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Essential South Korea

Experience all the essential sights of South Korea on this nine-day journey through Seoul, Jeonju, Yeosu, Busan and more. From the thriving pop culture to the natural oasis of gleaming gardens, this place really does have it all. You’ll feast on Korean BBQ, noodles and street food, follow in the footsteps of popular K-pop group BTS at some scenic filming locations, take a few easy hikes through coastal beaches and rolling green mountain landscapes and hit the nightlife in your spare time (coin karaoke anyone?). Stay in a hanok (traditional Korean house), rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy loads of free time to choose your own adventure, whether that’s learning taekwondo or visiting the DMZ along the border of North Korea.

9 days, from


per person


16 people max


Trip code: CJYK
Style: Basix
Theme: 18 to 35s


Countries Visited:  Korea, Republic Of
Accommodation: Hostel (Multi-share) (7 nights), Hanok (1 night)
Transportation: Public Bus , Private Vehicle , Train , Metro
Included Meals:

  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Take a few short hikes at Oryukdo Beach and Webonsansung and experience the natural beauty of South Korea from the coast to the hills. Then, continue to get your blood pumping at an optional taekwondo class.

  • Discover popular hubs Seoul and Busan and all they have to offer, with free time to hit coin karaoke, go bar hopping with your local leader or visit the DMZ before your tour starts (the demilitarised zone along the border of North Korea).

  • Stay in a hanok (a traditional Korean house) and experience what it’s like to live day to day in Jeonju. Then, rub shoulders with the locals at Nambu Market, which recently provided free rent to young entrepreneurs to keep the market alive.

  • Immerse yourself in pop culture with visits to the WithMuu store, HiKR Ground and various popular filming, music and tv locations.

  • Feast on delicious local cuisine, with two included dinners where you might be able to try some traditional Korean noodles, Korean BBQ or fried chicken, and plenty of time to wander around street food markets and restaurants.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Seoul

Eoseo oseyo! Welcome to South Korea. Your adventure begins in Seoul, the vibrant capital of high-tech gadgetry, towering skyscrapers and scrumptious eats. You’ll have a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. After you meet your trip leader and group members, you’ll head out on a walking tour of Hongdae Yeonamdong – this up-and-coming area is known for its dining scene, with some hip restaurants serving both European and Asian cuisine, as well as street food aplenty in Little Chinatown. Wander past the cafes, bookshops and mural-covered alleys and along the way, visit WithMuu – a K-pop store slash paradise. Then, see the Banpo Rainbow Bridge and watch the rainbow-coloured jets on their nightly display. Later, maybe wander around the streets and discover what nightlife is on offer – you could opt to go on a pub crawl or join your leader, who always has the best recommendations.

Day 2: Seoul

This morning, you’ll visit HiKR Ground, where you can experience media art and maybe make your own music video. You’ll have time for lunch this afternoon before visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, which once served as the main palace for the Joseon dynasty. Then, tour the Gwangjang Market with your leader and maybe pick up some local treats or souvenirs from one of the 5000 shops and stalls. In your free afternoon, maybe head to a painting class or take a lesson in basic Korean so you can talk with the locals. Tonight, you’ll have a group dinner where you might be able to try local dishes like hand cut noodles or bulgogi. After, maybe head to some coin karaoke (where you pay 5 cents per song) and belt out a few favourites to get the night going.

Day 3: Jeonju

Say goodbye to Seoul and hop on a local bus to Jeonju – known for the Hanok Heritage Village, home to traditional houses, craft shops, food stalls and the 15th-century Gyeonggjieon Shrine. Arrive around midday and have an optional lunch of guksu (Korean noodles) with your group. Then, your leader will take you on an orientation walk to wander around the gorgeous architecture, galleries, shops and quaint streets. You’ll also have the opportunity to taste some dalgona (a honeycomb toffee known as Korean sugar candy) at a local store before a free afternoon. Later, sit down for an optional group dinner – maybe try some bibimbap (a rice bowl served with gochujang and various toppings like egg, vegetables and sliced meat).

Day 4: Jeonju

This morning, you’ll head to Jeonju Hanok Village to see the downtown area and wander around Nambu Market with your leader. Here, you can learn about the recent success of the youth incubation program, which offers free rent to young business owners in order to save the market and keep the community thriving. Talk to the locals, learn their stories and then visit Palbok Art Center to see some of the local art on display. After, maybe take the chance to learn some new moves and sign up for a K-pop dance class before your free time for lunch. This afternoon, you’re free to wander at your own pace – maybe further explore the downtown area, with its famed shopping strips, filmmaking scene and fun bangs (singing rooms, arcades, DVD rooms and photo rooms).

Day 5: Wanju / Yeosu

Take a local bus to Webongsansung this morning for a short hike with your leader. This location was actually used for a photoshoot for the famous K-pop group BTS! Wander around the lush greenery and abandoned architecture of the area, then visit Ahwon Gotack. This hanok and gallery is set among green mountains and gardens and was also used as a filming location for a music video. After wandering around the traditional house and gardens, you’ll head to a local restaurant where you can pick up some lunch before taking a private bus to Yeosu. When you arrive in the afternoon, you have the option to hop on the cable car here, which provides panoramic views of the glittering water and coastline below. The cable car will take you to the street food tents – where tents and carts are set up along the seaside – where you can choose some local street dishes for dinner and watch the sunset. Alternatively, head straight to your guest house in Yeosu and wander around the city at your own pace.

Day 6: Busan

Depending on the group’s desires, you might want to get up early enough to watch the sunrise this morning, over the Hyangilam Temple – this small Buddhist temple sits atop a forested coastal cliff and features dramatic ocean views. Watch the sun bring the day to life and wander around the site with your group. After, you’ll take a bus to Busan – the large port city known for its beaches, mountains and temples. Along the way, you’ll make a stop where you can grab some lunch, then head on to your hostel. When you’re settled, maybe spend your free afternoon learning some new skills at a calligraphy class or wander the shoreline of Haeundae Beach.

Day 7: Busan

You’ll visit the colourful labyrinth-like streets in the Gamcheon Culture Village this morning. This area is known for its brightly coloured houses and is the perfect spot for an Instagram – so don’t forget your camera! After wandering the twisted alleyways, you’ll see the waterside Yeongdo KangKangee Arts Village and then head to Jagalchi market, where you can pick up an optional lunch. This world-famous market sells fresh fish and seafood, perfect to feast on by the water. Your afternoon is free to explore at your own pace – maybe head to the chic waterfront complex The Bay 101 and grab a drink in one of the open-air bars, take a taekwondo class or stroll through the Centum shopping complex to pick up some souvenirs. Tonight, why not hop on the Haewoondae ferry and watch Busan light up as the sun goes down.

Day 8: Seoul

Maybe pick up some coffee and breakfast this morning before heading to the Urban Smart Farm Social Company with your group. This social enterprise, backed by the government and local NGOs, is a great example of how locals have innovated agricultural growth within shipping containers to grow fresh produce in a busy city. ​Learn about their sustainability efforts and then carry on to Oryukdo Beach for a gentle coastline hike. When you’ve worked up an appetite, maybe grab some lunch before heading back to Seoul on the train – the capital of South Korea and a huge metropolis of modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways, pop culture and Buddhist temples. When you arrive, you’ll head out with your group for a farewell dinner of Korean BBQ and fried chicken, toasting to a trip well travelled. Why not keep the night going and head out to some bars afterwards to celebrate the end of your trip with new friends?

Day 9: Seoul

With no further activities planned today, your trip comes to an end. If you’d like to spend more time in Seoul, just speak to your booking agent.