Tag Archives: Insa-dong

To tie you over….

Going to be away for the next few days….won’t spoil the surprise for those of you who don’t know where we’re headed….but I’ll leave you with a few shots from the other day to help tie you over. And yes, you should be excited, that means some awesome pictures are coming soon! 🙂

A big crowd gathered in Insa-dong to watch some Korean folk farmers’ dancing and music, which we’ve seen a few times and I personally really enjoy. Hypnotic to listen to and watch. 

Big crowd at Insa-dong

Also, we discovered a Cafe Brahms while leaving Samcheong-dong the other day. I know my sister will appreciate this. If you look closely at the door, they serve “Coffee, Bear, & Drink.” Hehe. You can tell Will’s really excited about it, too. Continue reading To tie you over….

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.

Continue reading Secret Garden Fit for a King

Souvenirs of Insa-dong, Beautiful Hanok Village

Well, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back home! It’s Thursday here, of course, though it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving at all, except for the fact that we’ll be having dinner with some fellow Americans tonight to celebrate the holiday. Looking forward to it. Plenty to be thankful for this year.

I’m a bit behind on blogs but let’s see if I can catch you up some.

After visiting the Jongmyo Shrine, I took a stroll through the adjacent Insa-dong neighborhood. On my way there I came across a small park, Tapgol Park, where I spotted numerous older Korean men hanging out (and a few of them arguing, it looked like), and zero women. Should I go in? Mmmm… I went in. I wanted to explore this cute park. It was alright, had some neat statues and whatnot, apparently the former site of a temple.

As I walked up Insa-dong Street, I immediately noticed a plethora of Korean souvenir shops. Most of them sell the same souvenirs, but it’s good to know that, when the time comes to get some items for friends and family back home, we’ll know where to go. Insa-dong Street also had a large cultural events center and a few other galleries and art spaces. I didn’t linger too long, I was mainly looking for a place to have lunch. A local vendor recommended a traditional bibimbap place across the street, so I decided to give it a try. Continue reading Souvenirs of Insa-dong, Beautiful Hanok Village