Visiting the Motherland - Korea Sightseeing

Visiting the Motherland - Korea Sightseeing

Although it seems like all we did was eat in Korea, we also did some sightseeing. We went in mid-November, and we were at the tail end of Fall. We were able to see beautiful colors of the leaves, with full autumn colors on display everywhere we went. Absolutely stunning, a sight you can't see living in Los Angeles.

We were surprised at how beautiful some local parks were, and we spent the first day walking around Yeouido Park, located within walking distance to Han River and right in the middle of Seoul. It was well maintained, clean, and absolutely beautiful.

One day, we decided to visit my Mom's alma mater, Ewha Womans University. It was on Tripadvisor as one of attractions in Seoul, so I had to check it out. We were there on a weekday, and we saw hundreds of students chatting, laughing, and rushing to classes. It reminded me that my mom was a young girl once, running through the campus and wondering what life had in store for her. How cool it would be if I could meet the younger version of my mom... ok, I guess that is only in movies. Seriously though, Ewha Womans University has been around since 1886, and the campus boasts one of the most picturesque in Seoul.

We also visitied "five grand palaces" of Joseon Dynasty that are located throughout Seoul. Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, and Gyeonghuigung. (Gung means palace in Korean) Gyeongbokgung is the biggest of them all, but my favorite was Changdeokgung. Changdeokgung has a beautiful garden in the back, called the Secret Garden (BiWon) that I had visited in 2008, but unfortunately, it was closed when we were there this time. However, the adjacent Changgyoenggung has a pond in the back that provided breathtaking scenery.

The admission is a few dollars at most, and they are all easy to reach through public transportation in Seoul. I highly recommend you see one or two at least (or all five like we did!) to get a glimpse of Korean royal courts from centuries ago.

Many of the palaces were destroyed by the Japanese during the Imjin War in the 1500's, and then again during the Japanese occupation in the early 20th century. Through years of restoration, a lot of the beauty has been reconstructed for many to enjoy. It's interesting to see such historical structure right in the middle of a bustling, modern city. Such is the juxtaposition of Korea as a whole, a mix of traditionalism and modernism.

Our visit to Korea was filled with delicious food, beautiful scenery, and wonderful culture. So sad we had to leave...I hope to come back soon!

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