South Korea & Taiwan: Cultural Encounters - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

This unique journey visits two of Asia’s most surprising destinations. Both South Korea and Taiwan are relative newcomers to the luxury travel scene with a host of fascinating natural and cultural highlights.

Journey Overview

This unique journey visits two of Asia’s most surprising destinations. Both South Korea and Taiwan are relative newcomers to the luxury travel scene with a host of fascinating natural and cultural highlights. South Korea is a surprise package known as much for its street food and high speed internet as it is for its heavily militarised border while Taiwan does night markets and electronics like no other country on earth. From hip and edgy Seoul where new meets old and pop culture is alive and well to a museum housing the world’s largest repository of Chinese art in Taipei, uncover absorbing local customs, flavoursome culinary delights and picturesque scenery.

Journey Highlights

  • Browse the stalls of Seoul’s traditional street markets
  • Watch as spirited artists perform an adrenalin pumping taekwondo demonstration
  • Admire traditional Korean architecture in the palaces of Seoul
  • Visit Korea’s haunting demilitarised zone and learn about its sombre history
  • Savour dumplings, noodle soup and “little bites” from Taipei’s night markets
  • Launch a sky lantern for good luck in Taipei
  • Taste Taiwan’s signature Kavalan whisky at the distillery
  • Hike into Taroko National Park to admire fast flowing rivers, crashing waterfalls, deep ravines, grottos and a commemorative shrine
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Seoul, South Korea.

Arrive into the South Korean capital where you are met by A&K and transferred to your stylish hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure.
Grand Hyatt Seoul

Day 2: Seoul | Traditional Korean Culture.

This morning a tour briefing is included to meet your fellow travellers and host before beginning your discovery of this fascinating city with a visit to Gyeongbok Palace. This vast complex, built in 1394, was the most prominent of Seoul’s royal palaces and, much like Beijing’s Forbidden City, is a sprawling network of pavilions, passageways, shrines and courtyards. Wander through the grounds, filled with lotus ponds, pleasure gardens and ornate statues, and peruse the exhibits at the National Folk Museum.

Head to the charming Bukchon Hanok village where hundreds of old-style Korean homes (hanoks) that date back 600 years to the Joseon Dynasty can be found. Stroll the cobbled streets, seek out quaint teahouses or curio-filled galleries and immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture.

This evening, discover the 2,300-year-old Korean martial art, taekwondo, in a high energy demonstration before enjoying a welcome dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant.
Grand Hyatt Seoul | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Seoul | Design Your Day.

Journey north to the Joint Security Area and the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) which demarcates North Korea from South Korea and roughly follows the 38th parallel. Your guide will enlighten you on Korean military history and how the DMZ was created at the end of the Korean War. Much of your exploration is on foot, hiking through tunnels, along rugged paths, to the Unification Bridge and other places of interest. Plot your own course this afternoon with one of these Design Your Day activities. 

  • Join a Korean culinary experience starting at a local market to peruse the ingredients before preparing a meal under the watchful eye of your chef.
  • Hike along the old stone wall that once traversed the ridges overlooking the city centre with wonderful forested vistas.
  • Pedicab history tour of old Seoul.

Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure and dinner.
Grand Hyatt Seoul | Meals: BD

Day 4: Seoul | Art, Design & Textiles .

Delve deeper into what makes Seoul tick. Trawl the myriad stalls at Gwangjang Market, Korea’s first permanent street market, which overflows with fresh produce, textiles, handicrafts and items used in Korean traditional medicine. Then meet a designer of Korea’s traditional dress, the hanbok, which is typically worn during traditional festivals and celebrations. Learn about the intricacies of the dress and get some insight to Korean etiquette before a rice wine tasting and homemade lunch.

This afternoon explore the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, a fascinating museum that focuses on traditional and modern paintings, sculptures and installations by a range of Korean and international artists.
Grand Hyatt Seoul | Meals: BL

Day 5: Taipei, Taiwan | Traditional Street Food.

Farewell South Korea for your flight to Taipei where you are transferred to your hotel. Begin your experience with a food tour of Raohe Street Night Market, one of the city’s oldest and most traditional, packed with all kinds of food, quaint shops, craft stalls and carnival games. Try a selection of local Taiwanese foods from herb-steamed spare ribs and pepper meat buns to oyster noodles, stinky tofu and bubble tea.
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei | Meals: BD

Day 6: Taipei | Launch a Sky Lantern.

Discover Old Taipei in the laneways and alleys by the Shifen railway station. Wander through this bustling marketplace on both sides of the railway tracks and try the local xiaochi (little bites). Take part in a traditional custom, visiting a lantern shop to select your own lantern, inscribe it with your wish for the future, light it and watch as it gently floats up into the sky. Then walk to nearby Shifen Waterfall via a wooden boardwalk surrounded by lush rainforest. Watch the rainbows dance as the water plunges into the lake below to understand why it’s widely regarded as the most scenic in all of Taiwan.

In the afternoon visit Longshan Temple, built in 1738 by people from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers. Suffering destruction from fire and earthquakes over the centuries, it was also bombed by the Americans in World War II with many precious artifacts and artworks lost. Last stop today is the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall commemorating the Chinese military leader who fled to Taiwan in 1949 and made it the bastion of his Republic of China until his death in 1975.
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei | Meals: BL

Day 7: Taipei | Design Your Day.

Discover the unparalleled collection of close to 700,000 ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks at the National Palace Museum tracing 10,000 years of Chinese history. An afternoon to follow your own path with one of these Design Your Day activities.

  • Enjoy a cultural visit to the Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum which preserves and promotes traditional Asian puppet culture.
  • Take a stroll down Yingge Old Street where ceramics and porcelain are the main attraction. Shop for a memento and visit the nearby Yingge Ceramics Museum. 

Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei | Meals: BL

Day 8: Yilan | Award-Winning Whisky.

This morning, you are driven south to Yilan for a visit to the Kavalan Whisky Distillery, Taiwan’s first whisky producer and the nation’s only family-owned whisky distillery. Hear about the production process and visit the tasting bar to savour the smooth, sweet liquor or blend your own.

Afterwards, learn how to make Yilan’s famous spring onion pancakes which are a popular street food here. Meet a local grower and a home cook for this culinary encounter. Later today head to the east coast for a scenic visit to the Qingshui Cliffs, one of Taiwan’s Eight Wonders. Admire the brilliant colours of the Pacific Ocean beyond the precipitous cliffs from a viewpoint. Arrive at your hotel in Xiulin late this afternoon.
Silks Place Taroko | Meals: BL

Day 9: Taroko National Park | Natural Wonders.

More natural wonders in store today when you explore Taroko Gorge, an impressive 19-kilometre long canyon full of waterfalls and dramatic ravines. Take a walk into the national park to admire the scenery and follow the winding trail to Swallow Grotto through tunnels and along paths above the rapids. Pause at the Eternal Spring Shrine built in 1958 to commemorate the 212 workers who died during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway. Its unique location recessed into the side of the mountain and Tang Dynasty architectural style make this shrine one of the most famous, and most scenic, spots in the national park.
Silks Place Taroko | Meals: BL

Day 10: Taipei | Taiwan’s Capital.

Return to Taipei with the rest of the day at leisure before a farewell dinner.
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei | Meals: BD

Day 11: Depart Taipei.

Today, you will be met by an assistant and transferred to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport by private vehicle.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Maximum Group Size: 18

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Tour Inclusions

All accommodation as detailed on a double/ twin share basis with private facilities; meals as specified; bottled water during transfers and touring; airport welcome; assistance with luggage and group transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle; services of one English speaking A&K Resident Tour Director throughout; economy flights only if specified as included in itinerary, all entrance fees, planning, handling, operational and communication charges, all tipping.

Tour Exclusions

International flights not specified as included, visas, insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip; items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, dry cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges; transfers, sightseeing or meals not specified in itinerary; excess baggage charges 

Tailor Made Travel with A&K

If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, talk to your A&K travel specialist or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke journey for your, or a small group.

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Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Mar 11, 2020 - Mar 21, 2020
Price AU$12,990pp Single Supplement AU$2,390 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Book
Oct 28, 2020 - Nov 7, 2020
Price AU$12,990pp Single Supplement AU$2,390 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Book
Nov 18, 2020 - Nov 28, 2020
Price AU$12,990pp Single Supplement AU$2,390 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Book
Notes:

Availability shown here is updated weekly and indicative only. Availability on any product or journey shown here is not specific to a category of travel and may not denote availability at the cheapest ‘From’ price. For real time availability, talk to your travel agent or call Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800.

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