In a place as high-tech as Seoul, it can be hard to believe there’s any trace of traditional culture remaining. However, I was surprised to learn that the city’s actually home to five grand palaces! My friends and I made a point of visiting Gyeongbokgung, supposedly the most historically important and impressive one of all of them. Built over 600 years ago, it used to be the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty.
I’m going to be completely honest, though. During our visit we had one goal, and one goal only – to wear hanboks, and take tons of photos in front of the scenic buildings! While it’s probably the most touristy activity you can do in South Korea, it’s also one I totally recommend. You won’t be hard-pressed to find a hanbok rental shop in the area, either. In fact, with all the choices available we found it hard to settle on just one!
Hanboks as far as the eye can see. They were actually pretty fun to wear, except for one tiny detail – it was absolutely freezing, despite the sun’s rare appearance on that day! I even wore jeans underneath my skirt, but couldn’t wait to be reunited with my giant puffer coat afterwards…
How gorgeous are the details on this structure?! I can’t imagine how long it took to paint those elaborate designs.
Me posing in front of what’s probably someone’s house. This was in Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional area packed with alleyways and quirky little shops. Sadly, our hanbok rental was almost finished, so we didn’t have much time to explore the place!
While rushing back to return our hanboks, we managed to catch the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung. While this was only a reenactment of the traditional ceremony, it was still pretty cool to watch!
On another day, we also visited Namsan Tower. This place is the backdrop of many a Korean drama, and I can totally see why! Even if you don’t go up the tower itself, you can’t beat the views here. I imagine it’d be even more beautiful at night, when you can see the city lights in the distance.
Just some of the many love locks to be found around the tower. Single or taken, I don’t think I’d ever get one of my own… Whenever I see places like this, I always wonder how many of the couples have broken up haha. Nonetheless, I still think it’s a pretty cute gesture!