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Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
After pickup by air-conditioned coach from your Seoul hotel in the morning, you’re taken to Changdeokgung Palace, the best preserved of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ of the Joseon Dynasty. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site with your guide, including its grand pavilions and royal family residence, and learn why Changdeokgung served for a long period as the main palace of the Joseon kings.
(Note: On Mondays, when Changdeokgung Palace is closed, you’ll visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the Joseon Dynasty palaces. Constructed in 1395 and restored after its destruction during the Japanese occupation, Gyeongbokgung showcases Korean life at its National Folk Museum.)
Your next stop is the UNESCO-listed Jongmyo Shrine, built to hold the ancestral tablets of the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. Listen as your guide describes this royal place of worship — the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian shrines preserved in Seoul.
(Note: You’ll visit the Seoul Museum of History on Tuesdays, when Jongmyo Shrine is closed.)
After your visit, drop by a local ginseng center for medicinal herbs or an amethyst factory to see professionally crafted jewelry using one of Korea’s most famous gems.
Reboard the coach for Insadong and explore the art and antiques galleries, teashops and Korean craft stores. Find goods like calligraphy materials and antique furniture, or ask your guide to help you search for souvenirs to take home with you.
Your tour ends in neighboring Itaewon, whose numerous restaurants, shops and bars make it an ideal spot from which to continue to explore Seoul on your own.