South Korea

Discover South Korea

12 days
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Cultural Wonders
Group size:

Explore the "Land of the Morning Calm"

South Korea, the "Land of the Morning Calm" has long been overshadowed by neighbouring Japan. A dynamic country steeped in culture, tradition and history it offers vibrant cities, rich landscapes, friendly locals and staggering nature. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in bustling Seoul's contemporary culture, meditate and spend the night in an ancient temple, discover the beauty of Seoraksan N.P and explore Busan's colourful markets. This, combined with the chance to taste some of the most underrated cuisine in the world, makes a trip to Korea unforgettable!


  • Learn about ancient and modern history in Seoul
  • Spend a night and partake in ceremonies at UNESCO Haeinsa Temple 
  • Visit Panmunjom and the DMZ to learn how Korea was divided
  • Discover Busan's bustling, colourful markets
  • Be captivated by Korea's culinary delights
  • Special cherry blossom and autumn colours departures

Key information

  • 10 nights 3 and 4-star hotels and 1 night temple stay
  • 12 days land only / 13 days flight inclusive
  • Sightseeing on foot and 1 short daywalk
  • Group usually 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private minibus, bullet train and metro
  • Countries visited: South Korea

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Transfers for group flights
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request & subject to availability)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • Guests will have the opportunity to stay overnight at the Haeinsa Temple, one of the oldest in Korea. Here we will experience a strict Buddhist lifestyle and meet the monks who dedicate their lives to prayer and meditation, enjoy a vegetarian Buddhist dinner & partake in a tea ceremony. Our visit & overnight stay helps contribute to the upkeep of the temple.
  • With a strong emphasis on culture and history, this trip provides plenty of opportunities to visit various museums and cultural sites. Our visits to the museums and sites will benefit the locals and contributes to the preservation of their cultural assets through the money spent on entrance fees and other purchases made within the area. 


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment. For example, we don’t just stay in busy cities such as Seoul or Busan every night of the tour.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste. For example, we encourage eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead encourage clients to drink the tap water, which is safe to drink in South Korea. We encourage all clients to take a refillable water bottle with them on the tour.
  • During the tour, our guides educate guests on how to appropriately separate and dispose of any waste, as well as encouraging clients to use reusable chopsticks and canvas tote bags for shopping.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here, including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • We choose to travel predominantly by road during the trip and bullet train from Busan to Seoul as opposed to taking any domestic flights.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary mostly use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian options are available at majority of accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip. Tap water in South Korea is safe for drinking, hence we strongly encourage clients to bring their own reusable water bottles for this purpose and minimise our usage of single use plastic bottles.
  • Cultural respect:
  • The most common way to greet in South Korea is with a bow.
  • Object, gifts, and food should be offered and received with two hands.
  • Spoons are used to eat soup, but chopsticks are used for everything else.


Expand all
  • Day 1

    Start Seoul

    Arrive in Seoul. Time permitting and depending on the arrival time of the group, the leader will arrange a short orientation tour in proximity of the hotel.

    In the evening we have the chance to visit the Gwangjang market, one of the oldest food markets in Seoul, where locals meet after work to enjoy traditional foods and liquor. The market also sells vintage clothing and textiles during the day, but comes alive in the evenings when unique foods such as 'bindaetteok', a popular pancake with 'makkolli', the traditional Korean rice wine, are served.
    Bestwestern Premier Kukdo Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Full day Seoul walking tour including Insadong artisan area, Jogyesa Temple and Gyeongbokkung Palace

    Today we will enjoy a walking tour of Seoul.

    We first head towards the Cheonggyecheon, an age old canal in downtown Seoul that was filled with concrete in the 1960's but reopened in 2005 in its original state. Continue to Tapgol Park, the central point of the Korean independence movement in 1919. From there, we continue on to Insadong, the artisan neighbourhood where traditional teahouses and souvenir shops are lined up in a cosy, welcoming atmosphere.

    After, we visit Jogyesa Temple, one of the most beautiful temple complexes in the heart of Seoul. At Gwanghwamoon you can admire the impressive statues of Admiral Yi and King Sejong; men who played vital roles in Korean history.

    The next stop for the day is at Gyeongbokgung Palace. Built by the Joseon Dynasty in 1394, this immense complex was the centre of power up to Japanese occupation at the start of the last century. At the Palace, we may see the changing of guards. 

    Our last visit for today will be Bukchon Hanok Village which is home to hundreds of traditional houses, called hanok, that date back to the Joseon dynasty.

    (Please note that the order of these activities may change).

    Bestwestern Premier Kukdo Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Visit Panmunjom to learn how Korea was divided

    Today we will have an excursion to Panmunjom, the only place on the peninsula where North and South Koreans can meet face to face. It was here that the peace treaty was signed in 1953 and where both parties agreed on a Joint Security Area (JSA) in the middle of the border between the two countries, also known as DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). After a short briefing by US army personnel you will enter the JSA; here you will visit Freedom House, the blue barracks sharing a conference room for talks between both North and South Korea, the visitor's observation post and the bridge of no return. En route you will enjoy a traditional Korean dish for lunch.

    Please note that due to government restrictions in place this excursion is guided by a local JSA specialised guide and not by your tour leader. Please also note that the Panmunjom tour may be withdrawn at any time and in such cases this trip will be substituted with visits to other key areas in the North/South Korean history, such as the Third Tunnel. We must also mention that some nationalities will not be permitted to take part in the tour (at time of writing this includes nationals from Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria) and it will be more difficult to obtain permission for South Korean and Chinese nationals to join the tour. Strict rules are in place for DMZ tours and as such passport details must be provided in advance. For dual passport holders, please ensure you provide Exodus with the exact passport details you will be entering South Korea with (and will be required to carry on the day tour).

    During the tour, it is critically important that you follow instructions from military personnel and guides whilst on the tour. Please refer to the 'What To Take' section for information on required attire for this day trip.

    Bestwestern Premier Kukdo Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Transfer to Gangneung; afternoon Korean cooking demonstration

    Today will begin with a private transfer to Gangneung on the east coast (approx. 3hrs). In the heart of Gangwon Province we will visit one of Korea’s most picturesque culinary bases, where all the food is produced and processed naturally and according to centuries-old recipes; fermented food such as kimchi, red pepper paste, doenjang (bean paste) and fish sauce is stored and aged in clay vessels, sometimes for over 5 years! Herbs are grown and harvested from gardens, and wild herbs collected from the mountains surrounding the area.

    Here we learn how bibimbab is made, a traditional dish of rice with vegetables, herbs, meat and several side dishes. You will then lunch on this freshly-cooked, healthy food.

    In the afternoon we transfer to the hotel in Sokcho, a lively coastal city which belonged to North Korea from 1945 until the end of the Korean War.

    Ramada Gangwon Sokcho or similar


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Enjoy an easy walk in Seoraksan N.P.

    Situated on the beautiful east coast, the Seorak Mountains are the most famous in Korea. At the foot on the mountains we will find an enormous Buddha statue and from this point one may follow a variety of different trails between 2 and 10 km. The leader will guide those who wish on an easy and short optional walk. A more leisurely option for those not wishing to walk is to take a cable car to one of the mountain tops to enjoy the fantastic views.

    Ramada Gangwon Sokcho or similar


    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Andong; visit the Andong Hahoe Folk Museum

    Transfer from Sokcho to Andong by private minibus (approx. 4hrs). Visit to the Andong Hahoe Village where century old traditions, influenced by the teachings of Confucius, are still alive. The inhabitants live in the same way their ancestors did; in simple houses for the common farmers and in richly decorated houses for the "Yangban" aristocrats.
    Park Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Transfer to Gyeongju; visit the Tumuli Park and Cheomseongdae, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia

    Transfer from Andong to Gyeongju by private minibus (approx. 2.5hrs) stopping en route for a visit to the Dosan Confucian School. In the afternoon Visit the Tumuli Park with the royal tombs dating back to the Shilla Dynasty. The numerous artifacts being found in these tombs show a remarkable technological and cultural advancement in that period (600-900 CE). We also visit Cheomseongdae, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia. The 362 stones used to build the Cheomseongdae represent the 362 days in the lunar calendar.
    Commodore Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Full day sightseeing including Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple and Anapji Pond

    Seokguram Grotto, which we will visit this morning, was discovered by a postman sheltering from the rain. Inside the man-made cave he found an astonishing beautiful statue of Buddha, constructed during the Shilla Dynasty. The grotto is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. From here we will visit Bulguksa Temple, constructed in the same period.

    This afternoon we visit the National Museum of Gyeongju, where one can relive the rich and advanced culture of the Shilla Dynasty and see the numerous archaeological findings. Our day ends with a stop at Anapji Pond, an artificial pond constructed in the royal palace grounds, before exploring Gyeongju food market.
    Commodore Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Transfer to Haeinsa Temple; explore the grounds, eat a traditional vegetarian meal and take part in a Buddhist ceremony

    This morning we transfer from Gyeongju to Haeinsa Temple (approx. 3hrs).

    Haeinsa Temple is one of the oldest in Korea and home to the Tripitaka Koreana, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, engraved on 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 and 1248 which gained the UNESCO status in 1995.

    Here we will experience a strict Buddhist lifestyle and meet the monks who dedicate their lives to prayer and meditation. On entering the temple you exchange your own clothes for simple monks’ clothing and after the initial introductions and opening ceremony you have the opportunity to walk around the beautiful temple complex. After the vegetarian Buddhist dinner we will partake in a tea ceremony. Lights out at 9pm this evening, ready for our early morning wake-up.

    Please note, during our stay at the temple, the program and order in which it runs can be subject to changes.

    Haeinsa Temple Stay

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    Early morning ceremony and meditation; transfer to Busan; city tour including local markets

    Start your day early; wake up at 3.30am to participate at the first ceremony and meditation. After breakfast at 6:00, depart the temple and transfer to Busan (approx. 2hrs).

    From the impressive Gwangalli Bridge we can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Busan shoreline. We will learn the tragic history of the Korean War (1950-1953) at the UN War Cemetery. Continue the tour and visit the Nurimaru APEC House, a wonderful location with gorgeous views over the ocean. We will also discover Jagalchi Fishmarket, one of the largest markets of its kind, selling a dazzling array of fish. Here you can taste the famous Korean sashimi before heading into the adjacent Gukje Market, where you can shop for souvenirs. After dinner, enjoy an optional visit to the Busan tower (118m high) for some amazing night vistas!
    Crown Harbor Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Bullet train to Seoul; transfer to hotel. Free afternoon

    This morning we take a bullet train back to Seoul (approx. 3hr) and transfer to our hotel. This afternoon is free for some last-minute shopping or to perhaps visit the vibrant Hongdae university district. You may also like to spend your final evening in Seoul exploring lively Itaewon neighbourhood's nightlife!
    Bestwestern Premier Kukdo Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    End Seoul

    The tour ends this morning after breakfast for land only clients.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info


South Korea

If you have a British Citizen passport you can enter South Korea as a tourist for up to 90 days without a visa. You must also have an onward or return ticket.

If you have a different nationality, you should check visa requirements with your local Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner are included.

Korean food is generally healthy and based upon rice, vegetables and meats. During the trip you will experience a wide variety of tasty meals including staple foods rice, porridge, soups, stews, barbecued or broiled meat and fish along with a large selection of banchan (side dishes) and kimchi (fermented cabbage) which is served at almost every meal.


Korea has four seasons, with a wet monsoon/summer season in the middle of the year, and a cold winter from November to March. We aim to avoid the coldest parts of winter and hot/humid summer and visit at the ideal times of year; spring (late March -May) to view the cherry blossoms and autumn (September-November) with a stunning array of foliage colours, warm temperatures and clear skies. Average temperatures during these seasons range from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. Whilst these are not rainy seasons the odd shower cannot be ruled out and evenings will be cooler.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is rated Activity Level 2: Leisurely/Moderate

This is tour is designed to highlight the best of the Republic of Korea (known as the ROK). Most of our travel is by private vehicle, so the journeys are not physically demanding. You will walk mostly in cities and towns and although not strenuous, the amount of walking each day can be considerable and fast-paced (good comfortable walking shoes are recommended).  We will also be ascending and descending a lot of steps.  The walk in Seoraksan NP is optional. The overall Activity Level for this trip is 2, meaning that it is suitable for all people who are in good health and fitness.


Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


3 and 4-star hotels and 1 temple stay

During the trip we use mainly 3 to 4-star hotels with modern facilities and comforts.

One night will be spent in a traditional temple, where facilities are basic and shared. As it is a religious institution, rooms are or a triple/quadruple share basis and assigned by gender so couples will not be permitted to share a room. Traditional Korean "Yo" mattresses are used at the temple stay; these are similar to futons and placed on the floor. The temple offers a unique program where you may actually appreciate the Buddhist monks' life your own eyes, experience woodblock printing as well as Chamseon which is a traditional meditation method of Buddhism in Korea. You may also learn the Buddhist teaching by touring the small hermitages and temples around the Gaya Mountain with Haeinsa as its main temple.

2022 departures

Please be advised that the below accommodation is list of the standard hotels used for 2022 departures. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at alternative hotels of a similar quality.

Seoul (4 nights): Bestwestern Premier Kukdo Hotel

Sokcho (2 nights): Ramada Gangwon Sokcho

Andong (1 night): Park Hotel

Gyeongju (2 nights): Commodore Hotel

Haeinsa (1 night): Haeinsa Temple Stay (sharing room by gender)

Busan (1 night): Crown Harbor Hotel

Single supplements

Single supplements can be pre-booked for 10 nights of the tour at the hotel accommodation. These must be requested before departure and are subject to availability.

 A single supplement is not available for 1 night of the tour at the Haeinsa Temple Stay.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2017

    South Korea unmasked

    As this is only my second group trip I have a limited experience with comparing these types of trips but I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Our guide was knowledgeable and filled any gaps in our itinerary with valuable insightful excursions. All key sights were covered in the trip. Unfortunately we did not get to go to the JSA, however this did not detract from the the overall visit to the DMZ. The DMZ felt very surreal and to be able to peak into North Korea was an experience. Seoul is your typical city, traffic included but the subway system is very easy to negotiate and cheap and clean. There are plenty of lively markets to immerse oneself into the culture and to sample various food on a stick. I would recommend catching the Nanta show. This was amazing. The scenery was breathtaking especially in Seoraksan National Park and Jeju Island. For a country that had to completely rebuild it is amazing how the government was able to cultivate such wonderful green spaces. The food on offer was second to none and I did not find the food too spicy at all, although when given the option I chose the least spicy option.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was learning all the history behind South Korea. Admittedly I did not much about Korean history but I found the topic fascinating. It was uplifting to learn how through adversity the Korean people were able to achieve all they have in such a short space of time. It was not only the infrastructure that was rebuilt but the green belt too. The fact that the government even thought about constructing green spaces demonstrates how forward thinking a government can be. The temple stay was a highlight too, especially the conversation with the monk. It was interesting to hear about how an enlightened person thinks about the modern world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mirium was an exceptional group leader and she always recommended good restaurants that were not expensive. She was always providing us with background to all the places we were visiting and her in depth knowledge of the history was very compelling. I don't think I know English history as well as she knows her Korean history. What was also good given that we were visiting during elevated tension levels with the North, she not only gave us a daily briefing on what was on the news, as on a couple of days we had no access to English channels. She also offered an insight of the South Korean mindset regarding the North. She also made sure that everyone was accommodated and was willing to flit between restaurants to ensure everyone was able to order what they wanted. Her instructions on where and when to meet were very clear and I felt she went above and beyond her duties. At all restaurants she would recommend the items on the menu which she knew were the local dishes and good. This sort of knowledge is priceless.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of walking on all types of terrain and eating good food.
  • Reviewed November 2016

    An Unknown Country

    There are very few British tourists visiting this lovely country and this Exodus trip was a good way of understanding the Past and the Present state of Korea. A visit to the DMZ gives you an understanding of the conflict between the South and the North. The gardens and ordinary road-side trees are beautiful and the people are charming. There was absolutely no hassle from the local people or officials.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Although uncomfortable by our standards, the Temple Stay was inspirational and an eye opener. We lived the life of a monk (but only for one night!) well away from the electronic world of some parts of Korea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Minhe Kim was a petite and charming girl with an infectious and rather cheeky smile which made up for any shortcomings on her part.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a rather hectic trip involving two internal flights and walking tours as well as optional hikes. So make sure that you are reasonably fit and that your shoes are comfortable but sturdy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was an interesting experience and to complete your experience you need to sample street food as recommended by your tour leader. If this is not to your tastes you could always have Western type meals or resort to Pot Noodle! Even Starbucks serve Pot Noodle and so that was not a facetious comment on my part!
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Dan Fitt

    A taste of Korea

    I thoroughly enjoyed this trip & can recommend it. This trip is not only a great introduction to Korea but a good way to visit Asia if you haven't been to the Far East before as compared to other countries in this region, it is clean, safe, and developed. However, to get the most out of it you have to be prepared to explore during your free time. This trip puts you in the position, by giving you the opportunity to see some wonderful things that are not on the itinerary. For example the Seoul Tower with the wonderful Season’s table all you can eat Korean restaurant, or the Sun Cruise Resort and surrounding area in Gyeongpo, a 20 minute taxi ride from your hotel. Taxis are cheap and a good way to get round. Budget wise I would suggest you allow about £20 per day on food. The food here is lovely but expensive. Credit cards are widely accepted but I would take US Dollars or Euros to change into the local currency, the Won. I found it hard to change the Pound, with the only place being a handful of banks in the major cities. When you arrive in Seoul I suggest you change your money you need for the trip then, as changing it in other areas other than Busan and Jeju was difficult. Even though ATMs are widely available for debit cards, you have to look for a global one which we found difficult finding and it was hit and miss whether the card would be accepted. You must have patience as service can be slow and language can be a barrier. My main criticism is we didn't have enough time in Busan; it was almost a fleeting visit, which doesn't do the place justice. I would like to have more time there at the expense of the temple stay, which in my opinion added little value to the trip. There was also too much emphasis on Buddhism. My biggest surprise coming here was the number of churches I saw, and finding out that they aren't devoutly religious or follow one particular faith, just a mix of multi-faith and non-religious groups. For example, there are more Christians and other religions than Buddhists – for instance 29 % are Christian and only 24 % are Buddhist. With this in mind, I would like to reduce the number of temples that are visited by exploring the other faiths and learning more of the contemporary recent history that makes up this dynamic nation. Highlights; (1) the big Yakcheonsa Buddhist temple in Jeju, which we allowed to freely photograph; (2) DMZ; (3) The museum in Busan, which explained in concise terms the history of this nation. Low points; (1) Temple stay, which was a complete waste of time and added nothing to my understanding of Korea. This should be made an optional extra or cut out completely, with time better spent in Busan. (2) Not enough time in Busan and war memorial. (3) Too many markets and temples visited - only one or two would do. Overall I can recommend this trip to anyone who wants a taste of Korea but to get the most out of it, you must have a sense of adventure and explore the surrounding area in your free time. 4/5.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going to the War Memorial and museum in Busan which puts into context the sacrifices made by the Korean people, This not only provided an excellent concise summary of contemporary Korean history but also to the complete history of this fascinating nation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour guide was good, very professional, and always on hand to help. In particular, she made a number of excellent decisions on changing the itinerary because of the weather and on when and where we went to each place. Exodus would do well to listen to her when it comes to refining the itinerary for future tours.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See my comments about making the most of your free time in my Summary. To reiterate to get the most out of this trip you have to be prepared to explore during your free time. This trip puts you in the position, by giving you the opportunity to see some wonderful things that are not on the itinerary. Like I said, I can recommend this trip to anyone who wants a taste of Korea but to get the most out of it, you really must have a sense of adventure and be prepared to explore the surrounding area in your free time. 4/5.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    See my comments about money in the Summary.
  • Reviewed November 2015

    South Korea - a fascinating snap shot

    This is a different and wonderful country which is very misunderstood. It has a lot to offer from the busyness of Seoul, the beauty of the National Parks to the amazing volcanic island of Jehu. I thought this country would be a mixture of Japan and China yet it is quite different. The culture is fascinating - when they are into something (such as coffee shops, hiking), they are into it big time yet the battle between tradition and western influence is fascinating to witness and observe in different areas in Seoul and in the rest of the country. Each area specialises in a different type of food (Kimchi always included) and this trip gives a great snapshot into different parts of South Korea from the cities (Seoul and Busan) to the DMZ to the countryside (national park and folk villages). This is not a very active holiday and there are not any long trips.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The DMZ is fascinating in terms of set up and hearing the views of people affected. Jehu is a beautiful island - stay longer here if you can as although large, is a fascinating volcanic island with lots to visit. Seoul is like a usual capital city, busy but with lots to see (palaces and modern architecture) and lots of exciting districts.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Seony adapted well to the needs of the group and always was helpful and friendly when asked. I think the culture of South Korea is that they don't try to interact too much in free time during or after meals though.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are 3 days where you have to sleep on the floor with thin or no mattresses. The Buddhist Temple stay is fascinating experience but it it no 3 star hotel! Visit now though as the balance between tradition and western culture and China is very apparent!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Out of the cities, there isn't a great amount to do in the evening. Also, there is quite a lot of free time on the trip for you to plan to do your own thing if there is something to do in that area.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Brenda Smithwhite

    Discover South Korea

    A great two week trip around South Korea, Exodus's first trip there. Fascinating places to visit, good food and transport and accommodation, giving a glimpse into a country that is definitely worth visiting, and a trip that covers the main sites. The itinerary worked well, some timings need tweaking and trip notes altering slightly. Just the one early start on temple stay and leaving day, some busy days, and sometimes quick turnaround between arrival at hotels and going out. The hotel we had in Seoul is away from some sites, but metro is nearby and cheap to use. On arrival there was no early check in booked or planned, so we did the market that morning. The rest of the day is free. I went to the aquarium and saw an underwater sardine play. Plenty to see in Seoul over the next few days. The JSA and DMZ are fascinating. There followed a busy trip - cookery school, National Park, the idyllic guest house, Temple-stay (go with the flow), Busan (more time needed here), Jeju Island (optional trip well worth doing), then back to Seoul for a last afternoon and evening. Food was great, cheaper than the trip notes, and lots of it, we enjoyed the bbqs. The autumnal colours were beautiful. Some great nights out in the singing rooms and snow flake desserts

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A highlight each day, for me - Jogyesa Temple, the food, the JSA, singing rooms, snow flake desserts, guest house in Gyeongju, ceremonies at Haeinsa, normal Korean life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Seony had the patience of a saint at times, lots of information about each site, timings accurate, may have left the odd one or two people behind at times though. Very helpful with the evening group meal choices and translations.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I should know this by now but if you see it buy it. e.g. at Andong Village, and won't have time at Haeinsa Temple to buy anything there. Department stores are a bit posh with lots of assistants. Souvenirs, metro are very reasonably priced. Evening meals around £10, beer anything from £1.50 to £6 depending on where you are eating/partying. JUMP show in Seoul is very good, also optional Jeju trip. Not much free/down time, say first day in Seoul and the afternoon before departure day. Loads of coffee shops and convenience stores for snacks. I liked the BBQ meals. For cash need to use ATMs marked as Global, of which there are only a few but there's plenty of money exchanges around. The Temple-stay early morning is then followed by a very long day in Busan, sense of humour needed on this day. In Busan the hotel is a bit out of centre but plenty of places to eat and drink nearby.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy, go with the flow. I recommend this trip as a comprehensive trip to South Korea.

Dates & Prices

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Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on 0203 993 4668, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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