Friday 24 November 2023

Seoul II Day 7: Gyeongbokgung Palace

We woke up and got ready to leave our hotel for another beautiful day of exploring! I couldn't help but to take a photo of the view from the other side of the hotel while we waited for the lift.

We took the train from Myeongdong Station to Anguk Station, where we wanted to have brunch at one of the famous cafes in the area.

During my preparation for the trip, I found that Onion cafe was the most popular in the area and as expected, the queue was very long! 😖

We didn't want to wait in the cold for hours and decided to continue along the street. We came across Open One Bakery Cafe and the Hubby felt it had good vibes so we went in.

A lot of the trays that were supposed to be filled with bread and pastries were empty! 

We managed to grab whatever food that I could from the trays and ordered coffee, tea and hot chocolate (bill came up to be 55k won). We joined the queue to heat up our food using their toaster and collected our drinks when the buzzer rang.

We found a nice table upstairs and enjoyed our breakfast! Food was good! 😋

After breakfast, we walked to Gyeongbokgung Palace. I had scrutinised Google Maps while preparing for the trip and felt confident to lead the family to the palace based solely on my sketchy memory but super accurate internal direction-sense (since Google Maps doesn't work in South Korea anyway). My internal compass has not failed me yet! *laughs*

As we walked passed the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul, we spotted a Hanbok Rental store across the street and stopped to rent hanboks for me and my younger 2 kids. 

I paid 25k won for a themed hanbok, 25k won for each child's hanbok and 5k won for my hairstyle. I also paid 5k won to rent the white warmer as it was freezing cold in Seoul that day! The price was very reasonable compared to my experience of renting a kimono in Japan.

Obviously the girl and I had to choose pink hanboks! She kept calling her hanbok a "princess dress"! 😆

It was only about a 5-minute walk from the store to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the entrance nearest to the National Folk Museum of Korea.

We decided to explore the palace this time as we didn't do it the last time that we visited. A ticket costs 3k won per person (no change since 10 years ago), but it's FREE if you're wearing a hanbok.

The palace was very beautiful! We took many pretty pictures of ourselves with the historical buildings!

The Littlest Girl's skirt was a bit too long for her so she held it up like a true princess! 🤭😍

It got super cold as the winds blew and we realised that the temperature had dropped to -2°C! 🥶 The Littlest had no choice but to wear her winter jacket even though it covered most of her hanbok! ☹️

We walked to Hyangwonjeong Pavillion, which was located in the rear of the palace and surrounded by Hyangwonji pond.

We also visited Geunjeongjeon Hall, the main hall of the palace where the kings conducted stately affairs and received foreign envoys.

By now, it had gotten too cold for the family to continue exploring so we walked back to the store and returned our hanboks (I was most reluctant since we still had about 45 minutes left!).

It was time for lunch and we headed to our favourite ginseng chicken soup restaurant, which was located on the opposite side of the palace! As we were walking to the restaurant, we passed by Gwanghwamun gate at the front of the palace.

I had a rough idea where the restaurant was but couldn't remember exactly so it was my internal compass to the rescue again! We managed to find Tosokchon Samgyetang, even though we took an alternative route! It's located near the intersection of Jamhamun-ro road and Jahamun-ro 5-gil road.

We had walked so much that the Littlest was completely drained (cos' we forgot to bring our stroller on this trip)! She was so exhausted that she fell asleep while working on her activity book and waiting for our food to arrive!

We decided not to wake her while the rest of us enjoyed our ginseng chicken soup. It cost 20k won for regular chicken and 25k won for black chicken. We also ordered a pancake to go with our soups.

To be honest, although the ginseng chicken soup was still better than most soups we've had in Singapore, I felt it paled in comparison to what we ate when we first visited 10 years ago! I was disappointed but it was still worth the effort to make the trip! It was good enough that my super picky Eldest finished a bowl of soup by herself! 😄

After a good lunch, we walked to Gyeongbokgung Station to take the train back to Myeongdong Station. We were really tired and returned to our hotel to recuperate for a couple of hours. But we couldn't rest for long because the shops were calling out to us! Staying within a shopping district made it way too easy for us to shop everyday and spend all our money! 🤑😅

We joined many tourists, including Singaporeans, at DIY key chain stores to customise keychains for our family members. 

The hubby suggested for us to takeaway pizzas from Myeongdong Pizza, located at one of the buildings right next to our hotel.

There was a really long queue and we had to wait for about 30 minutes before we could collect our order.

While the Hubby waited for the pizza, the Mum and I bought McDonald's for the kids. It was interesting to us that McDonald's was not halal in Seoul.

We also ordered takeaway from Gimgane Kimbab (Myeongdong Station outlet) because I had a good feeling about it. 

We headed back to enjoy our dinner in the comforts of our hotel room! Pizza was good but pasta wasn't great. We suspected that the food would have tasted much better if we had it fresh in the restaurant.

The kimchi fried rice was amazing though! We'll definitely try it at the store if we get the chance!

It was a great end to a fun day!

Continue to >> Seoul II Day 8: Starfield Coex Mall & Library


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Seoul, South Korea 
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