Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Seoul: A little off the beaten path

*Update: Airport limo tickets into the city can now be purchased at the ticket counter near Exit 4 of the airport. You no longer have to purchase the tickets from the bus driver or the ahjussi helping to haul your luggage into the bus. 

This post is focused on my recent trip to Seoul where I did a little more sightseeing than the usual shopping frenzy I get myself into.

Bukchon Hanok Village
Take Subway Line 3 to Anguk Station Exit 3. Walk 250m towards Jungang High School and you will start seeing signs leading to the Bukchon Hanok Village. The houses here have been preserved since the Joseon era and are a real piece of history amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Do stop at the Bukchon Cultural Centre to get a map of the area. The map highlights the 8 photo spots of Bukchon where you can take scenic photos. Word of caution: the 8 spots are difficult to find even if you follow the map closely and look for the markings on the ground. It will take more than half a day to stop at the coffee shops, browse the quaint curios hand made by the locals and to locate the 8 photo spots. Personally, I only managed to find 2!

Around the Bukchon area

Quaint cafes

Changdeok Palace
Changdeokgung is located right beside the vast Bukchon area and opens from 915am-345pm. Entry costs 3,000won and if you decide to take the Secret Garden tour, that will cost you another 1,500won. You can comfortably cover the entire palace in 1.5-2hours. Considering its age, this is an extremely well preserved relic and offers a glimpse of how the royalty lived in the olden days.

Majestic buildings and lush gardens of Changdeokgung

Gwanghwamun Square & Cheongye Plaza
Located on Subway Line 5 Exit 2, no visit to Seoul is really complete without visiting Gwanghwamun Square. You can occasionally glimpse some Korean drama being filmed here and may even be able to see some top stars acting. Do check out the timing for the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace. The troops will walk pass the Square in full regalia.

Cheonggyecheon Stream is another popular gathering ground for the young and old. In the summer, you can see couples, friends and family soaking their feet in the river. In the winter, it is best to sit by the river with your cuppa joe.

Gates at Gyeongbokgung and Cheongyecheon in the autumn

Trickeye Museum
The Trickeye Museum is a play on the human eye as its namesake suggests. The museum can be reached on Subway Line 2 Exit 9 Hongik University station. It opens from 10am-9pm and costs 13,000won per pax. From Exit 9, walk straight and turn left at the VIPS restaurant. Walk straight till you arrive at Starbucks and across the road you will see a Tony Moly shop. Turn right at the lane BEFORE Tony Moly. The museum is located in the middle of the street, at the basement of a building. Like any museum, there are paintings and sculptures. However, the paintings are here all done to provide optical illusions. Bring a friend! You need someone to help you take photos or a tripod.

Sizing up the package

What a windfall!

Weather: Warm in the day around 21c and chilly at night at 10-14c. A jacket or cardigan is advised as it can be quite windy.
Posted by fongie on 9/12/2012 08:31:00 PM in , , , ,