Secrets of South Korea 2019

5,000 years of culture and history

Trip Scholar: Professor James B Lewis

Associate Professor of Korean History, University of Oxford, and President of the Association for Korean Studies
Available to Alumni of Oxford and Cambridge, family and friends

10 day tour
Price from £3,595

A compact country full of delightful contrasts, South Korea’s juxtaposition of ancient tradition and fast-paced modernity make it truly unique. Travel in the company of Professor James B Lewis, Associate Professor of Korean History at Oxford University, on a journey exploring this incredible country. From tranquil Buddhist temples and UNESCO-listed fortresses, tombs and villages, to shimmering Seoul, South Korea’s economic powerhouse, you will discover the country’s culture and traditions, kept alive through its traditional music, poetry, religion and dance.

Tour highlights

  • Discover the 500-year Joseon Dynasty with visits to well-preserved UNESCO-listed Changdeokgung Palace, Hwaseong Fortress and the atmospheric Bukchon Village
  • Learn about the Korean War at the demilitarised zone and ‘Freedom Bridge’, and see the infiltration tunnel discovered in 1978 after a tip-off from a defector
  • Explore Hahoe Village, where centuries-old traditions influenced by the teachings of Confucius are still alive
  • Enjoy unique insights from trip lecturer Professor James B Lewis, President of the European Association for Korean Studies

Itinerary at a glance

Day 0:   Those flying on Temple World booked flights will fly from the UK to Seoul today overnight
Day 1:    Tour starts in in Seoul with a road transfer to Changdeokgung Palace | Overnight Seoul
Day 2:    Explore demilitarized zone & Freedom Bridge | War Memorial Museum | Overnight Seoul
Day 3:    Visit UNESCO Suwon Hwaseong | City of Yeoju | Continue to Andong | Overnight Andong
Day 4:    UNESCO Hahoe Folk Village | Transfer to Daegu | Overnight Daegu
Day 5:    Haeinsa Temple | Gayasan National Park | Overnight Daegu
Day 6:    Transfer to City of Gyeongju | Daereungwon Royal Tombs | UNESCO Bulguksa temple | Overnight Gyeongju
Day 7:    UNESCO Yangdong Folk Village | Unmunsa Buddhist Temple | BIFF Square | Overnight Busan
Day 8:    Taejongdae Park & Gamcheon Cultural Village | Take high-speed KTX train to Seoul | Overnight Seoul
Day 9:    Gwanghwamun Square, gate and palace | UNESCO Jongmyo Shrine | Overnight Seoul
Day 10:  Those on recommended flights are transferred to the airport for day-time flight home | Arrive home

Dates and Prices
Prices are in UK£, per person, based on double occupancy

29th March - 7th April 2019
Room TypePriceSingle SupplementOptional Flight from LondonAvailability
Standard£3,595£1,995£700-800 return approxAvailable

Share of twin or double bedded room with private bathroom, full board (except on the arrival day when only lunch and dinner is included, and on the departure day when the tour ends after breakfast), all excursions mentioned with local guides including entrance fees, expert leader.

International flights, drinks, visa charges, travel insurance, tips to drivers and guides, items of a personal nature.

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange group flights for approximately £700-800 return inc. taxes from London with British Airways.

Booking your own travel
You are most welcome to book your own flights to coordinate with this tour. The start point and end point is Seoul, and there are no activities on the first and last day so that guests can arrive/depart at any time. We can arrange private transfers to meet any flight (supplement applies).

*Very important! Those who plan to book their own flights should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed in writing on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that it is a guaranteed departure


NHS Fit For Travel advises travellers to South Korea are usually recommended to immunise against: Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Enchephalitis and Rabies. 

Malaria risk is low throughout the year mainly in northern areas of Gangwon Do and Kyunggi Do Provinces and Incheon City. Antimalarials are not usually advised however malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.


Entry Regulations
If you have a British Citizen passport you can enter South Korea as a tourist for up to 90 days without a visa.  You must also have an onward or return ticket.

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 3 months from the date of entry into South Korea.

Fitness Guideline

We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Moderate. This is a busy itinerary with a number of hotel changes and a full schedule of sightseeing without much free time during the tour. There is quite a lot of walking in the tour and there may not be anywhere to rest or sit down regularly.  Not suitable for those who require walking aids. There are long and strenuous walks and sightseeing might be ‘on the go’ for several hours at a time, without breaks to sit down and rest.  It is important that everyone is able to keep up with the group.  Tour participants over 80 will be asked to provide a letter of fitness from their GP. Please contact us for a full fitness briefing. Full fitness profile of the tour

Trip Scholar
Professor James B Lewis
Professor James B Lewis is Associate Professor of Korean History at the University of Oxford. His courses include an introduction to Korean history, Korean history through classical texts and methods in Koreanology. His particular research interests are the cultural, economic and social histories of premodern Korea and the history of Korean-Japanese relations prior to 1850. Editor, author and co-author of many books about the history of Korea, Professor Lewis is currently preparing a monograph on the economic history of Korea from 1400-1900 and translating the Korin Teise, an early 18th Century Japanese view of Korea and diplomatic relations with the Joseon Dynasty.

Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.

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The itinerary was very well put together. We covered an edifying variety of sites, but the pace was well judged with enough time to rest when needed. Pierre & Susan

Congenial Companions

Our small group tours are exclusively available to alumni of Oxford and Cambridge universities and their friends and family, making for a wonderful atmosphere amongst like-minded individuals.

Expert Lecturer

All our small group alumni tours are accompanied by a university lecturer as well as local guides, with illuminating lectures given throughout the tour to enrich understanding of the destination.

To reserve a place on one of our small group alumni tours, contact us for availability then send us a signed booking form and deposit.

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