South Korea Travel Guide

Hanging from China like a teardrop, the Korean peninsula offers a relatively untravelled treasure trove of delights: from pine-clad mountains and lush fields of rice paddies to glorious tropical islands; glittering temples and bejewelled palaces to energetic cities.

The peninsula was split in two following the civil war in 1953, with North Korea isolating itself while South Korea has managed to elegantly balance a powerhouse economy with a continued respect and reverence for its traditions and history.

Where to travel in South Korea

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, sprawls across its north west, not far from the border with the North. It is one of the largest cities in the world, priding itself on its neon-lit nightlife and technological sophistication. Yet, it is also richly steeped in history, with five exquisite royal palaces to visit and traditional houses to explore.

Over to the east the wild crags of Seoraksan National Park offer dramatic scenery, whilst in the south Jeju Island is the main draw for its beaches and the access it offers to the string of smaller islands that pepper the West Sea.

The royal tombs and treasures of Gyeongju in the south east hold an irresistible appeal, whilst a little further down the coast Busan offers urban thrills and South Korea’s most desired beach. Food lovers should sample the regional cuisine in the south east province of Jeolla when they visit the traditional hanok housing of Jeonju. On the northern border, of course, lies the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ – an intriguing spot that offers views into South Korea’s isolated northern neighbour.

Reasons to love South Korea

  •     In South Korea natural beauty exists within a stone’s throw of highly-cultured cities – very few major cities can claim to have a National Park right on their doorstep as Seoul has the peaks of Bukhansan.
  •     The country’s modern economic miracle exists side-by-side with ancient traditions and sites – discover the history and culture created by an unbroken line of kings that stretches back nearly two millennia before the Japanese occupation of 1910.
  •     The warm, generous nature of the South Korean people is replicated in its warm, generous cuisine. South Korean meals are characterised by their excess of spices and their excess of ‘banchan’ (or side dishes). Be prepared for a taste explosion multiplied by all those delicious sides and complex flavours!

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Our 2-week trip to Thailand was fantastic! Chiang Mai felt completely magical and Koh Samui was beautiful. We managed to have fun even on the rainy days. Our guides were perfect, very knowledgeable and a lot of fun, with great insights into the local culture. I've been recommending Absolute Asia Tours to all my friends and I can't wait to travel with you guys again! The coordination of everything was very well done.



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Our recent trip to China and Mongolia was a great success. Overall we found Absolute Asia Tours services to be excellent throughout the two weeks we were in Asia. For us, Mongolia was definitely the highlight. We thoroughly enjoyed or local guides and drives and they were unfailingly knowledgeable, helpful and amusing. Their languages skills were excellent and we felt that we recieved real insight into this fascinating country. We were intinially drawn to the idea of this trip by the reports of the world class fihing and we were absolutely not disappointed. The fishing guide was first rate and we caught more fish than we could have hoped for - more than 25 each day - with the added bonus of being the only other people in sight for miles arround. AAT created a private ger camp for us on the Onon River and we enjoyed delicious food prepared by our chef in a beautiful unspoled atmosphere. They alo arranged for us to visit a nomadic family and spend time with them at home and organized a dinner with an anthropologist with expert knowledge of the region. AAT fullfilled their promise to tkae us to us to one of the world's best fishing destinations in comfort and style. We would be happy to travel with AAT again and will definitely recommend them to our friends.



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We've had two "A+" experience with Absolute Asia Tours. It is a pleasure to work with an organization where I feel confident that what you say will happen, happens. This was true with our complicated China itinerary six years ago, and was true with our recent itinerary in Vietnam. your on the ground guides and logistics were top - notch, and I would recommend you to anyone to visit Asia.



17 January 2024 ★★★★★

Absolute Asia tours gave us a wonderful tour of Southeast Asia (working with sister-agency My Way Travel based in Vietnam). For our Siem Reap/Angkor Wat journey, our party of two had a private driver and guide named Jak, who was a cheerful and knowledgeable companion, explaining the history, culture, architecture and religious significance of the sites while keeping it always fun. We moved efficiently from site to site, and finished with a boat tour of the fishing village on stilts at Kampong Pluk on the Tonle Sap Lake. During most of our trip we stayed at top-notch locally-owned hotels, but in Siem Reap we were at the excellent local Hyatt hotel. Absolute Asia and My Way Travel our outstanding local providers, less expensive than name-brand group tours, and customized to our interests and schedule.



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We had an awesome time on cycling tour with AAT! It was incredible, filled with good vibes, laughs & a fantastic way to explore Vietnam & Cambodia. Tony our guide made it special by introducing us to locals and showing us the real charm of these countries. The whole tour was well-organized & the way they took care of us awesome. It's an unforgettable trip and I'll definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the beauty of Southeast Asia.



1 January 2024 ★★★★★

My group of six completed a 30 day cycling tour in Asia with AAT. We traveled form Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket & Saigon to Siem Reap. Every day we pedaled through stunning countryside views, passing villages, fields & limestone karsts. Our guide Tony was fantastic-interesting, friendly & personable. This experience stood out as the highlight of our Asia trip.

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    • James
    • Asia Specialist
    • Linh
    • Thailand and Asia Specialist
    • Loc
    • Vietnam Specialist

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