Thursday, May 04, 2017

Deoksugung Palace 덕수궁 in Seoul

I have heard of its name but never got a chance to visit it until yesterday. During my visit, I managed to watch the changing of Royal Guard ceremony at the Dae Han Mun upon entering into the Deoksugung. The ceremony was kinda long which made me wondering if they took such long time in the past too. 

Every last Wednesday of each month is Culture Day so visitors get to visit all palaces free of charge. We found out it and thought of why not so we went there. Its usual entrance fee is 1,000KRW which is one third of the entrance fee of Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung.

This palace is so much smaller compared to the main palaces. We completed the whole tour in less than an hour and left with no place to go. It was already close to the closing time of the palace so not in time to visit other palaces instead. 

I was surprised to see this Western style building in the palace. By looking at just this photo, perhaps it doesn't look like any building that will exist in Seoul.

The lowest rank of the government officers stood here for the assembly with the Emperor in those days.

This is where the highest rank officers stood in those days. Does standing closer to the Emperor means that the chances of your voice being heard are higher? 

How to get there?
Subway station - City Hall Exit 12 go straight and it's the main entrance of Deoksugung.

It's always so fun to visit the palace. I can't help but to think how did the royalty live in the palace and curious about their daily lives in the building. Is the drama portraying exactly what happened in the past? *curious curious*

Monday, April 24, 2017

4 places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul

March and April are the months where the social media account feed will be flooded with sakura photos posted by friends travelling in Japan or South Korea. I finally get to witness the beautiful cherry blossoms by myself in Seoul, South Korea. (((Hurray)))

The sakura in Seoul is not those pinkish romantic kind of colour but pale pink to almost white colour. It is equally beautiful regardless where it is. 

This post is to list out the places (for my future reference) to see the cherry blossoms in Seoul. Some places may have early blooming while some places are later but it doesn't matter. It is everywhere in Seoul starting from end of March to the full month of April. 

Seoul-forest 서울숲

We took the subway to this station called Seoul-forest. I really like this park as it is crowded and I get to enjoy the beautiful flowers in slow pace. They were in full bloom therefore people were picnicking under the trees or taking a nap. No doubt, people were also busy taking photos of or with the flowers. 

It is a shame that I did not bring my camera with me in this trip hence not able to post photos with a better quality. The weather was so good and I enjoyed strolling around the park to enjoy the comfortable sun shined on my face while the breeze came softly. Besides that, they do play background music for the visitors to enjoy while watching the flowers. So nice!!

There were a few pairs of couple taking their pre-wedding photos at the park on the day of my visit. It must be really beautiful and awesome to have it as the background.

Jamsil 잠실

This is the location of the Lotte World too. The exact place to see is Seokchon Lake 석촌호수 which is shown in the photos below. The crowd at the lake was horribly crazy. It's not easy to get a strategic corner to take a photo with the flowers as the background with less crowd. 

Even though it is so crowded but it was still fascinating to see the whole pathway surrounding the lake was all covered by the cherry blossoms as the roof. It was really beautiful when the wind blows and the petals fall. was like snowing petals. 

This photo was taken by my classmate. The building is the new Lotte Mall at Jamsil with transparent sight viewing deck at the highest floor (if not mistaken) and it has at least 100 floors. Refer to this link for other attractions at this place

Gyeongbokgung 경복궁
I took this opportunity to wear Hanbok (Korean traditional costume) and took photos in the palace when the cherry blossoms were everywhere. It was another kind of beautiful scenery with the traditional buildings. Many visitors were wearing Hanbok so at one point, it was like I got teleport back to Goryeo dynasty except that I can roam around freely in the palace without worries. haha

Free entrance for visitors who wear Hanbok. 

I wore the Hanbok twice on different day with different weather. Blue Hanbok was worn on a cold day and I caught a cold after that. Red Hanbok was worn on a sunny day. Coincidentally the colour represented the weather of the day. 

 Yeouido 여의도

Yeouido is one of the famous places to watch the cherry blossoms. It is beside the Hangang (Han river) therefore people were picnicking on the grass or cycling along the river. The rental of bike for an hour is 3,000KRW. I was enjoying myself therefore not many photos were taken at this place. You may search for it on Instagram for the photos.

Above are the 4 main attractions that I went to see the beautiful nature scenery. There are many other places beside them that I went to but I didn't really take photos. I was merely admiring the awesome scenery and so glad that I get to witness them with my bare eyes.

The flowers fell off as time goes by but some other flowers bloom instead. It is so colourful everywhere now compared to the greyish view that I saw when I first came to Seoul in the early March 2017. It is undeniable that beautiful flowers can make one happy which is why majority of the women love flowers.

Hopefully I get to go back to these places in the future to witness the beauty once again. If not South Korea then maybe Japan? I need advance planning in order to grab the cheaper air ticket during airline promotion. hehe One thing for sure in the next trip is I must bring a camera along and don't count on phone camera alone.