Changdeokgung PalaceSeptember 29, 2017 in South Korea
There are a number of royal accommodations in Seoul City. Changdeokgung Palace is the 2nd palace but took prominence when the main palace (Gyeongbokgung) was destroyed by fire (since rebuilt). It's considered by some to be the most picturesque palace (bit of a nothing statement).
First I want to buy a travel card (known as T Money here). These cards can be used on buses and subways in most of the cities in the ROK. There are discounts for each trip, also means I don't have to communicate with bus drivers! I find a store that sells them and load about 33AUD onto it. Then it's off to the palace ...
My travel info says that English guided tours are offered at 10:30. I'm at the ticket office by 10 and pay 3.30 for the ticket and wander around. It turns out the tour starts at 10:15 so I miss out on the first few minutes. It's been difficult to preserve these palaces what with fires and Japanese occupation. The grounds are extensive and are 60% made up of gardens (which I won't see today).
It's a thing for girls to hire hanbok (traditional dress) and pose for endless photos. Some western girls do it as well - cultural appropriation anyone?
I walk to the Bukchon village information centre. An English-speaking guide there takes me on a short tour explaining the nature of the housing there. As there's so much wood in the housing, fire has been a constant threat. I eat lunch at a nearby restaurant (see photo) which is pork stir fry with side dishes of seafood soup, black beans, spinach and kimchi.Read more