It has been more than 3 months since I’d been to Korea and sad to say, but I miss it already. I think I started to miss the moment I boarded the plane. But try as I might, I couldn’t stop our last day in Seoul from coming.
We wanted to make the most out of our last day so we decided to have an early start. We didn’t exactly have an early during the previous days. Heh. So while my parents were packing up, my sister and I decided to visit Sungkyunkwan University and have a last look around the neighborhood. I don’t know why we had to wait for the last minute to do it!
It was a lovely neighborhood maybe because it’s thriving with students. There are shops that sell clothes and little cafes and humble restaurants specializing in local dishes. In case anyone’s interested in visiting the neighborhood and visiting Sungkyunkwan University (especially you Sungkyunkwan Scandal fans!), the nearest subway station is Hyewa! I’m not sure which bus you can take, though, since we didn’t take the bus. For an exact instructions on how to get there, you can just ask around. Haha!
The university is just amazing! I’m pretty sure the drama wasn’t filmed there but there are traditional structures from the front gate alone. We didn’t wander that far but the walkway near the gate was mesmerizing enough. It’s just too bad that we didn’t have enough time to see everything so I can’t say how the entire campus looks like. But judging from what I’ve seen (not much), I’m pretty sure it’s beautiful.
Of course, we couldn’t leave Korea without eating Odeng fish cakes for the nth time. No doubt, it’s our favorite Korean street food!
When we got back to the hostel, we had to check out and leave our baggages at the lobby. And since it’s our last chance, we gathered all the courage we could muster and asked the guy in-charge for a picture. Waha. He was our little crush from the very first day. He was only there in the morning, and my sister and I made up excuses to talk to him. We asked directions even though we already know how to get there, asked him to write in hangul the name of a place, etc. Kekeke.
He looks so much better in person okay! He’s incredibly tall that he even had to slouch just to take a picture with us. He looks like a model especially when he’s not smiling. That’s why it’s a bummer that he’s smiling in the photo haha. No, I don’t care how he looks in the photo.
Anyway, the entire staff of Backpackers Mr. Sea is incredibly nice and accommodating. It’s easy to talk to them since their English is quite good. Would I choose the hostel again? Definitely. There’s a subway station nearby, the bus stop’s just outside, the palaces are within walking distance, and the restaurants in the area are affordable and must-tries.
After saying goodbye to oppa (hahaha), we hailed a taxi and went to Gyeongbokgung Palace. It’s not exactly far but we’re running late. Hehe.
The palace was packed! It’s a monday and it seems like many schools were having a field trip. There were also tons of tourists and we’re one of them. We’re just in time for the changing of guards ceremony, and it was enjoyable to see. Couldn’t get a decent shot, though.
I’m not sure if Gyeongbokgung Palace is the prettiest one in Korea but I heard it’s one of the biggest in Seoul. It’s voted as among the top three tourist destinations in Seoul and I can definitely see why. Every corner is just so picture perfect! They preserved the place quite well.
When that photo was taken, I already had a terrible case of wind burn! My cheeks were so red and they hurt with the slightest touch or breeze. I had to have the scarf wrapped around my face to prevent it from hurting. Huhu. Obviously, I’m not meant to live in a cold place. And to think it’s only spring!
You can also try on hanbok for free but there’s a waiting time and you can’t go anywhere while waiting. It was so tempting to try but we didn’t have much time. We were running on schedule and should leave the palace by 12:30. So instead of trying on hanboks, we just posed with the standees. Heh.
Though the front of the palace was jam-packed, there were sections with barely anyone at all.
While some parts of the palace were crowded with tourists, there are other parts with almost no one. It was nice since it felt as if we have the place to ourselves. It also felt as if we’re transported back in time (or just maybe in a drama set haha). It’s curious to see how some structures seem to have different architectural styles. Unlike in Cheonggyecheon Palace where all the building structures seem to have a common look, it’s not the same for Gyeongbokgung. Each area seem to have a certain look that’s different from the others.
There’s this temple in the middle of a little lake that’s built in a way that wherever you stand, you can see its reflection on the lake’s surface. It’s curious but I think it’s pretty interesting. It’s also one of the most picturesque spots so don’t miss it!
We were incredibly hungry at that point, but we still couldn’t eat lunch. We tamed our hunger with a sweet potato snack from 7/11. I have realized at that point that Koreans seem to love anything sweet potato! It reminds me of SeoHyun. Heh. Just try any sweet potato snack and I promise you’ll love it.
By the way, the National Folk Museum is just beside Gyeongbokgung Palace but we decided not to enter. We pretty much had enough of museums. Hehe. And there are other things on our agenda (like visiting one of the backdrops of City Hunter!)!
In front of the Palace, there are guards which wouldn’t say no when you pose next to them. Heh. My sister pointed out this cute-looking guy who’s, well, cute. You can see how his mustache and beard were just glued. Lulz. How cute is that.
And that concludes our little tour of Gyeongbokgung! In my opinion, it should be on everyone’s top 5 destinations when visiting Seoul. It’s just so beautiful! I wonder how it looks during other seasons but it certainly looks magnificent on Spring. I’ll definitely come back, in another season, too! Autum, I hope? 🙂