Day 6: The day I am glad I do not stay in a palace
16 June 2013
Today we decided to follow Rachael’s schedule of walking around Bukchon area. This Bukchon area is situated in the middle of Seoul but the interior designs of the entire area (including houses and shops) have been preserved the traditional way.
After a late breakfast we started our walk from Angguk (where we were staying).
The entrance of Bukchon Culture Centre. It was actually quite small and we missed it the first time we passed by it.
The traditional korean designs were beautiful……….
I actually really loved that they used wood, I think it made it look really vintage yet classy.
We managed to enter some of the shops, but sometimes we can’t really tell whether they are houses or shops.
These are some of the shops. They were small and cosy and looks inviting.
The weather was really hot and the road was steep too. Yet, we continued walking….
Actually there are guest houses such as this one, in Bukchon, which are available for booking. It would be really interesting to experience staying in one, except, the prices are quite steep compared to the regular guest houses that we stay in.
We then found this shop, that looks like a traditional house. Its soooo cosy and pretty!
We explored the different rooms in the house….
I loved how the mini garden was the centre of the shop.
As we continued walking, we arrived at this massive concrete building.
Its actually a high school! Apparently, a lot of tourists do come into the high school for photo taking because its situated in the middle of Bukchon too.
As we walked, we did not want to miss the opportunity to capture the beautiful designs of random things….
The quiet walkway. There are residents inside the houses so there were signs asking us to be quiet while sightseeing.
We decided to drop by a museum in the area.
So it was a museum of traditional and vintage furnitures.
The museum has nothing much. I was more fascinated by this big portable air con and since it was such a hot day, I was standing right in front of it to cool myself down.
Time for a short break after all the walking in the heat.
This cafe was cosy and the toys on the seats reminded me of Christmas. I kinda love the concept of the cafe. This is one the things I love about Seoul. There are little cafes almost everywhere.
Finally!! A cool dessert to help us cool down!
Our next stop. Chang Deok Gung Palace!
This place was huge! I was just glad that I was in my sports shoes!
From afar, it does look like a chinese temple. The signs on the boards are written in chinese characters because hangul actually derived from chinese characters.
This wast the King’s throne. It was blocked off so we could not really go in.
We wanted to explore the whole palace but it was really too big! I wonder if any of the King’s subjects got lost in the palace.
A sample of one of the king’s concubine houses.
Apparently, this palace has lasted hundreds of years and was once destroyed. To preserve the history and tradition, it was rebuild and now its a tourist attraction.
We were scheduled to tour the ‘Secret Garden’ at 2 pm. This garden was sacred and only the king and selected people were allowed to enter it. Even visitors are not allowed to randomly walk around in the Secret Garden by themselves.
This was our tour guide.
We were informed that the Secret Garden tour would take up about 1.5 hours and 3 km walk! Since we were already there, I thought we might as well go all the way.
Taking a quick photo of the entrance while the tour guide was talking.
I so love the calmness of the Secret Garden. It was as if the Secret Garden was created to allow the king to rest and enjoy some private time. This shelter next to mini river was seriously calling me. I really feel like lying down on it and taking a nap.
A stream and a little history behind it.
The guide said that since its summer there isn’t much water in it.
I felt that the entire tour was more like a hike. Some of the hills were steep and there were stairs to climb too such as these.
You need to congratulate me for being able to do this. Climbing was never an issue, but going down steep steps was not easy with this 50 year old knee.
Its no wonder our guide is so slim and fit! Haha!
Since Rachael was away to church, we went over to KTO to do Zohor prayers and get some information.
We wanted to walk at this stream but it was way too hot. The last time we walked in December it was too freezing cold. When will we ever get to stroll here? Lol.
Time for dinner! This restaurant is called ‘School Store’ and has a school canteen-like concept.
Simple food for dinner.
The gang! It was amazing to be able to meet Pavel in Seoul!
As usual, I made the gang do the crazy poses with me.
Once we were done with dinner, we made our way to Banpo Bridge. Banpodaegyo (Bridge) is a two-tiered bridge over the Hangang (River) that features the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain. We were rushing because we were hoping to catch the 9.20 pm show.
The place was crowded with people and I can see why. It was cooling at night and the music and the beautiful view of the fountain made it a popular place to hang out. If you are in Seoul, you must check this place out!
It was really a beautiful sight! My photos do not do justice at all! I was glad to be there with the gang even though it was a long walk from the subway station.
Squeeze head photo shot before leaving. It was Pavel’s last night in Seoul too as he was flying back the next day. We were glad to be able to meet him up tonight!
I think I really lost weight with all the walking today! Haha!