Journal Korea 2024 ZoelieWho

Korea 2024 | Gyeongbokgung, Anguk & Bukchon

On a beautiful sunny day, we opted to visit the palace on a weekday. We hoped that there wouldn’t be too many people around, allowing us to enjoy a little bit more space without constantly bumping into others (or having others bump into me, given my height).

Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁

161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161

Operating hours: (Hours may change)
Closes on Tuesdays
January-February, November-December 09:00-17:00 (Last admission 16:00)
March-May, September-October 10:00-18:00 (Last admission 17:00)
June-August 09:00-18:30 (Last admission 17:30)

Upon entering the main gate, you’ll find the ticket counter on the right side. Payment methods include both cash and cashless options. It’s important to note that the palace stops admitting guests around 4pm or 5pm, and once this time approaches, the entering gate is closed, barring further entry.

Wearing a hanbok grants free entry to the palace, but we opted not to do so this time. I wasn’t keen on the rush associated with returning the rental attire before closing time, especially given our fatigue. Additionally, as it was nearing closing time, we decided not to enter the palace.

During our visit, there was a field trip event underway, which added a bit of chaos with children running around in all directions. Concerned about being knocked over, I kept my camera up to my face to avoid any potential mishaps.

Granhand, Bukchon

We decided to visit this branch not only because we’d heard great things about the brand, but also because we wanted to take in the architectural beauty of the Bukchon area. So, we figured, why not kill two birds with one stone?

The white flower scents and the bestsellers were indeed enticing! I ended up choosing the Susie Salmon scent, intrigued by its unique name. However, when I asked the salesgirl about the inspiration behind it, her response left me perplexed. She simply mentioned that it was inspired by the movie, without elaborating further. Considering the dark storyline of “Lovely Bones,” where Susie Salmon is brutally assaulted and her body disposed of in a manhole, it was quite puzzling why they chose this as the perfume’s namesake.

Adding to the curious encounter, the salesgirl’s behaviour took a disappointing turn. Despite being the only customer left, she seemed to prioritize the Westerners who entered the store after me. After waiting for minutes without acknowledgement, I finally received assistance. Despite the less-than-ideal experience, I left with my plastic-bottled Susie Salmon (₩45,000; approx. RM166.50) perfume from Granhand.

While the scent was pleasant, I decided against purchasing more bottles. They didn’t quite match my preferences for niche, unique fragrances packaged in glass bottles. Plus, the longevity of the scent wasn’t as impressive as I had hoped. One bottle as a souvenir seemed sufficient for me.

It’s always refreshing to stroll through the charming streets of Bukchon, isn’t it? I can totally relate to your decision not to venture too far. With the area already bustling with tourists, it’s essential to respect the tranquility of the neighborhood and not overwhelm the residents. These additional photos capture the essence of Bukchon’s architectural beauty and serene ambiance. Sometimes, it’s the simple moments of exploration that leave the most lasting impressions.

Cafe Onion, Anguk

It’s a bummer when you’re craving a relaxing cafe experience, only to find it overcrowded. That’s exactly what happened when we swung by Cafe Onion in Anguk. We thought we could dodge the crowds by opting for this branch instead of the one in Bukchon, but no such luck! Despite the bustling atmosphere, we managed to find a cosy corner to enjoy our treats.

Now, let’s chat about the menu. Admittedly, it leans toward the pricier side, but sometimes indulgence is necessary, right? If you’re a strawberry enthusiast like me, you absolutely must try their strawberry items—they’re a delight! Particularly noteworthy is the crunchy croissant topped with strawberry icing and adorned with dried strawberry accents. As for the rest of the offerings, they were decent enough, but nothing particularly memorable. The total amount spent was ₩30,000, which is approximately equivalent to RM111.00.

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