UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: During the trip we spend nine nights in comfortable hotels, three nights in traditional guesthouses and one night in a temple stay. All of the accommodation we use hires local staff, which is a great benefit to the local community- in particular with the guesthouses and temple stay, where money is going directly to local people. The variety of lodgings on this trip also allows for clients to gain a unique insight into Korean culture, Buddhism and day to day domestic life for many in the country. Where meals are provided, fresh and locally sourced produced is used as much as possible. Free meal times are a good opportunity to support small businesses and to try some authentic cuisine. Korean food is generally healthy and includes rice, porridge, soups, stews, barbequed or broiled meat and fish, banchan (side dishes) and kimchi (fermented cabbage) which is served at almost every meal.
Local Craft and Culture: We visit Gwanjang market, Insadong, Jogyesa Temple and Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, before visiting the DMZ Panmunjom to learn how Korea was divided. The Andong Hahoe Village is home to cultural highlights such as the Folk Musuem, whereas Gyeongju offers the chance to see Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple. We also support several cottage industries on this trip, including a visit to a traditional rice paper factory. The paper is produced by hand according to an ancient procedure whereby the raw material, tree bark, is harvested in the nearby mountains and processed. Clients can buy rice paper products as souvenirs in the shop here, which helps the factory to gain income and to preserve this age old handicraft. Other cultural experiences include opportunities to see a Kimchi factory and to learn how to make Bibimbap – a typically Korean rice dish with sautéed vegetables, chili pepper, sliced meat and a raw egg.
A Fair Deal: We work closely with our local operator and ensure that local guides are employed and that in exchange for their expertise they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit. Leaders are the essential point of contact between clients and Korean culture- they introduce local people, help clients to use markets and other small, privately run businesses and they explain the significance of this for economy and community.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 18 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of South Korea vacation
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 28 Oct 2015 by Sandra Killick
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Be aware tour leaders may not be used to escorting Europeans
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
In some ways but if given time we may have spent more money locally to benefit local people. Not sure if it reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?