~There are many palaces in Seoul itself, and we chose Changdeukgung Palace as our main itinerary for that day. We went out as late as 10.00AM and had a mug of chicken mushroom soup that we brought from Kuala Lumpur. We then walked out from Amiga Hotel and took a train at Jongno 5 (o) ga Station – Line 1. From this station, we changed at Jongno 3 (sam) ga – Line 3 and stopped at Anguk Station.
Tips : This subway has two exits. You have to walk for 5 minutes if you take Exit 4, while 10 minutes for Exit 6. So why want to walk longer? Take Exit 4. You will see the palace on your left.
From afar, we saw lots of people started to snap pictures in front of the main gate, Donhwamun Gate. We didn’t lose the chance either. I setup the tripod and put it as furthest as I can, to get the whole gate in frame. After we had enough with the gate, we went to the ticket booth and paid 3,000won=RM9 per pax, for the entrance fee. That was only the regular fee alone, excluded the Secret Garden, which later we had to pay inside. Tips : 3,000won=RM3 for regular tour, 5,000won=RM15 for Secret Garden, and 10,000won=RM30 for combination ticket (all-inclusive for Changdeukgung, Changgyeonggung, Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung, Jongmyo Shrine, and they are all MASSIVE!) So, Changdeukgung and Secret Garden are enough as they are the most beautiful.
Up to this point, the palace area was free to be explored. We passed by the Geumcheongyo Bridge to get to the UNESCO site landmark that declared, King Taejong’s property as one of the world natural and cultural heritage.
Similar to other palaces, this palace has rows of rooms, halls, streams, sculptures, and gardens. We stopped under one tree where we saw few young local girls tried to catch those falling leaves. I found it interesting and tried to copy what they were doing BUT I improvised it by collecting those leaves and threw it on me. Sad huh? Hahaha! But it was even sadder when one of the girls slipped down and hurt her knee! Tu la, lari-lari lagi :D
We walked deeper into the palace and saw something familiar, like we have seen it before. It was the Injeongmun Palace and Gate that looked like a smaller version of Forbidden City in Beijing. There was an audience chamber that used for national events like coronation ceremony, congratulatory and such. This palace was made in the combination of concrete and wood, which its windows made from treated see-through paper.
Tips : Get yourself a copy of the Palace map to avoid misdirection.
“What?” I asked hubby.
“You stand there, I take your photo, you take mine :D” Hubby said.
“Then I stand on the corridor, you take photo from below.” I suggested.
“After that I take your photo below the flyover.” Wah, more and more Canon moments we created! Hahaha! We even snapped the sewerage manhole tau tak! Kahkahkah!
“Ok jom, Secret Garden.” Hubby grabbed my hand and walked towards the ticket booth. We paid an amount of money and waited in line.
10 minutes later, “Eh, why the tour guide speaks Korean?” I asked.
“English is at 11.30PM, you want to wait and wasting another 30 minutes?” Hubby gave me a smirked face. “Owh…ok, ok.” I quickly agreed. We had too. Queuing up with Locals and not knowing what the tour guide said, was quite fun.
Tips : Secret Garden is not a free at leisure tour. You must be accompanied by a group tour guides, regardless you understand what they are saying or not. The trick is, walk fast or walk slowly. Either you walk ahead of them, or walk behind them, so that they won’t be bothered to check out on you, and you will have your own sweet time to snap pictures in whatever pose you want.
Once they opened the gate, everyone was walking ahead then the tour guides like ‘kambing keluar kandang’. We tried to slow the pace and enjoyed the chilly breezy wind with falling leaves all around us. It was so beautiful, I must say.
About 200 meters away, we saw one slope down to the open space. I wasn’t sure but I read somewhere that this King has made this Secret Garden, complete with bedroom, reading area, pond, for his royal concubine to play hide and seek with him, NAKEDLY. Go google! Fine, I lied.
It was for his queen and princess lah! We followed other DSLR with tripod members and started to snap pictures from the same angle as they did. Haha…so kiasu! We then rest for a while under one big yellow tree and started to eat ‘serunding’.
We ate 5 spoons each and suddenly, “Errr…cannot eat…cannot eat in here…” out of nowhere, one of the tour guides spotted us eating and warned us.
“Oh, sorry…sorry…” but we took another spoon. Hehe!
“Can drink?” Hubby showed body language of drinking.
“Can…can…” she said.
Tips : Look around, aware with your surrounding. Try to find a secluded area and eat quietly and quickly. Swallow the whole bun if you have too. Do not eat a horse!
We drank and went off to the next spot with smiley face. Felt hungry no more! :D We snapped more and more pictures in front of the pond with red, yellow, and orange backgrounds. It was soooooo beautiful and fun! We started to throw leaves at each other and laughed out loud. I bet people thought that we were some kind of primitive who loves living in the jungle. “Uish! So nice la this tree!” Hubby showed me one tree opposite the old trench, where its bark and inner bark peeled off nicely. It was maple tree and the pattern was marvelous and stunning. I had never seen anything like that in my whole life!
We covered almost 70% of the garden and it was unbelievable that we have actually made one big round, encircling the palace. The feeling walking in the woods in autumn season was the most amazing experience that I can never forget.The lost? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Tireddddddd! We continued walking towards one wide dried trench, approaching the exit and played ju-on and wedding picture.I managed to pick 5 maple leaves to bring back home, to be framed. We saw one officer and asked him the direction to Bukchon Hanok Village, where that place is going to be our next places of interest. Till then, enjoy my maples eyes! :D