Our adventure in Seoul continues! Today we went to Gyeongbokgong Palace built by emperors of the Joseon Dynasty. The vast palace located in downtown Seoul and has Mount Bugaksan as the backdrop. Most of the palace is rebuilt as the majority of it was destroyed during the Japanese in 1592 and again in the early 20th century when Japan occupied the palace. Gyeongbokgong itself is a beautiful monumental architecture with beautiful gardens containing many plum and cherry blossom trees. Everyday, there is a reenactment of the changing of the guards at the main gate Gwanghwamun. For those who have seen the changing of the guards elsewhere such as Ottawa, the demonstration is similar. It is so interesting to see some rituals have no cultural or time barriers. It’s quite the treat to see. Located in the palace is also a museum with many original and replica artifacts from Gyeongbokgung. Among my favourites are the clothing and accessories that adorned the women. However, I do not envy their multiple hair pieces, it cannot be comfortable for their neck or head.
After wandering around Gyeongbokgung, we went nearby to a quarter where there are a lit of restaurants. The most popular of which is ToSokChon which serves samgyetang, a ginseng chicken stew. It is a tourist hot spot but is also a favourite of locals. Even though the line extends outside the restaurant, it is spacious enough inside to fit everyone. It also helps that management is also super efficient. They also have other types of chicken to try, which all have ginseng in it. What’s even better was even though we ordered way too much food, they also let us doggy bag the food. Always a win when you can get two meals out of one!
Towards the evening, we went to Insadong, an area with lots of pretty things for sale. If you are looking for more traditional souvenirs to bring home, this is the place to visit. There are endless amounts of stores that sell fans, cute bookmarks, clothing and other things. This is also a good place to buy tea though I found it to be a little too pricey for my tastes. But the tea is super unique as it comes from Jeju Island where Korean tea is grown, for consumption and for use in all beauty products.
Tomorrow is the weekend! We’ll be heading to NamSan and elsewhere.