SHORE EXCURSIONS

Busan A / 8 hours

Tour Highlights


Beomeosa UN Memorial Cemetery Jagalchi Fish Market Gukjesijang


Busan (L) 80km
Upon calling at Busan, your local tour guide will greet you at the cruise terminal to take you on an excursion of Busan. This morning, enjoy a city tour with a visit to the famous Beomeosa temple. Legend tells that one day a golden fish came from Nirvana, the Buddhist state of non-suffering, and has lived there ever since, so the temple's name became Temple of the Heavenly Fish or Where fish from Nirvana play.

The temple is laid out in an unusual manner. The upper level is the Main Hall with a Buddha of Sakamuni attended by Bodhisattvas. This Main Hall from the 17th century boasts of architectural beauty with its excellent craftsmanship of wooden carvings. On the ceiling, you can see flower carvings as if they were falling from the heaven. There is a stone lantern which dates back to the 9th century. The second level is the Bojeru, the Save all Beings Hall with three storied pagoda from the Silla period and a belfry holding four Dharma instruments. The lower part includes the three gates; the One-Pillar Gate, Four Guardian's Gate, and the Gate of Non Duality, represents the fact that, though the visitor is passing from the secular world into the spiritual world of the temple, these two worlds are not different form one another. In addition, the temple is famous for Wisteria habitat. Some 500 wisterias, some of which are more than 100 years old, grow in the nearby valley.

Then continue on to UN memorial cemetery where 2,300 deceased soldiers from sixteen Korean War allies rest in honored serenity. Learn about the Korean War and pay tribute to those who dedicated their lives to the World Peace. During the period of 1951-1954, remains of approximately 11,000 fallen of the UN Forces were buried here. Thereafter, most were repatriated to their home countries. It is the permanent home of war heroes of the following nations. Australia (281), Canada (378), France (44), Netherlands (117), New Zealand (34), Norway (1), South Africa (11), Republic of Korea (36), Turkey (462), United Kingdom (885), USA (36), Unknown soldiers (4), Non-belligerents (11).

Explore fascinating Jagalchi fish market. Located on the downtown docks, this bustling market offers a wide variety of fish including sea bream, sea bass, snapper, saury, pollack, halibut, corvina, cutlass fish, mackerel, octopus, sea squirt, cuttlefish, frogfish, flounder, abalone, crab, shells, to name just a few, and a flexible pricing system, which makes it a big draw among locals and visitors alike. There are also many restaurants selling sliced raw fish at reasonable prices. Trying them here in the market is really a visual and culinary treat.

Neighboring block is BIFF square, packed with trendy shops movie theaters and even a walk of fame where famous stars and directors have pressed their handprints into the sidewalk. A little further on is Gukjesijang where thousands of shops spill out into the busiest districts of Busan and a variety of items, including folk art, bags, clothes, food, kitchen utensils, and more are available at very reasonable prices. Discover all that local merchants have to offer, while enjoying the ambience of this massive market.

Incheon A / 8 hours

Tour Highlights


Gyeongbokgung Palace National Folklore Museum Namdaemun Market

Incheon - Seoul - Incheon (L) 90km

Upon calling at Incheon, your tour guide will greet you at the cruise terminal to take you on a tour of Seoul. You will explore Korea's capital city that is full of rich heritage, culture, history and tourist attractions.

Your exploration will begin with a driving tour of the city featuring sites such as the Gwanghwamun Plaza and a statue of Yi Sunsin, who had engaged in twenty-three naval battles against Japan and emerged victorious in all of them during the Hideyoshi invasion (1592-1598). The statue of King Sejong who propagated the Korean alphabet in the 15th century is honored with prominent statue in this plaza.

Enjoy a city tour with such highlight as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Palace of Shining Happiness and see its magnificent gates, graceful architectures and lovely gardens, all directly inherited from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Built in 1395, the palace is a particularly charming spot that represents a colorful and turbulent side of the capital's 500-year history.

Then learn about the cultural wealth of this friendly and picturesque nation at National Folklore Museum showcasing life and work, costumes and ornaments, handicrafts and technology, educations, living quarters, dietary life, oriental medicine, performing arts and games, beliefs and rituals, and socio cultural life of the Korean people from the prehistoric age to the Joseon Dynasty.

You will have time to stroll down the cobblestone walkways and admire upscale art galleries and antique shops in Insa-dong, a unique area of Seoul that truly represents the traditional Korean art and antiques. Clustered along the main street and a multitude of alleys that lead deeper into the district are numerous shops dealing antiques, oriental art supplies, and modern Korean arts of all types and styles. A number of galleries also vie for attention with their exhibitions of works by modern artists. Here, you will look for some souvenirs or simply wander and browse at leisure.

Drive past Cheonggyecheon stream that tumbles gently through downtown Seoul. Restoration work began in 2003 to free the stream from the layers of concrete and roadways that had covered it since 1958. Opened in 2005, a 5.8km-long serene stream with nearly two dozen overhead bridges provides a much needed source of peace and relaxation for the citizens. At the head of the stream stands a colorful spiral sculpture created by Coosje Van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg.

Explore the centuries-old Namdaemun Market where well over 11,000 shops selling anything you can imagine. Widely acknowledged as one of the Seoul's best tourist attractions, the market is seriously crowded, so be prepared to get bumped around. One of the most colorful aspects of the market is an endless sprawl of street-vendor stalls that setup in the alleys and walkways between the buildings. As you stroll through the market, you can haggle over the price to get the best deal on something you want or simply admire the vibrancy of this massive market.

At the western entrance of the market in the middle of a traffic circle stands Namdaemun, officially known as the Sungnyemun Gate. It is a formidable and iconic construct that served as the southern gate of the wall that surrounded Seoul during the period of the Joseon Dynasty. The gate suffered severe damage by arson in 2008 and the wooden portion of the gate near the top was completely charred. Restoration work started in February 2010 and was completed in 29 April 2013.

Jejudo A / 5 hours

Tour Highlights


Jeju Folklore and Natural History Museum Samseonghyeol Gwandeokjeong Dongmunsijang

Jeju (- - -) 20km

Upon calling at Jeju, your tour guide will greet you at the cruise terminal to take you on an excursion through Jeju, the most famous of the 3,300 islands of Korea. Jejudo, once a place of exile for those who fell out of favor with the Korean Court, has today become the most popular tourist destination.

This morning, enjoy a city tour with such highlight as Jeju Folklore and Natural History Museum. At the entrance, you cannot possibly miss the fancy looking volcano bombs. The museum is an excellent facility featuring a significant collection of crafts, tools and equipment as well as geological features, marine organism, plants, animals and minerals native to Jeju Island - the perfect way to learn about the history and culture of Jeju. In the folklore exhibition hall, you can experience the traces of Jeju's ancestors with traditional thatched houses, boats, agricultural tools, and a variety of other implements used by women divers who live a hard life diving for seafood. Outdoor exhibition is highlighted by millstones, grave guards, tombstones and various stone tools used for daily living. With all these features combined, the tour gives you a fascinating insight into the tenacious and independent lifestyle of Jeju islanders.

A short walk leads you to Samseonghyeol literally three clan hole, a very symbolic spot to the islanders. According to legend, it was here that three demigods emerged from the holes in the ground to become the founding fathers of Tamna and its people. There is an exhibition hall where you can trace the birth of Jeju. In 1526, an altar was built and wall was erected around the holes, and the descendants began offering spring and autumn memorial services. Since that time, they continue to uphold the traditions and still perform twice a year on the 10th of April and October. Even more amazing aspect is that moisture from rain and snow do not penetrate the holes and the surrounding old trees face them at an angle as if they are worshiping three founders.

After the tour, see Gwandeokjeong, the oldest building in Jeju which was previously the site of government offices in the period of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). On its front stand two Dolharubang figures serving as fertility and protective totems. Both statues have protruding eyes, bulbous nose, tightly closed lips and a phallic symbol head under the brimmed hat. Both arms are bent at the elbow, hands resting above and below a rotund stomach. Many couples and visitors as well come here, each standing to either side, to have their pictures taken with their hands on its nose. A group of buildings in the neighborhood is a restored Mokgwana, which has been the hub of local administration since Tamna period, and you also explore them today.

You wll also have time to explore Dongmunsijang, a traditional market grown up in the old city center. It is a mix of a covered and an open-air bazaar that is full of cloths, souvenirs, food, distinct smells, and people. In addition, you will find mounds of colorful peppers and spices, enormous heads of grinning whole pigs' heads and an endless variety of fishes, and elderly women with machetes hacking at fresh fish and packaging it for customers.

After this wonderful day exploring the fascinating culture and natural wonders of Jeju, return to the cruise terminal to board your ship.


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