If you just happen to be around in South Korea when it’s their national Foundation Day in October and Chuseok Holidays being listed on the calendar, then you’ll be lucky enough to see many of the Korean people adorned in traditional attire over the holiday period. And, they’re very happy to snap photos of each other too!
Having returned to Seoul after a couple of previous visits over the years, on this occasion I’ll be traversing a little further around the country. But for now, a view of the Changdeok Palace which is set within a large park in Jongno-gu, Seoul and is a must see as it’s one of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). There’s so much to see within this complex built on a 58-hectare site, so make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
Beautifully, the buildings of Changdeokgung blend with the natural topography of the site instead of imposing themselves upon it. All this within the city’s boundaries and it’s easy access to transport and the Anguk subway station is within a couple of minutes walking.
Some very interesting architecture within Seoul; most notably swerves, waviness and this one doing the splits … All within an easy walk around the city centre, and if you’re a photographer who likes impressive structures, then Seoul is for you.
Sewing machines on display while window shopping along the streets. From my observation, clothing made in South Korea appears to be of a higher quality than from many other Asian countries; with fine materials and stronger threads being used and therefore lasting longer. Everything a sewer could ever possibly need can be found at the ever-popular Dongdaemun Fabric Market.
Myeong-dong is Seoul’s prime shopping and entertainment area in downtown which contains some of the city’s top stores and fashion boutiques. Itaewon is another notable shopping area lined with boutiques and stores especially targeted at the large foreign population in Seoul. However, my favourite is Insadong whereby at one time it was the largest market for antiques and artworks in Korea. The Gangnam areas often attract a more well-to-do population of wealthy young Koreans who shop at one of many luxury boutiques and department stores, as well as dining at some of the finest cafes and restaurants in the city.
Chestnuts are offered by street sellers and are looking very much like they’re calling my name.
While American chestnuts range in size, Korean or Asian chestnuts are slightly bigger and may not be as sweet. Instead they have a neutral, smoky flavour that makes them versatile in many other dishes.
Coffee shops abound everywhere in South Korea! Lucky me. This is one country which appreciates the good bean for its customers to enjoy, more so than any other Asian country I can think of. This little place has survived in a fast-growing metropolis and I think it deserves my patronage.
On the walk home, a stop at Tapgol Park Insadong which is historically important as the site of the origin of the March 1st Movement 1919, an important part of South Korea’s independence as the first location for the reading of the Proclamation of Independence.
Although at the time of writing this post, tensions were at a high level with North Korea’s missile testings. However, I found there wasn’t any shortage of visitors upon arrival with queues of tourists waiting to clear immigration. Obviously people weren’t prepared to ‘wait and see’ and were still willing to flock and visit this wonderful country which is filled with warm-hearted and welcoming South Koreans.