Although I’ve never been much of a tour person myself, I can understand the appeal of a well-planned tour. Whether you prefer the structure or are short on time and want to see as much as possible, tours are a great way to explore Korea, and they’ve certainly grown on me over the years.
However, it can seem nearly impossible to pick a tour. With the incredible variety of tours, different starting locations, and varying prices and lengths, it can seem overwhelming to pick a tour worth doing. As someone who’s done a range of tours in Korea, I’ve felt this difficulty firsthand.
In this article today, I wanted to take a look at the best Korean tours you can do while in the country. I’ve either done all these tours myself or heard great reviews from those who have, and I wanted to share my experiences from each.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the must-do tours in South Korea! Nearly all these tours leave from Seoul, but some offer options to depart from other major cities such as Busan or Daegu. However, there’s no denying that Seoul is the best place to take tours due to the variety of choices.
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Top South Korea Tours
1. Seoul Night View Tour
|$35||6 hours||Group tour||Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun|
I may be a bit biased, but this is one of my favourite tours in Korea. While night views understandably aren’t for everyone, if you want to take in the beauty of Seoul, this is the best way to do it. There’s nothing quite like seeing the city at night, and this tour covers many of the best views in the capital.
The Seoul Night View Tour is a reasonably priced, six-hour tour from Hongdae, Myeongdong or Dongdaemun. You can also choose any of these locations for departure, meaning you can start at Hongdae and exit at Myeondong if you prefer. Either way, since the tour ends around 10 pm, you will have enough time to use public transport to get back to your accommodation before it begins to shut down for the night.
If you’ve visited Namsan Tower or Lotte Tower, you may think you’ve already seen the best night views in Seoul. However, this tour covers a few more night views you won’t want to miss. Namely, Naksan, Eungbongsan, and Yongyangbong. These locations provide stunning views of the city, and I’ve visited each many times to take photos over the years.
So, if you’re looking for a fun way to spend an evening in Seoul, I highly recommend checking out this affordable tour. It covers some of the best views in the city, and if I was the tour guide, this is exactly the kind of tour I would have put together.
2. Joseon Palaces and Folk History Tour
|$70||8:30 hours||Group tour||Hotel Pickup|
Although Seoul is a hyper-modern city, there is a second side to the city which is equally as fascinating and worth experiencing. That is the traditional side. Whether we’re talking about the palaces, temples, hanok villages, or otherwise, the city’s traditional side is something you should explore.
While you can go out and explore the temples and palaces yourself, this tour is a great way to get a taste of the traditional side of Seoul in a relatively short period. While you won’t get a chance to explore every attraction fully, the tour guide will ensure you learn about the history behind some of Korea’s oldest attractions.
The best part about this tour is that it offers a pickup service. This means you don’t need to worry about getting to a meeting point, and can instead have a relaxed morning – all you need to do is be at your hotel entrance at 9 am! Convenient!
You’ll visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Blue House, Jogyesa Temple, Insadong, Namsan Tower, and Namsangol Hanok Village throughout the day. This is a great way to explore the fascinating side of South Korea’s capital!
3. Daedunsan Mountain Day Tour
|$25||14 hours||Group tour||Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun|
If you’re in Korea during the autumn, there is no better tour to do. Daedunsan is a mountain located in central South Korea, and it’s almost unbelievably beautiful during the colourful months of autumn. While it’s a sight to behold any time of the year, I recommend a day tour to Seoraksan during other seasons.
Tours for Daedunsan usually leave early in the morning as the mountain is located a few hours away from Seoul. Tours will depart from a range of locations, including Myeongdong, Hongdae, and Dongdaemun, and will take you right to the foot of the mountain.
You’ll find restaurants and cafes near the car park – perfect for a refill or a quick stop. However, if you want to get to the top of the mountain, I suggest leaving as soon as possible as the time restraints on the tours can be quite restricting. Furthermore, I highly recommend taking the cable car to maximise time.
You will find the sky bridge and steps near the top of the mountain. These are not for the faint of heart and will be something to avoid if you fear heights. If heights don’t faze you, make sure to enjoy the breathtaking views at both of these locations.
Tours to Daedunsan take around 12 hours as they include a significant amount of driving time. While some tours are a bit shorter, I wouldn’t recommend any tour that gives you less than three hours at the mountain as you’ll be too rushed for time.
4. Seoraksan Mountain and Naksansa Temple Tour
|$62||12:30 hours||Group tour||Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun|
If you’re looking to visit two stunning locations in one day, the Seoraksan Mountain and Naksansa Temple tour is where you’ll want to look. Located about two and a half hours from Seoul, both locations are famous for their beauty and cultural significance.
You’ll need to wake up early to catch this tour, as the buses usually leave around seven or eight in the morning. The early departure time ensures visitors will have an hour or two at each location, and you’ll want this time to make the most of the mountain and temple. Although a couple of hours is a bit short for Seoraksan, it’s a good taster to see if you’ll want to plan a more lengthy visit in the future.
Although there are hiking trails on the mountain, you won’t need to worry about bringing equipment as you won’t have enough time for the longer tracks. Rather, you can wear a pair of sneakers or anything suited to non-intense, relatively flat tracks.
If you’d prefer not to walk at all, but still want to see what the mountain is about, a cable car from the car park (where the tour bus will stop) affords stunning views over the nearby scenery. If you’d prefer not to walk, I highly recommend using the cable car instead.
Once the bus departs Seoraksan, you will have a quick drive to Naksansa, a beautiful temple on the coast of north-eastern South Korea. This is one of the most beautiful temples in the country and is well worth visiting. You’ll spend about an hour here, long enough to explore and enjoy the temple.
5. Han River E-Land Ferry Cruise from Yeouido
|$14-22||40 minutes+||Group cruise||Yeouido|
The Han River E-Land Ferry Cruise is a cruise that runs along the Han River in Seoul. It’s a great way to see the city from the water and offers views of some of Seoul’s most famous landmarks. Even better, you can choose when you witness these landmarks – during sunset, starlight, or moonlight (I’m also confused about the difference between the latter two!).
At this point, you might argue that this isn’t a tour. You’re right. However, I think it’s worth including on this list because while you might not get a tour guide and personalised information, you do get to see a range of Seoul’s landmarks from a unique perspective.
The cruise begins at Yeouido Pier at 5 pm, 6 pm, 7:30 pm, or 9 pm, where you can check in before boarding your boat. The trip lasts about 40-70 minutes, and you’ll pass by a range of different attractions in South Korea’s capital. The Moonlight Cruise will take you past Banpo Bridge, whereas the Sunset Cruise will see you passing by Bamseom, an island in the Han River.
This cruise is a great option if you’re looking for a fun way to spend an evening in South Korea! On average, the cruises last around an hour, and you can disembark from the boat back at Yeouido Pier. This means you don’t need to worry about transport back to the station or your accommodation.
The cruise is a great way to take in the sights of Seoul and relax during your visit. It’s also a good opportunity to see some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as Banpo Bridge and (on a good day) Namsan Tower. If you’re visiting in the winter, bring a jacket. Seoul is known for its cold winters, which can get pretty chilly on the river!
The cruise is very affordable, costing between $14 and $22 per person. You’ll also need to pay for the subway ticket to get to Yeouido Pier. However, if you’ve already purchased a T-Money card, the fare is minimal, and you’ll find yourself paying around $1 per person to get to the ferry dock!
If you want my advice, take this Korean tour at sunset. Sunsets in Seoul can be breathtaking, and as someone who’s spent years hunting the best sunset spots, I can say for sure that a Han River cruise can be one of the best places to witness these spectacular sights.
6. Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm, and Ganchchon Day Tour
|$80||13 hours||Group cruise||Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun|
If you aren’t staying in Korea for long and want to see as much as possible in a short period, this tour may be for you. This South Korea tour starts and ends in Seoul and takes you to Nami Island, Petite France Ganchchon Rail Bike Park, and The Garden of the Morning Calm. Between these three locations, you’ll get to see some of the most unique attractions in South Korea.
After leaving Seoul, you’ll first visit Nami Island, where you can relax in the fresh air and tree-lined paths. Next is Petite France Park, an artificial French village built on an old landfill site. You’ll have some free time to explore before taking in the sights and sounds of Ganchchon Rail Bike Park. Finally, you’ll head to The Garden of the Morning Calm to enjoy the calming flora.
While there is no denying each location is a tourist hotspot, they are unique locations worth visiting during your stay in South Korea. Especially if you’re staying in Korea for a short time, this Korean tour is a fantastic package as it rounds up many of the top attractions in one package.
Since you are visiting many locations, expect to spend some time on the road. Depending on traffic, the tour will take 10-11 hours as you will visit locations outside the capital. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better all-in-one tour in Korea.
If you’re visiting Korea during autumn, this is the tour to do. Nami Island is phenomenal during autumn, and the rail bikes will afford stunning views over the surrounding countryside during all seasons but are at their best during this colourful season.
It’s also worth noting there are many variations of this tour. If some attractions stand out to you, but you don’t care for others, it’s possible to skip some locations or replace them with other locations entirely. If you shop around on Klook or Trazy, you’ll be able to find the perfect tour for your needs!
7. Everland and Shuttle Bus Package
|$48||12 hours||Group shuttle||Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun|
Everland is South Korea’s biggest amusement park and resort. Although the primary attraction is the theme park, there is also a zoo and water park in the vicinity, making it a great way to spend a day (or more!). The theme park is perfect if you are travelling by yourself or with older children. For families with younger children, the zoo is the best in Korea!
The biggest issue with Everland is getting to the theme park. It’s located about an hour outside Seoul, and you’ll usually need public transport to get to the park (which takes significantly longer than an hour). However, this tour makes visiting the park easy as the shuttle bus is included – there’s no more convenient way to get to Everland!
Discounted tickets for Everland are available for people over six years of age. However, children under five can enter the park free of charge if a paying adult accompanies them. The discounted ticket includes access to the Everland Zoo but not to Caribbean Bay. If you want to visit Korea’s largest amusement park, the discount tickets sold by third-party websites are the best way to save money.
Discounted tickets for the Everland resort are available at Klook, Trazy, or other travel websites. As of the time of writing, it costs less than $50 per person and includes a free shuttle bus from Seoul to Everland. If you want to go back home by train instead of taking the shuttle bus, there is an additional KRW 2,000 per person fee.
There aren’t many Korean tours more fun than this one, so it’s well worth visiting if you have some spare time. Even if you don’t want to take the rides and rollercoasters, the zoo is the best in Korea and might be worth the price in itself.
8. Vivaldi Park Ski World Day Tour
|$110||13 hours||Group shuttle||Hongdae|
Skiing at Vivaldi Park is a unique experience. The park is one of the few in the world where you can (safely) go night skiing, and it’s an entirely different experience than skiing during daylight hours. The slopes are also very well maintained, making Vivaldi Park a great place for first-time skiers and snowboarders.
Vivaldi park currently has 16 runs, and more are being built all the time. Furthermore, the park currently has 11 lifts servicing the different runs – the longest of which is 1.6km long and takes around 10 minutes to complete. The resort also has various facilities, including a ski and snowboard rental shop, several restaurants and cafes, and even a souvenir store.
Vivaldi Park is aimed at beginner and intermediate winter sports enjoyers, which is reflected in the difficulty of the slopes. There are no advanced slopes, and many skiing classes are offered to beginners of all types. If you want to try skiing or snowboarding, Vivaldi Park is a great place to do so.
For those who want the most out of their trip, consider purchasing the Vivaldi Park Ski World day tour from Seoul. This package includes round-trip transportation from Seoul, all-day lift tickets, and lunch! The resort is open until 5 am with a short break around 5 pm for cleaning and snow management. The shuttle bus service runs until 9:30 pm.
If you’re an advanced skier, Vivaldi Park may prove disappointing. There is no advanced skiing here; everything is tailored for beginner and intermediate-level skiers. If you don’t mind this (or if you are a beginner!), this is a Korean tour well worth taking!
9. Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Tour
|$40+||6 hours||Group tour||City Hall (depends on tour)|
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a buffer zone between North and South Korea. While it is mostly a symbol of the division between the two Koreas, it has also become a tourist attraction. The DMZ has attracted many visitors from around the world because of its history and natural beauty. Although the war is technically still ongoing, the DMZ is safe to visit and attracts thousands of visitors.
Unfortunately, since the DMZ is a warzone, you can only visit the area with a tour guide. There is no way to visit any part of the DMZ without a guide and security checks. Therefore, you’ll want to remember to bring your passport and to stick to your tour guide.
The area was created in 1953 when both sides agreed to a ceasefire but could not agree on where to draw their border. Nowadays, the DMZ is located in the middle of the Korean Peninsula and is known to be one of the most dangerous places in the world because of its landmines and unexploded weapons left over from the Korean War. However, tour guides will not take you into the DMZ but will show you from afar (which is safe!)
The observatory tower at Panmunjom offers an amazing view of North Korea’s side of the border. At night you can see how brightly lit their city lights are compared to those in South Korea! If you’re lucky enough to get here when there’s no fog blocking your view from atop Mount Dora Observatory (also called Hill 385), then make sure not to miss out on taking photos.
There are a few different tours to the DMZ, and you’ll want to choose which attractions appeal to you. For the best views, Mount Dora is great. For a more hands-on experience, try visiting the JSA (Joint Security Area) – however, please keep in mind the JSA is not always open for visitors, so check availability first.
I avoided tours to the DMZ for a couple of years because I believed it was ‘too touristy’. However, when I finally visited, I was stunned – the experience is eerie. The whole area is quiet, and knowing the history behind it makes it a truly unique experience for visitors. Since then, I’ve visited thrice and recommend it as a truly unique Korean tour!
10. Jisan Forest Resort Ski Tour
|$60||12 hours||Group shuttle||Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun|
Jisan Forest Resort is located in the mountains of Gyeonggi Province, not far from Seoul, and if you’re looking to learn skiing or snowboarding, this is one of the best places to learn. If you are a first-timer, this is a Korean tour you’ll want to check out!
The ski course has a snowmaking system that allows it to open during winter – even when there isn’t much natural snow. The resort also has an indoor swimming pool, spa, and hotels available for staying overnight. They also provide courses for skiers of varying skill levels; there are plenty of options available depending on whether you’re looking for something easy or more challenging!
There are also plenty of other activities available at Jisan Forest Ski Resort, including snow tubing and sledging. The huge resort has many different areas to explore, so you can have fun outside on the slopes or wander around for a bit off-piste!
The ski school there provides professional instructors who will teach you how to ski or snowboard properly so that you’ll be able to enjoy yourself from day one. It’s a great place to go if you want to try something new or if you want to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery.
The resort has various lifts that can take you up the mountain. You can also use the ski train to get there, which is a fun experience in itself—it’s like a moving walkway that takes you up the mountain at speeds of up to 15 km (9 mi) per hour!
If you’re keen to try out the winter sports of South Korea, this is the perfect tour! Furthermore, since the slopes are relatively easy, and there are plentiful lessons available, Jisan makes for a great tour for any family travelling with children.
11. Naesjangsan National Park Tour
|$45||13 hours||Group tour||Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun|
Although I said previously that Daedunsan is the best Korean tour to take during autumn, Naejangsan is a very close second. In fact, it’s so close that many people would consider Naejangsan the better autumn tour to take. In the end, you won’t be disappointed with either location!
Naejangsan is a mountain located on the border of North Jeolla and South Joella (two South Korean provinces). Unfortunately, this means the mountain is quite a distance from Seoul, and you’ll be on the bus for almost four hours in each direction. Luckily, while the driving times aren’t ideal, the destination is well worth the trip.
Depending on your tour, you’ll also be able to visit Jeonju Hanok Village. Similar to Bukcheon in Seoul, the village of Jeonju is a traditional Korean village where you can wear hanbok, enjoy traditional tea houses, and otherwise experience the traditions and culture of South Korea.
A word of note: most tour companies only offer this tour during autumn. While you can visit Naejangsan at other times during the year (and it’s worth visiting even during other seasons), there is no denying the mountain is at its most beautiful during the colour months of fall.
12. Seoul City Bus Tour
There are many ways to see Seoul, and if you’re short on time but want to see the city’s major attractions, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour is a great option. You can get on and off at any stop along the route and explore on your own or with an audio guide.
The buses run every 30 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., stopping at palaces like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul Plaza, and City Hall, as well as popular shopping areas like Myeongdong and Namdaemun Market (where you’ll find traditional Korean clothing).
The Seoul City Tour Bus is a hop-on, hop-off service that stops at all the major sites in the city. It’s a great way to see what Seoul offers while also avoiding the hassle of navigating public transportation, and you can purchase tickets online or at one of their stops.
There are a few different bus routes you can choose from: The ‘blue line’ covers most of northern Seoul and includes destinations such as Namsan Tower, Gyeongbokgung, and the National Museum of Korea. The ‘red line’ focuses on scenery and will take you to many photo locations around the city. Finally, the ‘green line’ covers Gangnam and Jamsil, making it perfect for shopping!
These buses are fantastic for tourists as they stop at most attractions you’ll want to see while in Korea. If the bus tour doesn’t cover something, you can hop off at the closest stop and take the subway or a public transport bus to your destination!
Korean Tours FAQ
What Is the Best Korean Tour?
If you’re looking for the best all-in-one tour, I recommend the Nami Island tour, which also visits Petite France and The Garden of the Morning Calm.
What Is the Best Seoul Tour?
I’m biased, but I recommend the Seoul City Night View Tour!
How Much Do Tours in Korea Cost?
It depends on the tour length, but normally they cost between $30 and $100.
Where Can I Buy Tours?
The best places to buy tours are Trazy and Klook.