Tag Archives: Changgyeonggung

Christmastime in Seoul

Christmas shopping in Seoul, in my opinion, is a bit of a challenge. Yes, there are a lot of cute things! (I heart Artbox.) Scarves, stationery, printed socks, handbags, etc. But if you’re looking for nice clothes, shoes, or designer accessories like sunglasses or watches, I feel like you’re going to get ripped off. This is based on my very limited time here, but still. From what I’ve seen, things are overpriced. Way overpriced! It’s better to shop online, on Amazon or something, you’ll likely find the item for much less. The challenge for us, of course, is getting it shipped here in time.

The crowds have been insane. There are always crowds, and old ladies shoving you out of the way, but we only have a few days left until Christmas, and people are even more desperate to sift through the “sale” piles and racks and find what they want.

Regardless, I’m enjoying the season here. We’ve had days of snow and plain ol’ bitter cold. FREE-ZING. We’ve both finally bought proper, long winter coats, which has helped battle the single-digit temperatures and wind. I especially love the Christmas decorations in what seems like every plaza and shopping mall. Christmas trees everywhere, lights everywhere. Here are a few:

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Happy video to make up for being MIA

It’s been a busy couple weeks trying to get some holiday shopping done and, well, I’m working again (PT), but I promise I’ll post some new stuff soon! For instance, pics of some of the Christmas decorations in Myeong-dong, of the fun creatures at the Coex Aquarium, and of the snow-covered Changgyeonggung Palace.

I’ll leave you for now with this video of a very happy crab dancing to “Jingle Bell Rock.” If it doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will! Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far. 🙂 (And yes, that’s me laughing in the background.)

Secret Garden Fit for a King

Many kings, actually. Yesterday we visited Changdeokgung Palace, built in 1405 and — second to the Gyeongbokgung Palace — the palace from which many Joseon dynasty emperors ruled, including the last reigning one, Emperor Sunjong, who ruled until 1910. Like the Jongmyo Shrine, this palace is also a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the way its buildings and design are integrated with nature. It was Will’s first palace visit in Seoul.

The palace grounds are immense, 110 acres if I remember correctly. Many different areas and so many buildings — whether housing quarters for queens, concubines, princes, or staff, or meeting halls, ceremonial halls, horse stables, storage rooms, etc. — it’s easy to get lost looking around. We were there for hours and I still don’t think we saw everything. Once you pay admission into the palace, you can explore freely. If you want to visit the palace’s Secret Garden, however, you need to pay a separate admission fee and go in with a guided tour group. They give the tours in various languages, several times daily.

The Secret Garden (aka Rear Garden) is even larger than the main palace grounds, taking up almost 60 percent of the entire area of the Changdeokgung Palace. Its acres and acres are filled with ponds, streams, gazebos, pavilions and many beautiful walking paths. The garden was meant as a place for the kings and their royal family members to relax, but also used for military exercises, archery contests, banquets and growing certain grains. Since it is also located next to the Changgyeonggung Palace, it was used by members of both palaces.

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