Off again to a part of Asia I had not been to before.
Friday 7 September 2012 - Sunday 9 September 2012
Friday 7 September & Saturday 8 September
Travel days from Auckland to Seoul via Singapore. The overnight flight was okay although I did not get any sleep as usual. One thing I must do is stop ordering special meals. I do that occasionally to get something different. This time the Hindu non vegetarian meals were not that good. A quick transfer in Singapore onto the flight to Seoul. I managed to get a bit of sleep on that flight and the meals were okay, the customary overcooked and thus crunchy noodles.
The passage through Incheon airport was swift and efficient. I utilised the services of three helpful people to find my hotel. Firstly, a man on the bus into the city. He pointed out which stop to get off at. Secondly, a security guard in the underground shopping complex who directed me to the correct exit, and thirdly, a woman on the street who saw me staring at my (what turned out to be incorrect) map. She called the hotel and they directed me to the correct street and alleyway. Thank you to you all.
Sunday 9 September
The Jongmyo Shrine is close to the hotel so that was my first stop. Costs the vast sum of 1000 won ($1) to get in. The only thing I did not like was that you had to be part of a guided tour. The group ended up being about six people so not too bad. It is an interesting place as it contains the memorials to the 19 kings and 30 consorts of Korea.
The entrance to Jongmyo Shrine.
Yi Sang Jae (1850-1927), a religious leader and independence fighter at the end of the Korean Empire.
One of the lakes at the shrine.
A roof detail at Jongmyo Shrine.
Food containers, incense burners and food in the halls.
One of the many gates at Jongmyo Shrine.
The walkway at Jeongjeon Hall.
The Jeongjeon Hall.
The wall outside the Jeongjeon Hall.
The Yeongnyeongjeon Hall.
I then walked up to Changdeokgung Palace. This links to Changgyeonggung Palace.
Both are very similar and are pleasant places to walk around in a couple of hours.
The entrance gate to Changdeokgung Palace.
The stream at Changdeokgung Palace.
One of the many walkways at Changdeokgung Palace.
The Injeongjeon hall at Changdeokgung Palace.
The throne room at Changdeokgung Palace.
One of the many pavilions in Changdeokgung Palace, with Namsan Park in the background.
Wildlife in Changdeokgung Palace.
Part of Changgyeonggung Palace.
Ancient and modern Seoul at Changgyeonggung Palace.
A roof guardian at Changgyeonggung Palace.
The lake at Changgyeonggung Palace.
A squirrel near the lake at Changgyeonggung Palace.
The Myeongjeongjeon area of Changgyeonggung Palace.
The central part of Changgyeonggung Palace.
The queue to get into the gardens at Changdeokgung Palace.
The afternoon involved a quick trip to the railway station to sort out my train tickets, and a walk along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. This runs for about 5 km through the city centre and is very popular with locals.
In all, an interesting first day in Seoul.