Delve into the many flavours of Korean cuisine and cooking on this adventure totally dedicated to food

Long overshadowed by the gastronomy of its regional neighbours, Korean has been the cuisine on all foodies' lips in recent years. There's Korean BBQ for starters – what's not to like about sizzling your own strips of meat on a BBQ set up on your table? – but that's just the tip of the culinary iceberg. With a smorgasbord of sauces, garnishes and pickled side-dishes accompanying every meal, dining in Korea is all about crafting your meal to taste. And, despite the prevalence of beef and Korean fried chicken, it's not all meat based. Silky tofu, glass noodle salads, sushi-like kimbap, and, of course, kimchi – vegetarian options are plentiful. Learn how to make green onion pancakes, slurp up spicy seafood breakfast soups, tuck into Buddhist fare on an overnight monastery stay and delve into the intricacies of the country's signature dish bibimbap in Jeonju, arguably Korea's foodie capital.


Start
Seoul, South Korea
Finish
Seoul, South Korea
Country
South Korea
Style
Original
Theme
Food
Code
CJZK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Wash down the other version of KFC – Korean Fried Chicken – with a glass of Soju, Korea's national alcoholic beverage

  • Savour bibimbap in Jeonju, Korea's foodie capital

  • Share a traditional temple meal with Buddhist monks on an overnight stay in a monastery

  • Get the inside sip on Busan's craft brew scene at one of the city's top breweries

Is this trip right for you?

  • A good degree of fitness is recommended for this trip as there is a lot of walking involved. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

  • We suggest packing light and smart for this trip as you'll be required to carry your own luggage between train stations and to hotels, which can include going up and down multiple flights of stairs in crowded areas. Elevators are however available in most stations.

  • Traditionally Korean beds comprised a futon-like mattress placed on the floor, which could be folded up and placed in the cupboard in the morning. This trip includes two nights' accommodation with Korean-style floor bedding - on night 2 staying in a hanok (traditional house) in Jeonju and on night 4 staying at the monastery in Gyeongju. While floor bedding can seem firm compared with standard western mattresses, the floor in these accommodations is heated and provides for a comfortable and cosy nights' sleep.

  • The monastery stay is a unique and special experience, providing an insight into monastic cuisine, rituals - even martial arts-style meditation! Conservative dress is required, although you will also be given pants and a tunic to wear during your stay. The monastery is located on a steep hill, which does require some aerobic fitness to ascend. The martial arts meditation session also requires reasonable fitness. All activities at the monastery are optional and you can opt-out at any time if you feel the activity level is too strenuous. One of the highlights of the monastery stay is an early morning Buddhist service. This does require rising by 4am, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Itinerary

Welcome to Seoul, South Korea's vibrant capital of high-tech gadgetry, glittering skyscrapers and scrumptious eats.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where this meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Your insurance details and next of kin information will be collected at this meeting, so please have these details to provide to your leader.
A modern Asian metropolis that blends bold futuristic intentions with strong links to the past, Seoul is one of Asia's great cities. After the welcome meeting, head out with your trip leader and be immersed in Seoul's sights, sounds, smells and, of course, tastes! Start your Food Adventure with a taste of the local KFC – Korean Fried Chicken – known locally as chi-maek, short for chicken plus maekju (the Korean word for beer). Don't pass up the opportunity to try Soju, Korea's national alcoholic beverage. Your leader will be able to verse you in the etiquette involved.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seoul - Welcome Dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Take the metro to Yongsan Station and pick up breakfast from station vendors selling everything from coffee and pastries to kimbap (Korean sushi rolls). Travel by ITX Train to Jeonju, then take a local bus to your hotel. For lunch head to a restaurant famous for its bibimbap and dozens of house specialty side dishes. In the afternoon, learn to prepare the iconic Korean side dish, kimchi. Afterwards, take a stroll around the town, where there are many hanoks (traditional houses) to admire. If you're keen for one more 'real food' experience, for dinner your leader will take you for locally brewed, cloudy rice beer which is served with yet another array of side dishes. If you order another round of drinks, more food will come out. If you order a pitcher - then you’ll get a surprise!

Note: On the October departure, the cooking class will be replaced by a visit to the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival.
Accommodation
  • Hanok (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jeonju - Kimchi Cooking Class
  • Jeonju - Hanok Village Visit
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Special Information
Tonight's accommodation will be in a hanok guesthouse. Similar to a Japanese ryokan, the bedding in a hanok comprises a futon mattress on the floor, with a light covering. The floor of your room is heated and provides for a comfortable and cosy nights' sleep.
This morning you'll have the opportunity to start your day with a breakfast of Kongnamul Gukbap – a hot soup of soybean and sprouts – in a local restaurant hidden in Nambu Traditional Market. From here, travel by bus to Sunchang Gochujang, a village famous for the production of gochujang (a traditional red chili paste). Taste local varieties of soy sauce, bean paste, red chilli paste and Korean pickles, then see how the chili paste is made during a demonstration. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant that specialises in fermented bean soup, then take a stroll around the base of Mt Gangcheon. Return to Jeonju, and catch a public bus to Gyeongju, arriving by early evening. Tonight is free for your own exploration, although your leader will have plenty of great dining tips.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sunchang - Gochujang (traditional chilli paste) Cooking Demonstration
  • Sunchang - Byeongpung Waterfall Visit
Meals Included
  • Lunch
The city of Gyeongju is an area rich with temples, tombs, pagodas, and palace ruins (many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites). Start your day with a stroll through the local market, learning about the ingredients and produce that form the building blocks of this amazing cuisine. There should also be time to explore some of the royal tombs - conspicuous grassy hills which punctuate the landscape around the city. Lunch will be a tasting of Korean comfort foods, including hotteok, tteokbokki, chicken on a stick - not to mention red bean bread, a specialty of this region. In the afternoon, pack a small overnight bag and drive to the Bulguksa Monastery for an overnight temple stay. The monks at this temple practice a specific type of martial arts known as sunmudo. Be treated to a sunmudo display, then enjoy time to wander around the tranquil temple surrounds. Dinner will be vegan, in line with monastic custom. In the evening, choose to be guided through a martial-arts style meditation and yoga session or simply settle in for an early night's sleep.
Accommodation
  • Temple Stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Golguksa Temple - Martial Arts Meditation Demonstration
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The monastery stay provides a unique and special experience, with an insight into monastic cuisine, rituals - even martial arts-style meditation! Conservative dress is required, although you will also be given pants and a tunic to wear during your stay. Please remember to bring socks, as bare feet are not allowed in the temple. At night, you will be sleeping on traditional futons on a heated floor. Blankets and sheets are provided, although you'll need to bring your own toiletries and towel. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited at the monastery stay.

The monastery is located on a hill, which does require some aerobic fitness to ascend. The martial arts meditation session also requires reasonable fitness. All activities at the monastery are optional and you can opt-out at any time if you feel the activity level is too strenuous.

One of the highlights of the monastery stay is an early morning Buddhist service. This does require rising by 4am, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Your life as a monk continues today with a 4am wake-up for a memorable morning meditation (you can opt out of it, though, if early mornings are not your thing!). Following breakfast, learn about the spiritual values and beliefs of Korean Buddhism over tea with a resident monk. Leaving the monastery, drive on to a local farm for an insight into agricultural life. After a turn around the farm, you'll be treated to some home-made snacks. Returning to Gyeongju, the rest of the day is free to explore the city and its many UNESCO-listed sites.

Note: In the case of bad weather, the farm visit will be replaced by an alternate activity.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gyeongju - Farm Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Drive on to the bustling port city of Busan. Visit Jalgalchi Market (an enormous seafood market situated by Busan port), then savour a clam bake lunch overlooking the ocean. In the evening, head to a craft brewery for a behind-the-scenes tour and, of course, a tasting.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Busan - Lighthouse Visit
  • Busan - Craft Brewery Tour
  • Busan - Jalgachi Seafood Market Tour
  • Busan - Clam Restaurant Lunch
Meals Included
  • Lunch
After breakfast at the hotel, travel by KTX Train back to Seoul. The afternoon is free to wander around Gyeongbok Palace, marvel at the views from Namsan Tower or check out Sinsadong and Gangnam Area, Seoul's most eclectic neighbourhoods. For your final feast, head to the Majang Dong Beef Market and pick out some top-grade cuts of Korean beef for a mouthwatering Korean barbeque.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seoul - Dinner at Majangdong Beef Market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your South Korea Food Adventure comes to an end this morning.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

2 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Train, Public Bus, Metro, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Temple stay (1 night), Hanok (1 night)

Included activities

  • Seoul - Welcome Dinner
  • Jeonju - Kimchi Cooking Class
  • Jeonju - Hanok Village Visit
  • Sunchang - Gochujang (traditional chilli paste) Cooking Demonstration
  • Sunchang - Byeongpung Waterfall Visit
  • Golguksa Temple - Martial Arts Meditation Demonstration
  • Gyeongju - Farm Visit
  • Busan - Lighthouse Visit
  • Busan - Craft Brewery Tour
  • Busan - Jalgachi Seafood Market Tour
  • Busan - Clam Restaurant Lunch
  • Seoul - Dinner at Majangdong Beef Market

Dates & availability

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Essential trip information

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Reviews

Our Real Food Adventure - South Korea trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Real Food Adventure - South Korea, April 2017

Anne Childs