10 am // Gyeongbokgung Palace
Spending the first week in Seoul and Jeju we decided to do the more touristy things at the end of the week. Prior to the trip, I researched on some free guided tours from the visit Korea website. There are goodwill guides that you are assigned with once your all booked. Please don’t waste their time if you booked, you be wasting their time and money if you don’t turn up.
Gyeongbokgung is actually translated from the Chinese language, many years ago the Chinese lived in Korea. The word gung = palace in Chinese, it wasn’t until one of the Kings decided to create the Korean language that is used today.
If you decide to visit all the royal palaces in Seoul, I suggest to buy a combination admission to all the palaces for 10,000 won. Click this link for more info with this booklet you can visit (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace – the Secret Garden included, Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine). Also double check the opening hours as some places are closed on specific times and others can only be visited by a guided tour.
Each gate has animal symbol to show where you are, either North, West, South or East. Dragons are a big thing in Asian culture the more there are decorated the more powerful the king is reigns on the throne.
1 pm // Tosokchon
After our long tour we ended by the exit near the presidential house, many police are on guard. It was time for lunch and I just knew from research and recommendations by friends that we had to try Tosokchon best known for their samgyetang aka ginseng chicken.
Address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea | website
We went for the straightforward white chicken, with a few sides. If we had known that the black chicken was more expensive I would have ordered that one. We also got a seafood pancake to share. The samgyetang comes in a large steaming claypot, a baby chicken is stuffed with glutinous rice. The broth is fragrant and flavoured, for the added heart warming feeling I added the shot of ginseng alcohol to my bowl.
Seafood pancake comes with various seafood pieces, so far the pancakes I had in Korea seemed soggy and limp compared to the crispy ones in the UK.
5 pm // Shabu Shabu Japanese hot pot
We had a long day so took a nap back in the hotel, once we were well rested it was time for dinner. There was this great local Shabu Shabu that also does sukiyaki. The set menu has a selection of meats and vegetables you boil and cook yourself.
9 pm // Buddha birthday festival
Whilst out for a strong we happened to be at the right time and place, the netizens were celebrating the Buddha birthday. The city metropolis turned the city into a colourful laser lights shining in the sky. People were dressed up and sat in the traffic free streets by City Hall.