ornamental korean temple

Korea: Land of the Morning Calm

28 September to 11 October 2013

The in-country program is designed around a series of themes which expand the Australian Curriculum’s ‘organising ideas’. These themes have influenced the selection of site visits and range of activities.

• Twenty-first century snapshots: this theme explores aspects of Korean lifestyles that combine modern and traditional practices. In many parts of Korea today, people live in high-rise apartments, jostle with crowds in busy underground network cities, communicate in a digital environment and play sports. Seoul is a UNESCO ‘City of Design’, celebrating its outstanding achievements in CBD and urban design and development, with such wonders as the ‘glass wave’ design of City Hall, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, recreation of a long-buried stream through the heart of the city-demolishing a super highway to transform the city centre into an oasis of tranquillity.
• Ideas and influences: this theme investigates popular Korean cultural interests. Korean people’s lives are influenced by industries that provide cultural materials, for example, film, fashion, the news media, television, animation, the arts and publishing. These industries, as well as new technologies, are shaping ‘Dynamic Korea’.
• Then and now: experience Korean traditions and ways of life that date back thousands of years, and explore how these traditions blend with new ways of living.
• The environment-built and natural: investigates the evolution of urban and natural environments in Korea. High density multi-storeyed apartments, extensive industrial complexes and traffic-congested streets contrast with intensive agriculture, picturesque valleys, lakes, mountains, beaches in the natural environment. Economic success, artistic and spiritual roles are also investigated as significant aspects of the Korean way of life and environment.

The following draft itinerary and costs are subject to change. The order of visits will often depend upon local conditions. Please note the dates fall within the school holidays and are in the high season for travel to and in Korea.

Day 1: 28 September 2013, Adelaide / Kuala Lumpur

Check in at Adelaide for flight Malaysian Airline System MH 138 and depart Adelaide 14:30. Arrive Kuala Lumpur 20:45 Depart Kuala Lumpur 23:30 with Malaysian Airline System MH 66

Day 2: 29 September 2013, Seoul

Arrive at Incheon International Airport at 07.10 where we are met by our whole -of -Korea guide and transfer directly to the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Changdeokgung Palace, the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many of the Joseon kings and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond, and an exquisite pavilion. Today, it holds a number of cultural treasures such as Injeongjeon Hall, Daejojeon Hall, Seonjeongjeon Hall, and Nakseonjae. Changdeokgung’s rear garden which was constructed during the reign of King Taejong and served as a resting place for the royal family members. There are many famous pavilions and fountains that occupy the garden. We will be fortunate to visitthe garden just as the autumn colours begin to tint the leaves. Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. The UNESCO committee inscribing the site stated the palace was an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design" being exceptional because the buildings are "integrated into and harmonized with the natural setting" and adapted "to the topography and retaining indigenous tree cover."

After lunch at a local Korean restaurant, it’s on to Jongmyo, the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal shrines to have been preserved. Dedicated to the forefathers of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), the shrine has existed in its present form since the 16th century and houses tablets bearing the teachings of members of the former royal family. Ritual ceremonies linking music, song and dance still take place there, perpetuating a tradition that goes back to the 14th century. The memorial service, called ‘Jongmyo Jaerye,’ is said to be the oldest complete ceremony in the world. Jongmyo Jaeryeak, the musical part of the ceremony, is produced by instruments, songs, and, dances that originated over 500 years ago.

In the mid-afternoon, check in to our superb hotel where the rest of the afternoon and evening is free.

Our hotel is ideally located at the top of Indsadong; Seoul’s fascinating street famed for its wonderful contemporary art galleries, traditional textile shops, calligraphers’ stalls, and ancient teahouses and crafts shops. The street is especially beautiful at night and filled with little traditional restaurants lit by paper lanterns serving a wide range of Korean delicacies. Nowhere exudes more local and traditional charm than Insadong, a neighborhood that transports visitors back to a time when women wore hanbok and men rode horses. With its wooden tea houses, boutique galleries and street vendors selling traditional snacks, a stroll through Insadong is mandatory for all visitors, especially this evening (being Sunday) when the streets are traffic free and come alive with street performances, buskers and throngs of young and old who have come to experience one of Seoul’s most fascinating and creative neighborhoods. While the entertainment here is free, Insadong is also one of the best places in Seoul to purchase traditional Korean art, products, and other souvenirs, as it is filled with antique shops, contemporary art and ceramics galleries, traditional stationery shops, handicraft shops, pottery and porcelain shops, bookstores, and art supplies. It’s also in walking distance of the hanok area of old tile-roofed houses with courtyard gardens, labyrinthine streets, chic cafes, private galleries, museums and craft shops.

Hotel Somerset Palace Seoul. 5 Star: Please note. This hotel is excellent value, even if more expensive than our usual choices. We have included it because of its contemporary ambience, large rooms with fully equipped kitchen, laundry, dining table and most of all, location at one of Seoul’s most interesting districts. In addition there is a little supermarket behind the hotel and you may purchase and cook your own food if you feel the need not to explore all that Insadong or hanok has to offer. The next closet hotel (4 star) is 30 minutes’ walk from Insadong and represents a total saving of $345.00 over 6 nights. It is false economy not to use the Somerset Palace.

Day 3: 30 September 2013, Seoul

Following our leisurely introduction to Seoul, we continue our exploration of Korea’s magnificent heritage This morning we see the superb Gyeongbok Palace. It was in 1395, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded by Yi Seong-gye, when the construction of the main royal palace was completed and the capital of the newly founded dynasty moved from Gaeseong to Seoul (then known as Hanyang). The palace was named Gyeongbokgung, the "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven." With Mount Bugaksan to its rear and Mount Namsan in the foreground, the site of Gyeong-bokgung Palace was at the heart of Seoul and, indeed, deemed auspicious according to the traditional practice of geomancy. In front of Gwanghwamun Gate, the main entrance to the palace, ran Yukjo-geori (Street of Six Ministries, today's Sejongno), home to major government offices. Along the central axis upon which Gwang-hwamun Gate stood was the nucleus of the palace, including the throne hall, reception hall and king's residence. The government ministry district and main buildings of Gyeongbokgung Palace formed the heart of the capital city of Seoul and represented the sovereignty of the Joseon Dynasty. After all the palaces in the capital were razed by the Japanese during the Hideyoshi invasions of 1592-'98, Changdeokgung, a secondary palace, was rebuilt and served as the main palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace was left derelict for the next 250 years. It was finally reconstructed in 1868 by the order of the Prince Regent. Some 500 buildings were built on a site of over 40 hectares and constituted a small city. The architectural principles of ancient Korea were harmoniously incorporated into both the tradition and the appearance of the Joseon royal court. An effort to fully restore Gyeongbokgung Palace to its former glory has been ongoing since 1990. The colonial Government-General building was removed, and Heungryemun Gate was restored to its original state. The royal quarters and the East Palace for the crown prince were also restored to their original state.

Within the palace grounds is the enthralling National Folk Museum. This major museum has modern displays divided into three large sections, and uses models, varied film techniques, photos of Korea now and a century ago, and apartment mock-ups to illustrate social life during the ages. Listen to yangban children rote learning (as children still do) and watch a shamanist ceremony called a gut. See amazingly colourful funeral biers which were used to give the deceased a great send-off. Screened on the wall above, is footage of these old-style funerals. The Confucian notion of filial piety was tough. Children had to mourn their parents for three years – making daily food offerings and wearing white mourning clothes.

After lunch we drive to the fascinating and bustling Namdaemun Traditional Market, located in the centre of the modern Korean capital. However, it is named for the ancient city’s “Great Southern Gate,” Sungnyemun, whose informal name is Namdaemun. In the old days, the four grand gates acted as the primary passages for inbound and outbound traffic. In 1414, just a few years after Seoul’s founding, a market was established near the southern gate. Six hundred years in the making, Namdaemun Traditional Market is perhaps Korea’s oldest continuously operated public market, a vibrant place that fully expresses Korea’s boisterous “jangteo” market culture. Despite relatively recent shopping hotspots like Dongdaemun Fashion Town or the popular Myeongdong and Insadong neighborhoods, Namdaemun is the place to go for great deals on meat and produce, ginseng, kitchenware, textiles and blankets, holiday decorations, Korean arts and crafts… really for just about anything. The Market is on the Seoul list of Asia's 10 greatest street food cities, somaybe head back here for dinner (taxis are reliable, cheap and safe, or you can actually walk from the Somerset Palace).

Then it’s back to the heart of Seoul. In the 1970s, the Cheonggyecheon 8 lane freeway was considered a symbol of progress when the Cheonggyecheon River was covered and a road and elevated freeway were built above it. But by the year 2000, the Cheonggye area was considered the most congested and noisy part of Seoul, badly in need of revitalization, and people agreed that nothing could be done to improve the area as long as the road and freeway remained. By the mid 1950s, the Chonggyechon was considered a symbol of thepoverty and filth that were the legacy of a half-century of colonialism and war. The open sewer in the centre of the city was also a major obstacle to the redevelopment of Seoul. When Lee Myung-bak was elected Mayor of Seoul in 2001, (now the President but about to hand over to Korea’s first female President, Park Geun-Hye) one of his key campaign promises was to remove this freeway and restore the Cheonggyecheon River. He developed a dramatic plan to remove Seoul's major freeway and to accommodate the displaced traffic by building a Bus Rapid Transit system and by cutting automobile use in half Lee did not waste any time implementing this project. In 2005, several million people came to celebrate the opening of the restored river. The restoration of the Cheonggyecheon has becomea source of tremendous pride in Seoul. On its web site, the city says about this plan:

“Once the historical site is restored, Seoul will regain its 600-year history as the capital of Korea by turning itself into a city where the modern era is wonderfully amalgamated with tradition. The restored Cheonggyecheon area is expected to become Seoul’s major tourist attraction for both Korean and overseas tourists. The project will be focused on improving the environment both for living and business, and is expected to make a major contribution to realizing Seoul’s plan to become the financial and commercial hub in the East Asian region. The new look of Seoul is also expected to create a new hope for Seoul citizens.” For an unforgettable evening experience, walk back down to the beginning of the stream in the heart of Seoul. The streets are safe, well lit and easy to negotiate.

We’ll have an opportunity to mingle in Hongdae-ap (the area in front of Hongik University), a neighbourhood known for its youthful and romantic ambience, underground cultures, and freedom of self-expression. Unique cafes, cosy galleries, accessory stores, fashion shops, live cafés and clubs, art markets, and gourmet eateries make this a popular ‘hang-out’ for locals in their 20s and 30s and a fascinating place to walk around. This is an unique area and with its cultural events, street performances, and festivals, Hongdae-ap is always packed with people and excitement.

Day 4: 1 October 2013, Seoul

Everyone who comes to Korea wants to visit the 38th parallel north—which divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half and which was the original boundary between the United States and Soviet administrative areas of Korea at the end of World War II. Upon the creation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, informally North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, informally South Korea) in 1948, it became a de facto international border and one of the tensest fronts in the Cold War.

The conflict, which claimed over three million lives and divided the Korean Peninsula along ideological lines, commenced on June 25, 1950, with a full-front DPRK invasion across the 38th parallel, and ended in 1953 after international intervention pushed the front of the war back to near the 38th parallel.

In the Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953, the DMZ was created as each side agreed to move their troops back 2,000 m from the front line, creating a buffer zone 4 km wide. The Military Demarcation Line (MDL) goes down the center of the DMZ and indicates exactly where the front was when the agreement was signed.

Owing to this theoretical stalemate, and genuine hostility between the North and the South, large numbers of troops are still stationed along both sides of the line, each side guarding against potential aggression from the other side. The armistice agreement explains exactly how many military personnel and what kind of weapons are allowed in the DMZ. Soldiers from both sides may patrol inside the DMZ, but they may not cross the MDL. Sporadic outbreaks of violence due to North Korean hostilities killed over 500 South Korean soldiers and 50 U.S. soldiers along the DMZ between 1953 and 1999.

Since 1974, the South has discovered that four tunnels crossing the DMZ had been dug by North Korea. The tunnels are believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. Following each discovery, engineering within the tunnels has become progressively more advanced. For example, the third tunnel sloped slightly upwards as it progressed southward, to prevent water stagnation. Today we may visit the third tunnel, but beware: it is narrow, steep and claustrophobic. Much of the passage has to be negotiated in a stooped position and it’s not easy to turn around and go back.

Day 5: 2 October 2013, Seoul

This morning we head out from Seoul to discover more facets of Korea’s unique history and ways of life. In 1997 when the United Nations designated the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress a part of the world’s cultural heritage, they cited its unique blend of eastern and western architectural styles. Completed in 1796 by the great Joseon Dynasty king, Jeongjo (1752-1800), its construction was inspired by the 16th century Japanese invasions, which destroyed most of Korea’s grand palaces and temples. In a break with the past, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress was designed to protect both a temporary palace for the king and a village from foreign invaders, by means of a 5.7-kilometer long, 5-meter high fortress wall. But while Suwon Hwaseong Fortress features the stone walls, sentry towers and turrets of a military stronghold, it’s also enhanced by the delicate and colourful architecture typical of Joseon-era palaces. The result is an unusually harmonious integration of styles.

After lunch we drive through the built environment to the remarkable Korean Folk Village, which is home to numerous collections of Korean cultural artefacts and provides a venue for us to experience traditional Korean culture, conveying the wisdom and the spirits of their ancestors. The village has over 260 traditional houses reminiscent of the late Chosun Dynasty and has recreated the life of Korean people through the exhibition of various household goods. In about twenty workshops, various handicrafts including pottery making, winnowing, round bamboo baskets, bamboo ware, round willow baskets, Korean paper, brassware, knotting and embroidery, paper umbrellas, musical instruments, furniture, farming tools and accessories are exhibited. The types of houses are determined by social and cultural considerations, as well as the natural environment. Traditional Korean houses are characterized by having both ondol (an under-floor radiant heating system) and wooden floors. With social, economic and cultural developments, the houses have evolved from simple shelters satisfying basic needs into complicated and diverse forms having a main wing, annex, and differentiated areas for raising cattle and storing grain. Houses relocated to and restored in the Folk Village not only include typical houses of commoners, farmers, and noblemen from all over Korea, including island areas, but also buildings for special purposes, such as the shrine of scholars, the provincial governor’s office, a private school, a Buddhist temple, and a shaman's house. Depending on the time of our visit, we will catch the ‘Farmers’ Dance’, Tightrope Walking, traditional Horse Riding, and maybe even a wedding.!. This experience particularly will provide you with endless resources to include studies of Korea into your curriculum. Bring plenty of digital memory and spare batteries.

Day 6: 3 October 2013, Seoul

This morning provides another window into Korean society at the National Museum of Korea, the largest in Asia and the world's sixth largest in size. The National Museum is the flagship museum of Korean history and art. In 2012, it was reported that since its relocation to the Yongsan District in 2005, the Museum has attracted over 20 million visitors. A poll of nearly 2,000 foreign visitors, conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in November 2011, stated that visiting the Museum is one of their favorite activities in Seoul. The National Museum has some 11,000 artifacts of its 150,000-piece collection on display. The new museum includes: the History Pavilion, where a collection of artifacts shows and helps visitors understand the Korean people's lives and history;the Oriental Pavilion, that exclusively displays East Asian artifacts to enable easy comparison with the similar yet different cultures of each nation in this region; and the Children's Pavilion that attract the interests of contemporary youth. To help us understand the depth and complexity of Korean culture, (in which we have already been immersed), we have arranged a cultural presentation in the education suites of the museum which will provide us with a glimpse of the ‘hidden’ wonders of Korea’s past and present through film, lectures and experiences. We will learn about Korea’s customs and manners, the alphabet, a Sabae performance (a traditional New Year Ceremony about filial devotion), symbols of Korea, modern Korea, and finally we will be offered traditional Korean rice cakes, pears and tea, before trying on traditional hanbok clothing.

Later today we attend 'NANTA', a performance of reckless rhythms that dramatize customary Korean percussion in a strikingly comedic stage show. Integrating unique Korean traditional tempos with a western performance style, NANTA storms on stage into a huge kitchen where four capricious cooks are preparing a wedding banquet. While "Cookin'", they turn all kinds of kitchen items, pots, pans, dishes, knives, chopping board, water bottles, brooms and even each other, into percussion instruments. Going back and forth from cooking to pounding out their rhythmic cadences, from cheerful banter to playful animosity, the kitchen crew creates visual humor and aural fun that irresistibly entice the audience to participate. As they complete the best dishes of the day, the performance culminates in a feast that is shared with the audience to both highlight and celebrate the communal bond found in traditional Samulnori performance.

No visit to Korea would be complete without a visit to a Korean spa. The Yongsan Dragon Hill Spa is a charcoal sauna permeated with an oak fragrance created by traditional heating techniques. The jjimjilbang and spa facilities offer sweating rooms/sauna, an open-air bath, a sea-water bath, a salt room, a swimming pool, and a health center. The main hall of Yongsan Dragon Hill Spa boasts a Chinese-style design and a luxurious interior that has been used as a filming location for various Korean television drama shows. There are delightful gardens, restaurants, fitness and health rooms as well.

Day 7: 4 October 2013, Andong

This morning we leave behind the city of 20 million people and head to the countryside, through granite mountains, clear lakes and streams studded with gnarled pines, to a Korea of the past that still lives in the present. Near Hahoe Village, we stop and visitthe Hahoe Mask Museum. The museum is dedicated to the mask culture centred around the Hahoe area, but it also has representations of all the major mask cultures in Korea. It contains dozens of masks from other areas of the world as well. At the heart of the museumis the collection of masks and costumes used for Hahoe Pyeolshingut T'alnori. a combination of mask dance, drama, and shaman rituals consisting of 9 different acts, it has been performed every January from as early as the 12th century. It makes fun of the ruling class using humour and satire, and tries to ease tensions among the different social classes. In addition, the shaman rituals performed ensure a prosperous year, and are supposed to prevent natural disasters. In 1964, the government declared Hahoe Pyeolshingut T'alnori Important Intangible Cultural Property number 69.

Founded in the 14th-15th centuries, Hahoe and Yangdong are seen as the two most representative historic clan villages in Korea. Their layout and location - sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields – reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The villages were located to provide both physical and spiritual nourishment from their surrounding landscapes. They include residences of the head families, together with substantial timber framed houses of other clan members, also pavilions, study halls, Confucian academies for learning, and clusters of one story mud-walled, thatched-roofed houses, formerly for commoners. The landscapes of mountains, trees and water around the village, framed in views from pavilions and retreats, were celebrated for their beauty by 17th and 18th century poets. At Hahoe we have the chance to witness life relatively unchanged from dynastic times, and we are arranging a performance of the famous mask drama, Hahoe Pyeolshingut T'alnori (to be confirmed).

Hotel Richell 5 Star

Day 8: 5 October 2013, Daegu – Haeinsa Temple

This morning we take the high speed bullet train to Daegu and drive into the national park forested by ancient pines and scenic streams to Haeinsa Temple, one of the three greatest temples in Korea. Established in 803 A.D., chiefly known today as the repository of the Tripitaka Koreana, a set of over 80,000 wooden printing blocks engraved with one of the most comprehensive compilations of the Buddhist scriptures in all of Asia. The Depositories and the Tripitaka Koreana Wooden Printing Blocks were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1995. You will visit the temple’s rear courtyard, to see the astounding Janggyeong Panjeon, the four halls preserving the Tripitaka Koreana and a miracle of medieval Korean science and engineering. The Tripitaka Koreana was carved in the middle of the 13th century as a way of seeking the Buddha’s help against the invading Mongols. It didn’t work — the Mongols spent several years ravaging the country before the Korean court finally surrendered — but Korean royal piety did result in the most complete collection of Buddhist texts anywhere in Asia. In 1398, the collection was moved to its current location in Haeinsa; the halls in which they are now stored are believed to date to the late 15th century.

Woodblocks, naturally, are subject to the elements, and are particularly tricky to preserve. Yet the Janggyeong Panjeon — which miraculously managed to survive several disasters that destroyed the rest of the temple complex — has done a perfect job in preserving this most important Korean cultural treasure. Its builders utilized nature and creative architectural techniques to create a space where humidity is kept at ideal levels for preserving the woodblocks. Its location blocks damp winds from the south and cold winds from the north. Its slatted windows — which are sized differently in the north and south halls — ventilate the halls, while its materials absorb excess humidity in the hot summer and retain humidity during the dry winter. While you’re in the hall, be sure to gaze out the oval-shaped entrance to the southern hall — it’s the Korean sense of aesthetics at its best.

One of the most popular — and rewarding — programs for residents and visitors to Korea is a stay at a Buddhist temple. You will have the unique opportunity to stay overnight in the Haeinsa temple. Run by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the stay will give you a unique insight into the life of a Buddhist monk. The program, Live Like the Wind and Water, then Leave Your Body features a variety of programs that allow for a deeper feeling for the teachings of Buddhism. You can have the unforgettable experiences of hearing the sound of the throbbing Dharma drum pierce the crisp, clear, early morning air, and visiting the mountain hermitages above the temple, where many great old monks, stayed. They also provide an opportunity, if only for a short time, to escape the pace of new sights, sounds and places, and appreciate the beauty of living. Typically, you will eat with the monks, participate in Seon (Zen) meditation, engage in traditional crafts, and participate in morning and evening Buddhist chanting and bowing ceremonies known as yebul, or Homage to the Buddha. (It’s an early rise to participate in this ‘once in a lifetime’s’ opportunity).

Haeinsa Temple overnight

Day 9: 6 October 2013, Gyeongju

This morning we drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gyeongju, the whole area of which is a treasure house of cultural remains, including Shilla-era tombs and accessories, magnificent gold crowns, Buddhist artefacts, superb temples, stone sculptures and earthenware and stone implements from the Prehistoric Ages.

Two highlights today include our visit to the Sokkuram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple. To reach the grotto, established in the 8th century on the slopes of Mount T’ohamsan, we walk through beautifully forested glades along well-worn mountain paths. The Seokguram Grotto contains a monumental image of the Buddha in the bhumisparsha mudra position. (“Calling the Earth to Witness” the moment of the Buddha’s Enlightenment). With the surrounding portrayals of gods, Bodhisattvas and disciples, all realistically and delicately sculpted in high and low relief, it is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist art in East Asia. The Temple of Bulguksa (built in 774, and another of the three most magnificent in Korea) and the Seokguram Grotto form a religious architectural complex of exceptional significance. The Sokkuram Grotto is one of Asia’s finest Buddhist shrines. Surrounded by Bodhisattvas and guardian deities, the serene central image of the Buddha gazes out over the forested hills and across the East Sea to the horizon. The building of the granite dome of Sokkuram was a truly amazing architectural feat. Bulguksa Temple is a monument to both the skill of the Shilla dynasty architects and the depth of Buddhist faith at the time. While most of the wooden buildings have been rebuilt over the centuries, all the stone bridges, stairways and pagodas are original. The Bulguksa temple complex comprises a series of wooden buildings on raised stone terraces. The grounds of Bulguksa are divided into three areas – Birojeon (the Vairocana Buddha Hall), Daeungjeon (the Hall of Great Enlightenment) and Geungnakjeon (the Hall of Supreme Bliss). These areas and the stone terraces were designed to represent the Pure Land of Amida, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The stone terraces, bridges and the two pagodas – Seokgatap (Pagoda of Sakyamuni) and Dabotap (Pagoda of Bountiful Treasures) – facing the Daeungjeon attest to the fine masonry work of the Shilla Dynasty rulers. Time permitting we visit other historic areas of this World Heritage site.

Hyundai Hotel 5 Star

Day 10: 7 October 2013, Ulsan-Busan

This morning we leave the remote monastic community behind and drive to visit Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), which is one of the biggest ship construction companies in the world. Its ship manufacturing facility in Ulsan on the south-eastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, is the largest shipyard in the world, extending four kilometers along the coast of Mipo Bay. Construction on the Ulsan shipyard commenced in 1972 and it was commissioned in 1974. Meanwhile, HHI also christened two very-large crude carriers. Constructionof the ships as well as the shipyard was carried out simultaneously. Different types of vessels manufactured in Ulsan shipyard include bulk carriers, container ships, tankers, VLCC, product carriers, multipurpose cargo ships, ore-bulk-oil carriers, Ropax, pure carcarriers, LPG carriers, RO-RO ships, chemical tankers, offshore rigs / barge and LNG carriers. From 1972 to 2011, HHI has delivered more than 1,686 vessels to 268 ship-owners in 48 countries. Today it commands around 16% of the world ship manufacturing market.

Then it’s on to another gigantic feat of engineering. As Hyundai Motor’s main production facility, the Ulsan Plant comprises five independent plant facilities on land spanning 5,000,000 square meters. The plant is the world’s largest single automobile plant and employs over 34,000 personnel to produce an average of 5,600 vehicles a day. The plant has its own port where up to three 50,000-ton vessels can anchor simultaneously and operates a fire station, hospital, and patrol cars all within the grounds. Hyundai MotorsUlsan Plant is nestled among 580,000 trees and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to preserve the environment such as a waste water disposal plant. The plant tour offers a great opportunity for us to experience the manufacturing process of Hyundai Motors, which is emerging as a global car brand.

Busan is Korea's principal port and second largest city. As a port city, it is ranked third in the world in terms of the number of containers handled. It has numerous culturally attractive tourism resources characteristic and distinctive enough not to be foundin any other city in the world. Its scenic coastal areas and clean sandy beaches located near downtown areas will add wonderful memories of our tour.

Hotel Commodore 5 Star

Day 11: 8 October 2013, Busan

The United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea is the only one of its kind in the world. Here rest heroic soldiers from a number of UN nations who sacrificed their lives for world peace and freedom. During the Korean War (1950 - 1953), there were 40,896 UN casualties from 17 nations. Approximately 11,000 were interred at the cemetery between 1951~1954. There are currently 2,300 at the cemetery, including Korean soldiers who fell as members of the UN troops. Most were repatriated home; Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Ethiopia, Greece, Luxembourg, Philippines and Thailand have taken back all of their expatriates. The USA, which had the highest number of casualties in the war, took all of their fallen home soon afterwards.

We continue our exploration of coastal Korea at Taejongdae, a natural park with magnificent cliffs facing the open sea on the southernmost tip of the peninsula, from where we can see the of island of Yeongdo-gu Busan also has an observatory, an amusement park,a light house, and a cruise ship terminal. It is said that its name was taken from King Taejong Muyeol (604 - 661), the 29th king of the Silla Kingdom who liked to practice archery the place after the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

Yongdusan Park is one of the most popular mountainous parks in Busan. It is known for the Busan Tower which overlooks the city and the Admiral Yi Sun-Sin Statue among many other things. Another Yi Sun-sin Statue is in Seoul. During Japanese Colonial Rule, a Japanese Shrine was built on this site but is now replaced with monuments and towers dedicated to Korean War Victims, Peace in Korea and the 4.19 Revolution Movement.

Probably the best thing about the Busan port area is the sprawling fish market - there is an indoor one, right at the port, and an outdoor market. If you love fresh fish and love visiting wet markets - this place is a must. Lots of interesting seafood - some in aquariums, some dried. Many seafood restaurants and stalls selling seafood snacks abound in the area too. Being October, the fish market hosts a colourful festival. Be sure to bring your camera, as you'll capture pictures of unique sea creatures as well as of the local people and festival events.

Day 12: 9 October 2013, Seoul

This morning we take the fast bullet train back to Seoul and check in at the Somerset Palace Hotel. Time this afternoon and evening to make those last minute purchases of teaching aids in Insadong or Namdaemun.

Day 13: 10 October 2013, Departure

Check out from the hotel and drive to Incheon International Airport to board our Malaysia Airlines System flight for Kuala Lumpur, MH 67, departing at 11:00. Arrive at Kuala Lumpur at 16:30. There may be time to visit the old town of Malacca not far from the airport. Depart Kuala Lumpur on MH 139 at 22:20. Lunch, and dinner in flight.

Day 14: 11 October 2013, Adelaide

After an in-flight breakfast, arrive Adelaide International Airport at 08:00.

Korea: Land of the Morning Calm

Tour Cost Per Person Twin Share
International Airfare including taxes AUD 2078.00 (High Season)
Land Costs (inc domestic flights) AUD 2896.00 (High Season)
Single Supplement AUD 1190.00

Prices may fluctuate until full payment is made due to changes in charges, taxes and currency. Prices and flights are correct at time of issue and are subject to availability at time of booking. Special conditions and seasonal surcharges to airfares and package prices may apply depending on date of travel. Flight times are subject to change by the airline. Please visit http://www.smarttraveller.gov.au or ring 1300 139 281 for information on current Government travel advice.


• International flights and taxes with Malaysia Airlines
• All sightseeing tours, and transfer services with private coach
• Accommodation with breakfast at 5 Star and 5 Star Deluxe hotels
• Overnight temple-stay at Haeinsa Temple.
• Meals as indicated
• All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the program.
• English-speaking guide throughout the entire journey
• Tour development, management and leadership.


• Expenditure of a personal nature such as extra drinks, souvenirs, laundry, etc,
• Travel Insurance
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