For the first part of our 12-day South Korean trip itinerary, click here.

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These mounds in the historical city of Gyeongju are of both historical and cultural relevance. Some of them are the graves of the kings of ancient Silla dynasty. The quaint city of Gyeongju once served as the seat of power of the aforementioned dynasty.

Day 7: Off to the South! Gyeongju Historical Tour

7:00 AM Wake up call
Fix things for check out
8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Depart for Seoul Station
Book Korean Rail (KTX) ticket for Singyeongju Station
10:50 AM Board KTX
11:00 AM Departure for Gyeongju
1:10 PM Arrival in Singyeongju station
Seek assistance with the tourist information
1:30 PM Ride bus to Gyeongju city center
2:00 PM Check in at the hostel
Settle down
2:30 PM Late lunch. Jjajangmyeon!
3:00 PM Begin walking tour of Gyeongju
Walk around the Daereungwon Tomb Park
5:00 PM Buy a kite at the park and try to make it fly
5:30 PM Proceed to Cheomseongdae Observatory
6:30 PM Tour around the various excavation areas
6:50 PM Purchase ticket for Anapji Pond
7:00 PM Opening of Donggung Palace and Anapji Pond
Tour around Donggung Palace complex
8:30 PM Begin walk to hostel
10:00 PM Arrival at hostel
11:00 PM Lights out
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It didn’t escape me that ponds are architecturally significant part of Korean architecture. Nearly every building complex of historical significance possesses one, including the UNESCO heritage site, Bulguksa Temple.

Day 8: The Bus to Busan

7:00 AM Wake up Call
8:00 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM Ride bus to Bulguksa Temple
9:20 AM Arrival at Bulguksa Temple
9:30 AM Tour around Bulguksa Temple complex
12:00 Noon Buffet lunch
1:00 PM Ride bus to Gyeongju city center
1:40 PM Arrival at Gyeongju city center
Tour around the Mounds Park
3:00 PM Explore the Gyochon Village
3:45 PM Return to hostel and retrieve baggage
4:30 PM Go to Gyeongju Bus Station
4:45 PM Purchase ticket and board bus to Busan
5:00 PM Departure for Busan
6:30 PM Arrival at Busan Bus Terminal
Proceed to Haeundae Beach Area. From Busan Subway Line 1, transfer to Busan Subway Line 2
7:30 PM Check in at hotel accommodation
8:00 PM Dinner
10:00 PM Lights Out

 

 

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Gamcheon Village was once a pandemonium, a city planner’s nightmare. But with ingenuity, art was fused with the bedlam, creating what is now one of the most visited sights in Busan.

Day 9: When The Slum was Turned Into a Cultural Village

7:00 AM Wake up call
7:30 AM Break fast
8:00 AM Tour around Haeundae beach
8:30 AM Ride bus to Yonggungsa temple
9:10 AM Arrival at Yonggungsa temple
Tour around Yonggungsa temple complex
10:20 AM Return to Haeundae Station
12:00 Noon Lunch at Seomyeon Station area (Busan Subway Lines 1 and 2)
1:00 PM Departure for Gamcheon Cultural Village
Ride Busan Subway Line 1
1:45 PM Alight at Toseong Station
Ride bus to Gamcheon Cultural Village
2:00 PM Tour around Gamcheon Cultural Village.
Look for and collect stamps
5:45 PM Arrival at the last stamp station
6:00 PM Depart for Busan Central station
7:20 PM Arrival at Gwangalli beach
Take picture of Gwangalli Bridge
8:00 PM Return to hotel
10:00 PM Lights out!
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This art installation on the coast of Busan’s Taejongdae Park, as was mentioned by our tour guide, serves as a reminder of the concept of Yin and Yang. South Korea, like its East Asian neighbors, also believe in balance.

Day 10: Busan Tour Day 2

7:00 AM Wake up call
8:00 AM Breakfast
Prepare baggage for departure
9:00 AM Check out
10:00 AM Leave baggage Seomyeon train station locker
10:30 AM Departure for Taejongdae Recreation Area
11:00 AM Arrival at Taejongdae Park
Purchase ticket for the Danubi Train Course Tour
Tour around Taejongdae Park
1:30 PM Departure for Busan Tower
2:00 PM Arrival at the BIFF Square
Check out the different boutiques in the area
2:20 PM Arrival at the Busan Tower.
Tour around the tower area
3:00 PM Retrieve baggage Seomyeon subway station
3:30 PM Departure for Busan Bus Terminal (Nopo Station, Busan Subway Line 1)
4:15 PM Arrival at the bus terminal
Purchase ticket for Jeonju
4:30 PM Departure for Jeonju
8:00 PM Arrival in Jeonju
8:30 PM Ride cab to and check in at Hanok Stay
9:00 PM Inquire with Hanok owner on places of interest in Jeounju
10:00 PM Lights out!

 

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Pungnammun Gate tells the story of Jeonju. Built in the late 14th century, it is one of four original city gates. It was able to withstood time and invasions. Of the four original gates,  it is the only one that it is left standing.

Day 11: Jeonju Hanok Village

8:00 AM Wake up call
8:30 AM Early morning tour around the surrounding area
Breakfast
9:00 AM Tour around the famed Jeonju Hanok Village
10:00 AM Purchase ticket for Gyeonggijeon
Tour around the Gyeonggijeon
11:00 AM Visit the Jeondong Cathedral
11:20 AM Visit the Pungnammun Gate
12:00 Noon Look for a food shop
12:30 PM Lunch. Try Jeonju’s famed Bibimbap!
2:00 PM Check out from the Hanok Stay
3:00 PM Departure for Seoul
6:30 PM Arrival in Seoul
7:30 PM Last minute shopping at Myeongdong
11:00 PM Lights out!
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Busan’s Haeundae Beach is one of South Korea’s more famous beaches. It gave us a warm welcome, in stark contrast with the cold reception it gave us the evening we arrived. Dynamic Busan indeed it is!

Day 12: Annyeong Kyeseyo Daehan Minghuk!

8:00 AM Wake up call
9:00 AM Breakfast
10:00 AM Ride Airport Express to Incheon International Airport
1:00 PM Board plane to Manila
4:30 PM Welcome back to reality!

 

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This 12-day South Korean escapade is a learning experience for me. It pains me to look back as the plane ascends towards the skies. For numerous reasons, South Korea will remain a treasure in my heart, its beautiful places, its wonderful people and its colorful history and culture. I will always look forward to that day when I will get the chance to visit it again. For now, I have to go back to my quotidian existence.

 

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