Our first stop is at the Gyeongbokgung Palace. From Chungmuro station we went to Line 3 of the Seoul Metro. The trip to Gyeongbokgung station took around 8 minutes. Once alighted from the station, we went to Exit 5 and walked towards the Gyeongbokgung Palace.
The palace was the main royal palace during the Joseon dynasty. As the largest of the five grand palaces, this served as the home of the kings of the Joseon dynasty, its household and as well as the government. Today, this palace is regarded as the grandest and most beautiful of all the grand palaces. Within the palace grounds, the National Palace Museum of Korea and National Folk Museum are also located.
It was such a beautiful day when we were there and I could recall all the beautiful colors of autumn from the trees surrounding the palace. Well, let these pictures do the talking.
We were there at around 10-ish and we got the chance to watch the ceremonial Changing of the Guards at the palace gate.
We explored the palace grounds after watching the Changing of the Guards ceremony. And we loved to get the full experience and decided to rent a hanbok. Entrance is free on any of the grand palaces you wish to visit. There are many hanbok rental shops near the palace and the nearby Insadong. We didn’t wish to walk further so we just crossed the street in front of the palace gate and went to one of the hanbok rental shops. Sorry but I forgot the name of the rental shop though. We rented our hanboks for around 30000 won good for 3 hours (or is it 4?). We get to choose the type of hanbok and the color of the skirt we wore and one of the lady assistants assisted us with the blouse that matched the skirt. She also assisted us when we wore the hanbok and also did our hair. We left all our belongings in the shop and off we went to tour the palace.
The palace complex is so huge so better be prepared for a lot of walking. Good thing it was chilly that day despite the sun shining brightly. But boy, walking around the complex was an exercise and made my feet hurt. Hahaha. But the beautiful scenery and architecture around the palace grounds definitely made up for those long walks.
The weather was really cold for tropical people like us plus we were also starving so after just less than 2 hours, we decided to go back to the hanbok rental shop. Afterward, we went to the nearby Insadong to look for a place to eat and also check out some souvenirs we can buy for our friends and family back home.
Located in between the five grand palaces, Insadong is a neighborhood where arts, tradition, and culture abound. It is a place to go if you want to go souvenir shopping and if you want to visit some art galleries. There are also a lot of cafes and restaurants serving traditional Korean food and also contemporary ones.
After a quick tour of Insadong, we walked a couple of blocks to go to Bukchon Hanok Village. Details of our visit are up next on the coming blog post.