Seoul 2012: Day 1

We went to Seoul March last year for a short vacation and our first itinerary was the Gyeongbokgung Palace’s main gate at Gwanghwamun. It’s a famous landmark and symbol of the city’s long history. The palace has many gates and Gwanghwamun was the largest and most popular. It’s one of the most visited tourist destinations in Seoul and the huge crowd of tourists in the area was a clear evidence of that. Aside from the beautiful place, another thing that really draws the crowd to this place is the Changing of the Guards ceremony. It’s held every hour from 10AM to 3PM, except Tuesdays. We were lucky to arrive at the right time.

The view inside the gate was majestic. The mountains were beautifully framed by the gorgeous Korean architecture. When we were inside, it was hard to imagine that this entire palace complex existed at the heart of Seoul’s bustling city. It was a totally different world.

Scattered across the area were the guards dressed in their colorful uniforms. They looked scary and menacing but you can actually take photos with them. At first we didn’t know if we could but when the other tourists started doing it, we joined in the fun.That’s me and my parents with one of the guards. Honestly, it was close to impossible to have a clear shot with them. People kept on coming in and out of the gates so we just settled for this one.When the Changing of the Guards ceremony started, everyone and I mean everyone dropped whatever they were doing and gathered to watch. I squeezed my way through the thick crowd and found a lucky spot at the front.The ceremony was an amazing experience. It was like watching a scene from a Korean period drama. After the ceremony, everyone resumed to their photo-taking and tourist activities. After Gwanghwamun, we decided to go to Dongdaemun to go shopping. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take much photos there because I was too busy browsing around.  In my  next entry, I’ll post about our next destination: the beautiful Namsan Park! Until then.

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