DAY 2 – Namsan Park
1 – Panoramic view of Seoul on the way to Namsan Park entrance (from the Namsan Library side). Also, apologies for the terrible stitching; 2-3 – a seemingly endless climb to N Seoul Tower; 4-5 – the Seoul sun setting on the far distant horizon, smudged by clouds of dust blowing from the Gobi Desert.
From Seoul Station, you can take – warning! – a long uphill walk all the way to Namsan Park, which is basically a relentless uphill climb to reach N Seoul Tower (see photo 3). If you are keen to visit N Seoul Tower, do so at night, so you can get some romantic city-light views of pretty much the entire northern part of the metropolis. If you are staying in Myeong-dong, you can take the Namsan Sunhwan shuttle bus No. 02 from Myeong-dong station (Line 4, Exit 3) for only W950. For the solo traveler, I say take a walk, get lost. I managed to find my way to Namsan Hill by accident. Stumbling upon random places feel serendipitous, at times liberating.
DAY 2 – Gyeongbok Palace (Gyeongbokgung)
1 – Early morning in Myeong-dong shopping district, when the shopaholics are still steadfastly asleep; 2 – Line 4 (Sky-blue) subway to Chungmuro Station; 3 – Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 4, Orange); 4 – Getting my morning dose of coffee at Starbucks; 5–8 – Changing of guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace; 9–10 – main entrances of Gyeongbokgung
I started my Korea itinerary by doing the most mundane of all tourist activities: sightseeing of the biggest palaces in Seoul. Boring as it may sound and seem, the palaces are actually quite a sight to behold, undeniably picturesque and postcard-worthy. The architecture is amazing; how the spaces play with natural lighting is mesmerizing, offering you a sense of peace and calm, if only the countless hordes of boisterous Chinese tourists would evaporate from the palace grounds. Needless to say, I genuinely enjoyed the sights and sounds of Gyeongbokgung.
You can catch the changing of guards ceremony in the open grounds at around 11:00 AM. Note that this is also the time of the day where tour groups would come ravaging for spots to take good photos of the guards, so be prepared to fight for your prime spot.
If ever you feel stupid, remember that one time my twin brother forgot my birthday.