4. Seoul: Royal Palace Morning Walking Tour
You will be picked up from your hotel for this small group Seoul tour.
On your way to see the first attraction, you will pass by Deoksugung Palace. This tour starts at Cheonggyecheon stream, an 11km (7-mile) long, modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul. In July 2003, then Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak initiated a project to remove the elevated highway and restore the stream. One of the goals of the project were to restore the history and culture of the region, which had been lost for 30 years, and to revitalize the economy of Seoul.
Next, visit the site of the royal garden of the Joseon Dynasty, Cheongwadae (The Blue House) - the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state, the President of the Republic of Korea. The Blue House is in fact a complex of buildings, built largely in the traditional Korean architectural style with some modern elements. You will stop by Cheongwadae Saranchae, a Korean presidential exhibition center, newly opened as of January 2010. The term 'Sarangchae' refers to a place designated to receive guests in a traditional Korean home. Normally, ‘Sarangchae’ stands as a separate building from Anchae where owners of the house stay. As the name ‘Cheongwadae Saranchae’ indicates, it is a separate building located in front of Cheongwadae.
One of the highlights of this tour is a royal guard changing ceremony. It is a great opportunity to experience a rare traditional scene in Korea. Be sure to bring a camera to take pictures.
Afterwards, you will continue to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the 5 grand palaces built by the Joseon dynasty. The government ministry district and main buildings of Gyeongbokgung Palace formed the heart of the capital city of Seoul and represented the sovereignty of the Joseon Dynasty. The architectural principles of ancient China were harmoniously incorporated into both the tradition and the appearance of the Joseon royal court.
The National Folk Museum of Korea is a national museum of South Korea, located within the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace that uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the history of traditional life of the Korean people. There are three permanent exhibition halls, two special exhibition halls, a shop and a reference room.
Later visit Jogyesa, the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It became this in 1936, thus playing a leading role in the current state of Seon Buddhism in South Korea. The temple was first established in 1395, at the dawn of the Joseon Dynasty; the modern temple was founded in 1910 and initially called Hwanggaksa. The name was changed to Taegosa during the period of Japanese rule, and then to the present name in 1954.
Last but not least, at the end of this tour, you will be dropped-off at Myeongdong Lotte Hotel or Namdaemun market.
• 08:30 Hotel Pick-up
• The windows of tour ”Deoksugung, Sungnyemun, Seoul Station” (Tuesdays: no pass by Deoksugung)
• Cheonggyecheon Stream
• The main gate of the Blue House ‘Cheongwadae’ (Souvenir Photo)
• Cheongwadae Saragchae (Mondays: only outside of the building)
• Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Folk Museum and The Royal Guard Changing Ceremony (Tuesdays: Deoksugung Palace and Royal Guard Changing)
• Jogyesa Temple (Seoul Museum of History on Tuesdays)
• 12:00 Drop off at Myeongdong Lotte Hotel or Namdaemun Market