AndromedHa

Korea trip – day 6

Posted on: May 27, 2011

Day 6 was the most tiring day. It was non-stop walking around different places! In the morning, we visited Presidential Blue House, National Folk Museum, and Gyeongbok Palace in the morning. After having chicken ginseng soup for early dinner, it was all shopping-till-u-drop activities. We were brought to Korean Ginseng Center, Amethyst Factory Outlet, Face Shop Outlet, Duty Free shops, and more shopping at Myeongdong area ~ since we were there couple days ago, we decided to check out Namdaemun Market nearby. At the end of the day, I was really tired and sticked my body to the comfy hotel bed 😛

PRESIDENTIAL BLUE HOUSE  and  MUGUNGHWA VALLEY
The Presidential Blue House (Cheongwadae) was located in Jongno, near Insadong. It is called “Blue House” in reference to USA’s White House since South Korea was influenced by USA. In addition, its greenish-blue roof is very distinctive among other buildings in the area. We just passed this since we couldn’t enter the house.

However, we went to Mugunghwa Valley nearby. It’s actually a small park near the house with a Phoenix statue standing tall and elegantly. The view here was spectacular! Far away in the background was a mountain. When we visited the park in the morning, there were some sort of ceremony for young military armies. They lined up in rows and marched together.

Presidential Blue House from afar

Mugunghwa Valley with Phoenix statue

  

Koreans really appreciate family value

 

Koreans army

NATIONAL FOLK MUSEUM OF KOREA
The National Folk Museum is very near to the Presidential Blue House and it is actually inside the Gyeongbok Palace. It only took us less than 5 minutes driving to get there.  When you enter the museum area, one thing you’ll notice is the big pagoda in the middle of the area. The museum has outdoor and indoor display. The outdoor display shows the traditional wood carving, Dol hareubangs (the famous statue from Jeju island), crossbars and guard posts, etc. The tour guide said, many Koreans believe that if you touch the nose of Dol hareubangs, your wife will give birth to a boy. If you touch the ears, you’ll get a baby girl. That’s why they make the statue with big nose ~ since old Koreans folks prefer boy than girl 😛

  

The museum pagoda ; Dol hareubangs

  

Other outdoor displays

Inside the building is the indoor display that tells the story of Korean history and Koreans culture and lifestyle. There were lots of displays and if you are into Korean culture, it’s worth a visit! However, we were rush and we only saw bit of pieces of the display.

    

National Folk Museum of Korea ; Prayers ; Placenta chambers

    

The wedding procession; Rickshaw ; Acupuncture

    

Fortunetelling ; Exorcism ; Mourning clothes

    

Some kind of cereomony ; The coffin ; The must cooked meals during funeral ~ it is a LOT!

GYEONGBOK PALACE
After visiting the museum, we went to nearby Gyeongbok Palace. Since we entered from the back side, we didn’t get chance to see the changing guard procession 😦 Well, I managed to snap a picture when I was on the bus passing the front gate 😉

Gyeongbok Palace is a huge palace! It has several detached buildings for different purposes, such as building where meeting was held, summer cottage for king, winter cottage for king, house for the queens, entertainment hall, etc. The entertainment hall is used by the King to greet visitor while having dinner together. This hall is located at the centre of the palace area. It was surrounded by small pond and the background was a beautiful mountain. According to Koreans’ belief, if a house is surrounded by mountain and stream of water, it brings lots of luck to the owner 🙂 The main hall is smaller than the entertainment house. Still, lots of people checked it out and I took a picture too 🙂 Here, there is special stairs that only the King can step upon. The houses were built with ondol heating system. They burn some woods under the floor to keep the whole house warm, especially during winter time.

Gyeongbok Palace from the front

The main hall facing the beautiful mountains

Special stairs for the King

  

Beautiful mountain view ; The entertainment hall

   

Different names of hall ; Ondol system

Early dinner time! This time, the menu was Chicken Ginseng Soup. Ginseng is Koreans’ multivitamins 😛 Personally, I don’t like the taste of ginseng. However, considering the health benefits behind it, I managed to eat the whole ginseng… After the early dinner, we went to Korean Ginseng Center, Amethyst Factory Outlet, Face Shop Outlet, Duty Free shops, and Myeongdong area to continue our shopping journey! I bought a box of ginseng concentrate at Ginseng Centre for about US$400! Well, yeah it’s super pricey! But I think I’m gonna give it a try to maintain my health 🙂 In the Amethyst Factory Outlet, we just looked around since amethyst wasn’t my favorite gem stone. At Face Shop outlet and Duty free shops, I bought some Korean brand make-up. Apparently, Koreans really love face masks! They sell different kind of masks for different benefit: reduce wrinkle, brighten your skin, reduce puffy eyes, etc.

 

Chicken Ginseng Soup

  

On the way to shopping journey: public park. Lots of people had picnic and swam 🙂 ; Post Office Building

NAMDAEMUN MARKET
The tour bus dropped us at Myeongdong and the rest of the tour group continued with their shopping. Since we already visited Myeongdong many times couple days ago, we decided to walk couple blocks toward Namdaemun Market. Namdaemun Market was really a market-market! Talking about traditional market experience, you’ll get it here! You can find traditional food, ginseng shop, utilities shop, clothing stores, back alley restaurants, and lots of traditional Korean stuffs. Here, you can bargain the price. Don’t worry about language barrier. Since most of the sellers can’t speak English fluently, they’ll bring a calculator to show the price. If you want to bargain, just punch the number you desire. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Well, I bought 2 headbands by bargaining 🙂 My fiance bought the sunflower seed stuffed pillow by bargaining too! It worths a try! Some stores closed pretty early, so we just walked around for quite a while ~ the market is pretty big and confusing since it has lots and lots of small alleys! If you get lost, try to find a way back to major street.

    

Food food food everywhere!

  

Back alley restaurant

    

  

Different stuffs at Namdaemun Market

NANTA
By 8 o’clock, we were gathered at Nanta Theatre back in Myeongdong strip. Nanta is a famous theatrical show combining cooking skills with comedy. The show lasted almost 2 hours. It got pretty loud inside since they used cooking utensils as their musical instruments. No camera and video recorder were allowed inside the theatre ~ it was too dark anyway 😛 The show was pretty interesting and funny. At one part of the act, I laughed so hard. If you have spare time, you can watch the show. Since it IS a popular show in Seoul, advance booking is required.

Nanta Theatre

  

Nanta

At about 10 pm, we headed to our hotel in Songdo, Best Western Premier Songdo Park Hotel. It was about an hour trip from Myeongdong to Songdo but I didn’t want to shut my eyes for that very last night in South Korea 😦 Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wake up early the next day. The rest of the group had to wake up pretty early since their flight was 6 am in the morning, while our flight was later in the afternoon. Before going to our room, we made sure we booked a free shuttle to the airport. The hotel seemed to be pretty new. Everything looked in mint condition. However, the central heating system caused our room to be very hot. Plus, the windows in our room couldn’t be opened! The hotel generously lent us a standing fan that helped a lot! As soon as I felt the breeze, I was lost in my own dream 🙂

Cheers,
M.a.J

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