palace

A Stroll Through Joseon Era

Seoul, South Korea —

On the fourth day of our family trip, Danny and I brought them to Gyeongbokgung or Gyeongbok Palace (경복궁), the biggest among 5 of the palaces in Seoul. In English, Gyeongbokgung (Hanja: ) means The Palace of Shining Happiness. Another name they call it is The Northern Palace due to its locality. Moreover, it is one of the most visited tourist spots in the capital. A great place to strengthen those hamstrings, too.

It was built in 1395 during the Joseon dynasty and had been destroyed by fire, but King Gojong was able to restore it during his reign. I won’t elaborate more of its history because it’s quite long, repetitive and probably boring to some. To learn more about the palace, please visit their website. Link is at the bottom part of this post. wink

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Statue of King Sejong (father of Hangeul) at Gwanghwamun Square


The Moonlight tour of Changdeokgung Palace

There are five main palaces in Korea. I had been to the biggest and majestic Gwanghwamun palace which is a must-see for all tourists because of all the history involved. But for the prettiness, I must say the Changdeokgung takes the cake! I was lucky to get into the Moonlight tour of the palace coordinated by the Korea Tourism organization on the full moon nights. The palace is beautiful in the daytime but the night time view just took my breath away!
 
General public are not allowed for this tour. There is a form to be submitted and then 100 people are allowed to participate in it.The weather was so pleasant and it was a perfect night to visit the palace. 
 
The program started out at 7:30pm, Korean precision timing, with the registration for the English or Chinese language tour guides. We were all given headphones to listen to the guide.

Seoul Wandering


Our 4th Chuseok in Korea, Part 1 – Seoul

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday. There is no pressure about gifts, the family is way less stressed, and it is all about gratitude, family, and good food. My kind of holiday. The day really embodies Fall, with it’s smells and sweaters, colors, and football (or nap time for me).

In Korea, Chuseok is compared to Thanksgiving because it is also a harvest festival (minus the genocide and kum ba yah stories of sharing some turkey), but it is as big as Christmas is in the States. Being that it’s one of the two biggest holidays in Korea, we usually get 4 or 5 days off! Hooray!

We also got some pretty great Chuseok gifts this year, and if you’re interested in seeing what kind of quirky things we got check out the video!


Re-visited Gyeongbokgung Palace in Pictures


I've visited the Gyeongbokgung Palace 3 times and this has been the only time I had the oportunity to take my time to explore it, I've posted about this before here and here, so this will only be a re-visit in Pictures!

The Changgyeong Palace in Seoul

There are five major palaces in Seoul, built during the Joseon dynasty by following the principles of Confucianism. The Gyeongbukgung is the biggest and most famous of all located in the center of Gwanghwamun square. The Chandeokgung is acclaimed to be the prettiest of all and a must-go place during the cherry blossoms and the fall season. The Changgyeongung was a part of the Chandeokgung until the Japanese invasion when it was separated and made into a zoo and a botanical garden. This palace is also the place where Jang Geum of the famous Korean Drama Dae Jang Geum- The renowned cook turned physician is said to have lived.

Wishing Trees and Rice Chests: Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung

Once a resting shelter and vacation destination for kings, the grounds of Hwaseong Haenggung in Suwon, South Korea are now a site where locals and tourists can learn about Korean royal history and culture. Despite recent renovations, every inch of the palace has a story to tell.  So much so, in fact, that when I visited there recently, I could almost sense the spirits of Korea’s dynastic leaders luring me back in time for a glimpse into the country’s captivating past.

One of the first things I noticed about Hwaseong Haenggung was that it was quite small compared to other royal structures I have visited throughout Asia.  I soon learned, however, that what the palace lacks in size, it makes up for in grandeur.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Stepping up to the plate at one of the king's chapels in the Palace of Prospering Virtue.

Gyeongbokgung in Black and White

Here is a collection of photos that I took during my last trip to Seoul. The weather was cold and dismal to say the least. However, there was a feeling that I got that it would make a great series of Black and white shots.  


Seoul: Pictures of Palaces

As part of our four day winter vacation to the tropical wonderland of Seoul, Shane and I spent several hours wandering palace grounds. Seoul is home to five Joseon Dynasty palaces, one of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the raw weather chilled us through, the palaces' vibrant colors reminded us of sunny days. 


Gyeongbokgung
or, the Palace of Shining Happiness

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