Honestly, my initial travel plan in Seoul was visiting Nami Island or Namiseom as the Koreans called it. Nami Island becomes famous after the most romantic scenes of the drama Winter Sonata were shot here. Funny thing is that, I've never ever watched that drama - in fact, any Koreans drama. The reason why I wanna go there is simply becoz the place is just so beautiful. Anyway, since my Koreans colleague advised me not to go (fearing that I might get lost getting there), I decided to abide to their advise then. When the time came, I know I would eventually set my foot there.
In this entry, I'm gonna write a short summary on some of the places I've been to while in Seoul two weeks ago. I hope this entry would somehow provides some tips to those who would be needing it.
There were five grand palaces built in Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty. The good thing about these palaces is that they are located within the city area which makes them easily accessible. Out of these 5 palaces, I only managed to visit 4 of them. By the time I arrived at the fifth palace which is Gyeongbokgung, it was already over 5 pm & hence, closed.
Generally, all of the palaces are very much alike - the design, architecture & are all made of wood. Deoksugung Palace is by far, my favourite of all Seoul’s palaces. For a start, entrance is cheap - 1000 won is all it takes. Another thing that makes this particular palace special is the Royal Guards Changing Ceremony which is happening at @ 11 am, 2 pm and 3.30 pm everyday (except Mondays). It is a bit of historical drama mixes with Seoul's modernity which is really amusing.
I was so lucky during my visit there for I'd been given the honour to start the ceremony by hitting the big "gong" for three times. For the said ceremony, I need to put on a special costume which is an outfit worn by the Empress. Isnt that cool? It was indeed one of the most memorable experience I had in Korea. For a moment, I felt like a star - with the costume & a big crowd swarming all over the place, who wouldnt?
Namsan Seoul Tower
This is one of Korea's important landmark besides being one of the most popular place for couples. Besides the beautiful view of the city, you'll see thousands of lock attached to the fence at the viewing deck. These locks symbolizing the love between couples. Promises of love are written on a lock and the key thrown away. Superstition holds that their love will hold fast; like the lock left behind on the fence.
Insadong is the place to go if you want a truly "Korean" experience. It is most widely known for its attention and preservation of the Korean Culture. Here is the place for your traditional shopping and Korean specialized items. They have everything from eating, household items, souvenirs and collectibles. It's a great place to stroll and take in the pleasing mix of traditional and contemporary Korean culture.