A visit to Seoul would not have felt complete, if we did not visit at least one of the 5 royal palaces. We chose to visit the oldest, and largest, 경복궁 Gyeongbokgung Palace 景福宮 (which translated to “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven”).
There was some miscommunication with the ticket counter staff when we purchased our tickets, as she advised that once we exit to watch the Changing of Guard Ceremony, we could not re-enter the palace.
As we had arrived just past 11am, we had also missed the palace tour. Since it was almost 2 hours’ wait for the next performance, so we decided to check out the surrounding area and grab a bite first, before coming back.
There was a statue of King Sejong the Great near the palace, however, there appeared to be some event at that area, so we did not venture over.
Eventually, we decided to chill at the Museum Cafe of the nearby 국립현대미술관 National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA) 國立現代美術館, while waiting for the Changing of Guards Ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace. Online reviews mentioned that there are very good exhibits in this place, if you are a fan of modern art.
We had the following:
- 60’s Korean Favourite Coffee (₩3,000): This reminded us of a very smooth cup of local coffee back home, which was a great perk-me-up!
- Cinnamon Punch (₩4,500): Ah,this tasted a bit like herbal tea 😛
- Cheesecake (₩2,000): Interestingly, this cheesecake did not have any crust, but it was still quite nice.
Coming back to the Palace, we then discovered that it was possible for multiple re-entries on the same day -_-”
Anyway, we did the following based on the schedule for the day:
- Gwanghwamun Gate Guard Duty Performance at 1pm
- Gate Guard Changing Ceremony at 2pm
- National Palace Museum of Korea Tour at 2:30pm (it was just the 2 of us with the guide!)
- Gyeongbokgung Palace Tour at 3:30pm (just gather at the signboard out the Tourist Information Centre with the timings when it is about time)
There was also supposed to be a Gatekeeper Military Training, which we did not see (or we could have saw, but thought it was part of the Gate Guard Changing Ceremony).
We highly recommend going for the tours to better appreciate the history, and exhibits. Also, it is better to allocate one full day here, as we did not have sufficient time to visit the National Folk Museum.
|경복궁 Gyeongbokgung Palace 景福宮:
|국립고궁박물관 National Palace Museum of Korea 國立古宮博物館:
|국립민속박물관 National Folk Museum of Korea 國立民俗博物館: