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Seoul Day 2

March 29, 2014
Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

The day starts with a visit to Jogye-sa Temple and then I continue on to the palace.
I’m just in time for the changing of the guard ceremony which is colourful with drums and music.

Changing of the guard

Changing of the guard

The palace area is vast and there are two museums worth visiting. I visit both and try to fit all the buildings into my stroll.

Entry prices are very reasonable, at the bigger palaces it’s 2€, most museums are free.
Around lunchtime I head towards the city wall trail that climbs Mt.Inwang-san.
Before hiking I have my daily noodle soup with a view in the sun, I’m getting used to this!

close to the peak

close to the peak

The trail follows the city wall and is very well maintained. During the week it’s quiet but on weekends it get’s overrun. Korean’s are very much into hiking and very well equipped. Good shoes, GoreTex jackets, hiking pants and hinking sticks, everything good quality.
I feel very underdressed with my old shoes and not high tech pants, good thing I’m wearing a North Face Jacket at least!

There are ropes on difficult parts and staircases on others. It’s even possible to climb the boulders on the peak. Another peak is one giant boulder with a trail going over it that ends in a different area.
I’m following the wall to the valley and head back downtown. There’s military checkpoints along the way, no photos allowed.
At the bottom I take a wrong turn and end up on a fitness parcour, steep up and down, my I’m tired! But I do find an interesting neighbourhood with traditional old houses from famous people and a market, so the detour was worth it!
Just lucky! I love walking through those small alleys without any plan.

Jongno Tower

Jongno Tower

Because it’s still early I visit the History museum, interesting! After that I’m so tired I head home.
It’s sunset already and the modern buildings including the Jongno Tower are pretty. It gets really cold after sunset so another pot of noodle soup and into bed.

spices and medicine

spices and medicine

The sights of day 2:

Jogye-sa Temple: founded 1910, headquarters of the Jogye sect of Korean Buddhism with trees over 400 years old and the ‘Buddhism Museum’

Gyeongbokgung Palace: the first palace ever to be built during the 500 years of Joseon dynasty, construction began in 1394, in original form over 500 buildings, destroyed 1592 and left abandoned until 1865 when it got finally recontructed.
During the Japanese occupation most of the palace was torn down, only a few buildings remained, in extensive renovation since 1990

National Folk Museum of Korea: history of Korean livelihood, traditional items of Korean culture

National Palace Museum of Korea: articles of the royal families

Mt.Inwang-san city wall trail: 338m high Inwang-san was the western border, the trail follows the wall and climbs up to great vistas over the whole city

Seochon Hanok Village: an area with a some traditional houses and small markets

Gwanghwamun Square: a plaza facing Gwanghwamun, the main gate of the Gyeongbokgung Palace, statues of King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-shin

Seoul Museum of History: sketch of the 600 years history, life and culture in the early days of Seoul and a 1:1.500 scale model of the modern city

Jongno Tower: very modern building, a great landmark as you are able to identify it from every place in town, the guesthouse is very close by, very useful!

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