Gyeongbokgung palace

Seoul, a glimpse into the heart of South Korea

Gyeongbokgung palace
Im at Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul

During January ’08 I taught English at a winter camp in South Korea. The school was in the South so I only got to explore Seoul for a weekend. My month in South-Korea was very interesting and definitely a culture shock but not a place I would like to live in for too long. I was offered a longer contract after my winter camp finished but I declined ads I was hungry. Yes, I was hungry as I don’t much like the spicy food of South Korea.

Visiting Seoul was a great way to get to know a bit more about the culture of this interesting country. The city bus tour is a great way to see the city and everything it has to offer but in the winter everything closes after 3 pm so maybe exploring during the summer would be more rewarding.

The main tourist attraction is Gyeongbokgung palace. It is the biggest palace in Seoul, and reminded me of the early years of Korean dynasties that I have read about or seen in movies. Most of the buildings had been reconstructed after the Japanese destroyed nearly all 330 buildings. The 48-columned pavilion still give you an idea of how it must have looked once.

It was very cold outside and all the ponds were frozen over. The grounds of the palace is barren in the winter but it was so beautiful! Unfortunately it seems like each palace or temple in South Korea looks like the previous one you just saw and it is quite hard to distinguish them from each other.

The only obvious thing that stood out about Changdeokgung palace which was its big gardens stretching throughout the palace. This palace is on the World Heritage site and took me along Seoul’s oldest stone bridge, the mansion of Naksonjae and the wonderful secret gardens of Biwon.

I only had 24 hours to explore Seoul and think that there are a lot more to see and experience. Which places would you recommend for my next visit?

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15 comments

  1. You’d have to spend a week to truly cover Seoul, Janaline. 🙂 There’s so much to do and see. From what I’ve heard, Seoul has changed quite a bit in the past few years. There are lot more eating options, milder and non-spicy. 🙂 And coffee shops have taken over. You can sit for hours and do nothing — if that’s on your plate. 🙂 We’ve moved to Seoul (after 2 prior stints) this July. I’m amazed how this city changed every few days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Seoul. I’ve lived just outside of it for two years and it’s one of my favorite places to go. I would suggest going to a baseball game, even if you don’t like baseball. The sportsmanship, the chants, and the eating of chicken instead of popcorn is great. I would also suggest a picnic and playing board games near the Han River, going to Namsan Tower, and going to see the stall shopping in Dongdaemun.

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