Seoul Searching, Day 5 (Gyeongbokgung & Myeongdong)

It was my last full day in Seoul, and that meant one thing: closure. My Integrated Admission Ticket wasn’t completely used up, there were some foods I still haven’t tried, and I was in South Korea but I still hadn’t bought any cosmetics!

It was my last full day in Seoul, and that meant one thing: closure. My Integrated Admission Ticket wasn’t completely used up, there were some foods I still haven’t tried, and I was in South Korea but I still hadn’t bought any cosmetics!

The last palace on my ticket was Gyeongbokgung Palace, and, guys, it isn’t only the largest among all the five palaces, it’s the best. If you’re not interested or don’t have time to visit all five palaces, go to Gyeongbokgung.

Seoul

When you do, use Line 5. It will take you to Gwanghwamun Square, where you’ll not only get to see the city from what feels like it’s center, but also watch the palace gate loom over you as you walk towards it.

Gwanghwamun Square

Gwanghwamun Square

As if my trip wasn’t great enough already, Lady Luck decided to get involved: I arrived just in Gyeongbokgung as it was being announced that the Changing of the Royal Guard ceremony was about to take place.

I didn’t know what that meant but I rushed to the front as the crowd was herded to the side and a large section of the ground was cordoned off. Then I watched in awe as the king and his royal guards appeared in full costume. The royal guards’ performance was even more awesome – there was fighting too!

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Right from the beginning I was impressed, but it didn’t start and end there. Gyeongbokgung Palace was bigger and more magnificent than the other palaces; and the palace complex includes a pavilion in the middle of a picturesque lake, Gyeonghoeru or The Royal Banquet Hall in the middle of a pond, and a lot of other structures that were well-maintained and uncrowded – perfect for appreciating the atmosphere of the historical site.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

 

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

After Gyeongbokgung I sought out a Korean dish famous in the Philippines but hadn’t had in Korea yet: bibimbap. Since I was going to Myeongdong next, I looked up famous bibimbap restaurants in the area and found Gogung. I had high expectations because the restaurant’s rating was quite high on TripAdvisor and because when my order came it looked like this:

Myeongdong Bibimbap

Sadly, I was disappointed. It tasted a little bland. 😞 The only consolation was that it was filling so I at least recovered my energy for the next activity on my list: shopping.

To be honest though, I don’t really shop that much so if you came here hoping to find some guide on the shops in Myeongdong, sorry, but you’ll have to search elsewhere. I already knew what I wanted and needed to buy in Myeongdong so I went in and out of Innisfree for facial masks (I love Innisfree’s masks! They work on my skin and they’re so cheap!) and then Lotte for boots.

All in all, I spent 30 minutes in both places, which is the same amount of time I spent admiring the architecture of Myeongdong Cathedral and the voices of the chorus members who were practicing when I was there.

Myeongdong

I spent the rest of the afternoon buying trinkets for souvenirs and trying out all the food I could fit in my stomach (hotteok is the best, y’all) in Namdaemun Market. I wish I had taken pictures but I was distracted by the bustling and the sights and smell of food that I didn’t even have time to reach for my phone.

My final meal on this day was as commonplace and affordable as the snacks I had in the market but, again and luckily, it was with fun people. I and my AirBNB hosts wanted to eat together and when they found out I like tteok-bokki, they had some food delivered; and we spent the rest of the evening eating, talking, and drinking.

teokbokki delivery

Good food and good company in a great city. A perfect end for a wonderful trip, I’d say.

 

Divider

Integrated Admission Ticket: ₩10,000 (Four palaces and Jongmyo Shrine included)

Gyeongbokgung Palace Hours: 09:00-17:00 (changes depending on the season)
Admission: ₩3,000
Nearest Station: Gyeongbokgung Station but I recommend Gwanghwamun Station

Myeong-dong Cathedral Admission: Free
Nearest Station: Myeong-dong Station

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