South Korea: Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo Shrine was the only shrine I visited in South Korea. I had a hard time remembering it and had to look it up. It slowly came back to me when I recalled seeing the racoon dog scavenging around the shrine grounds. One of the few instances I saw wildlife in Seoul. Although the shrine was impressive, it still felt a bit underwhelming compared to the other attractions I have seen. To be honest, I regretted skipping Jogyesa temple for this. It still haunts me that I didn’t went to see the pretty colorful lanterns at the temple.

Anyway,  Jongmyo shrine was a place of worships for the kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty. Here is where they performed the oldest ceremony and still reenact it to this day. Our tour guide also told us not to walk on the stone footpath. It consists of three separate pavements and the middle one is only meant for the king. If you would disrespect this, the king would come and haunt you. So, she made us jump over it! Haha!

After the tour I went and explore the city for a bit.

_DSC0143

_DSC0145

_DSC0152

_DSC0149

_DSC0160

_DSC0150

_DSC0161

_DSC0167

_DSC0163

_DSC0171

_DSC0175

_DSC0174

_DSC0179

_DSC0169

_DSC0181

_DSC0184

_DSC0200

_DSC0185

_DSC0205

Jongmyoshrineseoul

_DSC0204

_DSC0207

_DSC0209

_DSC0211

jongnocitystreet1

South Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace & Cheonggyecheon stream

Visiting the beautiful palaces in Seoul was one of my highest priorities of my trip. One of the first palaces on my list was Gyeongbokgung Palace Also known as the North Palace. The premises were once destroyed during the Japanese Invasion. Thankfully, they were later restored and made it possible for us to admire it today. Although, restorations are still ongoing, there are still a lot of beautiful things to see. You have Gwanghwamun Gate, which greets you and welcomes you inside the palace. Geunjeongjeon, which is the Imperial Throne Hall where the king was greeted by ambassadors. Gyeonghoeru, which is a pavilion surround by water like an island. And, Hyangwonjeong pond which is truly one of my favourite. A pavilion which is also surrounded by water but connected to the ground by this picturesque bridge. It made me feel like I was in a fairytale.

_DSC9702

_DSC9697

_DSC9701

_DSC9699

_DSC9707

_DSC9712

_DSC9721

_DSC9726

_DSC9725

_DSC9723

_DSC9728

_DSC9729

_DSC9732

_DSC9736

_DSC9738

_DSC9739

_DSC9746

_DSC9764

_DSC9767

_DSC9781

_DSC9800

_DSC9803

_DSC9806

_DSC9809

_DSC9820

_DSC9821

What I really love about the Korean palaces is that they are really colorful. This traditional decorative coloring art is called Dancheong (단청) and has various symbolic meanings. The function is not only decorative but also had the purpose to protect the buildings surface against hot and cold temperatures and to make the material less noticeable.

After visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace I traveled to Cheonggyecheon stream which is nearby. This creek is about 8,4km long and eventually connects to Han river. In 2005 it has been restored and transformed into a lovely and calm stream. I had a nice leisurely stroll following the stream. Afterwards, I rested and relaxed for a bit while putting our feet in the water. A quiet moment amidst the buzzing city life.

_DSC9859

_DSC9862

_DSC9865

_DSC9868

_DSC9873

_DSC9876

_DSC9879

_DSC9899