3. Seoul: Full-Day Royal Palace and Shopping Tour
Start the day with hotel pickup and meet your local guide to start exploring Seoul's best cultural highlights. The first stop on the itinerary is the picturesque Cheonggyecheon Stream, a serene urban oasis in the heart of Seoul. Created as part of an urban renewal project, it is a restoration of the stream that was once there before during the Joseon Dynasty. Next, you will visit the main gate of the Blue House, also known as 'Cheongwadae,' which serves as the official residence of the President of South Korea for souvenir photo. Don't forget to capture a memorable souvenir photo in front of this iconic landmark. Cheongwadae Saranchae is a Korean presidential exhibition center. Enter inside to learn more about Korean culture and history (*Since Cheongwadae Sarangchae is under renovation from Oct, 2023, we won't visit it during renovation). Gyeongbokgung palace is the oldest palace of the Joseon Dynasty, built in 1394 as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty by its founder King Taejo, it's the most comprehensive and grandest of the five palaces of the period. The Royal Guard Changing Ceremony is a great opportunity to experience a rare traditional scene in Korea. Be sure to bring a camera to take lots of pictures. Admire the guards’ costumes with brilliant primary colors. (As Gyeongbokgung palace is closed on Tuesdays, it will be replaced with a tour of Deoksugung palace on Tuesdays.) Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Jogyesa Temple, one of Seoul's most significant Buddhist temples. Admire the intricate architecture and serene atmosphere while learning about the temple's cultural and religious significance. After great Bibimbab lunch, you will visit Changdeokgung Palace which was used as the main palace by many Joseon Kings and is very well preserved. The palace was registered with UNESCO in 1997. (You'll visit Jongmyo Royal Shrine instead on Mondays) Continue the cultural journey at Insadong Antique Shop Alley, a vibrant street lined with art galleries, traditional tea houses, and antique shops. Discover unique souvenirs and traditional crafts Namsangol Hanok Village stands out between tall buildings in the middle of the city with its five restored traditional Korean houses, a pavilion, a pond, and a time capsule. (You will visit to Bukchon Hanok Village instead on Mondays) Now we will visit one of a symbol of Seoul's historical significance. Sungnyemun gate, also known as Namdaemun gate, is one of the Eight Gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul. Take memorable photos of one of the gates that surrounded the city. (Outside only on Mondays) And then let's enjoy the Namdaemun Market! It is one of the oldest and largest open-air traditional markets in Seoul. Explore a wide array of goods, including clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and delicious street food. Finally, the tour will conclude with a drop-off at either Myeongdong or City Hall, depending on your preference.