- Traveling with GEEO
- Educator Resources
- About Us
- Traveling with GEEO
- Educator Resources
- About Us
See the highlights of South Korea on this eight-day program, where you will gain a deeper understanding of the country's ancient traditions and modern innovations. The tour begins and ends in Seoul, the vibrant capital city, where you can explore historic palaces and temples, shop at bustling markets, and indulge in the famous Korean BBQ. You will also visit to the ancient city of Gyeongju, the bustling port city of Busan, and the DMZ—the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea—for a glimpse into the country's complicated political situation. Discover the wonders of South Korea, all while earning professional development credit with other educators.
Arrive in Seoul at any time. Due to the potential for flight delays or cancellations, we recommend that you plan to arrive in Asia at least a day in advance. This will also give you time to adjust to the time difference and overcome any jetlag. We can book extra hotel nights for you in Seoul before and/or after the trip. Please note that check-in at the hotel is usually around 2:00-3:00 p.m. There are no planned activities until an intro meeting around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., usually in the hotel lobby. Check for a sign or ask at the reception desk about the exact time and location of the group meeting. Please make every effort to arrive in time for this meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up tomorrow. After the welcome meeting, join your tour leader for an orientation walk down Cheonggyecheon Stream, a 6.8-mile waterway and public space running through the heart of downtown Seoul. Learn about Seoul while walking past small waterfalls and nearly two dozen overhead bridges. Then explore the dense grid of streets in the bustling neighborhood of Myeongdong, which is packed with people at all hours of the day looking to enjoy some of the best shopping, street food, and nightlife in all of Korea. Opt for a group dinner to get to know your tour leader and travel companions.
After breakfast, board a high-speed bullet train for a relaxing morning ride through the countryside to Gyeongiu. The city was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, which ruled about two-thirds of the Korean Peninsula at its height, for close to one thousand years. Several of Gyeongiu's historical buildings are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will experience an overnight stay in a local temple, where the group will learn about temple etiquette, watch a monk's martial arts performance (sunmudo), experience the daily prayer ritual (108 prostrations), and enjoy a temple-style dinner. Stay in rooms called ondol, which are traditional yet heated to be cozy and comfortable, with beds made up directly on the floor. The rooms are multi-share, divided up between males and females. Approximate travel time: 2 hrs by bullet train
Enjoy a peaceful morning at Golgulsa Temple, located amid the natural beauty of Hamwolsan Mountain. Take an easy hike up to the only stove cave temple in Korea for a morning meditation. During a tour of Gyeongju, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bulguksa Temple, a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism located on the slopes of Mount Toham. Admire the temple's six national treasures: the Dabotap and Seokgatap stone pagodas, Yeonhwagyo and Chilbogyo bridges, Cheongungyo and Baegungyo bridges, and two gilt-bronze statues of Buddha. Also visit the oldest surviving astronomical observatory in Asia, Cheomseongdae Observatory. Cheomseongdae may not appear to be a monumental landmark, but the observatory tower dates back to the seventh century and is actually the oldest existing astronomical observatory in all of East Asia. Cheomseongdae was used for observing the stars in order to forecast the weather in the ancient scientific hub of Gyeongju. Later in the tour, visit the Daereungwon Tomb complex, another UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains 23 tombs located inside large mounds. The complex is beautiful with its rolling mounds and gardens, and you can pay a visit inside the tombs, the most famous of which are Cheonmachong and Hwangnam Daechong. Each tomb holds thousands of relics that provide a window into the Silla Dynasty and its royal family. The contents of the tombs are over 1,500 years old and a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of Korea.
Today, you will travel by private bus to colorful Busan. Along the way, enjoy a visit to Yangdong Folk Village, a 500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Gyeongju National Park, where you can get a feel for life during the early Joseon Dynasty. Founded in the early 1400s, the village boasts well-preserved buildings and has more than 160 homes displaying traditional Joseon architecture within a gorgeous natural setting. Continue on to the picturesque 14th-century seaside temple, Haedong Yonggungsa, originally known as Bomun Temple. Originally built in 1376, this picturesque, cliffside Buddhist temple overlooks the East China Sea. After exploring the temple, check in to your hotel and get your bearings with an orientation walk on Haeundae Beach and Dongbaekseom. Opt to spend the evening treating yourself at a Jjimjilbang spa, or sing your heart out at a popular karaoke bar. Approximate travel time: 2 hrs by private vehicle
Tour Busan and visit Jagalchi Fish Market, a major attraction at Nampo Port. Wander through the rows of stalls selling everything you can dream of from the sea. Watch as locals haggle for the best price and fishmongers hawk their wares. Then check out Gukjesijang, or Gukje Market, near Biff Square, a well-known modern movie district. The market was once a place for refugees to earn a living during the Korean War. It is now a bustling international market full of food, home goods, clothes, souvenirs, and more. The city tour will also take you to Yongdusan Park, home to more than 70 different types of trees and the 387-ft-high Busan Tower. Then explore the pastel-colored village of Gamcheon, nestled in the side of a mountain, with uniquely painted houses, murals, cafes, and shops. After touring Busan, travel by bullet train back to Seoul, where you will visit Namdaemun Market, Korea's oldest traditional market, dating back to 1414. It is also the country's largest market, with over 10,000 vendors spanning several city blocks. Get ready to shop! Then take a cable car up to the most iconic landmark in Seoul, N Seoul Tower, located at the top of Mt Namsan. The tower used to be a broadcasting station and is now a beautiful observatory open to the public. Opt to pay an additional fee to go up the tower to the observatory. During the evening, spend some free time visiting Banpo Bridge, home to the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain Show, and three artificial islands (Sebitseom) located near one end of the bridge. Or hang out in the Gangnam district, an historically rich, fast-developing neighborhood with plenty to do and see. Gangnam Station is the busiest subway station in Seoul and has a huge underground shopping center, or you could visit Bongeunsa, a Buddhist temple in the center of Gangnam. Approximate travel time: 2.5 hrs by bullet train
Visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), in place since 1953 to separate North and South Korea. It is the most heavily militarized border in the world, with over a million soldiers standing guard every day at one of the last remnants of the Cold War era. The 160-mile long and 2.5-mile wide buffer zone has had very little development, and nature and wildlife have taken over the area. After spending about 3-4 hours visiting the DMZ, the group will visit The War Memorial of Korea, with indoor and outdoor exhibits containing about 9,000 artifacts. The memorial building serves to exhibit and memorialize the military history of Korea and preserve materials related to the Korean War. Later, return back to Seoul for another night in the city. Opt to visit the Samsung Leeum Contemporary Gallery, explore the Itaewon neighborhood, or pre-book a kimchi making and hanbok experience. Approximate travel time: 2-3 hrs by private vehicle (round trip)
There are no planned activities today, so you may depart Seoul at any time. If you wish to extend your stay in Seoul, consider booking post-tour accommodation with us. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is usually mid-morning, but luggage storage services are available at the reception desk. Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO programs in the same school year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs per year). If you would like to extend your time abroad but don't see another GEEO program that interests you, let us know. We can work with you to find a trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Their tours are open to the general public and not designed specifically for educators, but we can still offer you and your travel companions a discounted educator price on any additional tours that you book.