Experiences - Asia

3 Must-see Places in Korea

Here are three must-see places in Korea, three beautiful destinations that just cannot be missed, in the order of their magnificence:

Location 1: Gyeongbokgung Palace

3 Must-see Places in Korea

Image Courtesy: Amin Buskan used under the Creative Commons Licence

The Gyeongbokgung Palace is the first royal palace constructed by the Joseon Dynasty in 1395, 3 years after they came to power. It is one of the largest grand palaces which was burned down during the Japanese invasion but expanded and restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun.

Some of the main attractions of the Gyeongbokgung Palace are:

1. Geunjeongjeon (Imperial Throne Hall)

The imperial Throne was the main center for coronation ceremonies of the royal household. The hall was also used by the king to issue proclamations, greet foreign envoys/ambassadors and get briefed by the officers.

2. Gyeonghoeru (Pavillion)

The Pavilion located right next to Geunjeongjeon is an artificial island in the middle of a rectangular lake with three stone bridges connecting it to the palace grounds. The Gyeonghoeru best illustrates the simplicity of traditional Korean architecture.

3. Hyangwonjeong (Pavilion)

This hexagon shaped Pavillion, seen to the north of the palace site was also constructed on an artificial island with bridges connecting it to the Palace grounds. Hyangwonjeong was the king’s informal and private place for rest and leisure.

4. Geoncheonggung (Palace)

Geoncheonggung Palace was an artifact museum that housed stunning possessions of the royal clan which were accessible only to close friends and relatives of the emperor.

5. Gwanghwamun (Gate)

Gwanghwamun is the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace located to its south. It is made up of three arched gates called Hongyemun, with the middle gate reserved for the king and the other two for his officials.

6. Heungnyemun (Gate)

Heungnyemun is the second largest gate of the palace right behind the Gwanghwamun (Gate). This gate was completely demolished during the Japanese invasion but was later restored to its original form in 1995.

7. The Changing of the Royal Guard

The Gyeongbokgung Palace not only houses magnificent monuments but also stages several ceremonies such as the changing of the Royal Guard and the Patrol Ritual every day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in front of Heungnyemun (Gate). The opening and closing of the royal palace gate is another act tourists get to witness.

The National Folk Museum of Korea and the National Palace Museum are also located on the palace grounds, portraying rich Korean architecture, culture, heritage, art, tradition, and civilization.

Location 2: Myeong-dong

Must-see Places in Korea

Image Courtesy: marcia taylor used under the Creative Commons Licence

Myeong-dong is the primary shopping centre and the ultimate tourist location. It was one of the busiest places in Seoul housing a large number of shopping malls selling both local and international brands, shops selling clothes, accessories, cosmetics, gadgets, foot ware etc. It also harbors many family restaurants, fast food joints, and Japanese joints selling delicious food and drinks.

Other attractions one may spot in the area include theatres, spas, and salons. Myeong-dong is nothing but retail and refreshment therapy for tourists and locals alike.

Location 3: Namiseom Island

Must-see Places in Korea

Image Courtesy: Johanna Alexis used under the Creative Commons Licence

Namiseom is a half-moon shaped isle that was formed as a result of the Cheongpyeong Dam construction. The island situated 63 km away from Seoul, in the direction of Chuncheon, is a weekend getaway for families and tourists. What makes Nami interesting is the burial of the electric wires underground in order to retain natural landscape. The isle yards are lined with chestnut and poplar trees with a centre grass field.

The island comes with a package of its own that includes camping sites, education and training facilities, swimming pools, water-sports facilities, water skiing, theme parks and lodging facilities such as resort villas and bungalows for a perfect vacation.

Now all you need to do is book your tickets, pack your bags, buy a guide and hit the city to enrich your travel experiences. Live and experience the place just like a true South Korean.

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