Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 3 in South Korea: The Royal Experience and At the Top of Seoul

Day 3 Itinerary:

07:00         Wake-up Call
08:00         Departure - Hongdae Hostel   
09:00         Tapgol Park
10:00         Breakfast in Mcdo near Tapgol Park
11:00-12:30   Shopping in the nearby Skinfood
13:00-15:00   Gyeongbokgung Palace
16:00         Late lunch in Myeongdong
18:00-22:00   Namsam Park/N. Seoul Tower
24:00         Lights off

We're supposed to go to Nami Island on our 3rd day in Seoul but the tiring itinerary of the previous day knocked us down! With our alarm set at Manila time(which is one hour ahead of Seoul), we woke up late for the 9:00AM shuttle to Nami Island.  So we all decided to change our itinerary for the day and slowed down a bit.

Sometimes, changing a plan is tiring and stressful but in traveling, that's the essence after all.
There's nothing to lose in changing the places to go because you'll still be seeing something new and experience something different!

One thing we're excited after our breakfast was for a quick peek at the nearby Skinfood store! But the quick peek turned out to almost one hour of shopping!  Who wouldn't want it! It's 50% -70% cheaper than the SkinFood stores in Manila! From nail polish to BB creams, from just an ordinary cotton buds to skinwipes! Since then, I'm on watch who's among my circle of friends is going to Korea and ask some favor to replenish my Skinfood stuffs. 
i think 50% of my total expenses were from the SkinFood purchases
Carrying our Skinfood shopping bags, we searched our way to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the nearest palace to Tapgol Park.  The supposedly 30-minute-ride turned to like eternity because of so many stops along the Seoul Station subway - we're striking a pose anywhere!

Seoul subways have so much inside to the delights of the tourists and locals

When we were finally out of the subway, we ran with too much excitement when the famous palace came in view! I've had seen the palaces in Bangkok but Gyeongbokgung makes it different! Perhaps it's because of the weather or I relate it to Princess Hours (one of the K-dramas that I've watched).  It's like the Joseon Dynasty that I just heard from the K-dramas dwell with Seoul's sophistication at present time.  The palace sits at the center of the vibrant Seoul and make it picturesque with the beautiful mountain as a backdrop.

We'd witnessed the Changing of the Guards Ceremony, the Royal Parade, got a 10-minute feeling of how is it as a Royal Guard by wearing their suit and just did what tourists should do -  taking snapshots of every moments worthy to remember.  Know more of my royal experience here.
English description "Palace Great Blessed by Heaven", Gyeongbokgung Palace indeed a name for it. Situated at the center of Seoul with the mountain as a backdrop. Seoul reserves their history amidst the innovation of the modern world.

When we had enough of Gyeongbokgung Palace, we headed to Myeongdong for an intent of a decent meal. The first tastes of streetfood, kimbap, and others felt exciting at ONCE but not TWICE, THRICE for the last three days of my vacation in Seoul. I had difficulty finding good food in Korea because  I don't fancy spicy food that much, plus, it's hard ordering from a menu not in English (even more without a picture to refer to it!). Find out more of my gastronomical experience in South Korea here.

the uniqueness of Chicken and Beer vibrant with artsy of Seoul

The search for a resto to eat is like finding the exits of the subway! Thank God we stumbled upon Chicken and Beer because of the obvious reason that it spells C.H.I.C.K.E.N! I finally fed myself a good meal!
not in English but the picture helps!
Our sumptuous meal in Seoul for KRW 48,000 only (for the five of us!)

Fully recharged, we headed to N. Seoul Tower for the best view of the whole of Seoul.  Read it from blogs that the best time to go there is towards dusk where you can see Seoul on daylight and eventually when lights started to brighten the whole city.

Following the vivid directions of going up to the N. Seoul Tower Cable Car Terminal, we took there on foot! It was like climbing the highest mountain! But I enjoyed the way up - this is how i saw it on K-dramas!

Our time was spent most in queue for the cable car to the N. Seoul Tower.  But it was a time well worth waiting! The view from the top was amazing - from the party atmosphere to the cuteness of teddies in Teddy Bear Museum, from the "how-i-wish-i-can-lock-mine" Locks of Love trees to the "how-i-wish-i-have-someone-to-write-to" cheesy post-notes, and highlighting the trip at the observation deck.  I'd say N. Seoul at night is like a lovers-lane but that did not discount for girlfriends like us who enjoyed the "Love is in the Air" ambiance at N. Seoul Tower.  Read more about my post on this.

We had so much fun and relaxed moments at N. Seoul Tower that we forgot to mind the subway schedule.  We reached the foot of Namsam Tower almost midnight and did not make it to the last trip of subway to Hongdae. 

Gathered some grit, we headed towards the nearest bus stop and searched for the bus number that would pass along Hongdae or stop by near Hongik University or anywhere near Hongdae Hostel.  It was another unplanned adventure that made me realized that with all the faith, you can find your way back!

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