Changgyeonggung – One of the Five Grand Palaces – Back to the Past Adventure (Part 6)

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The last palace that we visited was Changyeonggung, though we still have ticket for our fifth palace, I knew for myself, that we will not able to visit it because the next day was our last day and we were booked for another tour. Anyway, though there were still few raindrops when we were at Changdeokgung, we were unstoppable to continue our walk. We entered in the gate of the palace from Changdeokgung which is called Hamyangmun.

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–Hamyangmun (near the stair)

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–bridge

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–Tongmyeongjeon

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–Yanghwadang

Since our tour did not start at the main gate of the palace, we saw the buildings in not particularly order. We started to walk in the area of Tongmyeongjeon and Yanghwadang. Based from handbook guide, Tongmyeongjeon was the queen’s bed chamber. Beside the building, there is a pond, with a bridge in the middle of it. While reading the information, I felt ecstatic because it was mentioned in the footnote in the guide that it was near the area of Tongmyeongjeon where Jang Ok-jeong (maid-in waiting become queen, deposed as consort and killed herself by poison, queen of King Sukjong in Dongyi historical drama) buried a puppet of the Queen together with dead animals which was the curse she laid for Queen Inhyeon (the current queen of King Sukjong in Dongyi). That piece of information is interesting. While the other building beside Tongmyeongjeon which is Yanghwadang where King Injo stayed.

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–Gyeongchunjeon

Another area nearby Tomyeongjeon is called Gyeongchunjeon and Hwangyeongjeon. Gyeongchunjeon was sleeping quarters of King Seongjong (son of Queen Insu who become a regent for some years when his son was still young).  It was the place of queens and princesses because future kings such as King Jeongjo and King Heonjong, King Jeongjo himself wrote a plaque which means “Birth Hall” and hung above the entrance. Hwangyeongjeon was the residence of kings and princes.

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–Hwangyeongjeon

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–Haminjeong

We moved to another area and look again what’s the building mean and the guide-book mentioned that it is called as Haminjeong which used by king to receive officials and hold banquets. Then we found as well the Sungmundang, its name written by King Yeongjo (son of King Sukjong and Dongyi in the drama) still hang. Here the king threw banquets for state affair discussions and classical literature.

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–Sungmundang

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–Binyangmun (near Sungmundang)

Next building we checked is called Munjeongjeon which is a council hall where king usually dealt with routine state affairs. One interesting information found in the footnote of the guide, that the courtyard in front of this building, the most tragic incident of the century happened. Prince Sado (father of King Jeongjo) was reported to be mentally ill and King Yeongjo were so furious that he ordered to put the prince in rice chest and sealed alive (where the prince died after 8 days).

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–Between Munjeongjeon and Muyeongeonjeon

Then we move to another area called Myeongjeongjeon and vicinity. Here we found the main hall of the palace which is Myeongjeongjeon. Here most of the state affairs such as royal coronations, royal weddings, royal banquets were held.

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–Myeongjeongjeon (back)

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–Myeongjeongjeon

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–Inside Myeongjeongjeon

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–Myeongjeongjeon Vicinity

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–Myeongjeonmun

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–Okcheongyo(bridge) and Myeongjeonmun(gate)

Next area we passed by is Honghwamun and vicinity. Here we found the gate to Myeongjeonmun to Myeongjeongjeon. Then the famous Honghwamun, this gate where King Yeongjo went out to gather the opinions of peasants and scholars alike for Equalized Tax Law where most of his ministers opposed. Another interesting fact that I learned from the handbook guide was the footnote telling us that it was the same gate where people crowded to rally for the crown prince, he is Prince Sohyeon (oldest son of King Injo who become hostage for years during Qing dynasty but died through poison few days after returning in from Qing). I remember he is the same prince that I am currently watching historical drama right now entitled The Three Musketeers. Let’s wait and see what I am going to learn in that historical drama once it’s finished airing.

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–Honghwamun

After coming from Honghwamun, we went out at the right side door and moved to Yeongchuncheon and Jipbokheon area. I learned that the area was residences of concubines. Jipbojheon building was where Crown Prince Sado and King Sunjo were born. Yeongchuncheon was unknown building before but become King Jeongjo’s study room and sometimes for  handling routine state affairs.

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–Yeongchuncheon

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–Chundangji

We passed the Inner Palace site where court ladies live here. Some of the royal princesses also lived here. But currently we saw the place as wooded area full of trees and gardens. Probably the site was not yet restored. We continue our walk until we found a beautiful and large pond, and based from map, the pond named Chundangji. The large pond was not the original pond, it was the site where the king did engaged in farming while the queen engaged in raising silkworm. The original pond is the small pond which is not visible in the photo that I tool while I was at the front of the pond.

Because its getting dark and we are aware that the palace is open until 6PM, we hurriedly went back in Honghwamun area so we can exit easily. In this walking tour we missed three areas namely: Gwandeokjeon and Jipchunmun, Eastern Palace Site and Gwolnaegaksa. Those three are more on sites as of that time, probably South Korea has still plan to restore the site in due time. I enjoyed another walking tour in the palace. While inside the palace and seeing historical buildings makes me feel that I was returning in the past time of Joseon. I enjoyed the tour because I am somewhat familiar with their history, maybe to other people, these are just mere buildings but for me, they are truly treasures that South Korean must keep it for more many years to come so next generation will appreciate their history again.

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South Korea Adventure

One of the country that I dream to visit is South Korea. Main reason, I fall in love with their history through historical drama that I watched. I am not used to watch all Korean dramas, but if its historical, I definitely going to watch it. I can say that I am somewhat familiar with their history though I am aware that probably not all things shown in the dramas are all correct but at least some of the facts can be search online, especially people if they are real or imaginary character. These historical drama were aired as well in my country, and some seen online. I can sense that there is good relationship between my country and South Korea. One of the sign of this good relationship is the continuous visitation of the Korean actors/actress/artists in my country to either promote their albums or films.

When I came from Australia after my recent project assignment last May, there is at least two weeks left before our flight to South Korea. I booked the flight a year ago, without assurance that I will be able to visit this country. It was 1 peso sale in Cebu Pacific (one of the major budget airline in the Philippines), base fare is 3 pesos, but in reality the total airfare is not just that amount, it’s more than that.

I booked three tickets and I planned to go together with my mother and my youngest sister. And in less than two weeks, we don’t have yet the visa since I cannot apply it a bit earlier since I am not around in my country until I returned from Australia. I worked with all the paper requirements for the application of our visa and the three of us visited South Korea embassy, 5 days after I arrived in Manila. And we waited for a week for the result of our visa application. Our visa were approved released just two days before the scheduled flight which is very tight. Until we received our passport and visa, that’s the only time we were sure that we are really going to South Korea. I already accepted before, that the hotel and flight booking will be forfeited if our visa application was not approved. And we were lucky that everything went smoothly.

It was Friday (June 6, 2014), my mom, my sister and I were waiting at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), Terminal 3. At the time that we were boarding the plane, that made me realized that my dream will come true in a matter of few hours. I just thought about traveling South Korea, but never really planned it so well because of the concern regarding our visa. I am a citizen of the country with limited visa free entries to other countries. This is one of the main reason why my travel to other parts of the world are being limited.

After four hours of flight from Manila to Incheon, we finally arrived at Incheon International Airport. It was past 8 in the evening, we were not like other travelers that all things were arranged. The only thing we booked was our accommodation because we were not really sure if we will able to get a visa. After getting off the plane and passing the immigration area, I thought it still early, therefore, we tried to figure out how we were going to the hotel service apartment that I booked. After asking something at information center, we bought our transportation card called T-money card, this money card can only be topped up by cash (not sure if there is a way to top it online via credit card). We decided to take train to go to Seoul and the plan is to transfer to metro train in Seoul. After withdrawing some cash, we took the “All Stop Train” of AREX line (“Express Train” is the other type of train, which is non-stop, straight to Seoul but more expensive than the All Stop Train). We arrived at Seoul past 10:30 PM. Looking at the time, we hurriedly transferred to one of the Seoul Metro Subways which is Line 4 going to Oido. It’s past 11:30 PM, we got off at Chongshin University or Isu station, then we transferred to another line which is Line 7 going to Jangam. At this time, we never able to arrived at the right station where our hotel is just around because the train stopped its operation even before we reach the station we are intended to.

We stopped at Naebang station as the last stop which means the next train will be coming the next morning, 3 more stations to reached Non-hyeon where our hotel is almost near, we went out at Naebang station and tried to find a cab that will bring us in our accommodation for the next 9 days and it was past 12AM in the morning and we were still outside in a place that was foreign for us, quite adventure but risky as well. There are several cabs stopped but most of the driver rejected us, either they don’t understand the way I speak since I am asking them in English or they don’t really want us as their passenger. We waited until another cab stopped and agreed to drop us to the hotel. One disappointment on that situation was, the driver never helped us to fetch our luggage to put it in the trunk of the cab. While on our way to the hotel, the driver keep on checking and looking on the map and address that I have on my hand to make sure that he’s on the right track, I keep on talking to him in English but he usually smiled at me without other words to say, in that situation I understand that he does not really know how to speak English either.

At last we arrived at the hotel service apartment at Gangnam-gu and the name of the 4 star hotel is Inn the City Serviced Residence, Gangnam. The clerk at the lobby of the hotel accommodated us quickly, we went straight in our room after we got our key. My impression to our room is nice, it has two double bed and all the necessary appliances as expected were there. After few minutes of being familiar with the room, we knew it was really late like almost 2AM, we have  a big day ahead of us for adventure and because of that we crawled in our bed and fallen asleep shortly.

I will tell stories of our adventures of each places that we visited in South Korea, most of the places were in Seoul and around Gyeonggi-do province. I enjoyed all of these places in our 8 days tours in this country, though I am aware there are more tourist destination to see and I promised myself that I will go back in this country.

Here are the places that we visited in South Korea.

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace (Seoul)

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2. Insandong (Seoul)

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3. Bukchon Village (Seoul)

IMG_64054. Seoul City Hall (Seoul)

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5. Hwaseong Haenggung (Suwon, Gyeonggi-do)

Hwaseong Haenggung - Temporary Palace of King Jeongjo - Back to the Past Adventure (Part 3)

6. Hwaseong Fortress (Suwon, Gyeonggi-do)

IMG_68497. Everland (Yongin, Gyeonggi-do)

IMG_83508. Nami Island (Chuncheon, Gangwon-do)

IMG_74359. Petite France (Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do)

IMG_794510. Changdeokgung Palace (Seoul)

IMG_706411. Changgyeonggung Palace (Seoul)

© HIDDEN PANORAMA 201412. DMZ – Demilitarized Zone (Yeoncheon County, Gyeonggi-do)

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 13. Seoul and Beyond – Random Moments

Hidden Panorama - Seoul Random