Sunday, May 13, 2012

Regal. Royal. Real: Gyeongbokgung Palace

Our first stop is Gyeongbokgung Palace. SK  boasts five palaces: Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung or Gyeonghuigung (or Kyunghee) Palace. Those names are a mouthful. We chose to just visit the arguably the named best palace : Gyeongbokgung Palace. Armed with the map, and the friendly maps in the subway, we easily found out way, just before 10am. The maps are friendly, you just have to memorize the name of your line and stop.

Just in time to watch the changing of the guards... which we soon realized was not the ceremony itself. It was rather just the “rehearsals”. We took pics nonetheless.

To enter the main palace ground, we purchased the ticket for 3,000. You can get an entrance ticket to four palaces for 10,000 – if you are really interested in all the temples.
We were interested in one palace only

It was an effort to get good shots of the palace – because it was teeming with children. It was field trip day. Great timing! (sprinkled with sarcasm syrup).

Yes, the purple camera case is still with me.
The reason for my excitement: cherry blossoms. So this one wasn’t really blooming. But it was the first blooming tree I could really get really close to.

I haven't figured out how to photograph it properly. The colors look dull in the Auto setting.
The palace was HUGE. There were quarters for anyone and everyone. The areas had some descriptive stuff written – like where the kings meet with his subjects, where the decisions were made, etc. So... this stuff is really...real.

If I lived here, I wonder if I would’ve felt I was a princess with everything at her fingertips, or a prisoner?

Wandering around, we found ourselves in a souvenir shop, adjacent to where you can rent a traditional Korean costume and wear it for five minutes...for free! The “waiting time” posted is not very accurate. We just waited for around 20 minutes, instead of the 30-40 minutes waiting time. They will wrap the costume around your outfit. You'll just have to change your shoes.

Feelin local

Don't wear bulky clothes because you'll look more fat in the Hanok. Kidding!

With the cherry blossoms

They have some really nice goods in their souvenir shop. Nice prints on the fabric.

Look at that pattern painted in the horizontal posts. Intricate details. I bet the person who did this got dizzy.

In my Europe trip, I developed a fascination for ceilings. I looked up, and their "ceilings" was also painstakingly decorated with these patters. Kapag mayaman ka, dapat complicated ang ceiling design mo.

There's this pavillon situated in the middle of the lake. I think it is used for special occasions back in the olden days. Lavish.

I like the shield. I like colors of the uniforms too. I'm amused at the thought that the royal guards would chase a thief in the middle of the night in those colorful uniforms.

We spent around two hours going around the palace. I think there's a lot of corners to see but it was so huge and there were so many kids all over the place when we were there. 

The palace grounds have interesting attributes. But it, is almost the same thing over and over again.I think one palace in Korea is enough. You can visit the other palaces at a discounted ticket price, but you might get tired because the palace grounds are quite big to cover on foot.

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