We landed in Seoul Thursday morning and our flight was delayed for 1 hour. It was raining with thunderstorm as we made our way to our Hotel (Intercontinental Coex) located in Gangnam. The traffic was bad and it took us 2+ hours from Incheon airport. Our Hotel is not located in the center and pretty far from tourist attraction but as I tagged along to Hubbie’s business trip, I didn’t have any choice. However, Intercontinental was a very nice 5 star hotel and had outstanding review in Trip Advisor.
Hubbie immediately left for his meeting as we reached our hotel. I went to the Coex Mall next door to have lunch with Bu Lucy who also tagged along his husband like me. The rain stopped as we finished lunch so I asked By Lucy if she would like to see the Gyeongbokgung Palace.
I have read that if we wear Hanbok we get to enter the palace for free and I saw so many nice pictures of people wearing Hanbok in the internet so I managed to convince Bu Lucy that we may as well rented Hanbok as they would make nice pictures as well and blended well with the palace. There were many Hanbok rental in front on the palace. I went to the closest one albeit more expensive (18,000 Won for 2 hours) because I didn’t want to make Bu Lucy walked too long. I saw the Hanbok stores in Samcheongdong was cheaper (10,000 won for 2 hour). You could also pre book via Trazy or Klook. I didn’t pre book because I was not sure what time I’d be able to go to the palace and whether I would be renting one or not.
Renting Hanbok was very easy, we just chose the size and the color we like. Hanbok to my surprise was really easy to wear. We didn’t have to take off our clothes and just wore Hanbok on top of our clothes. Though I can imagine if you go in the summer, wearing Hanbok will be too much. But as we went late summer, the weather has gotten cooler and this afternoon the weather was just nice around 22C.
The Gyeongbokgung Palace was just across our Hanbok Rental. So after storing our stuff in their locker we ventured to the Palace. As expected the entrance fee was free because we were wearing Hanbok.
Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first and largest of the royal palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace was located at the heart of newly appointed capital of Seoul (then known as Hanyang) and represented the sovereignty of the Joseon Dynasty. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces (the others being Gyeonghuigung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace), Gyeongbokgung served as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty. The Korean government has invested much time and effort into rebuilding, restoring, and maintaining the palace for future generations. These efforts include work to rebuild and restore the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese occupation. Visitors to Gyeongbokgung can also visit the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea as they are located on the palace grounds.
It was nice to visit the palace late afternoon as there were not many group tours and we got to walk slow and took many pictures with our Hanbok.
When we finished at Gyeongbokgung Palace, we returned our Hanbok and continued walking to Samcheongdong.
Samcheongdong is Seoul’s most stylish neighborhood, located just past Gyeongbokgung Palace’s stone wall lined street. The name “Samcheong” is derived from the words “sam” meaning “three”, and “cheong” meaning “fresh” or “pure”, because the mountain, water and the heart of the people in this area are all very fresh and pure. Many artists have sought out Samcheong-dong over the years hence it made Samcheong-dong became known as an artistic area. The area of Samcheongdong is actually made up of several neighborhoods: Anguk-dong, Sogyeok-dong, Hwa-dong, and Sagan-dong and ends at Samcheong Park. Samcheong-dong is dotted with various art museums, museums, art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and shops; some are traditional, some are modern, but all are unique and colorful.
We took few stop on some shops and also took some pictures in front of the traditional houses in some of the cute alleys.
From Samcheongdong we hailed a Taxi to take us to Myeongdong.
Myeongdong is Seoul’s shopping mecca, but it is not just a shopping destination. Myeongdong is also a hub of commerce, banking and culture with a daytime population of 1.5-2 million. Myeongdong has a mix of street stalls and retail outlets selling everything from high fashion to casual attire, as well as many Korean cosmetics stores offering high-quality products at competitive prices.
I have browsed the stores I needed to check in Myeongdong because Myeongdong could get overwhelming. There were so many stores and you could see 2 to 3 shops for the same mainstream brand like innisfree. We both shopped till we literally could not carry our shopping bags and decided to go back to our Hotel by Taxi.
Back to Hotel, Hubby was already waiting as he has finished his meeting and wanted to see Seoul nigh life. So I went out again with him and we walked to the near Boungensa Temple. The temple was still opened at night so we could look around.
From there we walked to the Gangnam area and had dinner in one of the Restaurant. Have I mentioned how I love Korean food? This was also one main reason why I wanted to tag along to South Korea.
It was 11pm past when we returned to Hotel and I had to wake up early the next day for DMZ tour.