We are offering several opportunities for sightseeing during or immediately following the International HBV meeting.
There are three opportunities to choose from on Thursday, September 22 from 3:00-6:00 pm.
Click here for details.
There will be a half day tour of the DMZ immediately following the conclusion of the meeting on Saturday, September 24. Click here for details.
There is a full day Gyeongju tour offered on Sunday, September 25. Click here for details.
Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first royal villa of the Joseon Dynasty built in 1395 and remains the largest of all five palaces. The premises were once destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (Japanese Invasions, 1592-1598). However, all of the palace buildings were later restored during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919). Remarkably, the most representative edifices of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond, have remained relatively intact. Woldae and the sculptures of Geunjeongjeon (The Royal Audience Chamber) represent past sculptures of contemporary art. The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located on the eastern side within Hyangwonjeong.
Standing in front of Gwanghwamun Gate, main entrance to Gyeongbokgung Palace, one might get the feeling of standing before an ancient monument with the nation’s hard-fought struggle built into its doors—a structure that’s survived centuries of conflict on the Peninsula. In a sense, such an impression isn’t entirely inaccurate, for Seoul’s most famous gate certainly represents hundreds of years of Joseon history, but it has also undergone several transformations throughout the country’s tumultuous past. Though not formally named Gwanghwamun until 1425, the three-door entryway was originally built in 1395, with the large middle entrance designed to be used by the king himself. It was burned down during the Japanese invasions of the Imjin War (1592–98) and was left in ruins for over 270 years. The gate was then reconstructed in 1864 before being dismantled and moved in 1927 during the Japanese colonial period; the Korean War (1950–53) then destroyed the gate entirely. A concrete restoration was constructed in 1968, but its latest restoration—designed to remain as faithful as possible to the original gate—wasn’t completed until 2010.
Gwanghwamun Plaza embraces two statues of heroes in Korean history. Admiral Yi Sun-sin, a Korean naval hero, who defended our country from Japanese invasion during the Japanese invasions of the Imjin War (1592–98) and King Sejong the Great, the creator of Hangeul, Korean alphabet. Besides the plaza offers a giant grass pavilion, fountains where children often play to cool off and waterways that were designed to appear as extensions of nearby Cheonggyecheon Stream. King Sejong Exhibition Hall next to the plaza is a free museum where you can learn about why the king is so revered by Koreans. The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History (Tue.–Sun., 9:00–18:00, www.much.go.kr) offers ways to beat the heat while also engaging in modern Korean history.
Until 2005, Cheonggyecheon Stream used to be only as a neglected waterway hidden by an overpass. Today, it has been transformed into a haven of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life. It is unanimously praised by environmentalists as ‘the most successful city renovation project’. Cheonggye Plaza is located at the starting point of Cheonggyecheon Stream. The square, created based on the design of traditional Korean bojagi (a colorful wrapping cloth), features the elegant beauty of traditional stonework that is colorful yet refined. The plaza also includes a model of Cheonggyecheon that provides visitors with a bird's-eye view of the formerly restored Cheonggyecheon Stream. At the plaza, there are plaques that provide detailed commentaries on the 22 bridges that span the stream, as well as a number of graceful fountains that add to the ambience of the area. The area commemorates the Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project, and also symbolizes gathering, harmony, peace, and unity.
OPTION 2. Changdeokgung + Bukchon Hanok Village + Insa-dong
Changdeokgung was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many kings of the Joseon Dynasty, and is the most well-preserved of the five palaces. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond and a pavilion. The palace gained importance starting from the time of Seongjong, the 9th king of Joseon Dynasty, when a number of kings began using it as a place of residence. Even today, it houses a number of cultural treasures, such as Injeongjeon Hall, Seonjeongjeon Hall, and Nakseonjae. Though it has been treasured by Koreans for centuries, Changdeokgung Palace was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by the UNESCO. It is one of the most historically significant attractions that represent the beauty of Korea.
Surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, Bukchon Hanok Village is home to hundreds of traditional houses called 'hanok' that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. The name, 'Bukchon,' which literally translates to 'northern village,' came about as the neighborhoods that the village lies north of the two significant Seoul landmarks, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno. Today, many of these hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, providing visitors an opportunity to experience, learn and immerse in Korean traditional culture.
Insa-dong, located in the heart of the city, is an important place where old but precious and traditional goods are on display. There is one main road in Insa-dong with alleys on each side. Within these alleys are galleries, traditional restaurants, traditional teahouses, and cafes. The galleries are the heartbeat of Insa-dong. There are about 100 galleries in the area and you can see every example of traditional Korean fine art from paintings to sculptures. The most famous galleries are Hakgojae Gallery, which functions as the center of folk art, Gana Art Gallery, which promotes many promising young artists, and Gana Art Center. The teahouses and restaurants are the perfect complement to the galleries. At first they might be hard to find, but if you take the time to stroll around the twisting alleyways, the window shopping in itself can be very entertaining. The shops in Insa-dong are very popular among all age groups, because each one is unique.
OPTION 3. N Seoul Tower + Namsan Hanok Village + Myeong-dong
N Seoul Tower opened to the public on October 15, 1980 and has since become a major tourist attraction. The 236.7 meter tower sits atop Namsan Mountain (243m). The observatory offers panoramic views of Seoul and the surrounding areas. Visitors are encouraged to try N Grill, a Western-style, revolving restaurant (one rotation every 48 minutes) and the Sky Restroom (an artfully decorated space). Both offer breathtaking views of the cityscape.
Namsan Hanok Village, a traditional village, is standing between the modern skyscrapers. This village has five restored traditional houses and a pavilion, and a pond, making it a perfect spot to take a leisure walk. These traditional houses, called ‘hanok’ (literally translates to ‘Korean house’) that date back to the Joseon Dynasty, belong to those of various social classes, ranking from peasants to aristocrats. The furniture in the houses is situated to help guests understand the daily lives of the past.
If you would like to check out some souvenirs, stop by the traditional craftwork exhibit where you can buy small dishes and other items. You can also have some traditional tea and refreshments. Don't forget to catch the traditional marriage ceremony that takes place during the weekends at Bak Yeong Hyo's Residence. The traditional marriage ceremony is an interesting event for both Koreans and foreigners and many gather to watch.
Myeong-dong is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. The two main drags meet in the center of the block with one beginning from Myeong-dong Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 4) and the other from Lotte Department Store at Euljiro. Many brand name shops and department stores line the streets and alleys. Common products for sale include clothes, shoes, and accessories. Many designer brands are sold in Myeong-dong. In addition, several major department stores include Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Myeong-dong Migliore, Noon Square and M Plaza. The department stores carry many premium labels and other fashionable goods at reasonable prices. Myeong-dong also has family restaurants, fast food, plus Korean, Western and Japanese dining options. Many restaurants in Myeong-dong specialize in pork cutlet (donkas) and kalguksu (thick noodles). Other businesses include hair salons, banks and theaters.
Two post-meeting tour programs are available for those of you who want to explore Korea. You can make reservation at the meeting registration desk on your arrival.
Fee: KRW 60,000. (Includes English tour guide, and dinner)
Yonsei Univ→ Odu Mountain Observatory → Imjingak Park → Dinner (Korean food) → Hotel
Korea is the only country that is still divided in the post-cold war era. The North Korea border is only 45 kilo meter (30 miles) away from the downtown of Seoul. This half day DMZ (demilitarized zone) tour includes two popular DMZ tourist destinations, which allow visitors without severe security check. At the end of the tour, you may enjoy traditional Korean dinner in peaceful atmosphere
Odu Mountain Observatory is one of a few public observatories, where one can see the north side of the border (the photo below captured a border village of North Korea at the observatory). Odu Mountain Observatory is located about 20 kilo meter north of Seoul along Han River (30 min). One may see village people and soldiers in days with good visibility. Bold mountains without trees in the North side of the border cannot be unnoticed; trees are used for heating during the cold winter. The observatory was established to inform the tragic reality of the division of the Korean peninsula, which is the only remnant of the Cold War, and promote our wish and will for the peaceful unification which guarantees Liberal Democracy.
Imjingak Park, located 7 km from the Military Demarcation Line, is now at the forefront of tourism related to the Korean War. Imjingak was built in 1972 with the hope that someday unification would come true. Mangbaedan Alter is the place where Korean's separated from their families in the North visit to perform ancestral rites by bowing toward their hometowns every New Year's Day and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day). The Bridge of Freedom, which South Koreans crossed when they came back to their mother country from North Korea after the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1953.
Those interested in this tour should reserve their seats via email (email@example.com) no later than Sept. 10 (SAT). They are asked to pay KRW 50,000 deposit upon their arrival at the meeting registration desk on Sept 21 (WED).
Fee: KRW 300,000 (includes English tour guide, lunch, and dinner box)
Hotel → Seoul Station → KTX(Korea Train Express) → Sin-Gyeongju Station → Lunch (Menu: Local food) → Daereungwon → Wolji Pond (Anapji Pond) → Gyeongju National Museum → Bulguksa Buddhist Temple → Sin-Gyeongju Station → KTX (Dinner box included)] → Hotel
Your tour guide will pick you up at your hotel at 7:30 AM and will drop you at your hotel at 10:00 PM. It is a long day journey to Gyeongju by KTX express train (~2 h), but you will not regret.
Gyeongju was the capital of the Silla Kingdom (BC 1th C to AD 10th C), which represents an ancient kingdom of Korea. The Silla Kingdom prospered nearly one thousand years. Gyeongju was nearly burned down during the Mongorian invasion (AD 1238) and again during the Japanese Invasions, (AD 1592-1598). One striking landscape that cannot be unnoticed in Gyeongju is many large ancient tombs of kings and nobles of the Silla Kingdom. You will visit the Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong Tomb). Royal crowns, which are made of gold and represent the beauty of the Silla era, had been excavated from one of these tombs in 1970’s. You will also visit Gyeongju National Museum, where you will be introduced to the superb artistry of the Silla Period through these artifacts. There are many glittering accessories, such as golden crowns and ornaments, belts, earrings, etc. Bulguksa Temple is the representative relic of Gyeongju and was designated as a World Cultural Asset by UNESCO in 1995. The beauty of the temple itself and the artistic touch of the stone relics are known throughout the world. Bulguksa Temple was built in AD 6th C and it had suffered serious damage by wars. The temple was fully renovated in 1970’s.