- South Korea
- Essence of South Korea and Japan with Tokyo
Originally a small fishing village, Tokyo is now the world's largest metropolitan area and home to some 35 million people. The capital city is synonymous with Japan and perfectly demonstrates the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and Zen calm with the hectic madness and love of new technology. Extend your stay in Japan to explore this electric city and experience the passion of Tokyo.
This map is for the main tour only
Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Seoul.
Upon arrival, you will be met for a short tour of Seoul. A fusion of high-tech, urban parks and traditional palaces characterise South Korea's dynamic capital. Visit one of the city's most beloved landmarks - the N Seoul Tower. Ascend 480 metres above sea level to the observatory deck for incredible 360-degree views overlooking the city skyline, and later enjoy the tantalising tastes of local delicacies for dinner
Breakfast & Lunch
Set out on a morning tour of the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), an untouched region which separates North and South Korea; admire impeccable panoramic views from the iconic Dora Observatory, before exploring the secret passageways of the 3rd Infiltration tunnel. Next, witness two routes that connect North and South Korea at Dorasan Station and the Bridge of Freedom, which currently serve as symbolic emblems of hope for the reunification between these two countries. From here, return to Seoul for an afternoon sightseeing tour. Commencing at the majestic Gyeongbok Palace, continue to the National Folklore Museum, before immersing yourself in rich cultural traditions through Insa-dong antique street, whose narrow avenues are lined with an array of speciality regional goods. Later, wander through Bukchon Hanok Village's charming streets before browsing through a revered collection of quality silk products and vintage clothing in Gwangjang Market, one of the largest of its kind in Korea.
Breakfast & Lunch
This morning, travel towards Andong, the spiritual capital of South Korea. Having maintained many aspects of authentic Korean culture, Andong City's tangible heritage manifests itself in the charming 14th-century riverside village of Hahoe; with well-preserved Joeson architecture and traditional thatched houses, you'll be transported to a bygone era. Soak in vistas of this clan-based village from nearby Buyongdae Cliff before transferring to Gyeongju for this evening's stay.
Breakfast & Lunch
A full-day tour of Gyeongju takes in the major sites of Korea's ancient former capital, known as the 'Museum Without Walls'. Journey from the immense Buddha statue which lies in Seokguram Grotto to UNESCO-listed Bulguksa Temple where you'll explore its Buddhist relics, pavilions and gardens. Continue onward to the age-old observatory of Cheomseongdae before taking in the greenery of Tumuli Park and browsing through ancient artefacts in the Gyeongju National Museum
Breakfast & Lunch
Today, explore the sights of Busan and begin at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, which honours the lives of the soldiers who were tragically lost during the Korean War. Next, take in the delights of vibrant Camellias which flourish on Dongbaekseom Island from January to May, and return to shore for the chance to meander through the bustling stalls of Jagalchi Fish Market. After marvelling at the soaring Busan Tower, visit the hawkers of Kukje Market before concluding today's exploration with a leisurely stroll through the Gamcheon Cultural Village.
Following a morning at leisure, transfer to the port of Busan and say goodbye to South Korea as you set sail towards the Japanese 'Gateway to Asia', Fukuoka, well known for its ancient temples, beaches and beautiful Maizuru Park which contains the ruins of 17th-century Fukuoka Castle. Savour the tastes of popular Japanese dishes at a local restaurant this evening.
Board a morning bullet train bound for Kyoto, and experience Japan at its finest as you wander the Zen gardens of Kodaiji Temple. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps taking the opportunity to look out for geishas draped in lavish kimonos as you meander through the geisha district of Gion.
Breakfast & Dinner
Explore the UNESCO-recognised fortifications of Nijo Castle, and witness the gilded pavilion of Kinkaku-ji. Continue to the outskirts of Kyoto and witness thin shreds of sunlight which peek through the luxuriant towers of Bamboo in the enchanting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and next, head to the 14th century Tenryuji Temple, where tranquil gardens have survived the test of time as their original design is still intact. Finally, cross the Togetsukyo wooden bridge which is suspended above the Katsura River.
Following breakfast, travel to the city of Nara where you'll get the chance to watch over 1,200 protected deer roaming Nara Park. From here, take a short stroll towards the crimson Shinto shrine of Kasuga- Taisha; standing majestically against a backdrop of the Kasuga Mountain. Conclude today's exploration at one of the most important imperial Buddhist Temples in Japan, Yakushi Temple, before returning to Kyoto for a Maiko performance and evening meal.
Transfer to Kyoto railway station and board a bullet train to Japan's dazzling capital, Tokyo. This afternoon, soak in the sights of this cosmopolitan city at your own pace.
Breakfast & Dinner
A fusion of futuristic districts, centuries-old palaces and family-run ramen booths, Tokyo has survived a turbulent past to prosper as one of the world's major metropolises. A full day of sightseeing will commence at Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple before you follow in the footsteps of Japan's masterful sushi chefs in an enlightening sushi-making demonstration. Continue to the bustling area of Ginza, the country's biggest luxury shopping district and visit the iconic Akihabara Electric Town to experience the city's passion for all things electronic.
Today, visit the iconic Hakone National Park, home to one of Japan's most instantly recognisable sights - Mount Fuji, fringed by thick forests and a crescent-shaped ring of shimmering lakes. As you glide over sulphuric hot springs along the Hakone Ropeway, marvel at spectacular vistas of Owakudani Valley, an active volcanic crater, where hot rivers, bubbling pools and steam vents serve as a reminder of the area's volcanic might.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK or chosen extension.
Staying in your hotel for an additional 3 nights you will have the chance to explore the fascinating city of Tokyo at your leisure.
Transfer to your hotel for your flight back to the UK.
A visa is not required for your travel to South Korea. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you check your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Direct is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices: <br /><br /> <table class="basic" cellspacing="0"><thead><tr><th><b>Age in Years</b></th><th><b>Up to 64</b></th><th><b>65 - 74</b></th><th><b>75 - 85</b></th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Up to 17 days cover</td><td>£39</td><td>£75</td><td>£129</td></tr></tbody></table> For all persons 86 years and over, please contact us for insurance prices. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24 hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Direct will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage. There is also an allowance of one cabin bag not exceeding 25cm x 45cm x 56cm in size and one personal bag not exceeding 45 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm that you can take on the aircraft as hand luggage. Weight restrictions will be finalized on your final documents. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay an additional fee for this at check-in. Heathrow Airport advises that you should arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to your flight time for international departures. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. A printed E-ticket is no longer required at check-in, all you need to do is present your passport to the staff at the desk and your boarding pass will be given to you.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs and getting on and off coaches, trains and metro trams. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
There is no minimum number of travellers for this extension however the main tour passenger numbers will apply for the main part of the tour. If in the unlikely event there are less than the required number of people booked on your main tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your local guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times. Please note: there is no guide for the extension options.
Currency information: The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen, known as JPY. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 - £500 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!