Reviving my travelogue since many friends are going to be traveling here soon, thanks to Air Asia!
Like what I always tell my friends, Korea is suitable to travel in all four seasons cos in spring we can see sakura, in summer we can see Korean bikini chicks at Haeundae beach, in autumn we can see beautiful multicolored fall leaves, and in winter we can see snow! For autumn, the best period to come and see autumn leaves is from mid-October to early November.
Last autumn, Leo and his parents came to visit and I met them at Seoul. The time that they came was just before the G20 summit, so security was quite tight around the Gwanghwamun/Gyeongbokgung area. Other than seeing fall leaves, autumn is the season for chrysanthemums (秋菊) as well.
|Different colours of autumn|
Gyeongbukgung station (Line 3 orange) is actually nearer to Gyeongbuk Palace, but I didn't know that so I got off at Gwanghwamun (Line 5 purple) and had to take a longer route to reach the palace. It was my first time navigating the complex Seoul subway together with Leo's family and a couple of my friends and friends of friends! After buying the tickets to enter the palace, we went in ourselves as the guided English tour starts quite late at 11am.
The Korean palaces are significantly less magnificent and elaborate compared to China's palaces. However going towards the back, the view of the autumn foliage in the palace gardens just swept me off my feet. It was the first time I saw persimmons hanging from the trees, and the leaves had all turned color - there were yellow leaves of the gingko trees and red leaves from the maple tree branches, hanging serenely over the lake in the middle of the palace grounds. I can imagine the king and queen spending more time in the garden than inside the palace buildings in the olden days.
|Me and Teck~~|
|Yellow gingko trees|
|The pool - Hyangwonji (香遠池), the pavilion - Hyangwonjeong (香遠亭), and the connecting bridge - Chwihyanggeo (醉香橋)|
|12 zodiac statue at the entrance of the National Folk Museum inside the palace grounds|
Of all the palace buildings, Geoncheonggung (乾淸宮) touched me the most because of its tragic past - Queen Myeongseong was brutally assassinated by Japanese agents in 1895.
After visiting the palace, we walked around outside the palace where we saw the giant statue of King Sejong (who invented the Hangul language system) in the middle of the big roads leading up to Gyeongbok Palace.
For lunch, we had the famous Tosokchun ginseng chicken soup! It is located near Gyeongbokgung Station. After coming out from Gyeongbok Palace, turn right and walk towards Gyeongbokgung subway station then turn right at the junction. Tosokchun is behind the GS25 mart. Luckily we arrived early before the queue started!!
The ginseng chicken soup from this shop really tastes different from the others I had in Busan. It is more creamy and flavorful, and there's a lot of pine nuts at the top! My mother-in-law also commented that the kimchi tastes so good there.
Must eat after you visit the Gyeongbok palace!