See the best of Seoul during this 11-hour guided tour to some of the city's top sites. Visit the famous Blue House and a few of Seoul's historic palaces before indulging in some retail therapy in Myeongdong (a popular shopping district) and Insadong (famous for its antique stores and art galleries). Hotel pickup/drop-off, lunch, and dinner are included, and numbers are limited to 15 for a personalized, small-group experience.
Be ready for pickup from your Seoul hotel at 8:40am. Aboard an air-conditioned coach, drive past Deoksugung Palace, Namdaemun, and Seoul Station on the way to your first stop, the famous Cheonggyecheon Stream. This waterway passing through the heart of downtown Seoul has been one of the city's most successful urban renewal projects in recent years.
Continue on to the Blue House, the presidential residence of the Republic of Korea, named for the blue tiles on its roof. Next, explore the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace, home of the National Folk Museum, and watch the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony. Have your camera ready, as the guards don colorful traditional costumes. (Please note that Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed on Tuesdays, in which case you'll visit Deoksugung Palace instead.)
Next move to Jogyesa, located in one of the most popular cultural streets in Seoul, Insa-dong. It is the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, becoming so in 1936 It thus plays a leading role in the current state of Seon Buddhism in South Korea. The temple was first established in 1395, at the dawn of the Joseon Dynasty; the modern temple was founded in 1910 and initially called "Hwanggaksa." The name was changed to "Taegosa" during the period of Japanese rule, and then to the present name in 1954.
For lunch have a traditional lunch of stone pot bibimbap. Spend the early afternoon enjoying Myeongdong, one of Seoul's trendiest shopping districts, at your leisure, before heading with your guide to Insadong and its numerous antique shops, art galleries, craft stores, and traditional Korean tea houses. Explore Myeongdong for two hours and meet the group back at Lotte Hotel at 3pm and continue the tour.
Rub elbows with the locals at Mang-won Traditional Outdoor Market before moving on to Homeplus, a market selling a wide variety of food and non-food items. After there are two more markets to visit.
Jungbu Market, a wide assortment of dried food such as laver, seaweed, anchovies, yellow corbinas, squid, pollack, and dried filefish fillets are available at low prices. Known for both wholesale and retail sales, Jungbu Market offers goods at prices 20-30% lower than those found at other markets.
The Gwangjang Market is the nation's first market and continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination today. The second floor of the market provides all of your silk, satin, and linen bed-sheet stores, which are the largest and most famous in Seoul.
After a long day, sit down to a traditional Korean dinner of pork rib, soybean stew, and rice.'After dinner, you will be dropped off to your hotel in central Seoul at around 7:40pm.
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