Sorry for the last posts ^^;; School work has been picking up and midterms are in a week, so we will be slow to post things up. 죄송해용~! This post will cover our trip to Gwanghwamun and Insadong.
If you want to see the heart of South Korea, the Gwanghwamun Plaza and Insadong District are the places to go. The Gwanghwamun Plaza (which I mentioned briefly in my highlights in our first vlog) consists of the Admiral Yi Sun Shin statute, King Sejong Monument, Gyeongbokgung Place and Cheongwadae (Blue House) all on one road.
So, we couldn’t mention it in our vlog, but we actually explored the Gwanghwamun Plaza first ^^ since it was right in front of the subway exit that we came out of.
Underneath the monuments of Yi Sun Shin and King Sejong, there are museums where you can learn about what each of the men contributed to Korea.
Time for a short history lesson! ^^
Starting with Admiral Yi Sun Shin- he was a navy admiral, responsible for leading the Korean navy through many battles with the Japanese during the Imjin Wars. His most notable battle was the Battle at Myeongnyang, where he was able to defeat 31 of 133 Japanese ships, with just 13 ships of his own. (**I-Lila- highly recommend watching the movie, The Admiral: Roaring Currents or 명냥, about this battle.)
Next, King Sejong- he was one of Korea’s greatest Kings. He carried out many progressive reforms, and one of his most notable creation was Hangeul (한글), the Korean writing system. Before Hangeul, only scholars and the rich were able to read and write, as the writing system was based on the Chinese writing system. Thanks to his creation, many more Koreans were able to learn how to read and write, and this led to the advancement of the country. During his reign, Korea was stable and very prosperous.
After these museums, we headed to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. At the entrance of the Palace, there are palace guards, pretty similar to the ones in London at the Buckingham Palace. They didn’t move one bit.
Luckily, at the time we arrived it was time for the guard change, so we got to see a short performance. If you watch the vlog, you can see a short clip.
Afterwards, we headed into the Palace (Entrance Fee is 3000 Won).From the entrance to the Main Hall, there is a straight path, which leads right to the King’s throne.
From the Main Hall, we continued exploring the different parts of the Palace. It was very beautiful. The weather that day was really nice, so it made the experience even better ^^
We also got to see a traditional musical performance by students (again, you can see a short clip in our vlog). It was a really interesting performance. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the entire performance due to time constraints, so hopefully we will get to watch another performance if possible.
Insadong is just a short distance from the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Like mentioned in our vlog, Insadong is the place for those who want to see a variety of tradition Korean items and try traditional foods, etc.
There is a variety of street food and snacks. The first 2 pictures below are 똥빵, if literally translated- poop bread. There are 2 types of filling: red bean and chocolate. Super tasty-we highly recommend trying it. It’s only 1,000 won (~$1)
The picture above shows the process of making 꿀타래, Dragon’s Beard Candy (interesting name, haha). The candy makers are really entertaining. Again, video included in our vlog, so make sure to check it out. We hope you guys enjoy it just as much as we did ^^
There are also many places to shop. You can also go to a Trick Eye Museum, try on traditional Korean clothing, and watch performances during certain times of the day. There’s so much to do and not enough time in a day.
Overall, it was a really fun day, and we would love to spend more time in Insadong and see the other palaces in Seoul. Hopefully we’ll go back before the end of the semester. We highly recommend visiting these two places if you have time-it’s definitely worthwhile.
Stay tuned for our super late vlog ^^
– Lila & Lillian
HOW TO GET THERE:
Gwanghwamun Plaza: Located on Subway Line 5 (Purple Line), Gwanghwamun Station, Exit 9
This will take you right to the main strip of the Gwanghwamun Plaza where you can see the King Sejong and Yi Sun Shin Monument.
Insadong: Located on Subway Line 3 (Orange Line), Anguk Station
If you visit the Gyeongbokgung Place, it is just a straight walk to the Insadong District, if you take a left from the main entrance.