South Korea with Kobayashi

By Gunnar Niemi

I read the subscriber’s account of her tour of South Korea (May ’13, pg. 44). From my research, the mainstream tour companies do South Korea poorly or not at all. Instead, in April ’12  I joined a tour of South Korea from Kobayashi Travel Service (650 Iwilei Rd., Ste. 410, Honolulu, HI 96817; 808/593-9387), which offers 10-night spring and fall tours. 

I purchased the land-only option. (The 10-day autumn 2013 tour costs $3,095, land, with single supplement $1,095, plus about $200 for internal air.) Using frequent-flyer miles for my airfare, I arrived on my own shortly before the group and stayed two extra nights in Seoul. 

Our Korean guide, who was with us the whole time, was outstanding. The Kobayashi coordinator was very efficient. The hotels and included meals, which we ate family style, were excellent. The webpage has a detailed itinerary. 

Their tours to Korea are so popular in Hawaii that departures fill up and extra departures are sometimes added. 

One warning — since South Korea is the drama capital of the world, many of the sites visited relate to the most popular dramas. (“K-dramas” are popular television miniseries made in all genres — historical epic, comedy, contemporary story, etc.) You can familiarize yourself with K-drama ahead of time by watching free episodes with English subtitles at


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