Seoul in South Korea is a great city to visit. It deserves far more than the three days we had there.
Its huge, bigger then London and there is so much to see. There are ancient palaces, huge markets, underground shopping, and impressive modern architecture. But better than this is the people. They are very welcoming and friendly, they will always show the stupid tourist how to do something and they don’t just show you the way they take you.
The most obvious place to go is the Gyeonbokgung Palace. In the centre of the city it was built in 1395 at the beginning of the Joseon dynasty. The name translates as Greatly blessed by heaven. The palace was destroyed by fire in 1592 and abandoned for nearly three hundred years before being rebuilt in 1867. It was destroyed again during the Japanese invasion then in 1989 rebuilding began again. Twice a day you can see the dramatic changing of the guard with drums and flag waving.
Inside the grounds is the National Folk Museum. This is fascinating, my favourite part was the journey through a lifetime. A sixtieth birthday was a cause for huge celebration because many people didn’t make it. Called Hwangap, all the relatives have a huge formal feast. Ah well I did get a chocolate cake!
We only had time for one more palace so we chose the one nearest our hotel. The Changdeak Palace was built after Gyeongbokgung Palace and is the best preserved. Its name means Palace of Illustrious Virtue. The palace is laid out to be in perfect harmony with the mountains and other natural surroundings.
One more traditional place to visit is the Bukchon Village, an area of old housing. This is preserved to show the old alleyways and hanoks (houses). The locals aren’t very keen on the tourists and there are signs everywhere telling you to be quiet.
As we visited it began to rain unbelievably hard so after a quick look round we went back to our comfortable dry hotel.