Day 1 - Seoul
Welcome to Seoul, South Korea's vibrant capital of high-tech gadgetry, glittering skyscrapers and scrumptious eats.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend.
We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
A modern Asian metropolis that blends bold futuristic intentions with strong links to the past, Seoul is one of Asia's great cities. After the welcome meeting, head out with your trip leader and fellow travellers on a guided tour to get immersed in Seoul's sights, sounds, smells and, of course, tastes! Start with a taste of the original KFC – Korean Fried Chicken.
Don't pass up the opportunity to try Soju, Korea's national alcoholic beverage. Your leader will be able to verse you in the etiquette involved.
Day 2 - Jeonju
From Yongsan Station, travel by ITX Train to Jeonju. After checking into the hotel, head to a restaurant famous for its bibimbap and dozens of homemade side dishes. Next, take a cooking class and learn how to prepare a local specialty, Jeon (Korean pancakes). Take a stroll around the traditional Korean village of Hanok. If you're keen for one more 'real food' experience, your leader will take you for locally brewed, cloudy rice beer which is served with yet another array of side dishes. If you order another round of drinks, more food will come out. If you order a pitcher - then you’ll get a surprise!
Note: On the October departure, the cooking class will be replaced by a visit to the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival.
Day 3 - Sunchang
This morning you'll have the opportunity to start your day with a breakfast of Kongnamul Gukbap – a hot soup of soybean and sprouts – before taking a tour of the Nambu Traditional Market. From here, travel by bus to Sunchang Gochujang, a village famous for the production of gochujang (a traditional red chili paste). Taste local varieties of soy sauce, bean paste, red chilli paste and Korean pickles, then see how the chili paste is made during a demonstration. Travel on to Sunchang city and head out on a guided tour. Tonight is free for your own exploration, although your leader will have plenty of great dining tips.
Day 4 - Daegu
Kickstart the day with a brisk mountain hike up Mt. Gangcheon to the lovely Byeongpung Waterfall. Back at the bottom, refuel with a rice meal, then jump on a bus bound for Daegu. South Korea's fourth largest city, Daegu's humid subtropical climate is ideal for apple growing (the city is sometimes referred to as Apple City). While here we'll tour the Oriental Medicine Market, gaining an insight into traditional medicine. If time, well drop past a restaurant famous for galbijjim, another classic Korean dish. The city is also renowned for its nightlife, so perhaps ask your leader for tips on where to go in Downtown.
Day 5 - Gyeongju
Drive on to the coastal city of Gyeongju, an area rich with temples, tombs, pagodas, and palace ruins (many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites). Tour the rice paddies and shittake mushroom plantations of a local farm, then stop by a traditional market to stroll through stalls of local produce. Sit down to a bowl of soondubu (a soft tofu stew) at a specialist restaurant. Tonight's accommodation is a real treat: an overnight temple stay. In addition to a typical vegetarian temple meal and learning about monastic life, you'll be entertained with martial arts and meditation demonstrations.
Note: In the case of bad weather, the farm visit will be replaced by an alternate activity.
Day 6 - Busan
Your life as a monk continues today with a 4am wake-up for morning meditation (you can opt out of it, though, as per monk protocol, will have to do 200 bows as penance!). Following breakfast, learn about the spiritual values and beliefs of Korean Buddhism over tea with a resident monk. Leaving the monastery, drive on to Busan, stopping in at a craft brewery for a behind-the-scenes tour and, of course, a tasting. Visit Jalgalchi Market (an enormous seafood market situated by Busan port), and gobble up some street food at Tong Market. Take in the sea views from Taejongdae Lighthouse, then finish up the day at a seafood restaurant overlooking the ocean.
Day 7 - Seoul
This morning you'll have the option of beginning your day with a spicy seafood soup at a Taxi Driver Restaurant. So-called for their popularity among taxi drivers, these eateries have become renowned in recent years as places that are good, fast, and affordable to eat at (the thinking being that taxi drivers will know their city better than anyone else). Post-soup, travel by KTX Train back to Seoul. Check out Sinsadong and Gangnam Area, Seoul's most eclectic neighbourhood, then for your final feast, head to the Majang Dong Beef Market and pick out some top-grade cuts of Korean beef for some of the market vendors to grill up for you.
Day 8 - Seoul
Your South Korea Food Adventure comes to an end this morning.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money