Gain Insider Knowledge of Korea’s Traditions – What to Expect
You can fully expect to gain a complete perspective of Korea’s history on our Rise and Shine + Kimchi Making tour! Seoul is the home to a beautiful palace that carries thousands of years of history and is full of architectural surprises and stories. You will get to discover its secrets and witness an ancient ceremony that is one of the must-have experiences in Seoul.
There will be plenty of time to sightsee, take photos, play traditional games, and even learn how to prepare a very special dish! Don’t miss the chance to find out Korea’s most beloved traditions and spend an incredible day full of excitement on one of our more active Seoul tour packages!
A Mix of History, Culture, and Cuisine – Course Overview
We will begin by picking you up from your hotel in Seoul. Our first stop will be a visit to the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple before heading over to Gwanghwamun gate where you will witness the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. Then, we will explore the Gyeongbokgung Palace followed by the Presidential Blue House and Cheongwadae Sarangchae. We will make a stop at the Ginseng Center and have a delicious lunch to relax and refuel.
The second part of our tour is a complete Korean cultural experience where you can wear a hanbok (traditional Korean clothes), learn correct greeting etiquette, and play a folk game. Finally, you will learn to make kimchi according to a traditional recipe! After feeling like a chef, we will make our way back to Seoul, with a quick stop at a shopping center. We will drop you off at your hotel after a full day of excitement and exploration. Take advantage of our seamless itinerary and door to door service!
Jogyesa Buddhist Temple – The Cornerstone of the Buddhist Order
In order to fully understand Korean Buddhism and its significance, you must visit Jogyesa – the first stop on our tour. Formerly known as Gakhwangsa, the temple was built in 1395 and served as the main point of resistance to the Japanese during their efforts to suppress the Buddhist tradition in Korea.
Today, the temple is a true gem for those who love art. Here you will see unique lattice designs that grace the doors and walls. You will have a look at the colorful matsya which represents one of the Hindu god Vishnu’s incarnations as a fish. Take a photo with the golden Buddha statues and look up at the delicate pink lanterns. You will also be able to see the famous White Pine Tree that was brought to Jogyesa by the Chinese missionaries during the era of the Joseon Dynasty.
Changing of the Guard Ceremony – See the Safety Measure Turned Ritual
Seeing this iconic ceremony is a must while in Seoul. The ceremony began as a safety precaution during the Joseon Dynasty where the soldiers, also knowns as “Wanggung Sumunjang” were responsible for opening and closing the palace gates and inspecting each visitor to the king.
Today, the ceremony has become a symbolic ritual, transporting you back in time. Not much has changed about the ritual – you will see the soldiers still wearing vibrant blue robes and marching in a very specific formation, playing traditional instruments, and carrying weapons which is a spectacle like no other!
Gyeongbokgung Palace – Explore A Beautiful and Resilient Structure
The Joseon Dynasty liked building splendid palaces and Gyeongbokgung is the most beautiful and impressive of all five that they constructed around Seoul. Here you will see very old elements that date back to the original construction of 1395. The palace was almost completely destroyed by the Japanese in the 20th century and then reconstructed, which explains why its architecture includes modern motives as well.
You will be immediately impressed by the view of Mount Bugak right behind the Gwanghwamun Gate through which you will enter. Some of the highlights you will see include the Throne Hall and the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion where important banquets were held. Hyangwonjeong Pavilion offers the most beautiful view on the grounds, tucked between trees and located right on the water, so this will be the perfect place to take photos!
Please Note: Due to Gyeongbokgung being closed on Tuesdays, we will visit pretty Deoksu Palace instead.
Presidential Blue House + Cheongwadae Sarangchae – Gain an Insight into Korean Politics
The Presidential Blue House in Seoul is the official residence of the Korean leader. What’s curious about it, as you will see upon arrival, is that its location is not at all random. In fact, the Blue House is located between Bukhansan, Naksan, and Inwangsan mountains which is believed to be auspicious and makes it the luckiest place on earth according to Feng Shui. We will have time to take photos and enjoy the exterior of the structure.
Next on our tour, we will visit Cheongwadae Sarangchae (closed every Monday). This two-story building houses all the information about Korea’s political legacy. There is always an exhibit on the first floor which changes regularly, as well as a whole second floor dedicated to the Korean presidents and other interesting knowledge such as the most beautiful places in the country to visit. On the second floor, you will find a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs to take home.
Enjoy Korean Tradition and an Authentic Culture Experience
After lunch, we will dive into the absolute authenticity of Korean tradition with a special workshop. You will have the chance to wear a hanbok – traditional clothing which is comprised of a chima (wraparound skirt) for women and baji (pants) for men, accompanied by colorful belts, jeogori (upper garment), and po (overcoat). You will look as if you came out of a fairytale so make sure to take lots of photos to remember the experience and later share with your friends on Instagram!
For entertainment, we will learn the traditional greeting code in Korea and play Yut Nori which is a dynamic and fun board game that is an important part of the country’s folklore and gets everybody excited! This is a wonderful bonding experience to enjoy with your family or friends!
Learn to Make Kimchi – Korea’s Most Iconic Recipe
Kimchi is a Korean dish made of fermented vegetables and spices that has gained an incredible level of popularity all over the world thanks to its wonderful taste and health properties. You will have the chance to learn how to prepare it like a pro.
The workshop on our tour will provide all the ingredients for you which consist of napa cabbage, Korean radish, and spices such as ginger, onion, jeotgal (salted seafood), and more.
At the cooking class, you will learn how to put all the ingredients together and then pack your kimchi in a jar that will be left to ferment for at least 48 hours. You will pick up some essential culinary skills that you can later use to make your very own kimchi!
Don’t miss the opportunity to discover Korea’s royal and political history and immerse yourself in local tradition and culture. Join us on our Rise and Shine + Kimchi making tour for the experience of a lifetime!