Friday, January 28, 2011

Tea Tour Korea Itinerary May 5-20, 2011

Tea Tour Korea seeks to introduce our guests to a Korea steeped in the traditions of Tea and Tea Ware and at the same time touch on the importance of the master traditions of several other aspects of Korean arts and culture through personal introductions to some of Korean Intangible Cultural Assets from other fields.  The logistics in developing this journey have been complex and will continue, but the bones are here and as we get closer to the tour they will be fleshed out to reveal what we hope will be an exceptional journey into the heart of Korean culture through Tea and ceramics. 
This post reveals the structure of the tour.  Each week, I hope to add a little more to the story and expand on the brief commentary you will find below.  We hope that you will join us on this very special adventure.
What to do and where to go will follow by personal email to each guest once the Tea Tour participants have made definite commitments.   It is time to make those commitments so email us soon.  This is a non-profit tour the final price will depend on the final number of guests.

Tea Tour Korea Tentative Itinerary.

May 05  Leave for Korea (Depending on your time zone)
Most of you will be crossing the IDL (International Dateline Line).  If you are in that group, you leave on May 5, 2011

F May 06 Seoul (provide your own meals)
Guests will arrive at the Seoul/Incheon Airport (ICN).  We will attempt to arrange meeting groups to gather at the airport and travel to the Hotel together.  

S May 07: Move to Mungyeong
This is a “6, 7, 8, 9 day”.  This means you rise at 6 AM, have breakfast at 7 AM, meet with Brother Anthony at 8 AM then board the bus at 9 AM for Mungyeong At 8 AM Brother  Anthony AnSonjae will present a discussion on Korean Green tea.  Brother Anthony of Taize is co-author of The Korean Way of Tea and a translator of Korean Tea Classics.  We are honored that he will be joining us.  
Move to Mungyeong.  Spend the afternoon at the Mungyeong Tea Bowl Festival. Some of the best tea ware artists in Korea live in Mungyeong including the only National ICA in Choson style ceramic ware - Kim Jong Ok.

S May 08 : Mungyeong 
This is a 6,7 8 day.  Rise at 6, breakfast at 7 depart for Mungyeong at 8. 
Spend the day and evening visiting the studios of selected Mungyeong artists.  This is the last day of the festival so there may be a ‘mixture’ between these two days in Mungyeong.

M May 09 : Icheon/Yeoju
This is another 6,7 8 day.  We go to Yeoju and Icheon
Icheon and Yeoju WOCEF Museums, visit important ceramic artists
including the Hae Gang Celadon Museum a tribute to the famous celadon artist Haegang (Yoo Kun-hyung).  Some of the most important and most interesting ceramic artists live in these cities we will visit a few of them and other outstanding artists. 

T May 10 : Gyeongju  (Buddha’s Birthday)
Gyeongju is one of the most important historic cities of Korea.  It was the capitol of the Silla Kingdom (57 BC – 935 AD) and as such is important to both Tea (tea was first planted in Korea during this period) and tea ware (the ceramics from this period is historically significant and in my opinion stunning.  We have several interesting events planned for this stop.

W May 11 : Gyeongju – Gimhae – Jinju

Early morning visit Seokkur-am and Bulgoksa move to Ulsan onggi village  Visit Gimhae National Museum. Move to Sancheong. We are now in tea country where wild tea flourishes in the mountains.

T May 12 : Sancheong - Hadong (B/D)
Visit Min Young Ki internationally renowned tea ware artist considered by some Japanese tea ware connoisseurs as "the best in Asia".  We then Move to Hadong visiting the tea area along the way.

F May 13 : Hadong – Hadong-Hwaeomsa Temple
Brother Anthony and Hong Kyeong-hee join tour.  Visit Private tea producers near Hadong, visit tea museum; drive to Hwagye valley.   View tea-fields.  Visit Ssanggye-sa temple. Arrive at Hwaeom-sa Temple, our Tea Temple  Over night at Hwaemsa-Temple stay or nearby Motel

S May 14 : Hwaemsa Temple
The morning chanting in the temple begins at about 3:30AM after the ringing of the bell etc.  Attendance is optional though encouraged (unique experience!).  Morning spent picking tea Afternoon spent drying and rolling freshly picked leaves. Over night at Hwaemsa-Temple stay.

S May 15 : Hwaemsa Temple – Boseong – Gangjin
Starts as yesterday. Receive completely dried, packed tea in the morning. Drive to Boseong. Visit Lee Hak Soo onggi (ICA) potter and Bosong Tea Plantation. Drive to Gangjin; visit the home of Dasan and Baekryeon-sa Temple.  Visit Ven Yo Yeon.  Visit the great celadon tea ware artist Jung Ki-bong.

M May 16 : Gangjin
Visit Gangjin Celadon Museum.  Drive to Daeheung-sa temple. Tour temple. Visit Tea ware artists

T May 17 : Gangjin – Chungwon-Seoul
Move to Chung Won-gun visit ceramic artist Lee Kang Hyo and Lee Tae Ho move to Seoul.

W May 18 : Seoul
Move to Bucheon Intangible Cultural Assets site,  meet Ha Il Nam Evening Tea 
Over night at Sunbee Hotel

T May 19 : Seoul
Free day in Seoul.   Evening Chongdong Theater, Traditional Korean Music and Dance

F May 20
Leave for Home

Friday, January 7, 2011

Waiting for the Price and a Firm Itinerary


I am sure you are wondering why we haven’t posted the itinerary, precise dates or exact price of this tea tour.  To get you started, tentatively, the dates are May 5 – 20, 2011 and the price will be approximately $200 per day.  We always try to keep our prices under $200 per day.  The price will depend on how many are traveling with us. This price should be compared to tours that cost $350 per day because we stay at very good comfortable hotels and travel with our own private bus.  But this doesn’t explain the delay.  Essentially, I have made proposals to some government agencies in an attempt to secure small grants to subsidize part of your tour.  I have been waiting for responses to these proposals.  So the price could be a little lower.  The essence of the tour can be found on our welcome post.  Click here to go there.

 King Sejong Awaits as carved by ICA Park Chan Soo
Morning Earth is not like your standard tour company.  Actually we don’t think of ourselves as a tour company at all but rather as promoters of Korean arts and culture.   As part of our work we design and often host unique tours to Korea.  Our goal is to provide a better tour at a lower price as we introduce our guests to aspects of Korean arts and culture seldom attempted by others.  We want to introduce you to a Korea beyond the well-worn travel trails.  We want to introduce you to the heart of Korean arts and culture – to the people whose combined efforts provide the glue that sustain and enhance Korea’s rich culture, to the significant events that shine a spotlight on a particular part of Korean culture and to certain little known aspects of Korean culture like Korean Tea.  We also like to take you to those places where Korean culture is alive and thriving, to the temples, museums and even Saturday markets, to the out of the way nooks and crannies of Korea where you can just stand in awe of what is happening in this beautiful land we call Korea.  That is why we designed Tea Tour Korea.  Some knowledgeable travel professionals who have seen the proposed itinerary have called this tour, “The most culturally rich tour to Korea ever planned.”   I know you are waiting to see it too.  Thank you for your patience.
It is coming soon.  As we wait, please email me with your comments and suggestions.