Korea Travelogue: Guide To Gwanghwamun Square & Surrounding Attractions.

By noreply@blogger.com (sharon loh)

Today’s writeup features one of the most memorable part of my holiday – the Hanbok Experience.

My Korea Travelogue Series:
Part 1: Myeongdong Food Guide & Surrounding Eats
Part 2: Guide to Gwanghwamun Square & Surrounding Attractions

Covered in this writeup:
Places to visit: Deoksugung Palace, Samcheongdong-gil Road, Gyeongbukgong Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village
Food to eat: Tosokchon Samgyetang, Christmas Jamong
*Trust me – the Korean names below would come in handy when you ask the locals for directions.*

Deoksugung Palace (덕수궁)
Getting There: City Hall Station (Line 1, 2 Exit 3, 12)Address: 99 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul.Admission Fee: KRW1,000

Weather was great that morning. Rather than taking the subway, we decided to briskly walk to Gyeongbokgung Palace, while taking the opportunity to explore the area. Along the way, we unintentionally walked pass Deoksugung Palace, located right across the road from Seoul City Hall, where there was a cultural event at play. I spotted a clan of really good-looking celebrities (or maybe it’s just a random group of hot guys) at the event. Nevertheless, Deoksugung Palace is famed for it’s Western-styled buildings while showcasing traditional Korean influences. Rushing for time – we did not enter this palace however.

While walking towards Gyeongbukgong Palace.

Samcheongdong-gil Road (삼청동길) Hanbok Rental

Getting There: Anguk Station (Line 3 Exit 1). Facing the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace – Turn right, walk straight for about 500m along the palace walls, cross the road at the first traffic junction, you will see Christmas Jamong right at the corner, walk straight and pass Hyundai Gallery, turn right into the second alleyway.Address: 221-1 Samcheong-ro, Seoul Korea.

The one thing I’d highly recommend doing in Seoul – the Hanbok experience. There’re numerous hanbok rental places near Gyeongbokgung Palace, located along the Samcheong-ro strech. I picked one that came recommended by a few Taiwanese tourists. No English name – the place is located underground. I opted for Hanbok Rental (KRW30,000) for 6 hours, with additional Hair-Braiding services (KRW5,000). Hanbok rental in the area would typically costs KRW7,000 for an hour rental, up to KRW60,000 for a day rental, depending on hanbok designs and styles. I picked a red one because I thought it would standout more in photographs.

Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
Getting There: Gyeongbukgong Station (Line 3 Exit 5) / Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 Exit 2)
Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
Admission Fee: KRW3,000

Being the Children’s Day long weekend, admission into Gyeongbokgung Palace for the day was free (yay!), albeit flocked with locals and excited tourists alike. Gyeongbokgung Palace is the most beautiful and largest of the 5 palaces located within Seoul City. History lesson cut short – I have loads of photographs to share. These were taken right outside the palace.

I was also fortunte enough to catch both The Gwanghwamun Gate Guard Duty Performance (11am & 1pm) and The Gate Guard Changing Ceremony (10am & 2pm).

Inside the picturesque but crowded Gyeongbokgung Palace. Oh – Pardon the sneakers.

Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을)
Getting There: Anguk Station (Line 3 Exit 1). Facing the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace – Turn right and walk along the main road towards Anguk Station, Exit 2. Turn left and walk pass Rossini Restaurant on the right, walk to the end of the block and turn right.
Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Now, the directions given above may looked and seemed very simple – but we got lost. It took us about an hour to get there. Nevertheless, Bukchon Hanok Village came out of my expectation. I was literally anticipating rows of traditional folk houses (hanok) but was greeted with a series of modernised cafes and restaurants instead. The place is also popular for it’s 8 photo spots, which I may have inadvertently walked pass without taking any photographs.

Tosokchon Samgyetang (토속촌 삼계탕)
Getting There: Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 Exit 2). Facing the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace – Turn left, cross the road at the first traffic junction and walk straight for about 500m. You will pass Paris Baguette and Innisfree before turning right, into an alleyway. You wouldn’t miss the place – there will always be a queue.
Address: 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Lunch today, was at the ever popular Tosokchon Samgyetang. We had the must-have Ginseng Chicken Soup (KRW16,000), which was wholesome and fantastic. The Seafood Pancake (KRW15,000) too was also quite good but not the best. The kimchi and radish at the side though, was amazingly delicious – the best I’ve had in my Seoul trip. Tip: Do dropby slightly before peak lunch hour, at about 11pm, to avoid the insane lunch queue.

Christmas Jamong (구석진 자리)
Getting There: Facing the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace – Turn right, walk along the palace walls, cross the road at the first traffic junction, the cafe is located at the corner of Samcheongdong Road.

After returning our Hanboks at 6pm, we were exhausted. We spend the last hour before sunset, at a random cafe along the Samcheongdong stretch, enjoying chilled juice and utilising their free wifi too of course.

We head back Myeongdong for dinner that evening, which will be covered in my Myeongdong Food Guide writeup.

Food Blog by: Spicy Sharon

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