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Unhyeong Palace: The Hall of Royal Family Culture

Touring around the palaces in Korea is such a great experience. It’s topping the list of the foreigner’s itineraries. I may say that you’ve never been in the peninsula if you missed those primes.

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Just imagine these enfeebled royal residences preserved for thousands of years. A great culture and tradition located in the middle of the city and surrounded by modish sophistication.

I’d been to other palaces in Seoul and they all actually have a display of great design and architecture. However, honestly speaking they all look the same. They differ on the other hand on some special portion. For an instance, Gyeongbukgung has a beautiful pond with an immense landscape under the moonlight, Changdeoukgung with its splendid secret garden and Changgyeongung with a stream surrounded by cherry blossoms.

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Last spring, I came across a poster of The Royal Wedding Reenactment of Garye for King Gojong and Queen Myeongseong at Unhyeongung and all of a sudden I remember that I’ve never been there. So I checked the date and plotted it on my calendar.

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So here we are, the day of the reenactment falls on the same day of Lotus Lantern Festival for which the big preparation was at Joggyesa Temple. All right, we were late actually and sorry for that! Anyway we’ve got to see the last part and guess which was that? … the commemorative photography!

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Luckily, this royal program is done twice a year and the next and last reenactment this year will be on September 30, 2017 at 2:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon. and I’ll be making sure that I’ll be there on time.

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… the king and the queen after the ceremony…

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To give you a glimpse of these procedures, Garye is a royal wedding ceremony it will then portray the ceremony of King Gojong and Queen Myeongseong in 1866, a traditional dance about their beautiful beginnings, royal procession with palace officials and soldiers, palatial dances and the commemoration in which the King will receive the Queen.

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So, if you’ve no plan yet for this day, remember it’s September 30, Saturday this is great place to be as it happens only two times a year and in addition a walk inside Unhyeongung is a nice palace too. It may be the smallest palace in Seoul but with a beauty of its own.

Tip: Admission is free year round. There is also a hanbok rental shop inside.

Direction:

(1) Anguk Station of Orange line or subway line number 3, 2 minutes walk from exit 4, by just walking straight.

(2) Jungno 3-ga, Line 3, Exit 5

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Namsangol Hanok Village

A visit in Namsangol Hanok Village will make your Seoul trip complete. On any season, this Korean traditional houses offers great experience to locals and foreign visitors.

…. entrance gate and admission is free to all

…photo booths next to the entrance

Located in the bosom of Namsan (Nam mountain), this village comprises five hanok (Korean traditional house) buildings that shows the great history and culture of Korea.

Taekwondo and cultural shows are often performed on this stage every weekend

I’d been here several times, often for a photo shoots that Filipos conducted and this is also one of the famous location for Korean photographers especially for a pre nuptial photo shoots.

Koreans on their green photo contest day.

An old village in the heart of Seoul. A culture surrounded by modern achitecture. 

You can try on hanboks (Korean traditional dress) rent fee is affordable

A foreign visitor wearing hanbok for a royal family

… a pond in the middle of Namsangol

Theses hanoks were restored and rebuilt according to the structure of nobleman’s and commoner’s houses. The same with the furnitures which we can see inside.

It was a fine day when I visited and the sky is clear and a lot of people. The Taekwondo show was finished and some performers were practicing a dance.

This village is so easy to find. Take subway Line 3 or 4 to Chungmuro station, walk out from exit 3 or 4. It’s in between the station and just 2minute walk to the entrance.

Seoul Fortress Wall: Dongdaemun to Hyewadong

Needless to say that walking along Seoul’s fortress wall is one of “must do” things when in Korea. The fortress from Dongdaemun stretching to Hyewadong area has the best view of the city.

I’d been to this walking course last year’s fall and the autumn scenery was eventually awesome. The autumn colors of trees were a total panorama for nature lovers. It made me feel tireless for the entire one and a half hour trail.

This wonderful spring day we started the walking course from Heunginjimun Gate in Dongdaemun station line 1, wandered around Ihwa Mural Village and spend leisurely time in Naksan park which is one of the best sunset spot, and we ended the trail in Hyehwamun Gate.

 

Flowers, murals and fortress in one splended day. Wandering in these walking course was really cool thing to do. On a no cost tour, a form of exercise and a glimpse on Korea’s historical landmarks.

The Hyehwamun gate is in between Hyewadong Rotary and Hansung University Station. You could start the trail either from Dongdaemun station or Hansung University Station. Either way you’ll end up exploring those places.

Direction: Dongdaemun Station Line 1 and 4..exit 6 or Hansung University Station Line 4..exit 4.

Joggyesa Temple

Joggyesa Temple is one of the most important symbol of Buddhism in Korea. Located in the heart of Seoul, this temple is close to Insadong. Also considered as one amongst the most eminent  Buddhist temple in Seoul.

If you are to visit this temple, don’t miss the days before the celebration of Yeon Deung Hoe or the Lotus Lantern Festival. The annual festival is celebrated a week before Buddha’s birthday.

This year 2017, the festival will run from April 28-30. With lotus lanterns, street parades, performances, exhibits and other exciting ectivities. The festival will held at Dongduk stadium, Cheonggye stream, Beonggeunsa Temple and Joggyesa temple.

Joggyesa temple as these days is currently adorned by colorful lanterns in preparation for the coming festival. The festival and displays of traditional lanterns at Cheonggyecheon will last until May 7.

Direction: Line 3… Angguk Station..exit 6. Walk past Insadong cross the pedestrian, walk to your left for about 3 minutes.

From Line 1…Jonggak Station…exit 2…walk straight for 5 minutes.

Changgyeongggung Palace

Palaces in Seoul are one of the best places to visit for a glimpse of cherry blossoms in the spring. There are five main palaces which you can visit for this season: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Gyeonghuigung,Deoksugung and Changgyeonggung.

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Located in the heart of Seoul, Changgyeong Palace is the third palace built in Joseon dynasty. This palace has big greenhouse, a stream surrounded by cherry blossom trees, garden and zoo.

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A visit in this palace and understanding its history will surely make your day. Admission is 1,000 Korean won and free if you’re wearing hanbok, the Korean traditional dress.

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Direction:  Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 3. Walk straight from the exit along Yulgok-ro for about 1 km. Turn left onto Changgyeonggung-ro. Walk about 300 m to find the palace entrance on the left.

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Changdeokgung Palace and Its Secret Garden

Changdeokgung Palace is the most unique Korean palace constructed way back 1405. Its exclusive landscapes and the secret garden were so popular and much visited than the other palaces in Seoul.

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Changdeokgung’s main entrance.

It was my second time visiting this grand palace and yet my first time to take a glimpse of this famous secret garden. This garden was only betrothed to the king and royal family of the Joseon dynasty.

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A pond used to be the resting area of the royal family.

As I walked through the walled alley, the maple leaves in fall colors are so stunning and it radiantly embellished the surroundings. Sixty percent of Changdeokgung Palace plenary embraces this secret garden. It took two hours of strolling and sightseeing for this part of this palace.

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This alley is the entrance to the secret garden which is also where the tour will start.

 

 

The well-preserved pavilions, valley, pond and adorned buildings showed an enticing and delicate panoramic view. Giving you a feeling of being part of Korean history.

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There are only a few structures inside the secret garden but the trees and ambiance are really amazing. I can imagine why the royal family made this haven only for them.

GOPR4476-01.jpegI strongly suggest that if you’re planning for a visit, wear hanbok, the Korean traditional dress, which are available for rent around the palace. This will give you one of a kind experience and in addition, you’re not going to pay for the entrance ticket, yes! It’s free in all palaces.

GOPR4518-01.jpeg Visiting this secret garden is only available with a guided and group tour, no one is allowed to go inside alone. Leaving the entrance at a scheduled time and no late admittance.

GOPR4533-01.jpegTours available at 11:30, 13:30, 14:30 and 15:30 for English speaking guide. Rather if you can understand Korean language well, it runs every hour from 10:00 to14:45.

GOPR4442-01.jpeg The admission cost for Changdeokgung Palace is 3,000won add 5,000 for the Secret Garden.

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Fall is really wonderful and perfect weather for visiting these palaces in Seoul. Have fun strolling.

 

 

Korean Folk Village, Odyssey to Korea’s Past

Korea is one among the countries in Asia with a rich history. At present this peninsula is a mishmash of modern technology and history, which exactly the reasons why Korea is one of the most visited countries in Asia.

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The entrance of Korean Folk Village.

From well-preserved fortresses, impressive palaces in the middle of the city, historical sites, hanok villages to the state of the art buildings, appliances and gadgets that’s mesmerizing the people around the world.

 

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Folk Village area

Korean Folk Village is no exception of this abounding history. It is in fact, one of a kind old village that is so popular among Koreans and foreigners. The village glory and prestige rooted from the Joseon dynasty, a Korean kingdom that lasted for approximately five centuries. A peaceful village encompassed by the Korean ancestor’s wisdom and wits.

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Let us all be a time traveler and let’s start our odyssey

 

GOPR3480.jpgThis folk village is surrounded by mountains and typically facing a river with picturesque array of ginko and maple trees that’s so lovely especially this autumn season. The crimson colors and yellow leaves displayed a magnificent beauty of nature.

GOPR3422.jpgThese 240 acres of land is divided into four regions or villages that made us deeply admired the place: the Market Village; Amusement Village; Folk Village and Market Place.

GOPR3477.jpgFestivals, traditional events, art performances, exhibition halls and life scene experience are also not to be missed. And due to its well-preserved historical ambiance, this village became famous for filming Korean dramas and movies.

GOPR3455.jpgSituated 40 minutes away from Seoul, the village is a hassle-free place to travel.

GOPR3475.jpgIf you are from Seoul, take Bus 5001-1 from Line 2 Gangnam Station, exit 10. It takes 40 minutes with a fare of 2,500won.

GOPR3439.jpgFrom Suwon station, take bus no.37 or 10-5; from Jukjeon station bus no.30. The free shuttle bus ride is from Sanggal Station, Bundang line.

GOPR3469.jpgVisit Korea and don’t miss this village.

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