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  • South Korea
  • Flavours of South Korea

Flavours of South Korea

11 Day Escorted Tour

South Korea, East Asia

Combining war-time monuments, culinary delights and ancient imperial palaces, this 11-day tour of South Korea delves into its fascinating past and politically charged present. Travel from the modern charms of Seoul and coastal Busan to the historic treasures of Gyeongju and Andong, with exquisite meals and a visit to the North-South Demilitarized Zone completing your quintessential South Korean experience.

2020 Dossier

2021 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Witness the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea on a tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
  • Enjoy a comprehensive city tour of Seoul, visiting Changdeokgung Palace, N Seoul Tower and the Bukchon Hanok Village
  • Learn how to make Korea's famed beef barbeque
  • Explore the ancient palaces, tombs and temples of Gyeongju
  • Visit the traditional Hahoe Folk Village, A UNESCO world heritage site
Train
Coach
Boat
Airplane
Walking
1
Number of nights

Itinerary

Day 1
UK to Seoul

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Seoul.

Day 2
Seoul

Dinner

On arrival in Seoul, you will be met by your representative for a short tour of the city including the Changing of the Palace guard. Enjoy lunch at a local Korean restaurant before being transferred to your hotel and checking in. After time to settle in, re-join your group for tonight's welcome dinner at a local Korean restaurant, giving you the opportunity to sample Korea's world-renowned cuisine.

Day 3
Seoul

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast, embark on a tour of South Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the no man's land that forms the highly secure frontier between North and South Korea. Visit Dorasan train station, which connects north and south, and the Dorasan Observatory which overlooks the DMZ. Explore the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, a secret passageway built by North Koreans trying to tunnel into the south, and view the heavily guarded Bridge of Freedom which links the two nations. After lunch, return to Seoul and browse through the stalls of Gwangjang Food Market. Travel to the N. Seoul Tower which rises above the city skyline and provides panoramic views over the city, then return to your hotel for dinner.

Day 4
Seoul

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Seoul has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last five decades, with the ravages of the Korean War making way to sleek skyscrapers and neon-lit districts. The city still retains several remnants of its imperial past and today's walking tour takes in these centuries-old structures, using Seoul's world-class underground system to move between sights. Starting at Changdeokgung Palace, built by the kings of Korea's Joseon Dynasty, explore the pavilions and rooms of this imperial residence before touring its Secret Garden, where the pond, greenery and pavilions combine to create a tranquil setting. Witness the changing of the palace guards then continue onward to Insadong Antique Street and browse through the wares on display in elegant, wooden shopfronts. Travel to the Kimchi Museum and learn more about how this local fermented cabbage dish grew to its current popularity then stop in at the Buddhist temple of Jogyesa. Continue onward to the Bukchon Hanok Village, teeming with charming, traditional 'hanoks' or wooden houses before returning to your hotel.

Day 5
Seoul to Busan

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning, transfer by metro to the train station (luggage will be transported to your hotel) and board your high-speed train to the coastal city of Busan. On arrival in Busan, set out on an afternoon coach tour of the city, stopping first to wander through Gamcheon Cultural Village with its pastel-coloured houses set in the slopes of a mountain. Next, pay your respects to the soldiers killed in the Korean War at the UN Memorial Cemetery then visit peaceful APEC Nurimaru Park and the soft sands of Haeundae Beach. Climb 108 steps to picturesque Haedong Yonggungsa temple and explore this sacred Buddhist site which boasts a stunning setting on Busan's coastal cliffs. Transfer to the hotel for check-in and dinner.

Day 6
Busan to Gyeongju

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, embark on a morning tour, moving between sights by metro. Wander through bustling Jagalchi Fish Market and haggle with the hawkers of Kukje Market, where you'll stop for a delicious lunch. Visit nearby BIFF Square, Korea's answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and continue on to the soaring Busan Tower. Next, transfer to Busan Train Station and embark on your rail journey to Gyeongju, taking in rural landscapes and urban skylines along the way. On arrival, enjoy dinner and a night-time tour of Anapji, the site of a spectacular palace and pond.

Day 7
Gyeongju

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

A full-day tour of Gyeongju takes in the major sites of Korea's ancient former capital, known as the 'Museum Without Walls'. Travel 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. For lunch, visit a Korean cooking school where you will learn how to make Korea's delectable beef barbeque and dine on your culinary masterpiece. 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.

Day 8
Gyeongju to Andong

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Transfer to the train station for your train to Andong, a city renowned for its open-air heritage museums. On arrival, continue to Hahoe Village where you'll discover hundreds of ceremonial masks on display in the Hahoe Mask Museum. Soak in sweeping views of the village from nearby Buyongdae Cliff then wander through the local market. Transfer to your hotel for check-in and dinner, followed by an evening at leisure.

Day 9
Andong to Seoul

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Depart Andong this morning and travel by coach to Punggi where you'll visit the city's sprawling ginseng plantation and the area's oldest ginseng market. Marvel at the amazing variety of ginseng products on display then journey onward to the Daegang Makgeolli (Rice Wine) Brewery in Danyang. Here, you can learn about and taste this unique alcoholic drink and see samples of home-brewed Korean liquor that date back to the Japanese colonial era. Continue on to Seoul, where a night of entertainment awaits. Re-join your group for a farewell dinner and a trip to see 'Nanta', one of the most famous theatrical performances in the country.

Day 10
Seoul

Breakfast

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore this bustling metropolis at your own pace. Alternatively, a number of optional excursions are available (at a fee). Make stir-fried glass noodles and seafood pancakes at a cooking class, join a workshop and learn how to make kimchi (Korea's traditional fermented cabbage) or enjoy a show at the Jeongdong Theatre.

Day 11
Seoul to the UK

Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK or continue on to your chosen extension.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Dates
Price (per person)
Dates available
February 2021
from £2,199
1 Date
17th Feb - 27th Feb
£2,199
March 2021
from £2,369
1 Date
17th Mar - 27th Mar
£2,369
April 2021
from £2,399
3 Dates
13th Apr - 23rd Apr
£2,399
20th Apr - 30th Apr
£2,399
Call to Book:
0333 242 7529
27th Apr - 7th May
£2,399
Call to Book:
0333 242 7529
May 2021
from £2,499
1 Date
25th May - 4th Jun
£2,499
June 2021
from £2,549
1 Date
8th Jun - 18th Jun
£2,549
August 2021
from £2,629
1 Date
17th Aug - 27th Aug
£2,629
Call to Book:
0333 242 7529
September 2021
from £2,499
2 Dates
7th Sep - 17th Sep
£2,499
Call to Book:
0333 242 7529
28th Sep - 8th Oct
£2,599
October 2021
from £2,389
2 Dates
12th Oct - 22nd Oct
£2,469
26th Oct - 6th Nov
£2,389
November 2021
from £2,369
1 Date
3rd Nov - 13th Nov
£2,369
December 2021
from £2,269
1 Date
1st Dec - 11th Dec
£2,269

Accommodation

The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Best Western Premier Seoul Garden
5 nights
Seoul, South Korea
More details
Crown Harbour Hotel Busan
1 nights
Busan, South Korea
More details
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Tour Reviews

L Montgomery

01 Apr 20

The guide Stefano had a difficult time due to the Coronavirus outbreak, he managed all issues well.

Sew Ng

13 Oct 19

Good centrally located hotel. No complaints about any of the hotels.

Mary Bailey

13 Oct 19

All hotels were very good apart from at Andong. This was rather basic to say the least but for 1night we could make do.

S Newman

03 Oct 19

Most of the hotels were good and staff very pleasant. Our tour manager went above and beyond to make sure everyone was well informed, Very helpful. A full on tour which was i was looking for, an exciting country to visit.

L Campbell

25 Sep 19

The guide in South Korea (stephan) went above and beyond what was expected from him, couldn't be more helpful.

Karen Davie

16 Sep 19

Lovely hotels, professional and helpful staff. Food and room was excellent.

Natasha Mort

15 Sep 19

All were really good, clean and with excellent staff. One a bit less so and I would have put excellent apart from that one. I loved every minute of this trip. I would like to take my family next time and will definitely use Mercury again.

Denis Buckoke

16 May 19

The BW Seoul Garden was easily the best, a real pleasure

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Extend Your Tour

Flavours of South Korea with Tokyo City Stay

4 Day Extension
from

£689

pp

Flavours of South Korea with Hong Kong City Stay

4 Day Extension
from

£699

pp

Important Information

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.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. 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 Holidays 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 £49pp 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 e-ticket receipt. 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.

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 of steep stairs and getting on and off coaches, trains and metro trams. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and 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 by a local guide in each of the cities that you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in South Korea is the South Korean won, known as KRW. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK.

You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry, any meals not included in the itinerary as well as drinks and any additional snacks. We recommend you bring along a minimum of GBP £350 per person to change to local currency. It is a good idea to try and maintain a supply of small notes and change in the local currency for tipping or small purchases.