A taste of Korea
I thoroughly enjoyed this trip & can recommend it. This trip is not only a great introduction to Korea but a good way to visit Asia if you haven't been to the Far East before as compared to other countries in this region, it is clean, safe, and developed. However, to get the most out of it you have to be prepared to explore during your free time. This trip puts you in the position, by giving you the opportunity to see some wonderful things that are not on the itinerary. For example the Seoul Tower with the wonderful Season’s table all you can eat Korean restaurant, or the Sun Cruise Resort and surrounding area in Gyeongpo, a 20 minute taxi ride from your hotel. Taxis are cheap and a good way to get round. Budget wise I would suggest you allow about £20 per day on food. The food here is lovely but expensive.
Credit cards are widely accepted but I would take US Dollars or Euros to change into the local currency, the Won. I found it hard to change the Pound, with the only place being a handful of banks in the major cities. When you arrive in Seoul I suggest you change your money you need for the trip then, as changing it in other areas other than Busan and Jeju was difficult. Even though ATMs are widely available for debit cards, you have to look for a global one which we found difficult finding and it was hit and miss whether the card would be accepted. You must have patience as service can be slow and language can be a barrier. My main criticism is we didn't have enough time in Busan; it was almost a fleeting visit, which doesn't do the place justice. I would like to have more time there at the expense of the temple stay, which in my opinion added little value to the trip. There was also too much emphasis on Buddhism. My biggest surprise coming here was the number of churches I saw, and finding out that they aren't devoutly religious or follow one particular faith, just a mix of multi-faith and non-religious groups. For example, there are more Christians and other religions than Buddhists – for instance 29 % are Christian and only 24 % are Buddhist. With this in mind, I would like to reduce the number of temples that are visited by exploring the other faiths and learning more of the contemporary recent history that makes up this dynamic nation. Highlights; (1) the big Yakcheonsa Buddhist temple in Jeju, which we allowed to freely photograph; (2) DMZ; (3) The museum in Busan, which explained in concise terms the history of this nation. Low points; (1) Temple stay, which was a complete waste of time and added nothing to my understanding of Korea. This should be made an optional extra or cut out completely, with time better spent in Busan. (2) Not enough time in Busan and war memorial. (3) Too many markets and temples visited - only one or two would do. Overall I can recommend this trip to anyone who wants a taste of Korea but to get the most out of it, you must have a sense of adventure and explore the surrounding area in your free time. 4/5.