Besides staying in the city, we actually moved into a traditional house, Hanok for a stay for two nights. It was indeed a different experience and it was probably my first time sleeping on a heated floor while it was freezing outside, not too far from the sleeping mat. Haha.
The traditional house was located at Bukchon Hanok Village, a Korean traditional village with a long history located between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. And jeng jeng! This post will cover all places mentioned except for Jongmyo Royal Shrine. That’s what we both covered in a day’s time :D
But before that, I will have you to know that moving to a hanok in a village, by foot in the winter wasn’t a joke. What’s worse? We were walking along the streets before 7am while the crazy wind was blowing. And we were (technically just the boyfriend) carrying a lot of shit with us too. Hahahahaha. I can’t do bag packing style. I tend to pack my entire room over!!!
Because it wasn’t easy.. So I thought someone needed to be pampered, with my love. Hahahaha. Cheesy much.
As soon as we have checked in, we headed straight to Gyeongbok Palace. This is one famous palace that you will come by when reading up about Seoul. Before you start the journey in exploring the palace, remember to do some homework about it so that you do not enter the palace with zero knowledge about it.
At least to find out what is the operating hour. Well, it is closed on every Tuesdays. And you can also search for the timing of palace guard exchange! We got ourselves a booklet of the palace info while navigating around.
After witnessing the palace guard exchange, we headed to the photo house and got dressed up like their ancient palace guard. Hehehe. It is free of charge but on a first-come-first serve basis.
Photobombed by the smelly one!
We walked around the crowded palace and got lost in some areas because it was too huge! And also because some renovation works were taking place too. After visiting the major palace, we use the back exit and headed out for lunch. We haven’t eaten since morning after moving into the hanok. We were already starving at this point of time.
We hard some hard time looking for the restaurant but we still got it anyways – Tosokchon! A restaurant known for its signature samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup) made with glutinous rice, gingko nuts, ginseng, garlic and many more… Yumms.
After that, we hitched a cab by the roadside and headed to the next palace, Changdeok. It was within walking distance but we were late for the volunteering tour guide which was booked way earlier online. And we were so glad about the decision made. The tour guide was such a friendly and nice person! Best of all, she could converse in perfect English. Hehehe.
Changdeok Palace may be less popular compared to Gyeongbok Palace but I find it more beautiful and welcoming :D We wouldn’t have found out this place if the boyfriend wasn’t a fan of UNESCO world heritage sites. Haha! There was less crowd too.
Within the palace, there’s a secret garden, Biwon. Not the one you find in K-drama but a real secret garden made for the royalties. And it was so beautiful and breathe-taking! Literally too. I find it hard to walk up and down on slopes during such a cold winter. Brrr.
But to enter the garden, you will need to pay extra. The fee to the palace is not inclusive of the garden and you will be guided around too. There won’t be any free-and-easy allowed.
We bet it would look even prettier in Spring and Autumn! Hmmn.
After the palace visitings, we headed to another UNESCO world heritage site – Myeongdong! Lol. We didn’t realise it until…. we saw a humble ground signage hidden among the tourists’ feet. We had so much of street food that we could not eat well during the only BBQ dinner we had with a friend of mine there. And did so much of shopping that my hands could tear off by holding the make-up stuff. Haha.
Bored of my Seoul posts yet? I’ve got one more to go! It will be the itinerary of my full-day in Seoul, celebrating valentines in N Seoul Tower, Ehwa Womans’ University and Nooryanjing Fishery Market :D