The Best of South Korea: Local Culture and Ancient History

Experience the best that South Korea has to offer as you explore its historic landmarks, venture to small villages and learn about ancient traditions alongside the welcoming locals.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23495RJ
15 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Step into the “Land of the Morning Calm” and let the tranquil villages and lush landscapes transport you into another world. As you explore forest temples and fishing villages, learn about the region’s complex politics to shed a fascinating light onto the Korean way of life. While journeying to hidden towns and bustling cities, immerse yourself in a beautiful culture shaped by a tumultuous past during a hands-on cooking class, origami lesson, martial arts demonstration by monks, private tea ceremony and even more inspiring adventures few experience. As you discover the best of South Korea, gain a true insider’s perspective on daily life and ancient history through the locals who welcome you to their home.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Explore a traditional village, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that still has many “hanoks” — traditional Korean houses.
  • Embark on a special field trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jeju Island as you walk through ancient villages and “oreum,” parasitic cones that make this island unique.
  • Learn the history behind Changdeokgung Palace’s secret garden as you enjoy the landscaped grounds and 56,000 types of trees and plants.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Korea, A Walk Through the Land of Miracles
by Simon Winchester
Winchester, in his familiar and engaging style, blends travel, history and reporting in this insightful account of a walk across Korea in 1988. With a map and black-and-white photographs.
Korea's Place in the Sun, A Modern History
by Bruce Cumings
A provocative, spirited history of the two Koreas since World War II for the general reader, highly recommended. It includes a chapter on Korean-Americans, and ends with a lively discussion of Korea's place in the world at the end of the 20th century. New edition.
Eating Korea, Reports on a Culinary Renaissance
by Graham Holliday
Holliday (Eating Viet Nam, VNM177) continues his mouth-watering series of culinary reportage with this installment on Korea.
Lonely Planet Pocket Seoul
by Lonely Planet
A practical city guide to Seoul, South Korea that fits in your pocket, with the top sites, the best walks, food, art, shopping, views, nightlife and more. Includes pull out city map.
The Korean War, A History
by Bruce Cumings
Leading Korean War scholar Cumings covers the war from both the Korean and American perspectives, including its impact on Americans at home, in this succinct and authoritative text. An excellent resource for students, scholars and anyone wanting to understand the U.S.’s relationship with North and South Korea.
Korea:The Impossible Country
by Daniel Tudor
Daniel Tudor is a journalist who has lived in and written about Korea for almost a decade. In this book he examines Korea's cultural foundations; the Korean character; the public sphere in politics, business, and the workplace as well as the family, dating, and marriage. Long overshadowed by Japan and China, South Korea is a small country that happens to be one of the great national success stories of the postwar period.
Without You, There Is No Us, My Time With the Sons of North Korea's Elite
by Suki Kim
In this stirring memoir, South Korean writer-journalist Suki Kim recounts her experiences teaching heartbreakingly brainwashed students at a North Korean university -- a censored, prison-like environment.
Lonely Planet Korea
by Andrew Bender
In its hallmark style, this practical guide to Korea by Lonely Planet features maps, a good overview of culture, history and nature, and much nuts-and-bolts information on excursions, accommodations and sightseeing. With 50 pages on North Korea.

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