Short on time but keen for a glimpse of South Korea? This trip packs a punch, giving as strong a flavour of the country as you can get in five days. It’s a Seoul stopover, but you’ll get to escape the city too.
After a first night getting acquainted with Korea’s culinary scene on a fascinating food tour, the next day is spent delving into Seoul’s history and culture, including its most important palace and temple. Then after spending the next day getting up close and personal with North Korea (yeah, really!), it’s a trip out of town for some folk culture. See? All of that, in almost no time at all.
Private airport transfers are included, along with private mini-vans for the tours (with the exception of the DMZ, which is a group excursion).
Explore some of Seoul’s most important traditional sights, including Gyeongbokgung palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and colourful Jongmyo temple
Maximise your time in Seoul with tours and activities every day of your trip
Gain an insight into the culture by spending plenty of time with local guides (who'll also help you delve into the Korean food scene)
Though it's your base, you’re not limited to Seoul! Take the chance to visit some of its surrounding areas via the country's excellent transport links
Things to consider
This trip has a busy, jam-packed schedule – but it can be adapted if you're interested in a more relaxed, slower-paced stay
The itinerary focuses on popular destinations (they're the classics!), so it's not for those who want to get off the beaten track
Evening food tour
Since food is one of the main reasons why people visit Korea, what better way to spend your first evening here than trying some of its best cuisine, at two of Seoul’s most atmospheric places to eat? Your evening food tour starts with a visit to a typically raucous Korean barbecue house, where the marinated meat is grilled in front of you at the table, and served with plenty of tasty banchan side dishes. Don’t overeat, however tempted you are, since there’s a stop for traditional rice cakes on the way to Gwangjang Market, a superbly atmospheric street-food paradise where your camera and tastebuds will be competing for attention.
Take a crash course on eating out in Korea on an exciting evening food tour through downtown Seoul
Immerse yourself in hustle and bustle of Gwangjang; one Korea's oldest markets
Try street food favourites like spicy tteokbokki rice cakes or sweet hotteok pancakes
In the morning, you’ll head out for a half-day tour around some of Seoul’s best historical and cultural sights. First stop is Gyeongbokgung, the grandest of the city’s five palaces, boasting a vibe harking back to the days of dynasty. Just across the palace’s eastern wall is Bukchon Hanok Village, a distinctively low-rise slice of Seoul – it’s one of the only places in the city where traditional wooden housing has been retained, and its alleyways are impossibly charming. You’re not done yet – the tour concludes with a visit to beautiful Jongmyo, Seoul’s most important Buddhist temple, whose colourfully-painted eaves look particularly striking against their backdrop of modern skyscrapers.
Watch the dynastic-style changing of the guards at Gyeongbok Palace
Try the famous “Dragon’s beard” sweets made freshly in front of you in Insadong Antique Alley
Why not enjoy a sunset over the city from N Seoul Tower, the views made even better since it’s on top of a mountain
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- Two full-day experiences: DMZ tour & combined Suwon and Korean Folk Village Tour
- Two half-day experiences: Half-day Seoul highlights tour & evening food tour
- All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
- Private airport transfers & accommodation
- Pre-loaded T-money transport card
- Portable Wifi device
Logistics and journey times
Car transfer from Incheon airport to city (50 minutes)
Car transfer from hotel to DMZ tour meeting point
Car transfer from Seoul to Suwon (1 hour each way)
Car transfer from city to Incheon airport (50 minutes)
What's not included
- International flights
- Meals not mentioned
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tips for guides & porters