The Foodies’ Tour of Korea
Sharpen your tastebuds for a gastronomic sensation as you immerse yourself in South Korea’s vibrant culinary culture and discover the country’s rich cultural heritage. With exotic tastes and smells to whet your appetite, let Korean Australian chef and passionate ‘foodie’ Heather Jeong lead you on an exploration of some of Korea’s most vibrant food markets, street food and eateries. Learn the art of kimchi- and chilli paste-making and uncover the secrets of Korean cuisine through a number of hands-on cooking experiences. In between the gastronomic delights, marvel at beautiful natural scenery, and explore museums, palaces and temples for an insight into one of Asia’s most exciting cultural destinations.
Depart Sydney on Asiana Airlines at 10.20am arriving in Seoul the same day around 7pm.
Transfer to your hotel. The rest of the evening is at leisure.
Depart the hotel this morning for a visit of Chandeokgung Palace including a guided visit of the Royal Secret Garden. Built by King Taejong of Joseon in the early 15th Century, this magnificent royal palace consists of 13 buildings and 28 garden pavilions, while behind it lies the 32-hectare Royal Secret Garden, originally accessible only to the royal family and the ladies of the court.
Afterwards, drive to a private demonstration kitchen in the Bukchon area for a briefing on Korean cuisine and a cooking demonstration followed by lunch. Afterwards, enjoy a short walking tour around Bukchon, a 600 year-old village whose narrow alleyways preserve the atmosphere of the Joseon Dynasty.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon for some free time. In the evening, stroll from the hotel through the bustling Namdaemun Market, Korea’s oldest and largest outdoor market, which is still supplied largely by hand-drawn carts. Round out the evening with a light dinner.
This morning enjoy a visit to the Korea Furniture Museum, which contains over 2,000 pieces of traditional Korean furniture and even 10 hanok (traditional Korean houses). Continue to Samcheonggak for tea drinking and then lunch in a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, transfer to the Gangnam Station area and visit the vast Shinsegae department store food hall, where dozens of restaurants compete to delight your taste buds, ranging from traditional Korean cuisine to modern Asian fusion.
Walk back to the hotel along the Cheong-gye-cheon stream, which flows through central Seoul. After being covered up by rapidly-developing transport infrastructure in the 20th Century, an ambitious A$1.2 billion dollar urban renewal project saw the stream uncovered again in 2005 to allow visitors and locals to stroll along its banks through the heart of Korea’s capital.
This evening is at leisure.
After breakfast visit the War Memorial of Korea, an expansive indoor and outdoor site with more than 13,000 items drawn from Korea’s military history. A highlight is the powerful 11 metre-tall statue of two soldier brothers embracing, one from South Korea and the other from North Korea, commemorating the nation’s division after WWII and the Korean War.
Then drive to Gwangjang Market for some free time to browse and enjoy a light lunch (own expense). Afterwards, walk along the Cheong-gye-cheon stream to Dongdaemun Square, visiting the impressive Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
Return to the hotel in the mid-afternoon for some free time.
This evening embark on a night food tour of the Insadong area with dinner of traditional makgeolli, a slightly sweet soup made from fermented rice or wheat, and jeon, fried discs of seasoned vegetable or meat, followed by fried chicken and beer.
Travel to Garak Market, Korea’s first public wholesale market which delights visitors with a bewildering range of seafood, meat and vegetables. Then visit the neighbouring cities of Icheon and Yeoju, the centre of Korea’s ceramics industry, followed by lunch at a local restaurant featuring the region’s signature dish of rice in a stone hot pot. After lunch visit a ceramics museum and a private kiln to see the work of local artisans.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon with the evening at leisure.
After checking out of your hotel, leave Seoul and drive to the city of Jeonju, a UNESCO-designated Creative City for Gastronomy whose name literally means ‘perfect region’. On arrival in Jeonju, visit a local restaurant for a delicious lunch of bibimbap (rice topped with sautéed seasoned vegetables and chilli or soybean paste). After lunch, visit Jeonju Hanji Paper Museum, an exhibition of 3,000 artefacts dedicated to the superior quality of hanji (traditional handmade Korean paper), followed by a trip to a local brassware artist’s studio.
Check in to the hotel, and enjoy some free time. In the evening, experience dinner at a local specialty restaurant, a place so good the locals all go there too!
Today, enjoy a full day tour to Sunchang and Damyang.
Sunchang is famous for its distinctive red chilli paste, whose recipe is so unique that the Sunchang County Governor puts his seal on every bottle to prove its authenticity. On arrival in Sunchang, sharpen your cooking skills at a special cooking school – and for lunch, you’ll eat what you’ve just cooked!
In the afternoon, visit the Damyang Bamboo Forest Walk, a charming path set beneath the shade of tens of thousands of verdant bamboo stalks.
In the late afternoon, return to Jeonju for an evening at leisure.
After checking out of your hotel, travel to Busan. On the way, stop to visit the residence of Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan, the ‘philosopher chef’ who lives in Baekyangsa Temple nestled within Naejangsan National Park. In an age of ranting TV chefs, the softly spoken, meditative Kwan has become an unlikely hero of international foodies seeking inspiration from Korean tradition. We will take an early lunch at the temple.
After lunch, continue to Busan, arriving in the late afternoon. Dinner is at the hotel.
After breakfast, visit Gamcheon Munhwa Maeul, a charming multi-coloured village built by refugees from north of the 38th parallel after the Korean War. ‘The Machu Picchu of Busan’, its streets are scattered with murals, sculptures and art installations.
Next stop is the famous Jagalchi Fish Market, an outdoor market next to the port of Busan teeming with fresh and dried seafood. Enjoy lunch at the market.
After lunch, visit Gukje Market in Nampodong District, the largest traditional market in Busan.
Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.
Depart for a full day tour to Gyeongju, the coastal city whose vast number of historical and archaeological sites has seen it dubbed “the museum without walls”. Attractions include Bulguk-sa Temple, a 6th Century Buddhist temple, and Wolji Pond, a beautiful artificial lake. Visit also Cheonmachong Tomb, a tumulus containing the funerary treasures of an unknown 5th Century ruler of the Silla Kingdom.
Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant specialising in ssambap (meat or vegetables topped with spicy paste and wrapped in lettuce leaves). After lunch visit a UNESCO World Heritage-listed folk village showcasing the traditional culture of the 14th and 15th Century Joseon Dynasty.
After returning to Busan in the late afternoon, enjoy a final feast of Korean food at a specialty restaurant near Gwangalli Beach, and watch the city lights twinkling on the bridge and harbour beyond.
After breakfast, spend a morning at leisure in Busan.
Check out of the hotel and transfer to Busan airport for a short flight to Seoul, connecting with an Asiana flight to Sydney departing around 8pm.
Arrive in Sydney in the morning, where tour arrangements conclude. Onward connections to other Australian cities.
Including international airfares on Asiana Airlines (Economy Class)
Reduction without airfares
– AUD 1,500
Supplement ex-SYD (business)
Supplement ex-MEL (economy)
Supplement ex-MEL (business)
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
04 August 2017
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions.
Tour price includes
- International flights Sydney – Seoul – Sydney on Asiana Airlines (Economy Class); on tour departure and end dates only
- Accommodation in centrally-located hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- Transfers on arrival and departure if travelling on included group flights
- Comfortable air-conditioned coach transport throughout
- Comprehensive sightseeing including entrance fees as per itinerary
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage
Tour price does not include
- Transfers on arrival / departure if not travelling on included group flights
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry etc.
- Airport porterage
- Travel insurance (please contact Renaissance Tours for assistance)
Seoul – Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun****
Jeonju – Benikea Jazz Around***
Busan – Westin Chosun Busan*****
NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted