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South Korea has much to offer the visitor - admire its natural beauties and cultural heritage, in strong contrast to the high-tech, modern, buzzing capital of Seoul.
Travel to South Korea with CTS Horizons and enjoy exploring this fascinating country.
Once known as the Hermit Kingdom, South Korea has ridden a helter-skelter of economic, political and social rebirth through the ravages of the 20th century but is now a flourishing, delightful and absorbing destination that blends both modern cosmopolitan and traditional Confucian elements. Admire the picturesque hillside temples of South Korea, and explore its natural beauties and ancient culture and sample some of South Korea’s fantastic cuisine.
• Explore South Korea's high-tech and buzzing capital Seoul
• Admire the scenery of the pretty Mount Gaya National Park
• Visit some of Korea’s villages
• Explore ancient palaces and pagodas
South Korea’s capital city of Seoul is a high-tech, buzzing and vibrant city, full of neon lights with an energetic vibe. There is much to see here including the Gyeongbok Palace which is undergoing extensive restoration to its former grandeur. In the grounds is the National Folk Museum where you can see thousands of everyday utensils and ceremonial items used by noblemen and peasants for births, marriages and deaths. Explore the shops and galleries along Insadong Alley where you can buy ceramics and other traditional crafts. Also see Jongmyo Royal Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Joseon kings and queens would worship their ancestors. Finally, ascend the N Seoul Tower for fantastic views of the city. From Seoul you can take an excursion to the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone along the 38th parallel that divides North and South Korea, and which is the most heavily fortified border in the world.
Gyeongju is a coastal city located in south-eastern Korea and is home to a large number of archaeological sites and cultural properties. From here you can enjoy a cruise on the lake, passing the local beauty spots known as Dangyang Eight Sights, and visit Nodonggonggul Cave which was discovered only recently and whose tunnel is around a kilometre long. Perhaps enjoy a walk in the picturesque Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park, passing waterfalls and streams and admiring lovely mountain scenery. Or visit the picturesque 17th century Beopjusa Temple where a giant Buddha gazes over the complex, symbolising world peace and the reunification of Korea. A great iron cauldron that was used to cook rice for 3000 monks can also be seen. From Gyeongju it is also possible to continue to the Mount Gaya National Park and its glorious surroundings.
Visit Korea’s most venerable city, Gyeongju, founded at the time of Julius Caesar as the capital of the Silla kingdom, the first kingdom to unify Korea, and it remained its capital for a thousand years. Its royal tombs, temples, pagodas and palaces are undergoing restoration following its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See Tumuli Park’s 23 treasure-filled tombs of kings, queens and nobles who died 1500 years ago, and the Observatory, constructed in the mid 7th century and made of 362 stones to represent the 362 days of the lunar year. Also admire the exhibits such as a 97% pure gold crown in the National Museum, the best in Korea and visit Seokguram mountain grotto with its 8th century white granite Buddha, surrounded by lesser deities, looking out to the east and representing the saviour of the country. Perhaps also visit Bukguksa Temple whose remarkable painted woodwork represents the high point of Korean architecture. The bridges and pagodas in the grounds are also national treasures, and the setting is delightful.
|Time Zone:||GMT + 9 hours|
|Flying time:||Approx 11 hours|
|Currency:||South Korean Won|
|Visa:||Visa not required for UK passport holders|
|Vaccinations:||Recommended, seek advice from GP|
KEY PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2015
1 Jan – New Year’s Day, 18-20 Feb – Korean New Year, 1 May – Labour Day, 1-3 May – Labour Day Holiday, 25 May – Buddha’s Birthday, 17 Jul – Constitution Day, 15 Aug – Liberation Day, 26-29 Harvest Festival Holiday, 3 Oct – National Foundation Day, 9 Oct – Hangeul Day
Korea has four distinct seasons, the same as the UK. Temperatures vary widely between midsummer and midwinter, more so in the northern half of the country, winters in Seoul are colder than the more southerly Busan. Rainfall in the north generally arrives in the summer monsoon season (late June to August).