Day 4: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Dongdaemun
Welcome to day 4 of our trip!
On Day 4 we had yet another busy day visiting the surrounding area of Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was our main item on the itinerary. We also planned to visit Chandeokgung Palace but unfortunately it was closed when we got there! Places visited on day 4 include:
National Folk Village
Bukchon Hanok Village
Gyeongbokgung Palace is the definition of a must-do attraction in Seoul. Majestical architecture, traditional Korean buildings and girls donning Korean hanbok dresses are just some of the things you can expect from a visit.
The palace was built in 1395, but was destroyed by a fire during Japanese invasions that took place in the late 1500s. The palace was restored in the mid 1800s and now stands as Seoul's most famous palace.
To get into the palace, there is an admission fee of 3,000 won for adults and 1,500 for children.
Hot tip: Gyeongbokgung palace, as well as Chandeokgung Palace, offers free entry to visitors every last Wednesday of the month. Luckily for us we visited on the last Wednesday of July!
If you choose to take the train to get to the palace, I would recommend exiting out of Gyeongbokgung station because there are some interesting things to see there too. The interior of the station are in theme with the palace and makes for a nice introductory course before the main palace.
The palace itself is huge - make sure you get some good snaps of the sprawling complex.
Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5.
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1.
Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 2.
*Hot tip - Free entry to visitors every last Wednesday of the month
National Folk Village
Surrounding Gyeongbokgung Palace, the National Folk Museum presents historical artifacts that were used in the daily lives of Korean people in past eras.
We didn't go inside, but saw some of the pieces that were displayed outside of the Museum, which was a nice way to spend time after visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Samcheongdong is a neighbourhood next to Gyeongbokgung Palace the South Korea of old with modern South Korea. It is a very unique area situated on a mountainous road. You will often find women in hanboks taking pictures and hanbok rental shops everywhere, as well as cute cafés.
We didn't stay long as we were already well fed before visiting, but you could easily spend a few hours here chilling out in one or more of the many cafés.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional residential area next to Samcheongdong. It’s a major tourist attraction and a favourite place for visitors to take happy snaps in these beautiful homes.
But make sure to remain quiet and respectful during our visit, as people actually live in these homes.
The Hanok Village was quite difficult to find at first in the scorching heat but walk around at a leisurely place and you'll find yourself there. Again, in this area there will be lots of women walking around in pretty hanboks.
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1 or 2.
Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.
Insadong was another area that was walkable from the Gyeongbokgung Palace area. Reaching Insadong from the Palace took about 15 minutes.
At Insadong,, locals and visitors alike purchase traditional goods such as wooden crafts, tea sets and souvenirs. Insadong is also famous for its alleysways, street food and art galleries, so there is truly something for everyone here.
During my visit to South Korea, Insadong was one of our favourite areas to relax and wander around as the general vibe of the place was very zen. We liked it so much we went twice in our 7 day visit! It’s a little hard to explain in words, but there was just something so peaceful and wholesome about the district.
1. Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
Go 100m straight, then turn left.
2. Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 3.
Go straight 300m, and turn left at the 4-way Intersection.
Go straight 100m, and take the left road toward Insadong-gil Road.
To cap off Day 4, we visited the Dongdaemun area late at night to look at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DPP) and go late night shopping. We purchased lots of quality items which we'll tell you about in another blog post!
Dongdaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 4), Exit 8 or 9.
Where to stay in Seoul
We broke up our stay in Seoul by staying in two different areas. To read more about where to stay in Seoul, scroll to the bottom of our Day 1 blog post.