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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Heart & Seoul Part 2

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Public Transport in Seoul is efficient. One of the biggest challenges was to figure out how to get a T-money card and load it through a vending/reloading machine. Surprisingly, it was easy.

Clockwise from top right picture, Tap the screen select your T-money card, select adult card and then it would proceed to the next screen where it would ask for your money, insert your bills(note: the machine only accept small bills) then the bottom dispenser will light if you have a change (if for example you're only loading 5,000 won and you inserted 10,00 won, the machine will give you your change) then the right dispenser is where you will get you T-card which comes in a cute box-much like a Capri Cigarette box.

How to load your T-money, place the card facedown on th escanner and then select how much you're going to load from the screen. Insert the bills and voila!

From Myeongdong Station, we rode the train to Changmuro Station which is the next Station in the blue line (line 4). Then at Changmuro, we transferred to the orange line and rode that till we got to Anguk Station. Go out of Exit # 3 and walk past the Hyundai Building and you'd be able to see the Palace Gates of Changdeokgung Palace.

when you emerge from exit no 3 of Anguk Station-walk past this building

One of the first places I listed down while planning this trip was Changdeokgung Palace. I know that there are a lot of Palaces in Korea and the biggest would Gyeongbokgung but I opted to see Changdeokgung first as its pictures captivated me more than Gyeongbokgung. I immediately booked for an 11:30 English guided tour for the "Secret Garden" but we arrived at 12pm already and missed my booking, so we had to wait for another hour and a half for the next English tour.

Tried to buy the ticket to the Secret Garden Tour but they won't allow you to purchase since the next tour would still be after 2 hours. You cannot tour the Secret Garden on your own-there must always be  a guide since the Secret Garden is huge and you could get lost.

OOTD: Sleeveless blouse from Kamiseta, Lavender  sweater from Mango, denim jeans form Esprit and gold flats from aerosoles-all bought on sale 50% off hahahaha!

The Throne Room

Entrance fee is 3,000 won. The palace is the second palace after Gyeongbokgung. Korea's last Emperor lived here until his death.

Our tour guide says he just got the job. 

Inside the Secret Garden. They say one should not be a quitter but in hiking, quit while your on top- as in top condition. The garden is one heck of a hike so if the tour guide tells you somewhere within the middle that you can go the other way towards the exit-take it and leave especially if you are not used to hiking since the next portion of the hike will lead you to a steeper climb-one that will really consume your energy if this is not the only activity you've planned for the day or if you haven't had exercise for at least a month prior to this and if you are not wearing comfortable shoes for hiking. One cannot enter this garden without the permission of the king.

This is when it started to rain and later it rained so hard, The ground is thankfully sandy so at least it's not as muddy if it was ordinary soil. The wind was very strong and we decided to quit hiking  and turn back near the end of the the 1 hour and 30-minute hike and were very much soaked even if we brought umbrellas. 

Ancient belief says that once one enters this gate, one will not grow old-kinda equivalent to the western fountain of youth.

The hike was really tiring and I didn't want to go up and down any subway stations. Anguk was especially steep without any escalator. So we rode the bus from the Palace to Lotte Department Store. So from Changdeokgung Palace we rode blue bus no 151 and stopped at Eujilro1-ga station where it is conveniently  near the Lotte Department Store and Duty free.

Lotte Department store is HUGE. I tried to get a picture of their shops but I saw a saleswoman eyeing me warily-so I didn't. At that time there was an end of season sale at their duty free shop on the (9th to 10th floor). The downside is if you purchase brands like Le Sport Sac or other foreign brands-you cannot take it with you to the hotel..You have to claim it at the airport. It's not that I was worried about not picking up the things you bought, what worried us is that if you have a limited baggage allowance, you can't make an estimate of  your luggage weight. Furthermore, the airport only allows you to check in 3-2 hours before your flight time so you have at least 2 hours to find your package claim counter/kiosk in Incheon which is also HUGE that it might take time. If you're into Korean Cosmetics-you can buy them at the shop and take it back to your hotel.  BB creams are sold in packs of 12 at only 30,000 won- but I didn't buy though because I was thinking I can't possibly use all of it-and remember, creams also have expiry dates but you can have them as "pasalubongs" but it also depends which people you are giving it to since not all skin types are the same.

I also bought my favorite Laneige BB Cream at this mall and the saleslady was very nice and even told me she just got back from Cebu. She showed me her sunburns :-) I wonder why Koreans love Cebu-must be the proximity to the beach.

My sister ordered Bibimbap-so love their bibimbap that my spoon travels from my plate to
her's often -hehehehe

Don't know the name of the Restaurant since I can't read Korean but the food was good!

Since food is strictly prohibited in Changdeokgung (only drinks are sold)- we were already famished and had our first Korean Food at a Korean Restaurant at the top of Lotte Department store (forgot which floor was it)

Noonsquare Department Store

Enamored with this but they ran out of my size in all the stores
here but fortunately-they have my size in Korea and they
are cheaper there.
After that, if your staying at Namsan, you can cross the street to Noonsquare Department Store where you can walk back to Myeondong Station and to back to Namsam guesthouse. You'll be walking past shops and shops of Less More, Skinfood, Aritaum, Etude, Missha, Giordano, Mango and etc. There's also a mall called Tabby which is just located right near exit 5 of Myeondong Station which is thankfully with an escalator. Didn't buy that much except for Korean cosmetics since we found out that price is cheaper here in the Philippines-possibly the reason why Koreans shop a lot here in the Philippines. Even on sale, there's still a big price difference. What I found cheap in Korea would be Crocs. A Crocs sandals that I've been eyeing here in the Philippines costs as much as PHP 3k but in Kore it only costs about PHP2800-2900 plus you can keep the receipt and have the tax refund at the airport.

Alley beside Noonsquare where you can walk back passing thru Myeondong shops right back to Namsan.

The shopping streets of Myeongdong

Halfway home, rain poured again so we made a quick detour and snacked at Pizza Hut. It's on the 2nd floor and it's hard to miss this one. Pizza is expensive -for the four of us, pizza is as low as 17,000 won.

When you see this building, it means you're near home :-)  Just cross the subway and you're back to Namsan.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

may i ask if how much is the total you paid when you entered the palace including the secret garden tour?
thank you!

Whizzer's Rose said...

HI, I paid 8,000 won in total for the secret garden tour + palace entrance fee