All posts by teachersherilyn

Immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture at Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village is one of the top places to visit in Seoul, South Korea. It is because, here, you will find the Korean traditional village. Literally, “hanok” means “traditional house” while “bukchon” means “northern village”.

The hanoks or the traditional houses were built during the Joseon dynasty. They are located in the north of two important landmarks in Seoul – Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno. Additionally, the village lies between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace.

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Currently, the traditional houses or hanoks operate as cultural centers, guest houses, restaurants and tea houses. It serves as a place for visitors where they can immerse themselves in traditional Korean culture.

Bukchon Hanok Village is open all-year round. The admission is free for everyone. It takes about two to three hours to tour around the Hanok village through a free walking tour.

To get to Bukchon Hanok Village, you may take the subway to Anguk Station. Then, take Exit 3.

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Six Palaces in Seoul: How Many Days to See Them?

There are six palaces in Seoul, however, one of them has already been converted into a museum. The five palaces that still remain as a palace are Gyeungbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changyeonggung, Deuksogung and Gyeonghuigung. The palace that has already been turned into a museum is Unhyeongung. To see all these six palaces, you need at least four days.

On the first day, you may visit the oldest and the biggest palace built by the Joseon dynasty. This palace is the Gyeungbokgung Palace.

On the second day, you may visit Changdeokgung Palace and Changyeonggung Palace. These two palaces are called East Palace because they are located east of Gyeungbokgung. They share the same garden known as Secret Garden or Huwon.

On the third day, you may visit Deuksugung Palace and Gyeonghuigung Palace. These two palaces are smaller palaces as compared to the other three palaces.

On the fourth day, you may visit Unhyeongung Palace. This former palace was the site for the last Royal wedding ceremony. A reenactment of King Gojong and Empress Myeongseong’s wedding takes place in the spring and fall of every year, a good opportunity for visitors to experience the spectacular and elegant traditional royal costumes and lifestyles of the Joseon dynasty.

Unhyeongung Palace: One of the Smaller Palaces in Seoul

Unhyeongung Palace is a house in which the 26th king of Joseon, King Gojong, lived before he assumed the throne. It was owned by the father of King Gojong, Heungseon Daewongun Yi Haeung. It is located at 98-50, Unni-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Among the notable points of interest at Unhyeongung Palace are:

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Irodang Hall

Irodang Hall was the palace’s main building that was built for women as their residence. The wife of Yi Haeung lived here.

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Noandang Hall

Noandang Hall was the men’s residence at Unhyeongung Palace. The word “noan” means “old man who is comfortable and at ease”. In this quarter, men felt relaxed while in this building.

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Norakdang Hall

Norakdang Hall is the largest building at Unhyeongung Palace. It was one of the two residence halls for women in this palace.

Admission in this palace is free. It is closed every Mondays and Tuesdays and accepts ticketing 30 minutes before the closing time. Regarding its operating hours, please refer below:

November – March – Opens from 9:00am until 06:00pm
April – October – Opens from 9:00am until 07:00pm

Changyeonggung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

Changyeonggung Palace was built by King Sejong for King Taejong, his father. It was formerly called “Suganggung”, but it was renamed to its current name after its renovation. Together with Changdeokgung Palace, both of them are called Donggwol or the East Palace.

Among the famous points of interest in Changyeonggung Palace are:

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Honghwamun Gate

Honghwamun Gate is the main gate in Changyeonggung Palace. It was rebuilt in 1616 following its destruction during the Japanese invasion.

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Okcheongyo Bridge

Okcheongyo Bridge is a symbolic entry to the courtyard, which you will see first as you pass through the main gate. It is 9.9 meters long by 6.6 meters wide and supported by twin arches. Between these arches, under the bridge’s parapet, are carved goblins (dokkaebi) that are intended to ward off evil spirits.

Changyeonggung Palace

Myeongjeongjeon Hall

Myeongjeongjeon Hall is the main hall in Changyeonggung Palace. Of all the palaces in Seoul, it is the oldest remaining main hall. In front of the building, wide and flat rectangular stones can be found in the courtyard. At the center of this courtyard is a three level walkway, whereby the king walks at the center walkway.

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Gyeongchunjeon Hall

Gyeongchunjeon Hall was the sleeping residence of the wife of the deceased king at Changgyeonggung Palace. Also, many of the Joseon kings were born in this hall.

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Hwangyeongjeon Hall

Hwangyeongjeon Hall is located near the Gyeongchunjeon Hall. This hall was the sleeping residence for kings, princes, and their wives while they were at Changgyeonggung Palace.

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Haminjeong Pavilion

Haminjeong Pavilion was the area where the king received high performing civil and military officials and held banquets.

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Daeonsil (Great Greenhouse)

Daeonsil (Great Greenhouse) is an enclosed botanical garden that was built in 1909. Its design is based on The Crystal Palace’s design in London, England featuring pointed arches and window frames.

Admission to Changyeonggung Palace costs 1, 000 won for adults and 500 won for children. It is closed every Monday and accepts admission at least one hour before the closing time. Regarding its operating hours, please refer below:

April – October – Opens from 9:00am until 06:30pm
November and March – Opens from 9:00am until 05:30pm
December – February – Opens from 9:00am until 05:00pm

Check hotel accommodation in Seoul, Korea.

 

Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Changdeokgung Palace is one of the five grand palaces in Seoul, South Korea. It is the second palace (after Gyeongbokgung Palace) built by the Joseon dynasty in 1405. It is currently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Korea since 1997 due to its outstanding architecture and a design that is in harmony with the landscape.

Some of the recognizable places of interest at Changdeokgung Palace are:

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Donhwamun Gate

Donhwamun Gate is the main gate in Changdeokgung Palace and is located at the westernmost part of the palace. It is a two-story wooden gate with which the first level is used as a passage and the second level for surveillance.

 

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Injeongjeon Hall

Injeongjeon Hall is the main hall at Changdeokgung Palace. It was used for major state affairs such as coronation of a new king and meeting foreign envoys.

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Huijeongdang Hall

Huijeongdang Hall was the bedchamber of the king. But then later on, it was converted to be the king’s workplace.

Huwon Secret Garden

Huwon Secret Garden is a rear garden in Changdeokgung Palace which was originally constructed for the use of the members of the royal family.

Admission fees in Changdeokgung Palace is 3,000 won for adults. It is closed for visit ever Monday and accepts last admission one hour before the closing time. Its operating hours differ depending on which month you are visiting. Please refer to the information below:

February – May, September – October – Opens from 09:00 until 06:00pm
June – August – Opens from 09:00 until 06:30pm
November – January – Opens from 09:00 until 05:30pm

Check accommodation in Seoul, South Korea.

Gyeongbokgung Palace: The Largest Palace in South Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest and the most beautiful palace among the five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. It was built in 1395 in the northern part of Seoul, South Korea.

During the Japanese Invasion in the year 1592 until 1598, the palace’s premises were once destroyed by fire. However, all the buildings in the palace were later restored during the reign of King Gojong.

The iconic points of interest in Gyeongbokgung Palace are:

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Gwanghwamun Gate. This is the South Gate and is considered as the main gate in Gyeongbokgung Palace. The other gates are Heungnyemun (The Second Inner Gate), Geunjeongmun (The Third Inner Gate), Sinmumun (The North Gate), Geonchunmun (The East Gate) and Yeongchumun (The West Gate).

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Geunjeongjeon Hall is the throne hall where the king of the Joseon dynasty formally granted audiences to his officials, gave national declarations and greeted foreign envoys and ambassadors. It survived both the Japanese Rule of Colonial Korea and Korean War, thus making it worthy to be part of South Korea’s national treasure – being listed as National Treasure No. 223.

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Gyeonghoeru Pavilion is a hall where important and special state banquets were being held during the Joseon Dynasty.  Like Geunjeongjeon, it survived both the Japanese Rule of Colonial Korea and Korean War. It is listed as National Treasure No. 224.

When visiting Gyeongbokgung, please note that it is close every Tuesday and its last admission is one hour before closing. The palace operates at different timings on various months:

November – February – Opens from 09:00am until 05:00pm
March – May – Opens from 09:00 until 06:00pm
June – August – Opens from 09:00 until 06:30pm
September – October – Opens from 09:00 until 06:00pm

Check out accommodation in Seoul, South Korea.

A Day in Sydney

What to do in Sydney if you are there for a day? Well, you can roam around the city by foot and see its iconic places.

Anzac Memorial

Anzac Memorial is located in Hyde Park on the eastern edge of Sydney Central Business District. It is the place where important occasions like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day are usually held to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women in war and peacekeeping.

Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is nicknamed as “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design. It has a measurement of 134 m (440 ft) from top to water level. After building it for eight years, it finally opened in 1932. In 2007, it was added to the Australian National Heritage list.

Opera House

The Sydney Opera House was designed by Jorn Utzon, a Danish architect. It opened on 20 October 1973, and in 2007, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Opera House is a multi-venue for performing arts in Sydney with over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people.

Bonus: “Forgotten Songs” in Angel Place

“Forgotten Songs” is an art installation created by Michael Thomas Hill. It was installed in 2012 at Angel Place in George St to Pitt St, Sydney. This installation commemorates the songs of 50 birds once heard in central Sydney before they finally moved out following the European settlement. The sounds coming from the birdcages change as the sun starts to disappear. The songs of daytime birds can be heard during the day while the sounds of nocturnal birds can be heard when the sun vanished at night.

Indeed, these are the places worth seeing when roaming the beautiful city of Sydney!

Check hotel accommodation in Sydney, Australia.

Worst time to visit the Blue Mountains in Australia

One of the must see places in Australia is the Blue Mountains. It is two hours by train from Sydney’s Central Station to Katoomba. Its name was derived from the natural blue haze created by vast eucalypt forests in this World Heritage area. The blue colour is formed when tiny droplets of oil released from the trees mix with water vapour and sunlight.

If you are a person who truly loves nature, you will love it here! Cliffs, caves, waterfalls, and many more are delightful and refreshing to see in this place.

The worst time to visit the Blue Mountains is during the winter when it is raining. The reason why is because fog starts to form, and so you will not fully enjoy the view of the whole Blue Mountains.

Thus, if you are planning to see the Blue Mountains, it would be better if you will schedule it not on a rainy day…

But, hey! We were still happy even though it was raining during our visit to the Blue Mountains, and all we could see was fog instead of The Three Sisters!

Check hotel accommodation in Sydney, Australia.

Brisbane Lookout Mount Coot-tha

Mount Coot-tha is a perfect lookout to view the whole of Brisbane from the Central Business District (CBD) to Moreton Bay. It is around 30 minutes away from the city of Brisbane.

There are many activities that you can do at Mount Coot-tha such as the following:

  • mountain biking
  • birdwatching
  • cycling
  • walking
  • hiking

At the bottom of Mount Coot-tha is the Botanic Gardens. It is where you can find The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the largest planetarium in Queensland. Here you may attend a show in the Cosmic Skydome to take a tour of Brisbane’s current night sky. You may also visit the display zone to take an astronomical journey from the time of Big Bang up to the present day solar system.

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You may reach Mount Coot-tha by car, taxi or bus. Taxi fares from Brisbane City range from $26.00 – $37.00 (AUD) depending on the time of day and day. Meanwhile, Translink bus travels from Adelaide Street in Brisbane City to Brisbane Lookout every day.

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Check hotel accommodation in Brisbane, Australia.