Pertama Kali ke Seoul? Kemana Aja?

Setelah berkali-kali saya komporin, akhrnya bulan Januari kemarin adik saya main ke Korea. Ini merupakan pertama kalinya dia ke Korea, pertama kalinya ke luar negeri juga malahan. Dia berangkat bareng temennya yang juga baru pertama ke luar negeri. Walopun sempet ketinggalan shuttle bus ke hotel pas transit di Kuala Lumpur, untungnya mereka berdua selamat sampe di Incheon. Haha.

Selama mereka di Korea, tentunya saya jadi tour guide dadakan. Itinerary sudah saya susun sedemikian rupa supaya puas jalan-jalan dalam waktu kurang dari seminggu. Tapi apa daya, suhu saat itu ternyata lagi dingin-dinginnya. Kami sempat merasakan suhu -15ΒΊ C bahkan lebih dingin dari itu. Ujung-ujungnya banyak plan yang mesti diubah. Di suhu yang bikin beku kayak gitu, manusia-manusia tropis seperti kami ini tentu pengennya ngangetin badan di kamar. Saat lagi jalan di luar pun kami sering banget berhenti masuk ke dalam gedung ato ATM buat cari penghangat karena dinginnya emang nggak ketolongan.

Kali ini saya mau share tempat-tempat yang mereka kunjungi sebagai referensi untuk para Seoul First Timer.

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Gyeongbokgung

After filling up my stomach in Tongin Market, I went to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Last time I was there, I didn’t go inside. This time, I kinda hesitant whether I should go inside or not. Then, I saw a big banner informing that there was no admission fee for that day. So, of course, I went inside. Haha. Normal admission fee is 3000 KRW for adults.

it's free!

it’s free!

Later, I found out that it was because that day was the last Wednesday of the month. The last Wednesday of each month in 2014 is designated as Culture Day in Korea. In that day, participating museums, palaces, galleries and other cultural facilities will offer free or discounted admission. You can check more about it here. It’s a really nice offer, especially for me. I’m just a poor student here. #mahasiswakere xD

Gyeongbokgung means Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven. It is first constructed in 1395, ater burned and abandoned for almost three centuries, and then reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. In the early 20th century, much of the palace was destroyed by Imperial Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex has been gradually restored back to its original form. As of 2009, roughly 40% of the original number of palace buildings still stand or have been restored.

gyeongbokgung

gyeongbokgung

After entering Gwanghwamun gate, you’ll see another gate inside. This gate is called Heungnyemun, the entrance to the main throne hall called Geunjeongjeon. You’ll see a bridge when you enter this gate. I’ve mentioned about it before, all palaces have this small bridge near the entrance. Crossing the bridge means purify yourself. Between Heungnyemun and Geunjeongjeon, there’s another gate called Geunjeongmun. Geunjeongjeon has 2-layer roof that makes the hall appears to have two floors. Just like typical main throne hall, there’s throne and sun, moon, and 5 mountain background here.

Gyeongbokgung has so many buildings, but I’ll just mention several buildings that you shouldn’t miss if you come here. One of the most popular building is Gyeonghoeru. It is a hall used to hold important and special state banquets during the Joseon Dynasty. The first Gyeonghoeru was constructed in 1412, the 12th year of the reign of King Taejong, but was burned down during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592. The present building was constructed in 1867 (the 4th year of the reign of King Gojong) on an island of an artificial, rectangular lake that is 128 m wide and 113 m across. I saw so many people taking photo with the hall and the lake as the background. You should do that too. πŸ˜‰

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Gyeonghoeru

Next, Gangnyeongjeon and Gyeotaejeon. This area is widely referred as king’s living area. Gangnyeongjeon was used for a number of purposes, including daily activities and office duties. At the rear is a beautiful terraced mound named Amisan, made up of a long rectangular stones with four flower terraces on which stand decorated stonework and chimneys.

Hyangweonjeong is a small, two-story hexagonal pavilion built around 1873 by the order of King Gojong when Geoncheonggung residence was built to the north within Gyeongbokgung. The pavilion was constructed on an artificial island of a lake named Hyangwonji and a bridge named Chwihyanggyo connects it to the palace grounds. The name Hyangwonjeong loosely translates as “Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragrance,” while Chwihyanggyo translates as “Bridge Intoxicated with Fragrance.” It’s really pretty.

Too bad, I didn’t have enough time to take a picture there. It was almost 6 PM, the closing time of Gyeongbokgung. I was wandering around the northwest side of the palace, where Taewonjeon located. Taewonjeon was built as the Royal Coffin Hall of Gyeongbokgung. Nearby were buildings for funeral ceremonies, which were removed during the Japanese occupation. Reading the desription gave me a goosebump, so I didn’t enter the area and went back to the northeast side where Hyangweonjeong is located.

I didn’t realize that it was almost 6 PM. It was very quiet, i didn’t see anyone when I walked. Then somebody called me. “Hey, where are you going?” he asked in korean. I just pointed my finger to a building but he forbade me. I was confused but then I realized something. “Is it already closed?” I asked. And he answered “Yes”. OMG. Hahaha, I almost trapped in Gyeongbokgung. It was cold. I didn’t want to sleep there. He then guided me to the exit gate. While walking he asked me “Honja? Alone?”. And I just nodded and answered “Yes”. He was kind of surprised. LOL. “All guides just quickly went outside when they saw me” he said. Sooo, if you want to come here make sure you’ll have enough time to explore this big palace and leave at least around 20 minutes before closing time. There’s no announcement when it’s closing, or maybe I just didn’t hear it because Taewonjeon is kinda far from other areas. xD

But my journey in Gyeongbokgung didn’t end there. There was traditional performance in front of Heungnyemun Gate at 7 PM. And yes, it’s free. It was veryyy interesting. There were dance with traditional drum, jultagi (tightrope-walking), pungmul, and short musical drama. That was a really great experience.

The performance ended on 8 PM. And I quickly walked outside to the Gwanghwamun Square. There would be Media Facade performance in Gwanghwamun gate. And that’s why I actually came to Gyeongbokgung. It was part of Royal Palace Festival. There were 3 media facade performances at night during the festival (Sept 20-28), at 8 PM, 8.30 PM, and 9 PM. It’s so pretty, and the music matched the performance. It was also my first time watching media facade/video mapping.

BTW, you can have a virtual tour of Gyeongbokgung here. And if you have time, don’t forget to visit The National Palace Museum of Korea in the south of Heungnyemun Gate and the National Folk Museum in east within Hyangwonjeong.

Chuseok Getaway: Around Gyeongbokgung

Gyeongbokgung (경볡ꢁ) adalah istana terbesar dari 5 istana di Seoul. Lokasinya tidak jauh dari Cheonggyecheon Stream. Hal yang pertama saya kagumi saat sampai di area ini adalah Gunung Bugak atau Bugaksan yang menjadi latar belakang Gyeongbokgung.

Gerbang utama Gyeongbokgung adalah Gwanghwamun. Di depan gerbang inilah terdapat Gwanghwamun Plaza. Gwanghwamun Plaza (κ΄‘ν™”λ¬Έκ΄‘μž₯) merupakan ruang terbuka publik yang dibuka pada tahun 2009 dan merupakan bagian dari proyek renovasi ramah lingkungan seperti Cheonggyecheon Stream dan Seoul Plaza. Di bagian depan Gwanghwamun Plaza terdapat patung Admiral Yi Sun Shin, komandan angkatan laut yang terkenal akan kemenangannya melawan angkatan laut Jepang di perang Imjin pada dinasti Joseon. Di sekitarnya terdapat floor water fountain seperti yang terdapat di Seoul Plaza, namun disini jumlahnya lebih banyak. Ada pula patung King Sejong, raja yang menciptakan abjad korea (hangeul) yang saat ini digunakan. Di belakang patung King Sejong terdapat pintu masuk ke bangunan di bawahnya yang berisi koleksi mengenai sejarah King Sejong.

Area ini selalu ramai pengunjung. Bayangkan saja, jalan di seberang Gwanghwamun merupakan jalan 10 jalur. Tapi setiap lampu penyeberangan berwarna hijau, penyeberang akan memenuhi jalan tersebut. Di sekitar lampu penyeberangan terdapat penjual street food khas korea seperti fried sweet potato stick, dried squid, dan beondegi (larva).

Saat saya sampai di Gyeongbokgung, pas sekali sedang ada royal guard changing ceremony. Saya pun menonton upacara ini walaupun hanya sebentar karena memang sudah mau selesai. Setelah upacara selesai, saya masuk ke dalam. Antrean tiket ramainya bukan main, saya pun mengurungkan niat untuk masuk ke dalam. Lagipula Gyeongbokgung ini luasnya luar biasa, sepertinya lebih baik kalau saya mengalokasikan waktu khusus untuk mengeksplorasi seluruh bagian istana. Di Gyeongbokgung ini kita juga bisa mencoba pakaian penjaga istana. Tapi karena pendaftaran untuk batch selanjutnya baru akan dibuka setengah jam lagi, saya pun tidak mencoba. Saya pun cuma berkeliling di area depan.

Setelah puas, saya pun keluar. Saya berjalan menuju sisi kiri istana. Di tengah jalan, saya menemukan taman kecil. Saya kemudian mampir ke taman ini dan makan bekal roti dan telor ceplok yang saya bawa. Ya, saya sengaja membawa bekal karena saya nggak tahu bakal makan dimana dan cukup susah mencari makanan yang bisa saya makan disini. Taman ini cukup kecil tapi asri. Disini juga terdapat alat olahraga yang memang sering ditemukan di taman-taman umum. Selesai makan, saya pun lanjut jalan lagi sampai menemukan patung-patung di depan sebuah museum. Nama museum ini adalah Cheongwadae Sarangchae. Museum ini merupakan museum kepresidenan korea. Rupanya di belakang Gyeongbokgung terdapat Cheongwadae (Blue House) yang merupakan istana kepresidenan. Pantas saja pengamanan di jalan yang saya lewati tadi cukup ketat. Saya sempat ditanya akan kemana oleh seorang polisi. Untuk mendapatkan foto Cheongwadae terbaik, berjalanlah ke arah gerbang belakang Gyeongbokgung. Disitu kita bisa mendapatkan foto dengan latar belakang Cheongwadae.

Saya memutari Gyeongbokgung dan menemukan banyak penjual street food di sisi satunya. Ada penjual waffle, dakkochi (chicken on stick), dan macam-macam lagi. Disana juga terdapat beberapa museum, antara lain National Folk Museum, Children Museum, Kumho Museum, dan World Jewellery Museum.

Tadinya saya juga mau ke Bukchon Hanok Village dan mencari Sanggojae, rumah yang menjadi lokasi shooting drama Personal Taste. Sayangnya karena sudah capek dan jalan menuju kesana lumayan menanjak, kejadian pas di Bukit Bintang terulang lagi, saya jadi bodoh baca peta dan nyasar balik lagi ke Gyeongbokgung. Akhirnya saya memutuskan pulang saja. Hahaha. Mungkin bisa sekalian kesana saat mengunjungi Gyeongbokgung lagi. πŸ˜€