Day 6 ― Seoul / Mt. Seoraksan National Park
Today we journey to Mt. Seoraksan National Park, this northern stretch of Korea's eastern coast, which is rugged and mountainous with breathtaking scenery making it the "Alps of Asia", and give this area an unparalleled popularity with the dense forests bordering crystal clear streams, tumbling over cataracts and dropping from precipices to form fleecy waterfalls, as well as awesome saw tooth cliffs spiraling into the blue skies.
Explore Mt. Seoraksan National Park with visits to Sinheungsa Temple-established in 653 A.D., claims to be the country's oldest Zen Buddhist temple, and it would be the oldest existing Zen temple in the world；Cheonbuldong Valley-the most visually stimulating valley in the park；and Biseondae (Flying Fairy Rock)-a wide, flat rock surface where the river rapids drain into a crystal clear pool and a peak rises majestically above the valley, one hears many legends of the heavenly nymphs who come to laugh and play while they bathes in the placid pools of the many glens hidden from human eyes. Overnight at a hotel at the foot of Mt. Seoraksan.
Day 7 ― Mt. Seoraksan National Park / Mt. Sobaeksan National Park (1,440m) - 6 hours Trekking / Danyang
This morning drive to Mt. Sobaeksan National Park (1,440m). Arrive at the foot of Mt. Sobaeksan National Park and hiking the Mountain. Mt. Sobaeksan is a branch of what is known as the backbone of Korea, Mt. Taebaeksan, spreads approximately 3.93km along the southeast. The 320.50 square km land on Mt. Sobaeksan was designated as a national park in 1987. There are many wild flowers and royal azaleas on the highest Birobong Peak (1,440m) and the largest yew tree community is found on the northwest slope (1,200~1,350m above sea level) between the first Yeonhwabong Peak and Birobong Peak. The west of Mt. Sobaeksan is steep and streams from Nakdonggang River flow to Jukgyaecheon River, which is often used as a hiking course.
Following down from Birobong Peak by Jukgyaecheon River is Seokryun Mine, and Choamsa Temple. If you go further, you will get to Seokcheonpokpo Waterfall and Seonghyeolsa Temple. In this valley, there are mountain trouts that can only live in clean water. Lunch is on your own (you can prepare a carrying lunch such as sandwich, etc. at bakery in advance). Overnight at Daemyung Condo in Danyang. You are having Hot Spring bath at Daemyung Condo Aqua World. Aqua World within the Daemyung Condo, opened in July 2003, is an indoor great water park. With numerous hot springs and amusement facilities which are open year round, it is the perfect spot for vacationers and tourists. The hot spring is known as one of the Korea’s premier hot springs. Approximately 250m under the hot springs, the water can be found with alkalinity (pH) reaching 8.3 and temperatures of 53 degrees Celsius.
The hot springs contain many minerals beneficial to the body, such as sodium, calcium, fluorine, and magnesium.
Day 8 ― Danyang / Andong / Mt. Juwangsan National Park (721m) - 4 hours Trekking / Andong
Drive to Andong, one of the last living vestiges of old Korea, where still is very conservative and traditional, a stronghold of Confucianism, which has deeply influenced all aspects of the lives of its people. Visit Dosanseowon Confucian Academy-founded by Korea's foremost Confucian scholar, Yi Toe-gye during the Joseon Dynasty and was the hub of Korea Confucianism which ruled all Koreans in their ethical-moral way and still conduct the ethical behavior in Korean society. Travel to Mt. Juwangsan National Park (721m). Arrive at the foot of Mt. Juwangsan National Park and hiking the Mountain.
Mt. Juwangsan is designated as National Park No.12 in 1976, is the smallest of the domestic national parks. Mt. Juwangsan is not so steep, making it a great place to walk and enjoy the wonderful scenery. There is a legend that King Juwon of Silla (57 B.C.~A.D. 935) lived on this mountain after turning Silla over to Goryeo.
This is where it got its name 'Juwang'. There is another legend that General Mailseong of Goryeo assassinated King Wuju, who was living here, with arrows and iron hammer. At Juwangsan there are temples such as Daejeonsa, Gwangamsa, Yeonhwasa Temples, and hermitages such as Juwangam and Baekryeonam. Daejeonsa Temple preserves national treasures such as the portrait of the Great Buddhist Monk Sa-Myeong, and the engraved wooden board personally made by General Lee Yeo-Song sent to the monk Sa-Myeong. You can find many interesting rocks such as Giam, Seokbyeokam, Geupsudae, Jeongsam & Adeulbawi, and also caves such as Juwanggul where Juwang had hid but was captured, Mujanggul Cave where weapons were kept and Yeonhwagul Cave, which used to be training grounds. There are many waterfalls that represent the beauty of Juwangsan. The representative waterfalls are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd waterfalls and the Dalgipokpo Waterfall. Also there are many beautiful valleys such as the Outer-Juwang Valley, Inner-Juwang Valley, Wolwae Valley and Naewon Valley. On the mountainside there is a 6 meter high Jahaseong Fortress that spreads out 15 km, and there is the Dalgimul Mineral Spring in the Goenae mid-stream.
Lunch is on your own (You can prepare a carrying lunch such as sandwich, etc. at bakery in advance). Continue to Jirye Artists' Colony (Jirye Art Village) for Home Stay Program in Andong for accommodations - Jirye Artists' Colony is located near Imhaho Lake and a great place to have a unique experience of traditional Korean culture.
Every month there are events such as traditional Korean ancestral rites, making rice cake or Kimchi and you can stay in traditional Korean houses. The village is 350 years old and there are houses with rooms of Ondol, Korea's unique system of floor heating with wood. The colony has lavatories, bathrooms with hot water. Because the village has preserved the old customs with small details, it is a great place to experience and understand Korean traditional culture. Jirye Artists' Colony is a cultural inquiry spot for foreigners and a creative space for the artists to work. It is also used as a traditional life study site and as Confucianism institute. Recently, many Koreans and foreign visitors have been gathering in Andong to spend a night in the traditional Korean way in old traditional Korean houses, known as ‘Hanok’. Dinner at the colony restaurant to taste typical regional food. Overnight at the houses of the Colony in Andong.
Day 9 ― Andong / Gyeongju
Travel to Gyeongju - where was the capital of the Silla Dynasty from 57 B.C. to 935 A.D. and designated by UNESCO as one of the world's ten most historically significant sites with numerous relics of that era, and is called the "Museum Without Walls" - along the crystal east coast. A tour of Gyeongju includes Bulguksa Temple-originally constructed in 535 A.D., the most frequented and best-known temple in Korea, was added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List in 1995；Seokguram Grotto-dating back to the same era as Bulguksa Temple, one of Asia's finest Buddhist shrines, an attempt to represent physically the highest spiritual aspirations, the crowning achievement of Silla religio-artistic work, was added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List in 1995；Bunhwangsa Pagoda-erected in 634, is considered, with Cheomseongdae, one of the country's two oldest stone structures, and the pagoda was originally 9 stories high, only 3 remain today；Gyeongju National Museum, which has the best collection of Silla Dynasty artifacts with more than 100,000 pieces；Anapji Pond - constructed in 674 A.D. as a pleasure garden to commemorate the unification of the peninsula by the Silla forces, used the recreational area for the Silla royal family and banquet garden to entertain royal important guests；Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory - built in 634 A.D., is considered the world's earliest known existing observatory and admired by archaeologists worldwide；and Royal Tumuli Park - a collection of royal Silla tombs located in the middle of Gyeongju with 20 tombs, of which Cheonmachong (Flying Horse Tomb) is the most famous with its excavation which yielded more than 10,000 treasure-artifacts. Overnight in Gyeongju.
Day 10 ― Gyeongju / Haeinsa Temple
A morning tour of Gyeongju visits Mt. Namsan - every mountain in Gyeongju area holds abundant historic relics and legends, but Mt. Namsan (South Mountain) is a treasure-house of them and an open-air museum unique in the world. Buddhist legends are still to be found in the valleys and on the slopes of Mt. Namsan.
Drive to Haeinsa Temple, which is one of the three greatest temples of Korea, established in 803 A.D., chiefly known today as the repository of the Tripitaka Koreana, set of over 80,000 wooden printing blocks engraved with one of the most comprehensive compilations of the Buddhist scriptures in all of Asia, and the Depositories and the Tripitaka Koreana Wooden Printing Blocks were added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List in 1995. Overnight at a hotel in the temple village.
Day 11 ― Haeinsa Temple / Busan
This morning drive to Busan. A tour of Busan includes Beomeosa Temple which is located at the edge of a famous Geumjeongsan mountain in Busan. Busan's greatest temple, Beomeosa translates as "Fish of the Buddhist Scripture Temple". Beomeosa Temple was founded in 678 AD by monk Uisang during the reign of King Munmu of Silla Dynasty and most of the present buildings date from reconstructions of the 17th and 18th centuries, representative of mid Joseon Dynasty temple architecture；Daeungjeon Main Building of the Beomeosa Temple which was rebuilt during Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and is one of the most delicate and luxurious architectures of Joseon Dynasty；Iljumun of the Beomeosa Temple- the three story pagoda with four pillars, built in the 9th century, and seven royal palace wings, pavilions, three gates, and eleven hermitages (natural monument)；Mt. Geumjeongsan Fortress is located on the peak of Mt. Geumjeongsan (801.5m) in Busan. Its original name was Dongrae Mountain Fortress, but it was changed because of its location. Its length is 17,377m, and 1.5m~3m high; it is the largest fortress in Korea.
But now there is only a 4 km section remaining from the original.；Gukje Market - Gukje Market is one of the largest traditional markets in Korea with various goods in store. All products are sold at affordable prices and the stores in this area also function as a wholesale markets；Taejongdae Seaside Cliff Park-the scenery of rugged cliffs dropping straight down to the sea is breathtaking, along with a panoramic sea view from the Park, overlooking the Korean Strait - on a very clear day you can even see the Japanese island of Tsushima on the horizon to the southeast；and UN Memorial Cemetery where the Korean War (1950-53) dead from the sixteen UN allies rest in honored serenity and is the unique one in its kind in the world. Evening to Busan center. Walking in front of the sea and take the fantastic views of the Great Bridge of Busan which is 7.4 km long and the longest bridge in Korea over the sea, and walk on the night streets and enjoys the views. Overnight in Busan.
Day 12 ― Busan / Tongyeong Harbor-Hallyeo Maritime National Park / Busan
A morning tour of Busan includes Yongdusan Park, where provides a pleasant touch of greenery on a hill in the heart of the city and a very popular public park with Busan Tower；Busan Tower - Yongdusan Park crowned with the tower, 120-m-high tower observatory dominates the most of the area of the city, and the sea and harbor views spreading below the tower are spectacular；and Jagalchi Fish Market-Busan's most active fish-dealers' cooperative, the colorful spectacle is also a great attraction for tourists and camera buffs. Drive to Tongyeong Harbor, where has the most extensive ferry network between Busan and Yeosu, and is home port for one of the largest concentrations of fishing and sightseeing boats on the southern coast. Take a sightseeing boat at Tongyeong Harbor and a full-day tour of Hallyeo Maritime National Park - stretches across 400 islands along the southern coast, and it is a 93-mile-long waterway running from Hansando Island where Admiral Yi Sun-sin defeated Japanese invaders by his own invented Turtle Boat, south of Busan, to Yeosu in the west, where, with islands dotted here and there, is sometimes mistaken for a lake and it is divided into six sections and has both stunning natural scenery and many sites of historical interest.
* Sightseeing boat tour of Hallyeo Maritime National Park is subject to cancel according to the bad weather. This afternoon will be left for leisure or an improvised trip which you may arrange. Drive back to Busan. Overnight in Busan.
Day 13 ― Busan / Boseong / Gwangju / Damyang / Gwangju
Travel to Boseong where the largest tea-growing area in Korea is. Known as the birthplace of Korea’s tea industry, it accounts for around 40% of domestic tea production. Visit beautiful Tea Terraces in Boseong. Drive to Gwangju, where is the capital of Jeollanam-do Province and the sixth largest city in the Republic of Korea, with a population of 1.2 million.
Visit Gwangju National Museum, which was built to house the precious Chinese porcelains that were salvaged in 1976 from a Chinese trading ship wrecked at Sinan 600 years ago, and the museum also displays relics and paintings from the Baekje and Unified Silla Dynasties and the Joseon Dynasty. Continue to Damyang, where is Korea's bamboo center. The majority of Korean bamboo grows in Jeollanam-do Province, and Damyang has the greatest concentration of that, an estimated 70%. Bamboo craft has been developed here over the last 500 years, and Damyang is famous for the quantity and quality of its furniture, household items, and artwork. Visit Damyang Bamboo Museum (Korean Bamboo Museum) opened in March 1998. It is a comprehensive complex that preserves, exhibits, produces, and allows people to experience bamboo products. It was established to offer a rest area for visitors of Damyang, and to promote the unique bamboo arts of the Damyang region.
The museum has five exhibition halls. It has a collection of around 2,555 bamboo products, all of which are on display, ranging from products dating back to the Joseon Dynasty to modern-day products as well as foreign products. The bamboo arts of Damyang have a history of 500 years, starting from the early Joseon Dynasty. The bamboo products are of high quality since only bamboos custom-made by craftsmen are used, and known for their tenacity and resilience. Drive back to Gwangju. Overnight in Gwangju.
Day 14 ― Gwangju / Gochang Dolmen Site / Mt. Naejangsan National Park (763m) - 4 hours Trekking / Jeonju
Drive to Gochang Dolmen Site. Sightseeing of Gochang Dolmen Site - a neatly arranged, highly-raised dolmen is placed beside the jar stand lying behind Kim Yeong-in’s home in Jidong, Dosan-ri which is 4km away from Gochang-eup. 3km toward Seonunsa, a 2km range of dolmens lie at Sanggap-ri, Asan-myeon, Jungrim-ri, Gochang-eup, Maesan-ri and Songam-ri. Beginning with the 5m length, 4.5m wide, 4m high and 150 ton dolmen, all 477 dolmens are numbered with white paint. Archaeologists date the Gochang dolmens back to the Bronze Age. Continue to Mt. Naejangsan National Park (763m).
Arrive at the foot of Mt. Naejangsan National Park and hiking the Mountain. Mt. Naejangsan National Park is a famous mountain in Jeolla-do, and the best mountain in Korea to view autumn crimson leaves. Inside the park, there are famous waterfalls, such as Dodeok Falls and Geumseon Falls, and Temples such as Baekyangsa and Naejangsa temples. The Park is beautiful not only in the fall, but also in the spring when the azaleas and cherry blossoms bloom, in the summer when the green mountain turns even greener, and the winter when the rock cliffs cover themselves with snow.
All throughout the year, different kinds of wild flowers bloom here. Lunch is on your own (You can prepare a carrying lunch such as sandwich, etc. at bakery in advance). Drive to Jeonju - lying at the edge of the Hoanam Plain, Korea's greatest agriculture region, is Jeonju, the capital of Jeollabuk-do Province, and the epicurean capital of the country. A traditional city with a long and strong culture, its history is intimately tied with the development of the nation as a whole, especially during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Overnight in Jeonju.
Day 15 ― Jeonju
A full day tour of Jeonju visits the Jeonju Traditional Craftworks Exhibition Hall, where allows people to see the beauty of traditional Korean crafts, as well as giving visitors the opportunity to make their own. This center consists of a Craft Hall, Special Exhibition Hall, and an Experience Hall.
The Experience Hall lets visitors create their own personal masterpieces. People can learn firsthand about the art of mulberry paper, pottery, woodwork, embroidery, and other traditional crafts. At the Craft shop, people can buy souvenirs produced by master artisans；the Jeonju Treasures Center for those people looking for high quality craftsmanship in the Jeonju area. Traditional fans are sold at Seonjacheong, products made of traditional Korean paper are sold at Hanjigwan, and woodenware and various other products are sold at Omokdae. This is a great place to check out, even if you aren’t intending to buy； the Jeonju Traditional Culture Center - offers visitors the chance to see various traditions of cultures, plus experience these cultures at them firsthand. Pansori, Minyo, traditional dances and performances are all open for the public to enjoy throughout the year. Jeonju’s most famous food, Bibimbab (rice with mixed vegetable) and other Korean cuisines can be sampled at Traditional Restaurants of the Hall.Traditional wedding ceremonies can also be held at the Traditional Wedding Hall；Jeonju Hanok Village - located in the city of Jeonju and overlaps Pungnam-dong and Gyo-dong. There are over 800 traditional Korean houses called Hanok houses. While the rest of city has been industrialized, Hanok Village has not changed a bit, and still retains its old traditions.；the Jeonju Hanok Living Experience Center, where is a guesthouse facility located in the Jeonju Hanok Village. This center gives the unique experience of life in a traditional style Korean house. The center was originally a royal house that was constructed during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It is currently enjoyed by many for its traditional lodging facilities. This is a great place for foreigners to experience the rich traditional culture of Korea.
The buildings are newly made in traditional style. They me be lacking somewhat of an antique feel, but offer comfort in a traditional setting；and the Jeonju Korean Traditional Wine Museum - experience the glory of traditional Korean wine. Visitors can view the tools and machines used in the making of alcohol, as well as an exhibit on traditional wine. The most interesting areas of the museum are considered to be the alcohol preparation room and the fermentation room. Overnight in Jeonju.
Day 16 ― Jeonju / Gwangju / Jejudo Island
Drive back to Gwangju. Then, fly to Jejudo Island. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Jeju city.
Day 17 ― Jejudo Island (East Course)
A full-day tour includes Mt. Hallasan-which is the highest peak in the Republic rising to 1,950m above sea level and this mountain is the island of Jejudo-crossing over 1,100 m pass；Cheonjiyeon Waterfall-cascades down a cliff 22 meters high and 12 meters wide into a natural tropical pond inhabited by eels and surrounded by lush vegetation, and many fossils can be found around the falls；Cheonjeyeon Waterfall-got its name from a legend that seven fairies descended every night to bathe in the falls by the moonlight and is a gorge that contains a series of 3 falls and pools；Yeomiji Botanical Gardens-located at the heart of Jungmun Resorts and it is the largest botanical garden in Asia with an area of 13,373㎡, and the indoor garden contains over 2,000 different sub-tropical and tropical plants and there is a 38-meter-high observation tower overlooking the whole Jungmun Tourist Complex and its surrounding seashore, and an outdoor garden where are areas devoted to the styles of other countries such as traditional Japanese, Italian, and French gardens as well as traditional Korean garden；Jeongbang Waterfall-this 23-meter-high waterfall is the only one in Asia to plunge straight into the sea, and on the beautiful beaches around the falls, visitors can watch the women divers collecting shellfish and abalone；the Jusangjeolli - stone pillars piled up along the coast and is a designated cultural monument of Jejudo Island.
The Jusangjeolli was formed when the lava from Mt.Hallasan flew to the sea of Jungmun. They are rock pillars shaped like cubes or hexagons of various sizes. The administration of the district named them 'Jisatgae Rocks' from their old name 'Jisatgae'. It is also famous for its 20m cliff with the high tides and sea angling；Seongeup Folk Village-the only non-coastal town of significance, is the island's best preserved old community and has been designated as a "folklore preservation zone", where the villagers still live behind the stone courtyard walls in thatched- roof, and mud and rock homes；Sangumburi Crater-it is 438 meters above sea level and is located in an elegant wilderness, the circumference measures 2 km and the center area is about 298,000㎡ in which grows at least 420 species of sub-tropical, temperate and alpine zone plants providing ample opportunity for botanical study；Seongsan Ilchulbong (Seongsan's Sunrise Peak)-rising from the double-headed peninsula at the eastern end of the island, this volcanic crater rises 182m straight up from the water, and the whole crater is surrounded by 99 sharp, basalt pinnacles which looks like an ancient western-style castle or crown from a distance and reflects marvelous scenery；Manjanggul Cave-at 13.4 km in length, this cave is reputed to be the world's longest lava tube, and has many interesting and grotesque-shaped lava stones and lava pillars along its length；and Samseonghyeol Holes (Ancestral Spirit Holes)-the shrine to the island's 3 legendary clan progenitors, emerged from the three small holes in this meadow, and annually grand worship ceremony is given by the islanders. Overnight in Jeju city.
Day 18 ― Jejudo Island (West Course)
A full-day tour includes Mt. Hallasan - which is the highest peak in the Republic rising to 1,950 m above sea level and this mountain is the island of Jejudo-crossing over 1,100 m pass；Mt. Sanbangsan-the 395 m-high mountain is a giant monolithic rock. Legend has it that the peak of Mt. Halla was transplanted here, thus becoming Mt. Sanbangsan and the hollowed Halla peak became Paeknok-dam； Sanbanggulsa Temple-is a natural grotto containing a seated image of Buddha, located halfway up the steep slopes of Mt. Sanbangsan on the southwestern coast. The view from the grotto over the coastal fields and offshore islands is spectacular；Hamel Monument-in 1653, Dutch merchant vessel Sparrow-hawk shipwrecked in Chejudo Island. By the Korean and Dutch governments erected plaque to commemorate the shipwreck.
Those who survived the wreckage were taken to Seoul ordered by Yi King and forced to remain there for the next 13 years until they escaped to Japan in a small fishing vessel；Andok Valley-the most beautiful valley in Chejudo Island. Cliffs envelop the valley like oriental screens. The valley is always cool, because it is shaded by many Camellia trees and Jorok trees. Numerous springs can be found between lava rocks；Jeju Sculpture Park-the park lies 1 km north of Sanbanggulsa Temple occupying some 430,000 square meters. More than 160 sculptured objects are harmonized with the surrounding beauty；Hallim Park-a park with several exotic botanical gardens and caves.
The total area of over 27,000 square meters is divided into 16 botanical kingdoms, including Tropical Botanical Garden, Washington Palm Tree Garden and Foliage Plant Garden boasting of more than 20,000 trees of over 1,000 species；Anti-Mongol Historical Site-the sprit of Sambyulcho(Three Elite Patriots) who struggled against the Mongols for 40 years. Sambyulcho led the resistance against the Mongols who invaded Korea in the 14th year of the reign of King Wonjong of Koryo. Led by General Kim Tong-jong, the Sanbyulcho fled to Chejudo Island and held out until the very end at this place. Their indomitable sprit and courage are still palpable；Yongduam (Dragon Head Rock)-an unusual lava formation set at the edge of the ocean, gets its name from the fact that it looks like a dragon head which is opening its mouth to roar；and Moksokwon-a public park which contains naturally sculpted rocks and dried tree roots imaginatively representing various animal and human forms and figures. Overnight in Jeju city.
Day 19 ― Jeju / Mt. Hallasan National Park (1,950m) - 10 hours Trekking / Jeju
A full-day hiking of Mt. Hallasan. Mt. Hallasan National Park stands tall in the middle of Jejudo Island. This mountain is the island of Jejudo. Mt. Hallasan is one of the 3 main mountains of Korean peninsular. Mt. Hallasan, standing 1,950m above sea level as the highest mountain in South Korea, is a dormant volcano with a lake crater at its summit. Every season at Mt. Hallasan presents a different and spectacular view, but it is most renowned for its springtime beauty, when the azaleas are in full bloom. Mt. Hallasan is located in the southernmost part of Korea, on Jejudo Island. Clouds ring the summit, and snow covers its peaks during winter, bringing to mind a snowy kingdom. The first glimpse of a beautiful scarlet sun rising in the east can be caught from here, and the blazing sunsets are likewise spectacular.
A crater tops the mountain. The crater is “lake,” Bangnokdam (White Deer Lake), expands when the rains fall, and disappears during the drier autumn and winter. Folklore had it that benevolent wizards existed on the mountain, and that they entertained themselves at the lake crater while riding on white deer. That is why the lake is called “Baengnokdam” (White Deer Lake). Running along the south central coast of the island is a semi-tropical climatic zone.
From its warm climate to the cold climate areas, Mt. Hallasan is famous for its vertical ecosystem of plants. 1,800 kinds of plants and 4,000 species of animals (3,300 species of insects) inhabit here, and due to the well-developed climbing course, you can carefully observe the surroundings. Mt. Hallasan is a short climbing course Less than 10km in length, it is possible to reach the peak and come back down in one day. But the weather conditions often change and there is a lot of wind, so you must be well prepared before going up the mountain. Lunch is on your own (You can prepare a carrying lunch such as sandwich, etc. at bakery in advance). Overnight in Jeju city.
Day 20 ― Jeju / Depart Korea
Transfer to Jeju Domestic Airport and fly to Seoul (Gimpo), then connect with international flight at Incheon International Airport for departure.