South Korea - Land of the Morning Calm
Welcome to the Land Of The Morning Calm. On this tour of South Korea, explore historic landmarks, lush green landscapes and learn about ancient traditions from the welcoming locals. In contrast, discover the bustling modern cities of Seoul and Busan, as well as embracing the culinary delicacies of the region. Korea has a middle latitude temperate climate with four distinct seasons; we visit during spring, early summer and autumn. We first head to the capital and modern powerhouse of Seoul. With a population of more than 10 million; Seoul has been the nations capital for more than 600 years. Although a fast-changing and trendy city, Seoul has well preserved its precious history of the Joseon Dynasty when it was once called Hanyang. The DMZ, known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, cuts through the middle of the Korean peninsula, famously dividing North and South Korea. When the 1953 armistice was signed, a truce line was set from the mouth of the Imjingang river on the west coast to Goseong-gun, in the Gangwon-do Province on the east coast. DMZ is a zone over a mile away from the truce line both northward and southward and military presence or deployment of arsenals is prohibited in the zone. Along the truce line, a demilitarized zone on the Yellow Sea was formed, thus taking up 350 square miles of land area that accounts for just a mere 0.5% of the Korean Peninsula. Although a highly guarded region for more than 65 years, it boasts one of the finest, unspoiled ecosystems. DMZ is a symbol of peace, communication and coexistence and its clean and pristine nature is proof that there is hope. Our journey takes us to the scenic north east of Seoraksan and south to the historic Gyeongju. For almost 1000 years, Gyeongju held power over the Korean Penisula as the capital of the Silla Kingdom (57BC-935AD), and along with Baekje and Goguryeo formed the three kingdoms of Korea. This area is filled with cultural relics and assets that were influential in the development of Korean architecture and Buddhism at the time. An incredible five districts of Gyeongju have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Korea is actually home to a total of thirteen UNESCO World Heritage sites, of which we visit a selection of them on this captivating tour. These sites demonstrate the countrys unique culture and distinct beauty. Traces of Koreas 5000-year history and heritage can be seen throughout the country; including the serene Buddhist mountain monasteries, Dosan Seowan Neo-Confucian-shrine academy and the fascinating Hahoe village. From contemporary Seoul and the thought-provoking DMZ to the ancient history and calming Buddhist culture, this tour of South Korea really is an sensory adventure for the mind, body and soul. On the other hand is the ancient village of Hahoe, hugged by the Nakdonggang River, which is listed as a historical relic in its own right. Founded in the Joseon Dynasty (1392 1910), Hahoe is one of the most representative historic clan villages in Korea; with thatched roof houses, houses of the upper class and charming pavilions. Confucian academies and other traditional structures in the village are of great cultural and historic value.