Korean Folk village / 8 hours

Tour Highlights
Farmer's Houses Traditional Kiln Governor's Office Nobleman's Residence Farmer's Dance and Music Tightrope Acrobatics Workshops Traditional Market Place

Incheon airport - Yongin - Departure (L) 170km
Touching down at Incheon International Airport places you in the heart of Korea. After you clear Passport and Customs control, your tour guide will greet you at the main passenger terminal and take you on a tour of the Korean Folk Village, a functioning community displaying the diversity of Korean lifestyle and culture of several centuries ago. Experience the heritage of the Korean people and soak up the local culture.

At village entrance stands an eye-catching Nuseokdan, a stone tower topped by a phallic symbol serving as fertility and protective totem, where people write a wish on the paper and tie to the ropes. On entering the village, you are greeted by goofy looking group of wooden Jangseung signifying village boundary and preventing bad luck.

Today, you will see a wide assortment of residential structures from the straw-thatched cottages of commoners to the 99-room mansions of the noble class as well as governor's office. The village also shows workshops of 20 types where the real artisans and craftsmen dressed in traditional costumes ply their trades, demonstrating centuries-old craftsmanship in the art of pottery, pyrography, bamboo craft, Korean paper, brassware, and many more. While strolling past the houses and workshops one by one, you will get the feeling of walking through time in an ancient village.

Enjoy farmer's music and dance, which has been the beloved form of entertainment of Korean people, bearing testimony to the gregarious character of Korean fun-making and festivity. Jultagi or acrobatics on a tightrope is something you cannot miss. The rope walker executes a variety of acrobatic feats on the rope, along with jokes, mimicry, or songs, while a clown engages the tightrope walker in joking banter, and a team of musicians plays music to accompany the entertainment.

You will experience some of long-observed seasonal customs, beliefs, folk games or plays that have been comprehensively reflected the daily life of the Korean people. A traditional wedding ceremony is also performed on a daily basis, although it may no longer be explicitly followed.

A traditional marketplace offers the exotic flavors of Korean cuisine from different regions. Shops stock a variety of handicrafts and souvenirs, many of which were made on the premises. With all these features combined, the tour offers a fascinating insight into the unique Korean lifestyle of the days gone by.

After this wonderful day exploring Korean Folk Village, return to the airport in time for your flight. By boarding, you are already high above Incheon heading for your next destination.

Overnight - Seoul

Tour Highlights

Gyeongbokgung Palace National Folklore Museum Jogyesa Insa-dong Namdaemun Market

Day 1 Arrive Seoul (- - -) 60km
Touching down at Incheon International Airport places you in the heart of Korea. After you clear Passport and Customs control, your tour guide will greet you at the main passenger terminal and transport you to your hotel.

Day 2 Seoul - Departure (B) 80km
Today, 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.

Standing majestically in the whirl of city traffic is Gwanghwamun, the main gate of the palace. Following two other gates up, you will get to the Geungeongjeon, a throne hall where the king granted audiences to his officials, presided over large official functions and met foreign envoys. The two-tier edifice stands on a high platform reached by stone steps. At the center of the stone-paved courtyard that is fully enclosed by wooden cloisters is lined with two rows of rank stones, indicating the positions of the officials with the highest rank being closer to the hall and where the court officials are to stand. At the back of this hall is a group of three offices; Manchunjeon, Sajeongjeon, and Cheonchujeon where the king used to meet with his top officials. Gyeonghoeru literally Pavilion of Joyous Meeting, supported by 48 stone pillars set in a lotus pond, was a favored place for the King to entertain visiting dignitaries.

Gangnyeongjeon, a king's main residing quarters with its fourteen chambers, rests on top of a tall stone foundation while Gyotaejeon, the queen's domain with ten chambers sits in the back of the king's quarters. The noted feature of these buildings is an absence of a top roof ridge. You cannot miss Amisan Garden landscaped with four hexagonal chimneys in orange bricks and decorative roof tiles, and artistic patterns of brick on the walls of queen's quarters which are seldom noticed by the hurried visitors. Jagyeongjeon is the queen dowager's residence. Although less colorful, it is worth noting the wall of Jagyeongjeon, adorned with floral designs and the chimneys with ten longevity symbols.

Hyangwonjeong features a small pond with a manmade islet that supports a beautiful two-story pavilion and is one of the famous sites in the palace. Behind this serene garden is Geoncheonggung, where the king and queen could relax in peace and quiet. It was here that the first electric lights in the country were installed and a tragic chapter in Korea's history was recorded in the early morning of 8 October 1895 when empress Myeongseong was assassinated by the sword-bearing Japanese assassins, allegedly under orders from Miura Goro. The assassins killed three court women suspected of being Empress Myeongseong. When they confirmed that one of them was the Empress, they burned the corpse in a pine forest in front of the Okhoru Pavilion. Upon exiting the Sinmumun gate, you will take a few minutes to take some pictures in front of the Blue House, the executive office and official residence of the president of Korea.

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.

Squeeze in a stop at Jogyesa, the head temple of Jogyejong the principal sect of Korean Buddhism. It emphasizes the Zen orthodox, meditation tradition and maintains the purity of monastic celibacy. The temple does not give off the solemn and traditional air of the other temples located deep in the mountains, but when you enter the temple the frenzy of the city start disappearing letting you explore the main worship hall, pagodas and bell tower. The Main Worship Hall holds triad Buddhas, Sakyamuni, Amitabha and Bhaisajyaraja. The figure in the center is Sakyamuni Buddha who has overcome greed, hatred and delusion. While here it is worth noting the 500 year old lacebark pine and 400 year old locust tree that still grace the property.

You will have time to stroll down the cobblestone walkways and admire upscale art galleries and antique shops in Insa-dong, which is 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.

Nearby Cheonggyecheon was a natural water source until the city began covering the stream to turn it into a roadway in 1967. In 2003 the government of Seoul decided to remove the highway and began a massive urban renewal project to restore the stream. Reborn in October in 2005, a 5.8km-long creek flows again among downtown skyscrapers and 22 little bridges. It is a great venue for strolling or walking tour. At the head of the stream stands a sculpture created by Coosje Van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg.

Experience 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.

After this wonderful day exploring Seoul, return to the airport in time for your flight. By boarding, you are already high above Incheon heading for your next destination.

The 3rd Tunnel / 8 hours

Mangbaedan Altar Freedom Bridge Locomotive Engine Peace Stones Peace Bell The 3rd Tunnel Dora Observatory Dorasan Station

Incheon Airport - Imjingak - DMZ - Imjingak - Departure (L) 170km
* No tour on Monday and public holidays
* Full Name, Passport number, Date of Birth and Nationality must be received at the time of booking
* You must have your passport with you on the tour
* Those who suffer from asthma, claustrophobia or a weak heart cannot enter the tunnel
* Visitors are not allowed on an individual basis, it is necessary to join the group at Imjinga

Touching down at Incheon International Airport places you in the heart of Korea. After you clear Passport and Customs control, your guide will meet you in the main passenger terminal to depart for your tour to The 3rd Tunnel.

Your touring will be private today until you reach Imjingak, at which time you will board a bus with other tourists as private tours of the tunnel and DMZ area are not allowed. Your private tour guide will remain with you throughout the day.

This morning, you will travel through Jayuro or Freedom Road to Imjingak, the northernmost point bordering North Korea. Imjingak is a park with an array of monuments to the Korean War (1950-1953). One such monument is Mangbaedan, a memorial site where displaced North Koreans pray for their ancestors. Near Mangbaedan is the Freedom Bridge, which crosses the Imjin River and was an important site where 12,773 prisoners of war returned to freedom in South Korea. This short, sturdy wooden structure ends at a barricade, which embodies the North.

There is a locomotive engine that symbolizes the tragedy of the divided Korea. Having been left in the DMZ since bombs derailed it during the Korean War; it was cleaned up and moved to its current location in 2009. More than 1,000 bullet holes in the engine and its bent wheels tell visitors the devastation of war. You will see a collection of stones from 86 battlefields in 64 countries known as the Peace Stones that have witnessed suffering and grief of war.

Then board a bus to continue with other tourists on to the Demilitarized Zone, known as DMZ that separates South and North. Tensions between the two countries remain high, and the border is patrolled by thousands of troops on both sides. Before being allowed to enter the DMZ, there is a passport check at the Unification Bridge, the first control line with sentries as you cross the Imjin River. From this point on, photography opportunities are limited. Soon thereafter, mine signs and red flight panels are highly visible in the area.

After a quick video at the DMZ Exhibition Hall, explore The 3rd Tunnel, which is one of four known tunnels passing under the DMZ, dug secretly by the North. But, those who suffer from asthma, claustrophobia or a weak heart cannot enter the tunnel. Discovered on October 17, 1978, a 1,635m long tunnel runs through bedrock at a depth of about 73m below ground; 435m of which are found in the South over the Military Demarcation Line. It is designed at a three thousandth angle with northern side lower than southern side, so that water does not stagnate inside tunnel. You can clearly see the drill marks for dynamite all pointing toward the South. This finding, along with other clues, clearly affirmed their construction. Approximately 30,000-armed soldiers can move through the tunnel in a matter of an hour in what was apparently designed for a surprise attack on Seoul. About seven minutes of tram ride or some 10 minutes of walk leads you down into the lower platform. After ducking and crouching your way 265m through the tunnel, you are greeted with concrete wall with iron door near the Military Demarcation Line preventing you from going any further into the north.
• Depending on the crowd size, the order of the video/tunnel tour can be reversed.
• Tunnel tour is absolutely at your choice. You could opt out by staying on the bus, in the exhibition room, or shopping in the store for souvenirs.

Continue on to the Dora Observatory where you can see across the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea and Gijeongdong, North Korea's propaganda village where the world's largest flag (35m x 28m) hangs on a 160m-tall flagpole, and South Korea's Daeseong-dong, the only two villages allowed in the Demilitarized Zone.

You will also have time to see Dorasan Station, the last railway station in South Korea before the North Korean border. This station drew world attention when President Bush visited here in February 2002. On December 11, 2007, freight trains began traveling north past this station into North Korea, however, on December 1, 2008, the North Korean government closed the border crossing. The station is heavily guarded and signs are up showing the future destination of Pyeongyang in North Korea. The mile marker "Seoul 56km/Pyeongyang 205km" stands tall for all to see. They are just waiting for the green light to go.

After this wonderful day exploring DMZ, return to the airport in time for your flight. By boarding, you are already high above Incheon heading for your next destination.

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