After the excitement of visiting Namiseom Island (남이섬 종합휴양지), I arrived back in Seoul late on Sunday afternoon with no plans. So… an evening in Hongdae beckoned!
Seriously. If you like the kinda clothes I wear (see my outfits here or Instagram here!), you should hit up Hongdae’s shopping streets. I picked up plenty of new garb there!
Eating well as always.
My third day in Seoul was on Lunar New Year’s Day. Knowing that much of the city would be closed for the festivities, I made it my little mission to visit Bukchon Hanok Village and Changdeokgung Palace. Bukchon has been on my list of things to see for the longest time – it’s a little neighbourhood in the northern area of the city with the largest number of hanoks, traditional Korean houses.
But first, an on-the-go breakfast from Paris Baguette. My love for Japanese-European bakeries came with me from Hong Kong 😉
Of course, I managed to pick the one day of the year when the tourist information centre was closed to visit. I’d read online and heard from friends that the best thing to do is head to the tourist info centre to pick up a map/guide that details the 8 viewpoints in the village for beautiful sights, but, alas, I had to go it alone. Quest Mish of the day!
I got very happily lost in the shopping side of Bukchon Hanok Village before deciding to try and find the main sights for myself. *cough* Semi-stalked some fellow Hong Kong tourists.
Turns out, you cross the road and walk up through a little street. Freakin’ nailed it.
I could happily set up camp and gaze down at this view all day long. It’s truly breathtaking, seeing the old overlooking the striking new, N Seoul Tower in the background.
As it was Seollal/Lunar New Year, families and couples aplenty ran amok.
I grabbed a coffee on the corner and then took a short walk back towards the station to visit Changdeokgung.
Having visited Gyeongbokgung on Saturday, I figured I’d forgo the main palace (sorry, not sorry, it was minus a billion degrees that day) and focus on Changdeokgung’s Secret Garden. For this, you must purchase a separate ticket and book on to a guided tour (available in Korean, Chinese, English and Japanese). It’s worth noting that the palace actually had free entrance so I had a 5-minute wander then returned for the Secret Garden.
I think the Secret Garden might have been one of my highlights of the trip!
I’m completely obsessed with secrets, magic and fantasy so it was simply amazing to walk through on the tour and see the enchanting gardens that were built for the Queen.
Over 270 varieties of trees were planted here, and the oldest dates back 7000 years. Seriously. History truly captivates me.
Recommended to 100% visit the Secret Garden and wear sturdy walking boots or trainers with excellent grip because the grounds are steep af.
Afterwards, I took a little subway and bus trip back to my Airbnb with some snacks, popped the heated flooring on and called my best friend for a much-needed cross-continental chat followed by a tiny sadness nap.
Day 3, check.