KOREA – Experience
Between Tradition and Modernity
Divided country, powerful, emotional and astonishing – privately on the road with a Swiss insider.
Full of cultural highlights, with a historically far-reaching and touching theme, which leads into today’s reality of two of the largest nations in the world. Experience unique insights into the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) exclusively with Daniel Thomas Faller, former Swiss officer for the NNSC. The border zone between North and South Korea was his work place and his life for 3 years.
Those who try to “read” Korea quickly reach the limits of knowledge and understandable information. On this journey you can get your own picture on the spot and experience the diversity of Korean cultural practices up close. We show you places where the inter-religious becomes visible; we visit mystical places like the world cultural site, Haeinsa with the Tripikata and look where the famous Hallyu and K-pop culture has its roots; we plunge into the hustle and bustle of the metropolises and enjoy the peace and quiet in remote places. The sheer infinite variety of Korean cuisine will not be neglected on this trip! Have you ever tried Korean BBQ (Samgyeopsal 삼겹살)? Or how about Bibimbap, or Makgeolli?
25 MAR – 04 APR 202008 APR – 18 APR 2020Wednesday – Saturday11 Days / 10 Nights
Highlights of tour
- DMZ (Demilitaized Zone); A travel unicum, exclusive private tour with former SWISS NNSC officer
- Jeonju, the heart of the traditional art of Korean Hanji paper, Korean Hanji craftsmanship and art
- Haeinsa – be part of an unforgettable tempelstay including a conversation with a monk over tea
- Gyeongju, travel back in time, 5000 years history, visit the former capital of the Silla Empire
- UNESCO World Heritage – Bulguksa temple and Seokgruam Grotto, ancient architecture – state of the art
- Sleep in a traditional Hanok house
- Busan, the second largest city, at sunrise visit the biggest fish market and witness the morning set up
- Get a glimpse and experience the art of calligraphy by a master
- Stroll through the Changdeokgung Palace and find a calm place in the Secret Garden
- Dongdaemun market, important markets for wholesale of clothes
- Be astonished at the traditional Gyeongdong market, one of the largest ginseng and herb markets in Korea
- Korean alcohol – tasting and food pairing event: from the more famous Makgeolli to the rarest drinks like Takju, Cheongju and Soju
Arrive Seoul | South Korea
Welcome to the “Land of Morning Calm”! Your journey through the tiger state begins in the capital, Seoul, where we greet you personally at the airport and take you directly to your hotel in Seoul. Tonight, your host will welcome you for a welcome talk where you can meet your fellow travelers and get ready for the next few days. Overnight in Seoul.
Jeonju | Hanji paper art
With the high-speed train KTX we travel comfortably in less than 3 hours from Seoul to Jeonju, the southwestern province Jeollabuk-do. For over a thousand years, the small town of Jeonju has been the heart of the traditional art of Korean Hanji paper. It is still produced in Jeonju today. And, in the city of gastronomy, we learn how to prepare the famous rice dish Bibimbap with a local chef. The evening is rounded off with a cultural experience of a special kind – a Pansori performance (traditional Korean singing). Overnight stay in Jeonju.
Haeinsa temple | places of tranquility
Around noon we reach the Haeinsa Temple. The temple is one of the most important legacies of the country’s Buddhist roots and holds the Tripitaka Koreana.
The temple on Gaya Mountain is so well embedded in its surroundings that the impression is created that the mountain and temple are one.
Today is all about peace and meditation. In our small travel group we experience together with the monks very closely the everyday life in the Haeinsa temple. After an introduction and tea ceremony we have dinner together early in the evening. We will spend the night in the Haeinsa Temple. At 2100 o’clock there will be lights-out!
Gyeongju | Museum without a roof
Today we start early in the morning at 0300 am with the morning prayer and the Yebul ceremony taking place in the Haeinsa Temple. After breakfast and a temple tour we leave Hapcheon at noon for Gyeongju, the former capital of the Silla Empire. We visit the Tumuli Park in the middle of the city centre, where the burial mounds of 23 rulers of the Silla period rise. Here we can not only walk between the artificial, green hilltops, but also visit one of the gigantic burial mounds. Inside there are over 11,000 burial objects and the king’s crowns. Nearby is the Cheomseongdae Observatory, the oldest star observatory in Asia. At the end of the day we enjoy an evening walk through the exotic garden landscape along the Anapij pond. We will spend the night in a very beautiful, traditional Korean Hanok house in Gyeongju.
Gyeongju | Captial of Silla Empire
We start the day with two UNESCO World Heritage Sights that will certainly impress us. The Bulguksa Temple, which represents the temple architecture of the old Silla Empire in its best form. On the temple grounds there are further national treasures like the main staircase with 33 steps, which represent the 33 steps to enlightenment and the famous Seokguram Grotto, in which there is a Buddha statue overlooking the Sea. We will also visit the National Museum of Gyeongju in the afternoon. Overnight in a tradiotional Hanok house in Gyeongju.
Busan | Gateway to the world
After a two-hour drive along the east coast we reach the city of Busan. We visit Gamcheon Village with its colorful houses and winding streets. Afterwards we discover the Yonggunsa Temple, which is only a few meters from the shore. The rest of the day is free to explore the city as you wish. Overnight stay in Busan.
Busan, Seoul | Jagalchi fish market
At sunrise we go to the Jagalchi fish market. Even today, women still sit at the roadside and sell the catch of the day at small stalls. Hardly any other market in East Asia offers such a large selection of fresh fish and seafood as this one. From crabs to octopuses, you will find everything on this fish market that has not escaped the nets of the fishermen.
This mid-morning we take the KTX high-speed train from Busan to Seoul Station in less than 4 hours. Later in the afternoon we explore the shopping mile around Myeongdong. From the Namsan Tower we enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Seoul by night. Overnight stay in Seoul.
Seoul | The Korean script – Hangul
This morning we start with an introduction to the Korean alphabet and calligraphy. We will be introduced to the art of calligraphy by a master and will have our first experiences with brush and paint. Afterwards we will visit one of the largest Buddhist communities in Korea, the Jogyesa Order. The Gilsangsa Temple – a true oasis in the middle of the city bustle. We continue to the Changdeokgung Palace and a walk in the Secret Garden. With the visit of the Dongdaemun market, which is one of the most important markets for wholesale of clothes since its opening in 1905, we conclude today’s program. Overnight stay in Seoul.
DMZ | From the Insider’s point of view
Today is all about following in the footsteps of the border to North Korea. As host and tour guide I not only have a lot of experience with the country and its people. No, my heart is also very close to North Korea. As a former officer I lived and worked for 3 years as a member of the NNSC (Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission) in Panmunjeom. In order to get a well-founded overview of the DMZ, we start with an introduction to the Korean War and a presentation on the deployment of the NNSC. Afterwards we drive with our small group and the private driver to the demilitarized zone. There I will present you an interesting exhibition about DMZ. After lunch we will explore the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel. Another highlight is the visit of the Dora observation platform, from where we can observe life on the “other side”. This tour is unique. Therefore the motto is “Feelings and Emotions”. Due to changing situations in this particular region sometimes, program adjustments may apply. Overnight stay in Seoul.
Seoul | Tradition and modernity
Today’s last day begins in the morning in the southern part of Seoul, in the modern and pulsating Gangnam. Afterwards we dive again into the authentic market life of the traditional Gyeongdong and Namdaemun markets. The evening ends with a feast for the senses. In a small Korean restaurant we will be guided through four different styles and techniques of Korean alcohol. From the more famous Makgeolli to the rarest drinks like Takju, Cheongju and Soju. Here we have the unique opportunity to taste the art of the best breweries in Korea. The whole thing is complemented with modern and traditional classic dishes. Overnight stay in Seoul.
Seoul | Departure
After breakfast at the hotel and the organized transfer to Incheon Airport, our Korea Experience journey ends. Individual onward journey.
Currency/Price per person
KRW 4,500,000 (single room supplement KRW 660,000)
CHF 3’850.00 (single room supplement CHF 585.00)
- Transfer Incheon Airport – Hotel Seoul – Incheon Airport
- Privately hosted small group tour by Daniel Thomas Faller (German, English and Korean)
- All transports with own car/bus and driver as per program
- KTX Highspeed train Seoul – Jeonju / Busan – Seoul 1. Class
- 7 nights in a middle class hotel (double occupancy)
- 1 night Temple stay (double occupancy)
- 2 nights in a traditional guesthouse (double occupancy)
- Admission to all sites and tickets included as per program
- 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinner meals
- Exclusive full day privat DMZ tour with Daniel according program
- Traditional Korean Hangul painting class
- Makgeolli tasting experience evening
- Prices include fees and taxes
- International travel and flights to and from Seoul
- Visas (if applicable)
- Lunch and Dinner, beverages
- Travel insurance
- Personal costs and tips
- Single room supplement
- We can help you with flight bookings to and from Seoul and with Visa as well
- A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU.