel for a free evening. Meals B,L

Day
3

Along the forested trails of Kamakura

Travel by rail to Kamakura to visit Jochiji Temple, founded in 1283. A pleasant 2-hour hike along a carefully tended forested trail offers lovely views of the sea. Visit a small Shinto shrine as you make your way to Kotokuin Temple, home to Kamakura’s famous giant bronze Buddha. Marvel at the gilded statue of the Goddess of Mercy at Hasedara Temple before returning to Tokyo. Meals B,L

Day
4

Hakone and Mt. Fuji National Park

With forested slopes and the image of Mt. Fuji reflected in the waters of Lake Ashi, this is one of Japan’s most spectacular regions, and we’ve made special arrangements for you to experience its beauty... Ascend by cable car over steaming mineral pools to Mt. Owakudani, cruise on Lake Ashi and hike along one of the last remaining sections of the Old Tokaido Highway. Sample rice wine in an Edo-era tea house and overnight at the Fujiya Hotel. Meals B,L,D
 

Day
5

By rail to Kyoto c

Ride the world-famous Bullet Train to Kyoto arriving in time for lunch and a guided afternoon walking or biking tour through the Gion district where Geisha traditions began long ago. Delight in the weeping willows and quaint tea houses that line the Shirakawa Canal and visit the beautiful gardens of the Imperial Palace Park. Continue along the Kamogawa River, lined with cherry trees abloom in the spring, and overnight at the Brighton Hotel. Meals B,L

Day
6

Out and about in Kyoto

Your exploration of Japan’s spiritual heart begins fittingly with our special Zen meditation experience at a Buddhist temple. Then visit Nijo Castle with its remarkable Nightingale Floor, designed to “chirp” a warning if would-be assassins intruded into the Shogun’s quarters! Visit the vermilion-hued Heian Shrine and marvel at the exotic foods and wares of the bustling Nishiki Market. Enjoy magnificent views from the terrace of Kiyomizu Temple before returning to your hotel.
Meals B,L

Day
7

Ancient Nara c

Today’s full-day excursion showcases the historic temples of Japan’s first capital including Todaiji, the world’s largest wooden building, and Kasuga Taisha, founded in 768 and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns. At Fushimi Inari Shrine, featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha, you’ll walk through its 10,000 red torii gates to
the summit for amazing views over the wooded hills. Return to Kyoto where your evening is free. Meals B,L

Day
8

Sayonara, Japan!

Your journey with us ends this morning. Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Tokyo

Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, city sightseeing and airport transfers via the convenient Airport Limousine Bus.

Be a Beijing Insider

This Private Tour just for your traveling party includes your choice of deluxe or luxury hotel, 5 meals and extensive sightseeing with your own personal car, driver and guide.

Be A Hong Kong Insider

Our resident guide will take you around town like a savvy insider to discover facets of Hong Kong which few visitors ever glimpse! We include transfers, a choice of fine city-center hotels, our exclusive Be a Hong Kong Insider full-day private tour, and more!

Korea MapSearch

Save $1,000 Per Couple
+ $500 Solo

Pay in full at time of booking.

Occupancy

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Date RangeFromAvailabilityDeparture Note

Prices are per person, double occupancy, and may vary during holidays and trade shows. Additional surcharges and blackout dates may apply.

Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

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