KOREA – Explore Tradition, Modernity and eclectic Nature
Discover South Korea with your local Swiss host and be surprised.
This trip takes you from the country’s urban centres to places where you can admire flowery spring landscapes or the breathtaking play of colours with red and yellow forests in autumn, sandy beaches, rocky mountains and impressive historical sites. In Gayasan National Park you will discover the most famous temple in the country. And inside the DMZ, a largely uninhabited symbol of an unfinished war, the area is a surprising wildlife oasis with unspoiled views of natural scenes. “As a former Swiss officer of NNSC Korea and photographer, it is very interesting for me to see the traces of the war inside the DMZ, but also to observe how well the ecology is preserved,” says Faller. On the beautiful volcanic island Jeju you can enjoy unique nature: We take a trip to the famous Hallasan at nearly 2000m altitude, admire the Jusangjeolli cliffs along the coast and see the island from the bird’s eye view from the extinct volcano Seongsan Illchulbong. Get to know the Haenyo, the sea women divers and watch them at work. Of course not missing out on the impressive lava cave system.
Wednesday – 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
- Sleep in a traditional Hanok house
- Busan, the second largest city of South Korea and pay a visit to the artists’ quarter Gamcheon
- Jeju Island, visit to Yakcheonsa, the temple of the medicine source
- 30 minutes uphill to the extinct volcano Seongsan Illchulbong and get a bird’s eye view of the coastline and visit the lava tubes of Manjanggul both part of the “Global Geopark” designated by UNESCO
- 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. 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 0400 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 Anapji pond. We will spend the night in a very beautiful, traditional Korean 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.
Jeju-do| The volcano island
Today we fly from Busan-Gimpo airport in less than an hour to Jeju Island. After the arrival in Jeju-do, we drive with our personal driver across the island to the south. We also stop at the so-called Mysterious Road. A road on which – contrary to all physical laws – objects seem to roll up the mountain. Arrived in the south of the island we explore the Jusangjeolli cliffs. The Jusangjeolli were formed from lava from the volcano Hallasan and have a cubic or hexagonal shape. We round off the day with a visit to Yakcheonsa, the temple of the medicine source. Overnight stay in a hotel, south of Jeju.
Jeju Island | Haenyeo – the sea women
Today we leave the southern part of Jeju and explore the east of the island. At the eastern end of Jeju-do we will climb the extinct volcano Seongsan Illchulbong. From there we have an impressive view of the overgrown volcano cone and the surrounding sea. Afterwards we admire the work of the Haenyo, the women sea divers who dive up to 20 meters without oxygen tanks to harvest seafood. With the visit of the lava cave Manjanggul, the longest in the world (over 13 kilometers long) we finish our day trip and return to the hotel. Overnight stay in hotel in Jeju city.
Seoul | Palaces and markets
In the morning we fly from Jeju Island to Seoul Gimpo. After the transfer to the hotel in Seoul we start with the visit of one of the largest Buddhist religious orders in Korea, the Jogyesa Order. The Gilsangsa Temple is a real oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the big city. We continue to the Changdeokgung Palace. With the visit of the Dongdaemun Market, which since its opening in 1905 is one of the most important markets for wholesale with clothes, 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 Explore journey ends. Individual onward journey.
Currency/Price per person
KRW 4’600’000 (single room supplement KRW 740’000) CHF 3’910.00 (single room supplement CHF 629.00) Prices January 2020. Swiss Franc/reference price. Prices and program are subject to change!
- 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 1. Class
- Domestic flights Busan – Jeju / Jeju – Seoul (Economy class) as per program
- 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
- 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