Day 9 (part 2) - Changdeokgung, Huwon, Changyeonggung and Dongdaemun Tour
After a walk at the Jongmyo Shrine, we walk to Changdeokgung Palace. The walk took us about 15 minutes. Jongmyo Shrine just located behind Changdeokgung Palace which from the exit of the Jongmyo entrance, we turn to right and walk along the palace wall. We then soon reach at the traffic light and in front of us is the main gate of the palace. We cross the road and walk towards the palace. We tour around the palace and proceed for the Secret Garden (Huwon) or they do called Biwon. The Huwon is the place where the King and Prince spend their relaxing time here. Some places also for the Prince to study.
In the Huwon, we saw a bowl alike stuff as below. It actually the clock use by the royal to check on the time and also season. The clock is so powerful by just using the sunlight, it can tell the exact time and the seasons we are in for the 24 season cycle. Which means we able to see that we are in end of Spring season. Of course it unable to tell the time if it was on raining day or night. So the King Sejong finally invented the water clock.
We walk around the Huwon and came to a gate. This gate is longevity gate. It believe that each time the royal member pass by the door and by also touching the door, they can live longer. If they repeat this often, they can live forever. Well it just a myth.
Then we came to a place where the stone were actually place in very special way to create a walk way. This path was use by the crown prince to walk. So I am now a Crown Prince as I'm walking on the path now.
This tour at Huwon took about 1.5 hour. It is a very special place and a must visit place. The environment is totally different from outside. In the middle of such advance city Seoul, we can feel totally isolated in this Huwon with all the trees and nature. We don't hear traffic sound, we don't see any buildings outside from the view inside of Huwon. It is so special and isolated. The tour guide then bring us to the waterfall. The human make waterfall actually looks even smaller than the water tap.
After the tour in Huwon, we head to the Changdeokgung palace tour. It took about an hour for the Changdeokgung tour.
We chip in any nearest tour available regardless it is English or Chinese. As long as the schedule followed the sequence. After the Changdeokgung palace tour, our legs are very tired but we still have Changyeonggung palace to visit. This palace often miss out by tourist especially for the people who follow the tour guide. Many often visit only Gyeongbokgung. Some may include Changdeokgung. However, because the Jongmyo and Huwon are restricted places which usually tour guide won't have a tour in this places. So in order to visit here, a free and easy tour is better. There are plenty of slots of tour by the palace staff.
A view of the King throne.
Changyeonggung building looks actually very old. This place also seldom visit by the tour guide and most tourist. However, this place is a must visit place. The building preserve the original painting and material which they preserve the original.
We also took an hour of English tour here as we miss the Chinese tour schedule. The tour only 3 people include the tour guide, me and my wife. It still their job to continue so we just follow the tour. Probably the tour guide was thinking, damn it and I suppose to be able off shift by now but thanks to this couple I have to continue the tour.
After an hour of tour, we end up at the garden behind the palace. This garden is so beautiful which is better than Huwon and do not need any special guide here.
A little further to the back of the garden is a green house keeping couple hundreds of unique species of plants.
We also took a panaroma shot of the garden lake.
It is such a memorable visit at the palace. We are so enjoy but our leg are killing us. Still the day is still young. We walk to Dongdaemun which took us about 30 minutes walk. We could take subway but the walk to subway station takes 15 minutes and then it just one station stop. So we prefer to have a walk so we can see the view around Seoul. After we reach here, we are so hungry, tired and our leg are in pain. We need to take a break. My wife was so angry and scold me for bringing her walk whole day. We proceed to the Dongdaemun gate, took a picture and enter to Dongdaemun Market.
We tour around Dongdaemun to look for food and a place to rest our leg. After 15 minutes tour, we finally enter a shop selling some hotpot. We want to try something different today. In the menu, all are just meat and we found this menu which have some mushroom. We order this pot which it taste more like sukiyaki. Sweet japanese style steamboat. It was very delicious. My wife smile again after this meal. She then feel better and recover after eating. Finally she ready to walk again.
We took some walk in the Dongdaemun. We visit all the mall here, every single mall. We visited about 8 malls and it just not even half of it here. We walk until almost 10PM and we could see the night market is setting up. Just like our "pasar malam". It stretch so long and over 500 yellow tents.
Look at the Dongdaemun schedule. This place start to get crowded around 8PM. More people are heading to here until 10PM, the yellow tents night market opened. The phone camera wasn't good enough to capture night view so I grab some pictures online. You can find lots of street foods and tents selling lots of stuff. This is a must visit place when in Seoul. It is so special that they open so late at night.
The mall here usually open from 5PM to the next day 8AM. Yes, it is midnight mall. Here get happening at late night. We was wondering if people here really sleep and do they even have to work on the next day? We tour at Dongdaemun until near 11:00PM and we head back to our guesthouse. On the way back, we drop by the Dongdaemun underground shopping. I bought a shirt here.
Shopping here is like heaven to ladies but not for men. You can see prices hang up at the ladies cloths store but won't see prices hang up for mens cloths. When we pass by the male clothing floor on each mall, the sales guy approach us so aggresively. They call me "Hyung-nim, bro-nim, bro juseyo, dongsaeng-nim" and etc. That is such a formal respect calling. I can feel the aggresiveness from them. I try to negotiate for some cloth and can't make it. The price is so expensive here for male cloth. It cost about 30,000won (RM90) per shirt. Even after nego, they just give about 25,000won for a shirt which is still expensive. I can get the same design and brand at underground shopping at 12,000won. Not really a shopping heaven for men.