[Korea Trip 1] Insadong Gyeongbokgung

A few days back, Weird Weird Denial was down and hacked and his .htaccess file changed due to server upgrade issue too. Well, anyway looks like I have modified and now it’s time to talk about one of my latest trips which is South Korea. First time going to this country which boast of Rain, 4 Minutes, SNSD and even Jang Nara. Now I took advantage of the cheap Air Asia flight ticket to get here.

DanielCtw Intro at Incheon Airport

Why do I travel?

I travel for the fun of it, to enjoy the scenery and to enjoy the food and also to look at the different cultures and people in different countries and areas. Well, not that I do not travel in my own country (I have lots of travel activities in Malaysia too) but it sure is a different thing altogether. I touched down Incheon Airport during the night. It was pretty dark and it was time to wait for the bus to go to the guest house.

Since we spent like nearly 6 hours in the airplane, it was without dinner and this time it is time to get some food. What better way than to start our day (or night) with some Korean food.

Late Dinner Kimchi Chigae

Yummy restaurant. I ate Sundubu jjigae, which is spicy tofu (beancurd) with variety of seafood. Here is the reference from wikipedia about this superb food.

Sundubu jjigae is a hot and spicy jjigae (Korean stew) dish made with uncurdled dubu (tofu), seafood (oysters, mussels, clams and shrimp are common ingredients), vegetables, mushrooms, onion, scallions, and gochujang or gochu garu (chili powder) in Korean cuisine. A raw egg is put in the jjigae while it is still boiling. This dish is eaten with a bowl of cooked white rice and several banchan (side dishes). It is widely eaten and one of the favorite meals in South Korea.

Of course when there is Korean food, there is bound to be kimchi and I realized I love the kimchi here. Superb. Not everyone eats kimchi but I sure love the spicy taste of it. The place we ate was okay, the price was okay. The water is free (unlike my home country where plain water cost like Rm0.40 to RM1) to consume. My Sundubu jjigae cost like 4500 Korean Won (₩) which is roughly equivalent to RM12. Well, it’s one of the cheapest around there.

So after having our meal, we all checked in into the guesthouse. Oh wait, what do I meant by we? Yes, there is a group of us, that’s for you to find out as I reveal them slowly as the post goes on and on. We checked into the guesthouse roughly around 1230am and lucky for us the owner was still awake and boy were we lucky that his partner knows how to speak Mandarin.

The place we stayed was called Yun Guesthouse. I stayed in a room with 2 beds that cost about ₩45000 per night. That’s roughly RM150 per night. Not bad though. Finally called it a day and the next morning it was time to meet Mr Sunshine.

Flowers Outside Yun Guesthouse

On the way out, I finally felt the first taste of Spring (well, tried it before long time ago at Perth 4 or 5 years back) and there were pretty flowers greeting us near the front door of the guest house. Nice, it was splendid for the moment.

You know, I have always thought that flowers or the cherry blossoms only bloom at parks or places with lots of trees like they have in the movies. Seems like it could also grow elsewhere and we were lucky to catch glimpses of cherry blossoms in Korea on the 2nd week.

Cherry Blossoms Myeongdong

Superb, a whole lot of them. It looks like I will be loving it so much I cannot stop talking about my next trip to Korea once again. Where to head next? It’s time for some sightseeing and our first visit would be Insadong or its Hangul equivalent 인사동. Since we were early, around 9am there are fewer people on the streets.

Insadong Scenery

Look at the trees. No leaves. That’s spring for you. Ah… I miss Insadong.

Of course, what you do not know is that Koreans somehow love to write graffiti on walls anywhere they can find where they can actually write. This is something which I find it weird but I guessed that is how it is.

Koreans Love Grafitti

Finally after the short trip at Insadong with nothing much to see except some scenery, we headed straight for Gyeongbokgung (경복궁). This place sparks of history during the Joseon times. It was the main palace and definitely a place one should visit if they love Korean history.

Of course along the way, there was a stall selling Tteokbokki. Only ₩2500 (that’s like RM7) for a bowl of it.

Korean Food Tteokbokki

What is Tteokbokki?

Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is a popular Korean snack food which is commonly purchased from street vendors. Flour tteokbokki was popular in early days, but rice tteokbokki is more popular these days. Definitely one have to try this amazing korean delight food.

Imagine a whole place full of bread or rather a tunnel of bread designs. Well, I am amazed and so is Yen.

Covered in Bread Tunnel

Looking back at the photos make me miss Korea more and more. Of course I miss the food and Yen misses the shopping and we both miss the weather and culture. Of course no matter what, there is no place like home for me, but nevermind that let’s carry on.

It is now time to visit the ever famous GyeongBokGung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Gate

More facts of the Gyeongbokgung palace.

Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South Korea. First constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The name of the palace, Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as “Palace of Shining Happiness.

Nearly destroyed by the Japanese government in the early 20th century, the palace complex is slowly being restored to its original form prior the destruction. As of 2009, roughly 40 percent of the original number of palace buildings still stand or are being reconstructed.

The palace was originally constructed in 1394 by King Taejo, the first king and founder of the Joseon Dynasty, and the name Gyeongbokgung was created by an influential government minister named Jeong Dojeon. Gyeongbokgung was continuously expanded during the reign of King Taejong and King Sejong the Great.

Of course, now that we know about the history, I try to see how is it a tourist attraction nowadays. I was greeted by a serious palace guard.

DanielCtw Gyeongbokgung palace guard

I see him wearing red, and I was in red, so time for some photoshoot. Why are Koreans so tall?? I am only at his ear or eye level. Fishcakes. Of course, Yen also wanted a shot (not really, I asked her to go pose there)

Yen Gyeongbokgung Palce Guard

Such stern looking face. Wonders why do people visit the palace? Well, there was like a ceremony for the guard to walk in and out of the palace. Sort of a reenactment of the whole scene during the Joseon times. Watch King Sejong the movie to relive that feeling if you want to know what it means.

Gyeongbokgung Guard March

See what I meant? Of course there were tourists looking on at the background. Everyone was enjoying it. There were not only Koreans and Malaysians (that’s us). There were also many tourists who came from China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and other Asian countries [how come everyone is Asian??? Where are the Angmohs (Eurasians)]

GyeongBokgung Tourist Attraction

Everyone was lining up to take photos of the march and the ceremony. See it to believe it.

Well, if you are traveling to South Korea, remember to visit this palace. They say you haven’t been to South Korea if you did not go to their once famous biggest palace there just like you have not been to Nepal if you did not go to Everest Base Camp at least. HAHAHA!!

When we were there, it was already 1pm. Everyone was hungry. Finally time for some food and also for my fingers to rest while I prepare the next draft for the next post.

Korean BBQ Chicken Pork

We had Korean BBQ.

1. Juicy raw chicken on the BBQ platter.
2. After BBQ them for awhile, the chicken is well cooked and it’s time to get some chow to build up our energy.
3. Looks like the middle of the BBQ platter is full of burnt fats and burnt food. Chicken meat are put to the side while everyone takes their turn to finish those chicken.
4. After replacing the platter with a new one (yes, the waiter there can do it for you), it is time for the next dish. BBQ Pork (sorry my halal friends).

Total cost for this?

We paid ₩8000 (that is roughly RM25) per person. Definitely cheaper than eating in a Korean restaurant back in Malaysia. Fresh from Korea. Till the next post.

8 Comments
  1. June 3, 2011
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