Join gardens and arts specialist Genevieve Jacobs to discover the hidden treasures of South Korea, from ancient temples and imperial palaces to tranquil gardens and bustling street markets.

At a Glance

  • Discover the culture and history of Seoul and Busan, South Korea’s largest cities
  • Explore Changdeokgung Palace, one of the five grand palaces built by the kings of the Joseon dynasty
  • Visit Gyeongju’s various UNESCO world-heritage sites
  • Wander through the Garden of Morning Calm, Korea’s largest private garden, and the Soswaewon Garden, a traditional Korean garden from the middle Joseon Dynasty

Explore the major cities of Seoul and Busan and delve into the nation’s cultural and imperial past with visits to Buddhist temples and ornate palaces, including Changdeokgung Palace, one of the five grand palaces and once home to the Joseon Dynasty.

Visit the impressive UNESCO world-heritage sites of Gyeongju, known as “the museum without walls”. Uncover the Seonamsa Temple nestled in the forests of the Jogyesan Mountain, and in Gapyeong, stroll through the Garden of Morning Calm, Korea’s largest private garden showcasing the natural beauty and grace of the Korean landscape.


20 – 30 October 2024 (11 days)

Tour leader

Genevieve Jacobs

Tour Status


Book now


Arrive in Seoul on suggested flights and make your way to the hotel. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including travel insurance (a condition of travel), private hotel transfer, accommodation before or after the tour and a room category upgrade.

After breakfast, join your tour leader Genevieve Jacobs for a welcome briefing.

Then, begin your exploration of Seoul with an orientation tour. See the iconic City Hall, where a glass tsunami structure folds around the original modernist building, and Gyeongbokgung Palace, the complex which has housed Korea’s kings since 1395.

Following lunch, enjoy a guided tour of the extensive exhibits at the National Museum of Korea, the largest museum in the country, which houses a flagship collection of Korean art and history.


This morning, explore Changdeokgung Palace, including the superb Royal Secret Garden. Built by King Taejong of the Joseon Dynasty 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 ladies of the court.

In the afternoon, wander through the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), a futuristic cultural centre designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid.


Embark on a full-day excursion to the Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong, designed in 1996 by Professor Han San-kyung of Sahmyook University with the vision of promoting Korea’s interpretation of beauty through concepts of asymmetry and balance. This captivating arboretum spans 300,000 square metres and showcases 5,000 species of plants, including rare and endangered varieties. Scenic walkways, beautifully manicured grass and flower beds connect the garden’s twenty different themed sections – one of the most iconic being the Sukgeun Garden, shaped like the Korean peninsula as a symbol of the desire for reunification.

Return to Seoul in the late-afternoon. The evening is at leisure. You might want to visit the bustling Gangnam district, South Korea’s most affluent neighbourhood and overflowing with the colourful clutter of brightly-lit billboards and skyscrapers.


Depart Seoul and travel via the scenic Metasequoia Road to Damyang. Explore the serene Juknokwon Bamboo Forest, known for its towering bamboo groves and peaceful walking trails.

Continue to the picturesque Soswaewon Garden, a private garden from the Joseon period built by Yang San-Bo between 1503 and 1557. Its design reflects the elegance and sophistication of traditional Korean aesthetics, with carefully manicured landscapes, picturesque pavilions and meandering pathways.

Arrive in Gwangju in the late afternoon.


In the morning, travel to Boseong, renowned for its stunning scenery and green tea plantations dating back to the Japanese colonisation in the 1930s. Learn about tea production in the region and enjoy a tasting at a local plantation.

Continue to the UNESCO-listed Seonamsa Temple, a serene sanctuary nestled within a lush forest on the foothills of Jogyesan Mountain.

After lunch, explore Naganeupseong Fortress Village in Suncheon, a well-preserved historic village that offers a glimpse into Korea’s traditional way of life. Today, the town is still actively occupied by around 100 households. Many work as farmers that carry out the traditional lifestyle and arts of the region.

Arrive in the vibrant coastal city of Yeosu in the late afternoon.


Depart for South Korea’s second largest city, Busan. Home to the largest port in the country, Busan is famous for its seafood and bustling markets, as well as the dramatic surrounding scenery of forested mountains and high cliffs overlooking the picturesque coastline.

After lunch, explore the Busan Museum of Contemporary Art. Five floors of gallery space house a variety of multi-disciplinary installations from South Korea’s leading contemporary artists including Lee Bul and Do Ho Suh. South Korea is at the forefront of Asian contemporary art and, as one of the most rapidly modernising countries in the world, has pioneered an art scene which draws on ancient Buddhist and Confucian philosophy, popular culture and modern social issues.

Check-in to the hotel and walk to nearby Haeundae Beach for dinner at a local restaurant.


Explore the Space Lee Ufan, a private museum dedicated to showcasing the work of celebrated Korean artist Lee Ufan, and see the artist’s minimalist installations, which are heavily inspired by Eastern philosophy and principles of de-Westernisation. Continue to the Busan Museum of Art for a visit of the highlights of its expansive collection of Asian modern and contemporary art.

In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of Dalmaji Hill. The famous road, which winds up the face of this coastal bluff, is littered with trendy private galleries and cafés that all provide an extraordinary view of the Korea Strait.


Depart Busan and travel to Gyeongju, the former capital of the Silla Kingdom, which ruled Korea from the 1st century BCE to the 7th century CE. Visit the magnificent Bulguksa Temple, considered the pinnacle of Silla architecture, as well as the nearby Seokguram Grotto, a sacred Buddhist site housing a magnificent stone-carved Buddha statue.

In the afternoon, explore the Gyeongju National Museum, home to a vast collection of artifacts showcasing Korea’s rich heritage.

Check-in to the hotel in the late-afternoon. After dinner, step back in time and visit the 7th-century Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, a secondary palace used by the crown prince of the Silla Kingdom. The palace and pond are lit up in the evening and make for a beautiful area to wander.


Today embark on a journey to Sayuwon. The space was built in an eco-friendly manner by renowned Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza along with landscape designers, masons and other architects from Korea and overseas to harmonise nature and art seamlessly. Stroll through lush gardens, admire traditional architecture and soak in the tranquil ambiance that surrounds you.

Return to Gyeongju in the mid-afternoon.

This evening, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a farewell dinner with Genevieve and fellow travellers.


Enjoy the morning at leisure in Gyeongju.

Tour arrangements conclude with a midday included group transfer to Busan’s Gimhae International Airport for suggested afternoon flights to Australia and New Zealand. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour and travel insurance (a condition of travel).



Per person, twin-share

AUD 10,950

Single supplement

AUD 1,995

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 2,500

Balance due

21 August 2024

Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us.

Tour price includes

  • Accommodation in centrally-located 4- to 5-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
  • Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner), including drinks with dinners
  • Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
  • Group transfer on departure to Busan airport if using the included group transfer
  • Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and wait staff
  • Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour price does not include

  • International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
  • Airport porterage
  • Airport/hotel transfer on arrival, and on departure if not using the included group transfer
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, room service, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
  • Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)


Your hotels
Seoul – Four Points by Sheraton Josun, Seoul Myeongdong****
Gwangju – Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Gwangju****
Yeosu – Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Dolsan Yeosu****
Busan – Grand Josun Busan*****
Gyeongju – Hilton Gyeongju*****

N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.

More Details

Tour code: RT2404

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions here.

Suggested airline: Korean Air
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.

Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit South Korea.

Download booking form here.


Stay in touch

Sign up to receive news and updates.

Follow us: