South Korea may see inscrutable at first. It's a land where traditions and technology are equally accepted; skyscrapers towers over ancient temples, there lies a serenity of nature amidst the chaotic pace of life. Many first time travelers might think their unique customs and etiquette to be a trap, but when shown a respectful attitude with a smile on your face, you will notice that Korean people are one of the friendliest people you have ever met. The Korean peninsula has a lot of storied history, and cultural heritage is woven into the fabric of their life, so they are very proud of their country. The capital of the country itself has lots of historical highlights like the Joseon-era Gyeongbonkgung Palace, Great South Gate of Namdaemun, and the spooky Seodaemun Prison amidst the huge shopping centers, world-class restaurants, and hipster bars. There are also lots of fortresses, temples, and palaces dotted throughout other parts of the country. Visitors can see the lush burial mounds of ancient kings in Busan, the infamous demilitarized zone that separates South and North Korea and is one of the most heavily guarded border areas in the world. Barbed wire covers acres of this land with heavy guards on patrol on both sides.
This five-day guided tour will take you to some of the major cultural heritage sights of South Korea. Beginning from Seoul, this tour takes you to Gyeongju, Busan, and Jeonju and finally returning to the South Korean capital city. Visit Andong Hahoe Village in Seoul and learn about Confucianism's influence in South Korea. Visit the ancient capital, Gyeongju; this was the capital of the powerful Silla kingdom, which reigned the country for nearly a thousand years. Also, see some of the most beautiful traditional Korean houses in Jeonju hanok Village. You will get to compare the rich history and antiquity of Korea with its world-class modernity on your visit to the second largest city of the country, Busan. Your final destination will be the renowned Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, which has a perfect combination of traditional Korean and western architectural styles. Then, the trip ends in the capital city, Seoul, where we will drive you to the airport.
Best Time to Visit
South Korea has four different seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Spring (March-May) and Fall (mid-September – Early November) is the peak season for travelers in Seoul as during these months, the weather is at best, and the landscape is most stunning. Both seasons shows the dramatic change in color like the Spring is for its cherry blossom pinks and whites, and Autumn for its fiery reds, oranges, and yellows.
This is the month when Spring falls in South Korea and is one of the best times to visit the country. The weather is at its best, and the city will be full of blooming flowers. If you want to see cherry blossoms in Seoul, we recommend you to be around the second week of April. During this time, you will have the best chance to see the cherry blossoms. However, this mostly depends on the weather, so there is no guarantee they will be blooming then, which is why it might be good to visit a bit earlier or around that time. If you could not see cherry blossoms in Seoul, don't worry, just visit the home of Korea's largest cherry blossom festival, Jinhae. Here, you can almost always get to see cherry blossoms during their time of blooming.
June – August
We do not recommend summer for those wanting to visit in the best weather condition. Summer in South Korea is stifling hot, humid and there will be lots of rainfall, and the prices are also at their peak as it is the peak of domestic tourism. If you want to avoid bad weather conditions, avoid these months.
September – November
If you are visiting South Korea without planning to watch cherry blossoms, then Fall is undoubtedly the best time to visit the country. Like Spring, the weather is great, and the foliage is at its best. Choose late October or early November to visit as, during this time, the colors of the country can be unbelievably stunning.
December – February
If you want to experience snow, or involve in snow activities like skiing, or snowboarding, visit during Winter. However, keep in mind that Winter in Korea is freezing. You will be surprised how cold the temperature can get. If you can handle cold, then visit the country during this time, however, those who can't we highly recommend not to visit South Korea during Winter. D
Language in South Korea
The official language used in South Korea is Korean. However, remember that most of the vendors do not speak English even in tourist areas. However, the Chinese can understand a bit as they know a few Chinese characters. For others, you might have to use gestures to communicate with them. The locals will only understand a little bit of English, and you can hardly make conversation with them in English.
Locals in South Korea
Like every other country, locals can be both nice and rude. Keep in mind that some locals, particularly the older generations, might get aggressive. However, you will meet many friendly Koreans as the country is also famous for its hospitable inhabitants.
See traditional Korean Houses at Jeonju Hanok Village
Visit the second largest city of South Korea, Busan
Visit the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju
Get insight into the Korean culture and tradition
- International airfare
- Travel insurance
Seoul – Andong Hahoe Village
You will meet your tour guide at your hotel's lobby in Seoul. After meeting the guide, head out to Andong Hahoe Village, located in Gyeongsang-do province. Andong Hanoi Village is the place village where the Ryu family member originated and have lived together for six centuries. This village boasts about its well-conserved tile-roofed and thatched roofed houses. The village is particularly renowned as the birthplace of Ryu Unryong and Ryu Seongryong, who were the brothers. One was a great Confucian scholar of the Joseon Dynasty: the other was Prime Minister during the period of the Japanese Invasion (from1592 to 1598) called Imjinwaeran. The village name comes for the Nakdong River that flows around the village in S shape; Ha means a river, and Hoe means turning around. Hahoe Village looks like two connected spirals, a lotus flower floating on the water, and a boat gliding on the river. Topologically, this village is a very good residence and has been known as so since the time of the Joseon Dynasty. There are low hills stretched to the western part of the village. The highest point of the village is where the famous zelkova tree 600-years old stands. The houses around the tree face the river with the great tree in the middle. Most of the houses in South Korea are faced with either the south or the south-east; however, that is not the case with Hahoe village, making it unique to other Korean buildings.
Here, you will get to learn about the Confucian culture's influence on the Korean peninsula. While walking through the village's slender alleys and many traditional houses, you feel like you are moving past time with lots of history to learn. Also, you will get to see the Woryeonggyo Bridge and Buyongdae Cliff in Andong before travelling back to your hotel for check-in.
Today, you will get to visit the ancient capital of Shilla Kingdom, Gyeongju. Located in the North Gyeongsang Province, Gyeongju served as a capital of one of the most reigned dynasty of the country. For those wanting to learn about Korean history, this place is must—visit. This is the place where you can find many ancient buildings, burial grounds, and artifacts. While walking through the city, you will see many modern typical buildings and huge burial mounds scattered throughout the city. There are lots of forested hills in the region and also many rice fields. After Buddhism spread from China into Korea around the seventh century, Shilla kingdom adopted it, and it played a vital role in strengthening the royal authority and unite people that made Gyeongju the home to rich Buddhist art in the region. Due to the city's rich history and artistic heritage, at present, the city is referred to as the 'Museum Without Walls.' Some of the major highlights of the city include Yangdong Folk Village, Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple, Cheomseongdae Observatory, and Anapji Pond.
Yangdong Folk Village
Yangdong Folk Village is the largest traditional village in Korea that displays the traditional culture of the Joseon Dynasty and its beautiful natural landscape. Due to its many cultural heritage, including national treasures and folklore materials, now the entire village is a cultural heritage site. Many people visit this village to see its wealth of cultural heritage and its scenic background. You can also see Mt. Seoulchangsan and its four spines of mountains beyond the village. The valley contains about 160old houses and around 5centuries old thatched-roof cottages.
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
The Bulguksa temple complex lies in the distance of 12kkm form the Gyeongju National Museum Park and includes both the Bulguksa Temple and the SEokguram Grotto. Together, UNESCO has designated them as a World Heritage Site as a masterpiece of Buddhist art in the Far East. The Seokguram Grotto is a hermitage and also the national treasure. This beautiful structure contains a statue of the Buddha looking out to the sea with his left hand in the position of concentration.
Bulguksa is a Buddhist temple complex that contains a series of wooden structures on ascended stone terraces, intended to represent the land of Buddha. This complex gives you a great glimpse into Buddhist art and architecture.
Cheomseongdae Observatory is the oldest remaining astronomical observatory in Asia. This 7th-century observatory tower was used for weather forecasting. The height of the tower is 9.4 meters and is built using 362 pieces of cut granite representing the 362 days of the lunar year.
This artificial pond is the only remain of a palace complex of ancient Silla, constructed by the King Munmu. After the Fall of Shilla, the pond was abandoned and only rebuilt in 1974. During this time, excavations found many archaeological relics, which are now on display within the complex. This pond is particularly stunning during the nighttime.
Gyeongju – Busan
This morning, we head towards the second-largest city and the largest seaport in South Korea, Busan. The day is free, so you can explore the city and enjoy its modern vibe on your own. Some of the major temples in Busan are the unique Beomeosa Temple and the Haedong Yonggungsa temple. Beomeosa means the temple of the Nirvana fish and lies on the slopes of Geumjeong mountain. Haedong Yonggunsa temple means Dragon palace temple, and is one of the rarest temples of Korea and lies near the coastlines. After touring these beautiful temples, you can then explore many other attractions like BIFF Square, Jagalchi Fish Market Taejeongdae Cliff, and Songdo skywalk!
Haeinsa Temple and Jeonju Hanok Village
Today, you will be visiting Haeinsa Temple and Jeonju Hanok Village. Located on Gaya Mountain, the Haeinsa Temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple has some of the complete collection of Buddhist texts, engraved on 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 AD and 1248 AD. From here, we will head towards the Jeonju hanok Village, where you will see more than eight hundred beautiful traditional Korean houses. The rest of the city has modernized, and lots of them has lost its charm, the Hanok village still has its old-world beauty.
Explore Suwon Hwaseong Fortree, back to Seoul
This is the final day of the trip. Firstly, we will travel to Dweeungbark Village, which is a unique village, renowned for its traditional Korean sauce. From here, we head towards the Suwon City. Here, you will get the opportunity to see the grand Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. Jeong Jo, the twenty-second king of the Joseon dynasty, built this castle in 1796. This fortress is a blend of both traditional Korean and western architectural styles that has utilized bricks instead of stone and earth. After the trip is over, we head back to Seoul, where we will drop you off at your hotel.