Korea: Palace Hopping + Bukchon Hanok Village
Hi guys! I am currently distracted by a lot of things right now, from BU work, to this nasty hot weather, to our country's messy politics in all my newsfeed (except Instagram, thank God for curated feeds, haha). The more it felt like last week's Seoul adventure was just a dream.
During our first night, while Tracy and I were enjoying our Korean face masks, Paul was already Vibering his whereabouts. He was sending screen shots of his Google Maps, trying to decipher where New Sun Guesthouse is from the subway. Yep, our small cast just grew into 3!
Early up! When we stepped out of the guest house, we're always greeted by the view of the famous N Seoul or Namsan Tower (house of Korea's version of love locks).
Funny story, we thought that this is Korea's Myeongdong Cathedral, so we took pictures of it! Buti nalang Tracy saw photos online na iba pa pala yun, HAHA. What is this then!?
Not the nearest subway line from New Sun, but we were still experimental with our commutes.
Yey! I like having Paul around because we have an instant navigator! My mom also told me na at least may bodyguard daw kami, naks naman! He stayed a bit shorter than us though, 4 days lang.
Tracy always running for the free seat, haha!
Second day is dedicated to palace hopping. I am guilty for creating a half-cooked itinerary because I have no idea on what to expect in Korea, plus barely had time before the trip. We didn't religiously followed my print-outs, but just served it as guide. If you want a convenient tour, check out this Korean Palace Tour.
Is that a cherry blossom!? Hindi pa pala, but it's still cute, hehe.
I belong! Haha!
To get here, ride the Seoul Subway Line 3, and get off at the Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Exit 5). Entrance fee for international guests is 3000 Won (19-64yo), and 1,500 Won (7-18yo). They are open from 9am to around 5 or 6pm, depends on the month.
The Gyeongbokgung Palace (Northern Palace, 1395) is said to be the most beautiful and largest palace in Korea. The edifices of Joseon Dynasty, Gyeong Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond have remained intact. This is where the Kings, his households, and the government of Joseon lived.
The Gwanghwamun gate:
Paul testing his new lens, haha!
The Geunjeongjeon or the Throne Hall was where the king formally meets his officials, foreign envoys, and ambassadors during the Joseon dynasty.
Heungnyemun gate, or the secondary gate:
Hydrate time, yes to vendo!
Super laki pala ng Gyeongbokgung Palace, now that I am researching more about it online, ang dami pa naming hindi napuntahan!
Because we were hungry, had lunch at the museum's restaurant Gogung Tteurak before heading to our next stop.
Cute art installation that we saw in one of the train stations:
Pastel bikes are the cutest!
To get here, take the Seoul Subway Line 3 to Anguk Station, and Exit on 3. Walk around 5 minutes to arrive at the palace entrance. They are open from 9am - 6pm, with 3000 Won entrance fee (kids go in free).
We spotted a lot of locals and tourists wearing Korea's traditional costume while going around the compound.
So the Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built, following Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, which makes it a must-visit for me.
At the palace grounds are the royal family residence building, a public palace area, and a "Secret Garden", a place where the kings rest. It was kept as natural as possible, with little human modifications. We decided to check this out.
Cute baby, you're a standout for me!
The Huwon, or the "Secret Garden" requires another entrance fee of 5000 Won, inclusive of a tour guide.
There are four scheduled Secret Garden English tours everyday, at 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm. Also note that a tour is limited to 100 persons only per session.
We waited by the gate:
Crowd started to form:
People watching, love this girl's shoes! Huhu!
And finally, we're off!
As a guided tour, the experience was kind of constricting. I also tried to listen to the information, but sometimes I can't hear na what was going on since we were a large group.
Anyway, it's nice to observe the site where I imagined a king resting and strolling back in the day. It's a nice, huge compound, but if you're pressed with time, remember that just the garden tour is about 90 minutes already! :p
This looks prettier daw during autumn:
PS: The tour includes a lot of hiking, haha! Di ako prepared! :p
A weaved rope mat technology to help us from not slipping during steep climbs:
The Route: Hamnyangmun Gate - Buyongji Pond - Bullomun, Aeryeonji Pond - Gwanramji Pond - Ongnyucheon - Yeongyeongdang House - Bingcheon-gil -Donhwamun Gate
Headed out to go to another stop and had to take a picture of this bus. Ang mature ko talaga hahaha.
Paul the navigator:
Sun was setting, so I just have to! "Pa-OOTD please!" Haha.
Election nadin pala sa kanila:
Finally, Third Stop:
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village
See hundreds of Korea's traditional houses, or "hanok", at the Bukchon Hanok Village. Some houses date back to the Joseon Dynasty!
Bukchon, or "northern village", is significantly surrounded by Seoul's landmarks Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Cheonggyecheon Stream, etc.
Today, these hanoks are now either still residential, guesthouses, restaurants, tea houses, or a place where guests can immerse themselves in Korean traditions and culture.
Take pictures, but keep quiet. Although it's a tourist destination, Bukchon Hanok Village is still a residential area.
To get here, still via Seoul Subway Line 3, get off Anguk Station at Exit 2.
Very near the Bukchon Hanok Village is a street lined with pretty stores and cafes. I am not sure what the area is called, but after searching online I think it's Jongno? We decided to have a coffee break in Mezzo Di Pasta, where we ended up ordering more than merienda (super napagod!).
I travel to explore, till my feet hurts. It's my thing! So after eating, we walked and walked some more around the area:
Simple shop and typography, I love it.
Cute modern hanbok:
A "gift" shop:
It was already nighttime when we reached Insadong, another street popular in Korea for their cultural and artsy stores. Most shops, if not all, were already closed. So we headed to the nearest train station, and called it a night.
To be continued.
Read more of my Korea posts HERE.