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south korea

Get the Details On Our South Korea Adventure

Click 'Select to Compare' to see a side-by-side comparison of up to adventures below—including
activity level, pricing, traveler excellence rating, trip highlights, and more

View 2021 Itinerary Video

See a detailed overview of the experiences that await you in South Korea and Japan on our new small group adventure.

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06:08

Spend 5 days in South Korea on our
Pre-trip Extension

South Korea: Seoul & Volcanic Jeju Island

NIGHTS 6
FROM $2,895
PER DAY $483

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Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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HIGHLIGHTS & ACTIVITIES IN South Korea

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Recommended Viewing

Watch this video showcasing what makes this country so unforgettable

South Korea & Japan - Spring 2019 Submitted by William Thornton, 20-time traveler from Georgetown, Texas

Witness the people, temples, gardens, and more, throughout Japan & South Korea in this video captured by traveler William T.

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South Korea: Month-By-Month

There are pros and cons to visiting a destination during any time of the year. Find out what you can expect during your ideal travel time, from weather and climate, to holidays, festivals, and more.

South Korea in December-March

With far fewer crowds to contend with at iconic sites, winter in South Korea can be a delightful time to visit. But you can expect cold temperatures and frequent periods when the country is blanketed in crisp, white snow. Temperatures in Seoul range from the low 20s to mid-40s (ºF). It is about 10 degrees warmer in Gyeongju and along the southern coast. 

Holidays & Events

  • Mid-January: The Taebaeksan Snow Festival is held annually in Taebaek, a small mountain town in Gangwon Province, and is famous for its giant snow sculptures.
  • January & February: One of South Korea’s most popular celebrations, the Hwacheon Ice Festival is an annual 23-day festival where more than a million visitors enjoy activities like ice fishing, bare-hand fishing, bobsledding, viewing ice sculptures, and more.
  • Early March: Jeju Fire Festival is a four-day celebration of spring featuring torch-lit processions, stone lifting contests, and jwibulnori, where people spin around cans filled with burning wood or charcoal.

Must See

Korea is a mountainous country, and the winter months are perfect for journeying almost anywhere outside of Seoul to take in breathtaking scenes of the country when it is blanketed in snow and turns into a white wonderland. The mountains in winter are also great for both skiing and hiking, and as you get farther south you can find rolling hills of pearly white snow.

Watch this film to discover more about South Korea

Travelogue: Seoul, South Korea 1967 Produced by David Conover & Paul Villanova

Discover Seoul during simpler times in 1967 before it became a technology giant.

South Korea in April-June

During the spring months, the South Korean countryside comes alive with blossoming flowers and lush greenery. One of the most popular times to visit also means it can be crowded at popular sites. Expect mostly sunny days and temperatures ranging anywhere from the 50s to the 80s (ºF).

Holidays & Events

  • Early May: The Lotus Lantern Festival is an annual celebration of Buddha’s birth. In the days leading up to the popular festival, over 100,000 brightly colored lanterns are hung around the streets of Seoul.

Must See

April is cherry blossom season in South Korea. It is a magical time throughout the country, and especially in places like Gyeongju, as a myriad of pink flowers bursting into bloom.

Watch this film to discover more about South Korea

Travelogue: Seoul, South Korea 1967 Produced by David Conover & Paul Villanova

Discover Seoul during simpler times in 1967 before it became a technology giant.

South Korea in July-August

Summers in South Korea are generally warm and wet, with July and August seeing the arrival of monsoon rains. The average temperature during these months is about 70°F. Many South Koreans escape to the coastal cities and beaches to escape the heat and humidity, so you can expect crowds along the coast.

A typhoon is possible during the summer months, but rare: Japan and China shield South Korea from most major storms.

Holidays & Events

  • Late July: Each summer, hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on the coastal city of Boryeong for the Boryeong Mud Festival, which celebrates the healing properties of the local mud. Getting dirty has never been this much fun.

Watch this film to discover more about South Korea

Travelogue: Seoul, South Korea 1967 Produced by David Conover & Paul Villanova

Discover Seoul during simpler times in 1967 before it became a technology giant.

South Korea in September-November

With the summer rains gone, South Korea is bathed in shades of orange and red as the autumn leaves start to bloom. Mild temperatures (averaging 60 to 70°F) and abundant natural beauty make these months close rivals to spring at the best time to visit.

Holidays & Events

  • Mid-late September: Chuseok is an annual autumn holiday honoring ancestors and centered around cultural traditions and family bonds.
  • September/October: Typically beginning in late September, Andong Mask Festival is a 10-day celebration of dancing, games, and cultural exhibitions.
  • October: Icheon Rice Festival is held annually in mid-October when farmers working in the rice fields and city dwellers alike become united in a feast celebrating good harvest.

Must See

Seoul Lantern Festival is a two-week celebration that takes place each November where downtown Seoul comes alive with bright lanterns and glittering lights for early winter.

Watch this film to discover more about South Korea

Travelogue: Seoul, South Korea 1967 Produced by David Conover & Paul Villanova

Discover Seoul during simpler times in 1967 before it became a technology giant.

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South Korea Interactive Map

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*Destinations shown on this map are approximations of exact locations

Seoul

Seoul rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the Korean War, becoming known as the “Miracle on the Han River” thanks to the waterway that bisects the city. Here, you’ll find a 123-story skyscraper peering down on traditional Korean homes and palaces. Where an elevated highway once cut a roaring path, now a restored sunken creek brings fresh, cool air to the heart of downtown. Public art pieces, striking modern architecture, and futuristic waterfront parks all contribute to Seoul’s status as a UNESCO City of Design.

The city’s love for design goes back many centuries. Changdeokgung Palace was built in 1405 with a mountain behind it and a stream in front—a harmonious nod to feng shui. In Bukchon, visitors can wander in the narrow lanes between hanok, traditional Korean homes topped with slanting tile roofs. Above it all, the 600-year-old city walls thread their way along the four peaks that overlook the city—in the days of the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day to the sound of ringing bells.

Explore Seoul with O.A.T. on:

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

Ideologically opposed since the end of World War II, North Korea and South Korea’s conflict came to a head during the Korean War—and resulted in the creation of a buffer zone over two miles wide and 160 miles long, known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Within the DMZ lies the Joint Security Area, a truce village where the two Koreas—the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the North, and the Republic of Korea to the South— meet and negotiate.

While military activity is forbidden within the DMZ, both sides are lined with electric fences, land mines, and fully-armed soldiers on constant patrol. The area immediately surrounding the DMZ has been on high alert for over six decades, and the tension has only grown in recent years. Very rarely, a soldier from the North will cross the no-man’s-land to defect to the South. The DMZ is the closest most outsiders will ever get to North Korea, and observatories offer a glimpse across the border.

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Jeju Island

A popular vacation spot for South Koreans, Jeju Island is ringed by white sandy beaches that have earned it the nickname “the Hawaii of South Korea.” At the center of the island sits Hallasan Mountain, a now-dormant volcano whose history of eruptions can be seen in the island’s unique geographical landscape in the form of craters and lava tubes. The island is also home to women sea divers called haenyeo—a long and respected tradition that is under threat of fading away as less women opt to undertake this difficult lifestyle. These real-life “mermaids” dive without equipment and have been trained to hold their breath underwater for up to two minutes as they search beneath the sea’s surface for seaweed, clam, and abalone.

Explore Jeju Island with O.A.T. on:

Yangpyeong Village

Located just an hour outside of the bustling city of Seoul, rural Yangpyeong Village transports visitors back to a simpler time. Family-owned farms grow and harvest seasonal produce using traditional methods. Our small group will have the opportunity to visit one of these farming families where we will help with the harvest, share a meal, and ask our hosts any questions we may have about daily life and the village's traditions and local culture.

Explore Yangpyeong Village with O.A.T. on:

Traveler Photos & Videos

View photos and videos submitted by fellow travelers from our South Korea adventures. Share your own travel photos »

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