Bespoke and Tailor Made Holidays & Honeymoons to South Korea
Officially the Republic of Korea, South Korea sits on the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and is a very mountainous country, full of fascinating sites. Suited to the experienced Asia traveller, tourism is surprisingly developed here – being compact and easy to navigate with reliable transport networks, good rail links and bus services and English signage, it’s easy to get about. If you want to avoid the crowds in South-East Asia, this is a great place to head for. There are 10 Unesco World Heritage sites including the royal tombs at Gyeongju and there are plenty of shrines, natural wonders and palaces.
To the north is North Korea, Japan to the east and China to the west with the East China Sea and Taiwan to the south. The climate varies with very cold winters from December to February and mild and dry autumn and spring. the best time to travel really. Summer can be rainy but warm with some parts being humid. Off the west and south of the country lie around 3000 islands, mostly uninhabited and small. The largest island is Jeju-do and sits about 100km off the south coast, it’s also home to the highest point in the country, the 1950m high extinct volcano, Hallasan. Jeju Island has recently been declared one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature‘ and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.There are ancient temples and villages dotting the verdant landscape of this amazing site. Jeju is famous for its matriarchal family structure which is symbolised by the ‘Haenyeo’ women who make a deep sea living diving for marine products. It also has it’s own distinct culture and language. 3 or 5 day tours to Jeju Island can be arranged or added onto the 8 day highlights of South Korea holiday.
South Korea has 20 national parks and other places of natural history such as the Suncheon Bay Ecological Park, Jirisan and Boseong Tea Fields.
The capital, Seoul is a vibrant blend of ancient and modern – look out from the old eastern city gate at Dongdaemun across the fashion district and you will see the old and the new blended together – neon lights mixing with temples and palaces. Take in the view from the Seoul Tower watching the Han River wind through the city.
The mountainous countryside couldn’t contrast more with Seoul. Here you will find thousands of temples, home to many thousand monks, where you can enjoy a contemplative stay. Temple hop in the former capital of the Silla kingdom, Gyeongju, and admire the beautifully preserved 80,000 wooden printing blocks of Buddhist scriptures, Tripikata Koreana, in Haeinsa Temple in Gayasan National Park. Take the cable car to a hilltop temple and soak in the hot springs. Explore ancient villages, take the high-speed train from Seoul to Busan or peek into North Korea from the Border Unification Observatory.
South Korea is well known for spicy Asian food, well represented in the UK and has evolved through centuries along with social and political changes. There are lots of regional dishes and variations in provinces. Cuisine here is mainly based on noodles, rice and tofu with fish, meat or vegetables. Traditional meals have a number of side dishes with steamed rice. One of the best known dishes is Kimchi, a smelly fermented vegetable! Korean food is usally seasoned with sesame oil or a soy sauce with plenty of chilli flavours. Soups are common place but usually part of a main course.
Ask me about tailor made, private holidays or escorted group tours to South Korea. There are many adventure tour companies who include the country as part of overland Asian itineraries, there are also cruise ships which stop off here. If you are interested in Formula 1 ask me for a holiday quote to include this amazing event! Dates for 2012 are 12-14 October for the Korean Grand Prix.