Korea: Palace Hopping + Bukchon Hanok Village

Monday, April 18, 2016

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!

Gyeongbokgung Palace

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!

Changdeokgung Palace

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.

They all look lovely! :)

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:

Cute shops and cafes in every corner:

Sun was setting, so I just have to! "Pa-OOTD please!" Haha.

Election nadin pala sa kanila:

Finally, Third Stop: 

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!).

Not in photo: yummiest, gooey cheese pasta. :p We stayed here for a while, and even had desserts.

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:

An interesting, collaborative store:

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.


  1. Did you avail of the T-Money, Ate Ana? :) Love how there are a lot of super cute stores everywhere hahaha!

    1. Yes we did! :) It's mas convenient and matipid. :)

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  3. Hi,Ana! Love your Korea posts! :) Makes me miss the time I was there more. And the cool breeze! Haha! I think,the street you went to near Bukchon was Samcheongdong. :D

    1. YEY! One mystery, solved! I like that place. It's the Korea na naiimagine ko. And yes, nakakamiss yung lamig, hay.

      Thank you for reading! <3

  4. Very heeelpfull, thanks ms ana! 💋

  5. Hi Ana! Love your photos :)

    Just wanna ask, what was doing the two palaces + Bukchon in one day like? Hindi ba sya rushed or haggard?

    Thanks! :)

    1. We didn't rush naman in each place, BUT haggard nga sha! Super sakit ng paa ko by end of the day huhu!!! :D

    2. Hi Ana! Sige noted, haha. Going there this weekend kasi! :) Also, (sorry andaming tanong huhu) do you buy the Secret Garden ticket sa main ticket office of the Palace or do you buy it sa entrance ng garden mismo? :) Thank you!!!

    3. Sorry if this reply is late! I think we purchased in front of the garden na mismo, at the ticket booth :)

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  8. hi anna, ill be there on my first day in seoul is it possible to walk
    changdeokgung palace --> Bukchon Hanok Village

    and from Bukchon Hanok Village --> insandong?

    as i check google map mukhang more than 30 minutes walking meron kaya silang bus na dumadaan sa mga lugar na yan. or pwede kaya mag taxi kasi ayoko naman ma over used ang paa ko first day pa lang.

  9. Hi Ana. Is there a separate ticket booth for the Secret Garden ticket? or did you purchase it at the same ticket booth for the Changdeokgung Palace. Thanks in advance!

  10. Hey, love your blog, especially your photos! May I know what app are you using to edit your photos?


Your turn! Always excited to read your comments! :)