Slurp, crunch and spoon your way into the belly of South Korea

Immerse yourself in the choose-your-own adventure atmosphere of South Korean food, from bibimbap to immense street food markets that you could get lost in (if it weren’t for the local guiding you to the best stalls!). South Korea’s food scene is often delightfully informal and meals in South Korea are all about finding your flavours. Chow down on meals served with dozens of toppings, light and crispy Korean fried chicken washed down with a small-batch craft beer, silky glass noodles stirred with colourful salad and the various delightful iterations of kimchi. Discover the flavourful diversity and heritage of this rich culinary scene. 


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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Savour the flavours of South Korea’s slow food capital Jeonju, slurping kongnamul gukbap and soup noodles in local haunts and learning to craft kimchi and hangwa (sugar cookies).

  • Immerse yourself in monastic life during a temple stay in Gyeongju, following a vegan dinner with chanting meditation and, if you’d like, a martial arts class.

  • Spend a day diving deep into South Korean seafood in Busan, embracing the chaotic energy and of the port seafood market before munching clams in an oceanfront restaurant.

  • Visit a craft brewery in Jeonju for a taste of South Korea’s booming and inventive craft beer scene, which has exploded in popularity in recent years.

  • Follow your local leader to the best stalls in the labyrinthian Gwangang Market in Seoul, which featured in the Netflix series ‘Street Food’.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. In many countries, dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, please advise your agent at time of booking to receive information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed.

  • With so many included food experiences on this tour, it’s important to work up an appetite between meals. A good degree of fitness and a comfortable pair of walking shoes are recommended for this trip, as you’ll be exploring a lot on foot.

  • We suggest packing 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 available in most stations, but the lighter you pack the easier it will be.

  • A traditional Korean bed is a futon-like mattress placed on the floor, which may be folded up and placed in the cupboard in the morning. This trip includes three nights' accommodation with Korean-style floor bedding – two nights in a hanok (traditional house) in Jeonju, and one night at a monastery in Gyeongju. While floor bedding can be firm compared to standard western mattresses, the floors are heated and you will be comfortable. You can also request extra mattresses for your comfort.

  • The monastery stay provides both unique accommodation and an inimitable cultural experience, offering insight into monastic cuisine and rituals. Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities, including dress codes. You will be given pants and a tunic to wear during your stay, and socks must be worn in the temple. Rooms at the monastery are multi-share, which means you may have to share a room with up to three people of the same gender. Couples of opposite genders are not able to share a room on this night as it is against monastery rules. Smoking and alcohol consumption are prohibited at the monastery.

Itinerary

Welcome to Seoul, South Korea's vibrant capital of high-tech gadgetry, glittering skyscrapers and scrumptious eats. Your Real Food Adventure officially kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight at your accommodation, where you will meet your leader and fellow travellers. With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to dive into South Korea’s food scene!
First we will enjoy a welcome dinner of Korean Fried Chicken and beer for a 'Chimaek' experience. We then head to the Gwangang Market for an immersive introduction to the sights, smells and, of course, tastes of South Korean street food. Go deep into the gargantuan market featured in the Netflix series ‘Street Food’, following your leader to the best vendors for dinner and cultural experience like no other.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seoul - Korean Fried Chicken Welcome Dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning take the metro to Yongsan Station (about 10 minutes). Set off for Jeonju, a city that’s all about doing things slowly and doing them well – both in food and in life. The journey should take around 2.5 hours, arriving just in time for lunch at a renowned local bibimbap restaurant. The bibimbap here is so good, it’s been declared an intangible cultural asset. Seriously. Scoff down some of the classic rice dish topped with, well, lots of great stuff, then head to the hotel to settle in. In the afternoon, spend some time exploring the historical Hanok Village, wandering cobblestone streets between hundreds of traditional homes and further embracing the relaxed pace of the city. Later, learn the art of making kimchi – a Korean slow food poster dish – during a cooking class. You’ll also learn how to make a delicious kimchi pancake. If you're keen for one more 'real food' experience, for dinner your leader will take you for locally brewed, cloudy rice beer called 'makgeolli'. Accompanied by a parade of inventive side dishes, this singular drink is enjoyed in ritual fashion, served in special brass bowls from the coveted makgeoli kettle. It is an experience unlike any other and a true South Korean highlight!
Accommodation
  • Hanok (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jeonju - Kimchi Cooking Class
  • Jeonju - Hanok Village Visit
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
On the October departure, the cooking class will be replaced by a visit to the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival.

Tonight's accommodation will be in a hanok guesthouse. Similar to a Japanese ryokan, the bedding in a hanok is a futon mattress on the floor with a light covering. The floor of your room is heated and provides 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. After breakfast you can explore the village or visit the historical shrines and palaces. Chat to your leader about which works for you. From here, travel by bus to Sunchang Gochujang, a village famous for the production of gochujang (a traditional red chilli paste), for a tasting and demo on how it gets made. Grab lunch at a restaurant that specialises in fermented bean soup. Later, take a stroll around the base of Mt Gangcheon, and choose whether to take work up your appetite by walking a little further to a nearby waterfall. For dinner tonight, sit down to slurp and chew some noodle soup and dumplings at another locally famous eatery, then wash it down with a couple of beers at a craft brewery. South Korea’s craft beer scene is exploding all across the country after a rise to popularity in Seoul, and tonight your belly will reap the benefits.
Accommodation
  • Hanok (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sunchang - Gochujang (traditional chilli paste) Cooking Demonstration
  • Jeonju - Craft Brewery Tour
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Rise and shine for an early journey to Gyeongju, a city rich with temples, tombs and palace ruins (many of which are World Heritage sites). Start your day right on arrival, with a stroll through the local market and progressive tasting. Start with the building blocks of Korean cuisine, then taste how the ingredients come together to make beloved local dishes. Grab lunch at one of our favourite stalls, then drive to the Golgulsa Temple for an overnight stay. The monks at this temple practice a specific type of martial arts known as sunmudo. Be treated to a display of the fighting art, then enjoy time to wander around the tranquil temple surrounds. Dinner will be vegan, in line with monastic custom. In the evening, relax with a chanting and meditation service, then choose to be guided through a sunmodo training session or simply settle in for an early night's sleep.
Accommodation
  • Temple Stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Golgulsa Temple - Temple Stay Program with Sunmudo (Martial Arts) Training and Meditation
  • Gyeongju - Korean Street Food Tour at a Traditional Market
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
For your stay at the temple you will be given trousers and a tunic to wear. Please remember to bring socks, as bare feet are not allowed in the temple.

Accommodation at the temple is multi-share and you may be required to share with up to three other travellers of the same gender. Couples of opposite genders are unable to share a room, as this is against the rules of the temple. You will be sleeping on traditional futons on a heated floor. Blankets, towels and sheets are provided. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited at the monastery.

The monastery is located on a hill which requires a moderate level of fitness to ascend. If you wish to partake in the martial arts session in the evening, you will need to be reasonably fit. All activities at the monastery are optional and you can stop at any time if you feel the activity level is too strenuous.
Your life as a monk continues today with a 4 am wake-up for a memorable morning meditation (you can opt out of it if early mornings are not your thing, but we highly recommend you partake in this unique experience). Following breakfast, learn about the spiritual values and beliefs of Korean Buddhism over tea with a resident monk. We then drive to a local farm for an insight into agricultural life. After a walk around the farm, you'll be treated to some home-made snacks. In the afternoon, enjoy a private transfer to Busan to visit the beautiful Haedong Temple, built into the rocks by the sea.
You will have some time to explore the sites of Busan before dinner.
Still got an appetite? When night falls, you can decide whether to join in an optional dinner of Korean lamb skewers with eggplant, dumplings and other side dishes. After dinner you may want to take in the local nightlife in the Seomyeon Entertainment District!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gyeongju - Farm Visit
  • Golgulsa Temple - Morning Meditation and tea time with a Monk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
In the case of bad weather, the farm visit will be replaced by an alternate activity.
Today is all about the flavours of the sea. Begin this morning take a public bus to the Taejondae Lighthouse, from which there are great views over the ocean and of the surrounding cliffs. Visit Jalgalchi Market, an enormous seafood market situated by Busan port, and Tong Market for general produce and knick-knacks. Lunch today is at a restaurant overlooking the ocean for a clam bake with a view. Spend the evening at your leisure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Busan - Lighthouse Visit
  • Busan - Jalgachi Seafood Market Tour
  • Busan - Seafood BBQ Lunch by the sea
  • Busan - Haeundae Beach Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast at the hotel and a free morning to explore Busan, travel by Korea Train Express back to Seoul, arriving late afternoon. There may be free time to wander around Gyeongbok Palace, marvel at the views from Namsan Tower or check out Seoul’s most eclectic neighbourhoods of Sinsadong and Gangnam. For our final meal we will head to the youthful district of Hongik University for the most traditional Korean BBQ experience and to celebrate our time together! Try not to decorate this delicious beef with your tears as you savour your last bites of South Korean goodness!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seoul - Celebratory Korean BBQ Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your South Korea Food Adventure comes to an end this morning after breakfast. If you wish to extend your stay and explore more of Seoul, contact your booking agent for further information.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you would like to arrange a visit to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), a tour can be pre-booked (depending on the political atmosphere) at www.tourdmz.com. Alternatively, you can speak with your tour leader who will be able to assist with making a reservation. Please note that we are unable to pre-book this service for you.

Meals

4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Train, Public bus, Metro, Taxi

Accommodation

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

Included activities

  • Seoul - Korean Fried Chicken Welcome Dinner
  • Jeonju - Kimchi Cooking Class
  • Jeonju - Hanok Village Visit
  • Sunchang - Gochujang (traditional chilli paste) Cooking Demonstration
  • Jeonju - Craft Brewery Tour
  • Golgulsa Temple - Temple Stay Program with Sunmudo (Martial Arts) Training and Meditation
  • Gyeongju - Korean Street Food Tour at a Traditional Market
  • Gyeongju - Farm Visit
  • Golgulsa Temple - Morning Meditation and tea time with a Monk
  • Busan - Lighthouse Visit
  • Busan - Jalgachi Seafood Market Tour
  • Busan - Seafood BBQ Lunch by the sea
  • Busan - Haeundae Beach Visit
  • Seoul - Celebratory Korean BBQ Dinner

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our South Korea Real Food Adventure trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 4 (Temple Stay) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please advise us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking so that we can ensure you’ll enjoy this trip.
3. On Day 4 you will stay overnight at the Golgulsa Temple. Accommodation here is multi-share and you may be required to share with up to three other travellers of the same gender. Couples of opposite genders are unable to share a room, as this is against the rules of the temple.
4. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at time of booking.
5. The Jeonju Bibimbap Festival takes place in the third week of October, with games, exhibitions and foods related to this iconic dish. The Seoul Kimchi Festival takes place in the first week of November, and you may have an opportunity to make kimchi with thousands of locals. If you’d like to attend one of these festivals, please check our departure dates to ensure your selected date aligns with your preferred festival.

Essential trip information

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