Luxury South Korea and Taiwan tour for foodies and history lovers!
Seoul – Gyeongju – Busan – Taipei – Taroko National Park – Yilan – Sun Moon Lake – Taipei
Conducted by a seasoned and multilingual tour leader with intimate knowledge of East Asia, this luxury small-group tour is intended for foodies and history lovers. A high level of fitness is required of all participants as hiking is an integral component of the itinerary.
- Small group size – 20 maximum
- Expert guide(s)
- Luxury accommodations
- All gratuities
- All applicable taxes and surcharges
- Gourmet food both local and western
- No forced shopping stops
- Cultural shows and cooking classes
- Daily breakfasts and most lunches and dinners
Meal Code: B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner
Scroll down for dates, prices, hotel list and documentation requirements.
Day 1/Sat: Departing for Seoul
Fly to Seoul from a city of your choice. International air is not included. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.
Day 2/Sun: Arrival in Seoul
Transfer to the hotel by airport limousine shuttle bus on your own upon arrival at Incheon International Airport.
Some travellers prefer the Airport Railroad Express which costs 9,000 Korean Won (US$8) per person in combination of taxi on arrival at Seoul Station.
Getting to the hotel by taxi direct from the airport, which is 50km west of Seoul, should cost between 70,000 and 100,000 Korean Won or US$65 to US$90 including expressway toll charge.
Day 3/Mon: Seoul (B/L/D)
Capital of South Korea, Seoul is a huge metropolis where modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets. Notable attractions include futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a convention hall with curving architecture and a rooftop park; Gyeongbokgung Palace, which once had more than 7,000 rooms; and Jogyesa Temple, site of ancient locust and pine trees.
Full-day sightseeing in Seoul includes Gyeongbokgung Palace, Myeong-dong district (fashion, market, churches), N Seoul Tower and the National Museum of Korea.
Day 4/Tue: Seoul – DMZ- Seoul (B/L)
This morning we embark on a half-day excursion to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The DMZ divides North Korea and South Korea and is one of the last remnants of the Cold War. The DMZ runs across the Korean Peninsula and roughly follows the 38th parallel north (popular name given to latitude 38° N) on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and the east end lying north of it. With over a million soldiers on watch each day, this stretch of land measuring 250 kilometres (160 miles) long and about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) wide is the most fortified border in the world. Our itinerary includes Freedom Bridge, the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel and observing life on the other side from the Dora Observatory. If you have claustrophobia, please stay away from the tunnel!
We return to the city after lunch and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 5/Wed: Seoul – Gyeongju – Busan (B/L/D)
This morning we travel to Gyeongju by high-speed train (300km, 2 hours). Sightseeing in and around Gyeongju takes in Yangdong Folk Village, Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa (Bhuddist temple) – all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Gyeongju is on the southeast coast. It was the capital of the 1,000-year-long Silla dynasty and is known for its extensive historical remains. The 8th-century Bulguksa Temple features twin stone pagodas, a series of wooden staircases and a large bronze Buddha. Nearby, Seokguram Grotto houses a towering seated Buddha and offers panoramic views of the sun rising over the Sea of Japan.
If time allows, we’ll make a quick stop at a royal tomb called Cheonmachong before continuing on to Busan.
Day 6/Thu: Busan (B/L)
Bursting with mountains and beaches, hot springs and seafood, Busan is a rollicking port city with tonnes to offer.
We begin the day with a visit to the United Nations War Cemetery to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers during Korean War. The rest of the day is spent at Jagalchi fish market, Gujesijang market and a nice oceanfront park called Dongbaek where the 2005 APEC Summit was held.
Day 7/Fri: Busan – Taipei (B/D)
Morning or noon flight to Taipei takes 2 hours 30 minutes.
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, which should not be confused with the People’s Republic of China under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. With a population around 2.7 million, Taipei is also the economic, educational, and cultural center of Taiwan and one of the major hubs of transportation in East Asia.
Afternoon sightseeing takes place at the National Palace Museum which houses a huge collection of national treasures removed from the Forbidden City in Beijing when the national government under the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) fled to Taiwan in 1949.
Day 8/Sat: Taipei (B/L)
We begin the day with a tour of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Built in commemoration of the Kuomintang leader who fled the mainland with his government in 1949, the memorial hall is a landmark in Taipei and a major tourist attraction whose change of guard taking place multiple times during the day draws large crowds.
This is followed by a cooking class which should last 2 to 3 hours, during which you’ll learn to make xiaolongbao, Chinese beef noodle soup plus one or two other dishes.
Afterwards we tour Dalongdong Bao’an Temple, an old house of worship that embraces Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism all at the same time. Later on, we visit the 508-metre-tall Taipei 101, a new symbol of the city.
We spend the evening exploring a crowded but very safe night market that offers an abundance of mouth-watering street food.
Day 9/Sun: Taipei – Taroko National Park (B/L/D)
This morning we drive 160km (3 hours) to Taroko National Park located on the northeast coast of Taiwan. Taroko is famous not only for its deep marble gorges but also for the aboriginal tribal culture. After a delicious lunch at a popular restaurant staffed by local Austronesian aboriginals, we spend the whole afternoon exploring the spectacular national park.
Overnight at a resort in the park.
Day 10/Mon: Taroko National Park – Yilan (B/L/D)
Our exploration of Taroko National Park this morning features a 2-hour hike over mountainous terrain. Travellers who are overweight or not into hiking can sit it out.
After lunch we drive to the county seat of Yilan where we stay at luxurious urban resort famous for hot spring bathing. This part of Taiwan is paradise for hot spring lovers. Dinner at an incredibly popular roast chicken restaurant that has the aura of sidewall food stall.
Day 11/Tue: Yilan – Sun Moon Lake (B/L/D)
Free morning to relax (maybe more hot spring bathing?) or explore on your own. The afternoon drive from Yilan to Sun Moon Lake takes three and a half hours.
Surrounded by forested peaks and crisscrossed by foot trails, the 7.93-square-kilometre Sun Moon Lake is a popular resort destination all year round due to mild climate (elevation 748 metres).
The area around the lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. The tiny island in the lake called Lalu is sacred to the Thao people and off limit to tourists. East of the lake, the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is a theme park with a section devoted to re-created indigenous villages. Displays here include centuries-old carved lintel pieces, handicrafts and weapons.
Day 12/Wed: Sun Moon Lake (B)
Today’s schedule includes a cruise on the lake, visit to the aboriginal cultural village and a scenic spot or two around the lake for photography. We spend the rest of the day exploring the town by the lake.
Day 13/Thu: Sun Moon Lake – Taipei (B/D)
This morning we return to Taipei. After hotel check-in we spend the rest of the day exploring on our own. Feel free to ask your guide for recommendations.
Day 14/Fri: Returning Home (B)
Your Korea and Taiwan tour ends this morning. Transfer to the airport by airport express train or limousine shuttle bus. Your local guide will provide additional information on your airport transfer.
|Seoul||3||The Westin Chosun Seoul||luxury/5 stars|
|Busan||2||Lotte Hotel Busan||luxury/5 stars|
|Taipei, 1st stay||2||The Sherwood Taipei||luxury/5 stars|
|Taroko National Park||1||Silks Place Taroko||luxury/5 stars|
|Yilan||1||Evergreen Resort||luxury/5 stars|
|Sun Moon Lake||2||Fleur de Chine||luxury/5 stars|
|Taipei, 2nd stay||1||The Sherwood Taipei||luxury/5 stars|
Dates and Prices
* Land Only price does not include international air. Contact us for a competitive fare quote.
|Tour price includes:
||Tour price does NOT include:
Visa is not required of visitors from Western countries.
Budget a few hundred dollars for incidentals and meals not included in the tour price.
See Terms & Conditions for more information.