This is my most popular standard tour, perfect for any visiting Korea for a serious first look. It walks us through the best sights of Seoul's historic central downtown area, very close to each-other, while I tell the relevant colorful stories at each brief stop. It is completely flexible on the timing and number / nature of the sites visited; all depends on where I pick you up and drop you off, and just what you want to see and do. On this system I also offer a full-day version of this tour.
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 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.
We finish the half-day tour here; could be faster or later, depending on how your group moves. You could easily proceed to the Blue House, Samcheong-dong, Bukchon Hanok Village traditional-houses area, or Insa-dong, on-foot; including great lunch-restaurant options. Otherwise, taxi will be called to get you where you want to be next.
As said above.
Just the guiding, and palace entrance-fee
transportation if-needed, snacks or drinks
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
We can move faster and see more, or take our time (for photos & viewing) and see a bit fewer sites; it's all up to your personal style. I will be telling colorful stories from academic sources all along the way, about pre-modern kings & heroes, and recent presidents and activists, and socio-cultural issues. You will learn so much, and in context!!
This is a walking-only tour, 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!