Hello! I just dyed my hair with the lightest color I have ever dared to use (which I will post about some other time), as a celebration of me turning 30. Aaand while waiting for my hair dye to settle, I’m continuing our #theabellastraveltoSouthKorea.
Amidst the modern city of Seoul are five palaces, home of the royal blood during the Chosun Dynasty. Almost every first-time tourist includes a visit to at least one, if not all, of the grand royal palaces so, on our second day, we paid a visit to the largest and the most beautiful palace – Gyeongbokgung Palace.
It was Saturday and our second day in Seoul. We were very excited to tour the city and even more excited because our Korean friends and their son will join us for the day. Our friends, S and J are a married couple I met 8 years ago while I was working as an ESL teacher. That time, it was just the two of them. Their son, H came a year after. Thanks to them, we get to experience something memorable during our trip.
Our friends picked us up from our Airbnb apartment and then we went to Hanboknam, a hanbok rental shop near Gyeongbokgung Palace. Actually, I told them that we are contented with just renting the hanboks inside the palace or the ones for free at the tourist center in Myeongdong but they insisted we go to this shop. You’ll find out why later.
S took care of the rental procedures because obviously it’s easier if they speak in Korean and I think she had all these planned since the night before, I’m so moved. We were given 30 minutes to choose our clothes and change into them but since its early morning (around 9am), they are not strict.
I honestly thought we would just take pictures but…
Tadaa! We toured the palace in our hanboks. Apparently, entrance to the palace is free if you are wearing a hanbok.
Other tourists were amused with how we are dressed so we ended up having to take pictures with them. Lol!
It was summer then and considering the layer of clothing we have on, it was unbearably hot. Notice little K looking grumpy in every picture.
Behind us is Geunjeongjeon Hall where the king formally granted audiences, given declarations or received envoys.
I love how intricately designed the ceilings of the palace are.
We walked inside the palace for about 2 hours, stopping frequently to take pictures. I don’t know what made us able to endure wearing layers of clothes under the sweltering heat of the sun. It was even a miracle to get little K wear it for that long. I guess we just didn’t want to pass on this opportunity to dress like royalties which we only see in Korean dramas. Despite the heat, we enjoyed every bit of this experience. We even decided that we would wear traditional costumes of the countries we will go in our future travels.
After 2 hours of sightseeing inside the palace grounds, we gave up to the sun and headed out to have lunch. I would like to be back here in autumn or spring.
Here’s more information about Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3) Exit 5 (Enter the Gwanghwamun Gate)
Entrance Fee: Adults(19-64) KRW 3,000, Youth(7-18) KRW 1,500
Operating times: 9:00-18:00, closed on Tuesdays
Changing of Palace Guards: every hour from 10:00 until 14:00