This is my standard and very popular Itinerary for this ~8 hour tour: it can be adjusted for individual preferences. Its intention is to be a fascinating orientation & overview of Seoul "old & new", with introduction to who the Koreans are, and the key points of their history and customs. We can move faster and see more, or take our time and see a bit fewer sites; it's all up to your personal style. I will be telling colorful stories all along the way. You will learn so much, and in context!!
Meeting Point Options: City Hall Metro-Subway Station, your Hotel, or other.
Introduction to the scale, design, functions and feng-shui (geomancy) of old "Hanyang" (historic central downtown); Japanese Colonial period vs. 21st-cen hypermodern Seoul.
Very scenic central waterway, with 600 years of dramatic stories.
Statues of two of the greatest national heroes, with context stories about why they're there and what they still mean to Koreans; views of the nation's "Power Center" buildings all around; tales of the massive pro-democracy event that happened on this vast plaza.
The most important and scenic of the remaining seven Royal compounds. Detailed explanations of the architecture, kings & queens, lifestyle & politics with be told in an academically insightful and amusing way. It could be possible to see the 'Changing of the Guard Ceremony' if our timing is right and you want to take the time.
We exit via the grounds of the spectacular National Folklore Museum Building, viewing its outdoor displays -- a great contrast to the formal palace, to really understand common Korean's lives & beliefs.
Several great restaurants are near our exit-gate. Extra cost for you, depending on what you want to get... could be simple or fancy -- or just a snack with coffee/tea..?
A quick look at the historic traditional-houses alleyways, and visit inside one old mansion
Visiting the national headquarters temple, with fascinating tales -- and it has a museum and the TempleStay Center.
Very colorful historic neighborhood to walk through, check-out some alleyways -- perhaps a bit of souvenir-shopping or herbal/green-tea-drinking if desired.
Korea's first "public park", a really interesting place with shrines for the early-20th-century Independence Movement, very important to Koreans until today, and a big medieval pagoda!
Last stop, the Old City Bell in a traditional pavilion, with hyper-modern buildings all-around!
Finished! I'll get you a subway ride or taxi back to your hotel, or show you the colorful dinner / beer options around there....
As said above.
Guiding Fee and entrance ticket to the palace
Transport if-needed (it's all on-foot, as each site is next to the other), lunch cost, any drinks or snacks...
I do this full-time now, any day -- but only in Spring & Autumn.
Main Palace is closed on Mondays; in that case another palace will be used
This is a walking-only tour in a big loop, though use of a short (&cheap) taxi-ride is possible at the end. Metro subway or taxi might be used if we start at your hotel.
Starting time can be any between 8:30am to 3:00pm... 09:30 is just recommended, to be after rush-hour.
David is a fountain of information and was very accomodating in meeting our needs. Book with confidence.
Thanks VK, it was great to host you guys!! D
David is absolutely splendid! A human, walking encyclopedia of anything you could hope to know. If you enjoy learning and desire to truly grasp the history and culture of South Korea- he is your guy! There wasnt a question we asked that he didnt have a full, in-depth explanation for. He offers a variety of tours to cover most anything you'd be interested in- he truly knows it all and is an excellent storyteller and teacher. He went out of his way to accommodate our wishes. We even had a medical situation arise and he took the time to go with us to the hospital and ensure we got checked in since we only speak English. Highly, highly recommend!
I was so glad to guide you two for two days; you were great company and very attentive, curious listeners! DM
David took us to the Jogye-sa where we learnt in details about the country’s history of religions that helped shape the Korean culture. Then we walked to the Seoul Plaza to see the historical monuments, listening to fascinating stories about the national heroes. I was in particular inspired by the stories of Yi Sun S
It was my pleasure to serve your first visit to Korea!