A city of dramatic contrasts, Seoul combines ancient Oriental tradition with modern technology. Peeking out from mega-modern high-rises and scattered among the 12-lane highways are traces of its 5,000-year legacy: temples, palaces, city gates and pleasure gardens. On this full day tour, explore this vital and cosmopolitan city, and discover its centuries-old history. Upon arrival in the city, your first stop is the Deoksu palace located at the corner of the busiest intersection of downtown Seoul, Deoksugung Palace is famous for its elegant stone-wall road. It is the only one that has western buildings beside it, and it adds to the uniqueness of the scenery. Deoksugung Palace originally belonged to Wolsandaegun (1454-1488), the older brother of King Seongjong (1469-1494) of the Joseon Dynasty. It became a proper palace when Gwanghaegun (1575-1641) ascended the throne and gave the palace the name Gyeongungung in 1611. Afterwards, the name was changed to Deoksugung.
Pass the Presidential Offices, known as the Blue House, and visit the impressive New National Museum of Korea, with over 4,500 exhibits detailing Korea's historic and cultural heritage. The new national Museum of Korea is the world's 6th largest museum and the premier institution of Korean National Culture exhibits. Experience and study Korean folk culture in each gallery. After a delightful lunch at a local restaurant, take a scenic drive of Namsan Peak, rising 860 feet high and offering excellent panoramic views. From here, you'll proceed to Insadong, also known as Mary's Alley. The heart of Seoul's antique and art district, Insadong is home to dozens of galleries and shops selling antiques and traditional crafts, as well as numerous tea and coffee shops. Your final stop is at the vibrant Namdaemun Market, one of the largest traditional markets in Seoul. Following your time at the Market, you'll re-board your coach and return to the ship.
Please note: There is considerable walking on this tour and it is not recommended for wheelchair guests. Those with mobility concerns should evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. The order of sites visited may vary.