Imagine a country with 5,000 years of history. With legends of spiritual beings coming down from the sky to what's now Korea, a bear turning into a beautiful woman after 21 days of meditation in nature and later birthing the founder of ancient Korea, and so many other magical stories of the land, spirit, and people.
Korea is a country that combines so much of natural beauty, spirituality, magic, and hustle and bustle of high-tech, metropolitan life. While it is a popular traveling destination, there are so many hidden experiences, stories, and magic that you won't experience through the conventional tourist route.
This intimate group travel is an opportunity to experience Korea with me, in the same way I like to experience and visit Korea - little bit of touristy stuff, little bit of local stuff, a lot of authentic Korean food & culture, and the exposure to the spiritual/magical powers of the land.
Saturday October 10th to Sunday October 18th, 2020
Welcome to Korea. You will be arriving at Seoul/Incheon ICN Airport. Please book a flight to arrive on Saturday afternoon or early evening.
You are responsible for getting to the hotel on your own. The hotel is at a very convenient location in the center of Seoul, and you will have many options such as airport limousine bus ($15) or taxi ($55-$75).
I will help you arrange the best option for you in advance, so you will feel confident on how to get to the hotel. Or you may choose to book a flight that is arriving around the same time as my flight, and we can travel together.
Once we are all checked in, we can chill, get to know one another, get familiar with the nearby area, then enjoy a group dinner at a nearby restaurant specializing in traditional Korean cuisine.
After getting up and having a light breakfast at the hotel, we will explore the palaces and surrounding historic areas in the center of Seoul.
Instead of long, boring narrated tours, we will simply walk, pause, and explore these beautiful sites at our own leisure. Even then, this will be a lot of walking - wear comfortable shoes! Actually, wear comfortable shoes everyday in Korea.
We will have lunch at a nearby area known for traditional Korean style architecture, surrounded by shops and restaurants that retains the old Korea vibe. After lunch you are welcome to explore the area at your leisure on foot, or return to your hotel for some rest, since the jetlag will definitely start kicking in.
At evening time, we will come out to the lively streets of Myungdong, with all kinds of street foods, shopping, entertainment thrives on. Be prepared for the people, noise, lights, and the true hustle and bustle of Seoul weekend. Snack on one or several of street food option, if you are still hungry, we can do late night meal of KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) & Beer.
Breakfast, Lunch, and late night meal included. Streetfood on your own.
DMZ tour - this is one of the most unique tours in Korea, available only to USA passport holders. If you have a passport from another country, let me know in advance so I can confirm.
This will be a full day event - you will meet the bus tour operator at a pickup location, then be gone fo the most of the day. Pack some snacks and be prepared for an interesting all day experience.
If you are not interested in this tour, you may choose to take this day as your own free day to explore Seoul. There are lots of cool Air B&B experiences you can try on your own. Seoul is super safe, clean, and convenient to explore on your own, and most people (while shy about speaking English) can understand English and will be helpful to you. I will also show you a few apps that are super helpful in exploring on your own.
All meals on your own.
After breakfast at the hotel, we have a custom tour on Korean Shamanism scheduled. We will get a chance to visit a few Korean shaman's ritual sites (privately arranged for us), watch a shamanic ritual performance, and meet and speak with a shaman. This is one of the most unique experiences and you want to bring open mind and patience.
After the tour, if we have time, we may visit Insadong, a popular destination for tourists with many traditional themed shops and cafes. This area is quite close to the hotel, so you may choose rest instead and explore this area on your own another time.
In the evening, we have a night time hike & dinner scheduled. We will get an opportunity to hike a mountain with old city walls of Seoul with a great night-time view (it's a moderate hike, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothes). After the hike, we will have dinner at a local restaurant.
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner included.
It's time to visit Busan, the second largest city in Korea with beautiful beaches and a different vibe from Seoul.
We will check out of our hotel (if you have a lot of luggage, we will make an arrangement to hold luggage at the hotel in Seoul, since we will be returning to the same hotel after Busan).
We will take the train to Busan (2.5 hours), check in at the oceanfront hotel, and explore the nearby areas at our leisure. There is a really great Thai restuarant near the hotel with a pretty outside patio - we will take a break from Korean food for the night.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included.
We have all-day adventure of Busan scheduled. We may do all or some of:
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included.
While we stay in Busan, make sure to get up early and watch the sunrise from the East Sea - you should be able to view it inside your hotel room, or walk the beach.
Check out of hotel in Busan and return to Seoul via Train.
Once return to Seoul and checked in at the hotel, you have free time to explore, rest, and have dinner. If you need an idea of what to do, where to go, I am happy to help you with ideas and tips.
Some ideas: K-beauty shopping, Korean bathhouse spa experience, traditional open-air food market experience, hiking and visiting local temples, Korean divination/tarot reading (you will need a translator for this), etc.
All meals on your own.
Our last full day in Korea. After breakfast at the hotel, I have a daytime activity scheduled for the group to visit Seongsu area, the hip, industrial, artsy area called to be Brooklyn of Seoul. It is near Seoul Forest, where we can spend some time exploring this beautiful park in the middle of Seoul. Then we will walk the area full of eccelctic and fun restaurants, shops, and cafes, and have lunch at one of the restaurants.
Saturday in Seoul is busy with lots of activities and people. Imagine NYC hustle and bustle, with a bit more people, a bit less organization, and much less English. Feel free to explore it on your own.
Goodbye Group Dinner
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included.
This is our travel day. Check out time from the hotel is 11am, but you may be able to hold luggage at the hotel if your flight leaves later.
Depending on your flight schedule, there are several options to get to the airport, and I will help you find the best option.
We will be visiting two different cities, making several transfers by public transportation. This will require you to carry your luggage through some crowded areas and streets. Packing light and being physicially able to transport your own luggage is important.
Korea is a tiny country with a lot of people. It may feel as if there is always too many people and not enough space. In Asia, there is no such thing as "personal space" and if you are one of those who are seeking peace and quiet when traveling, this may not be the right destination for you. If you are open to experience the lively hustle and bustle of Korea however, you are in for a treat.
Korea is a mountainous country, and there are a lot of hills, steps, and walking in Korea. Most noteworthy sites are in the mountains and require some moderate uphill walking. While public transportation and taxis are awesome there, you will experience a lot more walking than at home. Wear comfortable shoes all the time.
People with adventurous taste buds and non-limiting diets will enjoy this trip the most. More omnivorous you are, more you will find to eat. Substitution or customizations are not as readily available at the restuarants. Our scheduled activities include scenes and foods that may not feel appropriate for vegans or animal activists.
With that said, there are plenty of non-Korean, Western food options available in Seoul and Busan, and you may choose to partake in these meals on your own, but most of our included group meals will be authentic Korean.
If you are interested in extending your stay in Korea or visit other countries nearby like Japan or China, let me know in advance and I will be happy to provide some insight to make it as smooth as possible.
Price Does NOT Include:
PRICE: $2,250 (shared room), $2,750 (single room)
Deposit of $500 to Reserve Your Spot.
Two More Payments of $875 (shared) or $1,125 (single)
Refunds (75% of paid amount) can be made by July 31, 2020. No refund can be made after July 31, 2020.
© 2020 Seo Kelleher