Come and explore a truly off the beaten path area of Korea with Samantha of There She Goes Again and Hallie of The Soul of Seoul! We’re going through two incredible provinces in the Korean countryside, Jeollabukdo and Jeollanamdo, for a little adventure, delicious food, and beautiful scenery!
The Korean Countryside: A Food & Photo Tour
Come explore Korea with us as we take in the Korean countryside in all its late spring glory! From Jeonju through Boseong, we’re going to be seeing the very best of Korea’s Jeolla provinces at the best times!
Together we’ve planned what I think is the best representation of Korea outside of the big cities and popular landmarks. This is truly an off the beaten path tour that will take you to some of the most beautiful landscapes.
We’re going deep into the cultural heart of Korea and exploring everything from rolling tea fields to seaside views and more! Each day we’ll be sitting down to delicious meals, handpicked by me, that’ll show you a variety of Korean cuisine. Expect to try everything from the very classic bibimbap to the more unique kimchi wrapped mandu!
And, as a bonus, expect some very nice photos of yourself at the end of the tour, as I know I won’t be able to resist trying to capture every memory myself!
DATES: MAY 9-17, 2020
TRIP LENGTH: 7 DAYS & 2 DAYS FOR TRAVEL
GROUP SIZE: MAX 14
ROOM OPTIONS: DOUBLE OR SINGLE
We’ll be visiting Jeolla over the course of 10 days. I’ve added on one day at the beginning and the end for travel, so in total expect to be gone from home for 12 days!
- 11 nights of accommodation
- Airport transfers
- 1 – 2 meals a day
- Transport throughout the countryside
- Admission fees
- Professional photos
- …and more surprises
- Breakfast + any food outside of the meals
- Transport to and from South Korea
- Any accommodation outside of our visit
- Mandatory travel insurance
Disclaimer: Of course, any itinerary is subject to changes due to unexpected surprises, weather, or cancellations, but here’s what you can expect:
Travel Days: May 9th & 17th
Because Korea can often be quite the journey, I wanted to make sure to allow one full day for flying both before and after the tour. May 10th and May 18th are specifically reserved for flying in and out of Korea, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything. I’ll be there to greet you when you arrive and we’ll drop you right off at the airport hotel the night of May 17th.
May 10th: Jeonju
On our first full day, we’ll start the 3 hour journey down to Jeonju. We will get a delicious lunch of bibimbap and have time to explore the hanok village before check in at one of the quaint hanok stays. For something truly beautiful, get ready to view the sunset over the whole village with all the rooftops. Read more about Jeonju here
May 11th: Namwon
Enjoy some free time in the morning. We’ll gather back together before lunch to drive about an hour to our next destination, and a personal favorite of mine, Namwon!
In Namwon, we’ll get lunch my favorite naengmyun restaurant before checking into our hotel. Then for golden hour, we’ll head over to Gwanghallu to catch the park at its prettiest and return for dinner at 25시, where you can find the best bbyeodagwitang! Read here for more on Namwon
May 12th: Baraebong
Hiking day! We’ll drive over to hike the beautiful Baraebong trail, which will take us through the stunning azaleas. The hike is for moderate fitness levels and should take 6 hours in all. Enjoy a packed lunch!
In the afternoon, you’ll have plenty of free time to rest from the hike and wander around Namwon on your own. If you’d like, join us for dinner at an all you can eat BBQ place next to our hotel.
May 13th: Gokseong
In the morning, we’ll head over to the charming Gokseong Rose Festival, where the Train Village is flooded with roses in every shape and color! We’ll head over early to avoid the crowds and spend the morning enjoying the mini village before going to a nearby restaurant for lunch
We’ll then head over to our accommodation outside of Damyang — glamping! Once there, we’ll enjoy a relaxing afternoon enjoying the countryside! In the evening, we’ll have a delicious dinner at the headquarters.
May 14th: Damyang
After a leisurely morning, we’ll head over to Damyang’s Meta Provence Village, which is a quirky and colorful place with fun photo opps and very random shops and cafes! We’ll then get a lunch of galbijjim before walking it all off in the massive bamboo forest. Get ready to try some bamboo ice cream! Read more about Damyang here
Once we explore the forest, we’ll head to our next town, my other home city in Korea, Suncheon! Before we check in, we’ll get a dinner of lamb BBQ.
May 15th: Suncheon
Mid-morning, we’ll drive over to the beautiful Seonamsa to experience a traditional Korean tea ceremony and explore the temple! You didn’t think we’d have you come all this way and not see one of Korea’s famous Buddhist temples, did you?
In the afternoon, we’ll visit Suncheon’s most famous feature — its bay! There’s a small hike up to an observatory where we can view the sunset over this massive wetland reserve.
We’ll then head over to our next accommodation at Yulpo Beach and end the day with a BBQ party!
May 16th: Boseong
If you’re keen to wake up early, join us for the sunrise at Yulpo Beach. Otherwise sleep in a little and then we’ll head to the gorgeous Boseong Tea Fields!
Take the morning to enjoy the fields and get lunch on your own at one of the nearby restaurants. Get ready to try green tea infused everything!
After the tea fields, we’ll head back to Incheon or…
Bonus! Seoul Extension: May 17th – 20th
Not ready to say goodbye? Same! For those of you who’d like a taste of Seoul instead of leaving after our countryside tour, we’re offering an extra 3 day extension.
Instead of taking you to Incheon, we’ll go to a fun hotel in Myeongdong and spend the next 3 days checking out some Seoul highlights and hidden gems.
Where We’re Staying
With this tour, I wanted to give you an idea of all the different accommodations in Korea. Because the countryside isn’t as touristed as say Seoul or Busan, the accommodation options are actually much more limited! However, I’m confident I’ve found quite a few gems, and I’ve been able to personally visit and see them for myself in person.
During our trip, we’ll be staying at 5 different accommodations, from hanoks to hotels and even a night of glamping! I hope this is a fun experience, and you get to see another side to Korean culture.
Keep in mind, this means sometimes sleeping on the floor (I promise the bedding is well padded!) as that’s the traditional style of sleeping in Korea. Also, many Korean showers are simply part of the whole bathroom, not sectioned off.
You’ll also have the choice of sharing a bed/room or paying a bit more to have one all to yourself throughout the tour!
What We’re Eating
I was never much of a foodie, but living in the countryside made me one! I spent 3 years eating very well, and I want to share these meals with you guys. I love taking friends to my favorite restaurants or trying to new places, so I’m seeing this as the same thing on a bigger level! Check my guide to my favorite Korean food to get an idea of the kind of feasts we’ll be enjoying.
If you’re flexible with your rooming and don’t mind sharing one (which means occasionally sharing a bed), then the tour is $2,250. If you’d prefer to have your own room the whole time, it’s $2,550.
This does not include transportation to or from Korea, travel insurance, and any food outside of the designated meals.
To secure your spot, a nonrefundable $500 is due at booking. We use Paypal, but if you’d prefer a different payment method or want to discuss payment plans, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to put down your deposit is January 17th and spots are filling up fast!
Who Are We?
Hi! I’m Sam, and I’m the one behind this tour & blog. I called the Jeolla provinces home for a total of 3 years, 2 in Namwon and 1 in Suncheon, and had plenty of time to travel extensively. Showing off the countryside is one of my favorite things to do (as you can see by the MANY posts on this blog!), and I’m so excited to personally show you around next May!
Hallie Bradley, originally from Dayton, Ohio, has been living and working in Seoul, Korea since 2006. She has been featured on CNN, the BBC, and has written for Forbes Travel Guide using her extensive knowledge of Seoul and Korea. She consistently shares in depth information on tourist hot spots, must see areas, hidden places visitors and residents need to see, and more on her site The Soul of Seoul.
WILL YOU MEET ME AT THE AIRPORT?
I will! Our hotel in Incheon offers shuttles to and from the airport, so I’ll be hopping on and off to greet you personally and make sure you get to the hotel in one piece :)
WILL I NEED A VISA?
Nope, though double check with your country of residence.
HOW WILL THE WIFI AND CELL SERVICE BE?
Wifi in Korea is quite plentiful, especially at cafes and guesthouses. However, I do recommend getting a SIM card or a pocket wifi for the area. I recommended pre-ordering here to get the best deal.
WHERE IS JEOLLA?
Jeolla is actually two provinces: Jeollabukdo (North Jeolla) and Jeollanamdo (South Jeolla). We’ll be going through both! The closest city to Seoul is Jeonju, which is about 2 1/2 hours and the farthest is Yeosu, which is about 4 hours.
WHY IS THIS A PHOTO TOUR?
I personally love taking beautiful photos and creating my own editing style, and I got the chance to both learn and practice all of that right in Jeolla. I wanted to make this a photo tour because many of the things we’re doing are scheduled for the best lighting.
You do NOT need a professional camera to join the tour, but I will be on hand to show you guys my favorite photo spots and, of course, you can expect lots of professionally taken an edited photos from me to always remember this trip!
HOW OLD DO I NEED TO BE FOR THIS TOUR?
HOW WILL THE WEATHER BE? WILL I SEE CHERRY BLOSSOMS?
Warm and, hopefully, sunny. May is a beautiful month to be in Korea as the azaleas, roses, and other late spring, early summer flowers, and the country is green again.
Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing any cherry blossoms as they bloom in late March, early April. As much as I’d love to do a cherry blossom tour, they’re just too unpredictable to plan around!
WHAT KIND OF FOOD SHOULD I EXPECT?
A little bit of everything. We’re going to visit many restaurants I’ve personally tried at least once (though usually more than once). This tour and Korea in general are definitely not for a picky eater, so I encourage you to be adventurous. Most of the food isn’t very spicy, I promise!
WILL THIS TOUR BE VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY?
Unfortunately, no. I’m going to real with you, Korea is not the most vegan or vegetarian-friendly country, especially in the countryside, which is where we’ll be. Most of the restaurants and dishes I’ve planned are based around meat or fish. If you still want to come on this trip, I can do my best to help you find some cafes, but based on my own experience in all these places, you’re going to struggle big time.
HOW FIT DO I NEED TO BE?
I would say to really enjoy this tour, you want your fitness level to be on the medium end. There’s only one big hiking day I have planned, and you can always opt out of it if you don’t think you’re fit enough. However, keep in mind Korea is mostly mountainous, so even when you don’t think you’ll be climbing something, you probably will!
SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT SAFETY?
We’re going to be in one of the safest countries out there in one of the safest provinces. Simply take the normal precautions you’d take anywhere. Additionally, we require everyone to purchase and show proof of mandatory travel insurance just in case. Check here for a quote from World Nomads or from Safetywing depending on what kind of coverage you need. I’d also check with your current insurance provider to see what they offer!
If you have any questions or need clarifications, just email email@example.com!