Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jongmyo Royal Shrine, Changdeokgung, Namsangol Hanok Village, N Seoul Tower and Cheonggyecheon

It's just our Day 3 in Seoul but it seemed we have covered a lot the previous day. Most of my travelmates were a bit exhausted the day after and my sister is having a headache after getting up so we decided to play it easy that morning. It was also drizzling outside which would have prevented our travel plans - or so I thought, but it didn't ruin mine.

Wearing a hoodie, I traversed through the alleys from where we were staying and arrived in Jongmyo Royal Shrine just after a short 5-minute walk.

After paying an entrance of KRW1000, I was allowed to proceed inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site of the oldest Confucian shrine today which was established since the 14th century.

Not a lot of people inside as there were still drizzles dropping that early morning. Inside, I wheezed through paths, visiting the structures one by one. These are the things I stumbled upon during my short visit:


beautiful greens and some fauna along the way

South Spirit Gate of the main shrine

Jongjeon, the main shrine

South Spirit Gate of Yeongnyeongjeon

Yeongnyeongjeon, the Eternal Peace Shrine


pathway to Oesammun, the front gate. also the entrance/exit gate

As I go out and stroll around the park in front of Jongmyo, I noticed this statue. Suddenly its top, which looked like a headgear from afar, seemed to be moving.

Looking closely and zooming in, it was a relief to see that there was a bird on top. At least I know I wasn't imagining things!

I saw this Catholic Church from there and decided to head back and get my friends and my sister to join me and pay a visit to this church.

Jongno Catholic Church

As we came in, we were led by people whom we didn't understand to the actual church, which is downstairs. It seemed to me that it was like on a lower ground/basement level. The timing was good but we didn't expect that a service was actually going on when we arrived there. The mass service was delivered in Korean language however so we can just imagine which part of the ceremony we were in based on hints.

inside the church, after the service

Before we left, we were offered a cup of some sort of juice or tea after the service. I didn't have a cup but the others who did cannot tell what exactly was in it.

We then proceeded to another UNESCO Heritage site, Changdeokgung.

Admission fees were KRW3000 each, which included a guided tour.


We weren't allowed to roam around the palace like we were doing in Gyeongbokgung. Strictly, we have to follow our guide and be where she is bringing our group.

Injeongjeon, or the throne hall

other halls

our guide, blending in the environment


The group was allowed to take a few minutes of rest in front of the Buyongjeong pavilion and Buyeongji pond where a beautiful scenery surrounded us. We took this opportunity for a group jump shot!


It was a long walk but it was well worth it for the view of the scene and learning the stories behind what we see. As we go through and exit the grounds, we're left with the usual question - what's next?

With the help of the map and some suggestion from people we spoke to, we found ourselves on the way to Namsangol Hanok Village.

Admission is free to the village. It showcases cultural shows, traditional houses and experience of the folk culture for visitors.

I've seen a few kids running around playing with this ring but I'm not sure what this is for.

entrance to a section in the village

street game

We found a spot where potteries examples and how to make them are displayed.

On the other side, there were few model houses showing way of living for folklores..

.. and that's where we took this picture of our group! :)

me, posing with a mascot

After the quick village trip, we hopped on a bus nearby Chungmuro Station.

Our destination - N Seoul Tower! We've seen this tower in a number of Koreanovelas, it has attracted us everywhere we went and people around are recommending to go there so here we were!

Tickets to go up the tower costed KRW8000 each.

From above, one can see an unobstructed 360-view of Seoul.


the tower, painted in the glass

The sun was already going down and we decided to stay a little longer to wait and see the night view from the top. While waiting, we sat and rested for a bit while taking pictures of ourselves.

view from the top as it gets dark..


messages in tiles

When we went down, I saw a couple of bears and didn't hesitate asking for a picture with them. Coincidentally, this is also where the Teddy Bear Museum is located. However the people with me were not interested. :(

The color of the tower changes to blue, green, orange, pink, yellow, white with the help of LED nights at night. We stayed a bit and watched the change of colors of the tower.

white LED light of the tower

N Seoul Tower entrance at night

floating man?

It was dinner time! We proceeded to Cheonggyecheon to see the famous water stream at night but we had dinner first at Omuraisu-tei, a Japanese restaurant.

pepper and pickled cucumber sides

my meal, sausage, beef patty with corn, potatoes, egg and rice!

look how happy I was!

group photo!

After dinner, we proceeded right to Cheonggyecheon, a stream at the heart of the city. It used to be dirty and drying up, it was revived and now is a nightly attraction and recreation area for tourist and locals.

views at Cheonggyecheon

We then walked from here all the way back to our inn. Then we passed under one of the bridges and I thought it was a good opportunity for another photo..

.. so I asked Patrick O. to take these "emo" picture using my camera..

That ended our very long day and we sure were happy to see our beds again. We sure had covered a lot and I can't believe we've done all these in just a day. Tomorrow we will leave the city with good memories, but wait yet as we do something before we fly off!


carlotta1924 said...

that's one amazing korean tour! i feel like i've been to korea with this post :)

btw, your name sounds familiar. you might be a school mate from sja but lower batch

Jasper said...

@carlotta1924 - hi yes! what batch were you in? small world! :)

eunice said...

hey hey! Great to hear from you again! I thought you not gonna update your blog! So, the date on the latest post should be the date when the photos were taken?

The two countries I hope to visit - Korea and Japan! Just heard from the news that the Yen has weakened. Hope it's a good sign for budget traveller like me. :P

Ur photos are so funny!!

Jasper said...

@eunice - hi there! the dates - it's actually the time i had starting to write scratch notes about the trip so i won't forget them. yeah i know i have a lot to catch up but i'm trying. :)

Ian | GoingRoamingWandering said...

I've been to Seoul already I have never visited these great places... hopefully on a future travel.

Great stories for catching up.

Jasper said...

@ian - thanks ian! seoul is a lovely city. there's always reason to go back :)

sakura said...

hi there! i came across with your blog while surfing the Internet re travel stories about South Korea..I've been planning to go there with my friends and if schedule and money will allow us maybe we might go there next year. I'm glad to have found your blog because now I can ask how much shall each of us save. It's hard to ask people from other countries since I still have to convert their currencies to peso. So if my friends and I are to spend a week at South Korea how much do we need to save the least?

Jasper said...

@sakura - for this trip, more or less the expenses were around PHP15k plus airfare. for a week i suggest at least PHP25k each