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Asia
South Korea Spotlight

South Korea Spotlight

12 days, 3 cities21
See dates and prices

From $3379 without flightsPayments as low as $86

An aerial view of a massive urban city with an extremely tall skyscraper in the center lit up at night
An aerial view of a massive urban city with an extremely tall skyscraper in the center lit up at night
An ornately detailed temple with statues in front of it during sunset
Several wooden masks with various expressions hung up next to each other on a wall
An aerial view of several brightly colored buildings situated tightly next to each other with the sea in the background
Trip Type:
Activity Level:

Why go?

In case you’ve missed it, South Korean culture is taking the world by storm. Head to the source on this immersive adventure, filled with dazzling cities, ancient temples, and enough drool-worthy food to convince you to stay forever.

Picture yourself

  • Palace hopping your way through South Korea

  • Devouring street food every chance you get

  • Moving and most definitely grooving to K-Pop bops

  • Kicking back on a beach in Busan

  • Living like a Buddhist monk during a temple stay

What you'll get

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers (or book 'em yourself)

  • 9 nights in handpicked accommodations

  • 9 breakfasts

  • 3 lunches

  • 3 dinners

  • Expert Tour Director

  • 24/7 support

  • 4 insider tours with local guides

  • Gamcheon Village tour

  • Rice wine making experience

  • Entrance to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Donggung Palace, Cheonmachong tomb, and more

Map for the South Korea Spotlight tour
Full trip itinerary

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Fly to South Korea

    You’ve got a big travel day (or two) ahead. Don your comfiest airplane clothes, turn up the K-Pop, and get comfy. Then turn down the K-Pop and get some sleep.

  • Day 2: Arrive in Seoul

    Welcome to South Korea. On your way to the hotel, take in the sprawling city of Seoul around you. Tomorrow, it’s yours!

    Today's highlights:

    • Meet an EF representative and fellow travelers as they arrive at the airport.
    • Transfer to your hotel to check in and check out your room.
  • Day 3: Tour Seoul + optional Korean cooking class in Seoul + Welcome Dinner

    Fun fact of the day: 20% of South Koreans (nearly 10 million people) live in Seoul. It’s modern, loud, and bursting at the seams with stories to tell. Today, you’ll get to know the place with a local guide.

    Today's highlights:

    • Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace and watch the royal changing of the guards.
    • Feast your eyes on statues and soak up history at Gwanghwamun Square.
    • Walk the narrow, trendy streets of Ikseon-dong.
    • Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot.

    Korean cooking class (extra cost)

    Bring an open mind (and mouth) as you learn to cook some classic, mouthwatering South Korean foods.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

  • Day 4: Explore Seoul + optional K-Pop dance class in Seoul

    Another day in Seoul, another chance to explore more of the city’s 25 distinct districts. Oh, and for the K-Pop fans out there, don’t forget your dancing shoes.

    Today's highlights:

    • Join your Tour Director for a tour of the upscale Gangnam district.
    • Get your head in the clouds as you head to the 117th floor observation deck of Korea’s Tallest building, Lotte World tower.

    Free time suggestions

    Seoul Sky: Feeling brave? Head up to the 123rd floor of the Seoul Sky Tower and try the thrilling outdoor bridge walk.

    Itaewon neighborhood: Wind through the vibrant, always-bustling Itaewon neighborhood.

    K-Pop dance class in Seoul (extra cost)

    Exactly what it sounds like. Feel the music and dance your heart out to some K-Pop beats.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

  • Day 5: Travel to Gyeongju + free afternoon

    Known as a “museum without walls,” Gyeongju is the country’s ancient capital, and it is absolutely brimming with history.

    Today's highlights:

    • Grab a window seat on the bus towards Gyeongju.
    • Tour this ancient city under the moonlight with your Tour Director.
    • Stop at Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, part of a palace complex constructed in 674 CE during the Silla dynasty.
    • Visit Cheomseongdae, Asia’s oldest surviving astronomical observatory.

    Free time suggestions

    Gyeongju National Park: This national park is more about historical sites and less about beautiful landscapes. Check it out—you won’t be disappointed.

    Gyeongju National Museum: Immerse yourself in the past at this museum dedicated to the culture and history of the Silla Dynasty.

  • Day 6: Tour Gyeongju + overnight temple stay

    From 57 BCE to 935 CE, Gyeongju was South Korea’s capital city. That’s nearly 1,000 years of being a v important place. If only there was a local guide who could show you—wait, here they come now!

    Temple stay detailsThis is true cultural immersion, so get ready to participate in a number of Buddhist practices guided by monks. You’ll wear provided temple clothing, eat vegan meals in silence, partake in group meditations (including 108 prostrations), and wake up at 5am—just like the monks do. Accommodations for temple stays are shared and divided by gender, which means you could share a room with 3–4 UB travelers. Yes, even if you purchase a single room upgrade, you will have roommates. Bathrooms, however, are private.

    Today's highlights:

    • Step into Cheonmachong, an ancient tomb famous for its painting of a white horse.
    • Enjoy an included lunch at a local spot.
    • Spend the night at a Buddhist temple for an unforgettable and immersive cultural experience.
  • Day 7: Travel to Busan

    Time to take things coastal—you’re heading to South Korea’s second largest city, Busan. Highlights include (but aren’t limited to) beaches, markets, and street food.

    Today's highlights:

    • Wake up and enjoy the final few hours of your temple stay.
    • Get your last (literal) taste of Gyeongju at an included lunch nearby.
    • Hop on the bus and head to the seaside metropolis of Busan.

    Free time suggestions

    Taejongdae Resort Park: Grab some comfortable walking shoes and check out the many paths of this stunning cliffside park.

  • Day 8: Explore Busan

    Do you know what rice wine is? Okay, but do you really know what it is? Well you’re about to! Then, celebrate this newfound knowledge with some beach exploring.

    Today's highlights:

    • Learn to make makgeolli, traditional Korean rice wine.
    • Have lunch at a local restaurant with your group.
    • Visit the serene Haedong Yonggung Temple, situated on the shoreline.
    • Spend a few hours roaming the beaches of the Haeundae district.
  • Day 9: Tour Gamcheon Village + Jagalchi Seafood Market

    It’s your lucky day, traveler. You get to see what people refer to as the “Machu Picchu of Busan.” We’ll let your imagination run wild with that one for a bit.

    Today's highlights:

    • Visit the pastel-colored Gamcheon Village and learn about its fascinating history.
    • Follow your Tour Director through Jagalchi Market and sample the freshest seafood of your life.

    Free time suggestions

    Beaches: You’re on the coast, which means there are plenty of beaches to explore. Grab a swimsuit, a towel, and put your feet in the sand.

    Hit the shops: Whether you’re looking to get in some steps at the mall or wander more markets, Busan’s got what you need.

  • Day 10: Travel to Seoul + Farewell Dinner

    Later, beautiful coastline. For your last full day in South Korea, you’re heading back to where it all began in Seoul.

    Today's highlights:

    • Travel by train to Seoul.
    • Hop on a river cruise for scenic city views.
    • Share some laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included Farewell Dinner with your group.
  • Day 11–12: Fly home

    Annyeong, chingudeul!
    Translation: Goodbye, friends! Your next destination awaits—home. But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?

    Please note that return flights from Asia are long, and that depending on your flight itinerary, you could land in your home airport on either Day 11 or Day 12.

Reviews


Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5
Based on 21 authentic traveler reviews
  • A comprehensive understanding of Korean culture

      Rochelle, traveled May 2024

    A comprehensive itinerary of South Korean culture, both modern and traditional. This was my fiancés first EF UB trip and sadly our last as we are both aging out of this program. I wanted this to be a fun and special experience for him and it was. We loved walking around Seoul and Busan as well as the peaceful serenity of rural Gyeongju. Seeing the lanterns l... See more

  • Take me back!

      Anonymous, traveled May 2024

    Such an amazing trip! Sohey was a sweetheart, insightful and truly made the trip one of a kind! Can’t wait to go back already!

  • DO IT

      Breena, traveled Apr. 2024

    This trip was phenominal! I would reccommend it for anyone who would like to get an introduction to South Korea. The pace is perfect mix of scheduled events and free time to explore. I would go back and do this exact trip again!

  • S. Korea Review

      Anonymous, traveled Apr. 2024

    Everything was great! One thing I do suggest is to remove the temple stay. I enjoyed watching the monks and visiting the temple, but not staying onsite. Most if not all of the people who were there agreed that they wouldve preferred another day in Seoul rather than sleep at the temple. Everything else was a dream!

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