South Korea Highlights
If you’d like a trip that’s low on intensity but high on interest, this one’s for you – focusing on three exciting but contrasting destinations, it keeps travel time to a minimum. Though you’ll be taken to all the best sights, you’ll also have plenty of time in each place to simply do your own thing.
The three destinations in question are Seoul, where you’ll see the city’s fascinating historical, cultural and modern sides; Jeonju, where you’ll stay in a traditional wooden hanok house; and Busan, where you’ll have the chance to explore Korea’s best beaches.
Transport in detail
Despite the length of the tour, travel time is minimized, since there are only three main destinations. Two of the connections are by high-speed KTX train, with the one remaining connection by private car (3–3.5 hours).
Explore a mix of traditional and modern culture as you soak up buzzing Seoul and Busan and stay in a traditional village in Jeonju
Gain an insight into Korean culture through food as you weave through markets, visit a barbecue restaurant, roll up your sleeves for cooking lessons, and embark on a street food experience
Take a step back in time and stay in a hanok guesthouse in a traditional Korean village in Jeonju, complete with ondol-heated floors
With only 3 main destinations, you can get an in-depth taste of what Korea has to offer without too much moving around
It's a relatively short trip, so you have time to add on potential extensions. Why not combine your itinerary with a tour to one of our other destinations, such as Jeju Island or Japan?
Things to consider
Although there’s a mix of destinations, they are all city-based, so there are no rural stop-offs or stays
The destinations you'll see are deservedly popular and can be quite busy – though you’ll still feel a sense of peace and quiet during your hanok stay
You'll sleep on futon-style bedding at the hanok stay in Jeonju, with no option for a western-style bed (though if you require a bed, it's possible to stay at a hotel in Jeonju instead). If you want a hanok experience with a western bed, you may need to switch destination.
Massive and manic, but with a charming traditional side, Seoul is one of our favorite cities, and over the course of a few days here we’re sure you’ll feel the same. On the very first night you’ll sample its culinary delights at a street-food market and traditional barbecue restaurant. Temples and folk tradition – plus a walk around the “secret garden” of arresting Changdeokgung palace – are also on the menu on a jam-packed first full day. The next morning, you’ll head out of the city to Suwon’s World Heritage-listed Hwasong fortress, and perhaps try your hand at some traditional archery.
Eat your way around downtown Seoul at a famous BBQ restaurant, and the country’s top street-food market
Stroll through Huwon “secret garden” at Changdeokgung palace
Visit Suwon’s UNESCO World Heritage site, Hwaseong Fortress
After a high-speed train ride from Seoul, you’ll arrive in stately Jeonju, home to a neighborhood of traditional wooden housing. Though the area looks like a movie set, it’s very real – and guess what? You’ll be staying in one of the “props”, a traditional hanok guesthouse. Here you’ll have a free day, during which you can get a handle on Korean folk traditions, wander the painted streets of a nearby cultural village, or eat what Koreans deem the best food in the country, including the city’s own sophisticated take on the national staple, bibimbap (“mixed rice”). After dark, the area looks absolutely spellbinding, its humble alleyways lit up with fairy lights.
Spend the night in a traditional wooden house, in a charming hanok village
Explore the painted streets of Jaman Culture Village
Try the regional specialty, Jeonju bibimbap
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- One full-day experience: private city tour of Seoul including Changdeokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwangjang Market and Myeongdong
- Three half-day experiences: tour of Suwon including optional Korean archery, private Busan city tour, Korean cooking class
- One evening experience: street-food tour of Seoul
- All entrance fees to sights included in guided experiences
- All internal transport & accommodation
- Private airport transfers
- Wi-Fi device
- Pre-loaded T-money transport card
Logistics and journey times
Car transfer from Incheon airport to Seoul (50 minutes)
Car transfer from Seoul to Suwon (1 hour each way)
High-speed train transfer from Seoul to Jeonju (2 hours)
Car transfer from Jeonju to Busan (3 hours)
High-speed train transfer from Busan to Seoul (2 hours 30 minutes)
Car transfer from hotel 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