This blog is about the old, historic parts of Seoul, in case you were wondering! There were plenty of Temples which many visitors explored while dressed in traditional costumes – which gave them free entry to the temples.
We started with Gyeongbokgung Palace where we saw the changing of the guard, complete with traditional dress which was a marked contrast to the glassy skyscrapers in the background.
I really enjoyed wandering around the palace grounds at Gyeongbokgung Palace. The air was cleaner as there were so many trees around, which was a welcome break from the smog of the city. The autumnal leaves were also beautiful.
We also saw the changing of the guard at Deoksugung Palace – a busy city-centre palace opposite Seoul Plaza. There were large queues to go inside just after the changing of the guard, but we came back later in the evening and it was empty.
We also went to both Hanok Villages showcasing the old-style architecture of Seoul. Bukchon Hanok Village is an actual lived-in village so you have to be quiet when you walk around the streets and be respectful with taking photos. There were wardens standing on the street corners reminding tourists to be quiet, and there was a banner saying “No tourists allowed thanks for your cooperation. Our village is suffering from tourists“. Due to our route, we didn’t see this until we were leaving anyway.
Namsangol Hanok Village is not lived in, but is a perfectly preserved example of the old-style Hanok Village. We saw small children looking round with their English tutors and I was amazed at the standard of the children’s English. On balance, Namsangol Hanok Village is better as you can properly explore, look inside the buildings, take copious photos, and you don’t have to whisper.
We also went to Changdeokgung Palace and the neighbouring Changgyeonggung Palace and enjoyed more autumn leaves and temples. Overall, the Palaces of Seoul were well worth exploring, and I was pleasantly surprised at how pretty they were. I also found them to be a great respite from the smog as the Palaces are surrounded by trees which are the lungs of the city.
next blog: Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea
previous blog: Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea