Korea Diaries: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and Insadong

We spent our last day in Korea exploring the country’s cultural side. Gyeongbokgung Palace was first on our list as it’s the country’s most famous royal abode. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to explore the palace’s walled grounds because Gyeongbokgung was closed. If your visit doesn’t fall on a Tuesday, make sure to not miss the colorful Changing of the Royal Guards ceremony.

Our Korean friend, noticing how dejected we were, brought us instead to Changdeokgung Palace. It served as Gyeongbokgung’s secondary palace for 200 years. Changdeokgung’s main areas are still intact because of the country’s continuous effort to preserve them.     


We saw the Oejo (royal court), Chijo (the palace’s administrative quarters), and Chimjo (royal family’s residence). The gardens are impressive as well! They make you forget that you’re in a skyscraper-filled city.

You can also explore Insadong on your way to Changdeokgung. The street is believed to be the focal point of Korea’s traditional crafts. If  “I Love *insert country name*” shirts make you cringe, Insadong will delight you with its traditional tea sets, hanbok (traditional clothing), hanji (traditional paper), and other folk crafts. Some of the things I got here include wind chimes and chopsticks enclosed in silk.
Another reason why I love the street is the abundance of fancy coffee shops!

You’ll also find Ssamziegil in Insadong which is a shopping mall that incorporates natural elements in its architecture. You can buy more crafts in Ssamziegil and also visit its fourth floor for the Sky Garden.

To cap off our tiring yet fulfilling day, we went to Seolbing, a dessert parlor famed for its Bingsu. It’s shaved ice topped with complex mixes like fruits and ice cream. Ours had berries and cheesecake blocks.