Amid these heart-pounding streets is poised a serene compound called Ihwajang, which was once the manor of the first Korean president, Syngman Rhee, now renovated as a museum. Nearby are Jongmyo Royal Ancestral Shrine and Changgyeonggung Palace. A busy road cuts between Changgyeonggung Palace and Jongmyo
Royal Ancestral Shrine but there is a pedestrian bridge connecting the two attractions.
Dongdaemun Market : one stop away on a subway
shoppers will love Dongdaemun Market. Just one subway stop
away, this is Korea¡¯s largest wholesale and retail shopping
district (covering 10 blocks), with 26 shopping malls, 30,000
specialty shops and 50,000 manufacturers. Basically, you
can find anything here- clothes, shoes, silks, leather goods,
sporting goods, office supplies, toys, plumbing and electronics
and a lot of Korean food stalls. And most importantly: all
at inexpensive prices (you can try haggling, a 10% discount
is possible, but depending on where you¡¯re shopping, you
might find that many shops have fixed prices).
the main street you can find modern shopping malls as well
as older and smaller buildings providing a less organised
shopping environment and thousands of outside stalls.The
modern malls (like Dootta and Migliori) attract young and
fashionable people, offering mostly clothes, shoes and bags
in a pleasant, organised and clean shopping environment
(money exchange facilities and information desks with English
speaking staff available). They sometimes organise events
in the evening (around 7 or 8 pm) which is a nice opportunity
for you to get a glimpse of Korean popular culture. The
outside stalls are also great to explore, you can loose
yourself for hours wandering through the network of tiny
shops. And don¡¯t forget to try authentic Korean food which
you can find at any of the numerous food stalls in the area.
The shops in the area are open from 10 am to 5 am the
next day (individual store hours can vary), offering 19
hours of shopping bliss. Keep in mind that many shops close
on Sundays or Mondays and holidays.
Changdeokgung Palace : 20 minutes on foot
on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List, this palace is
four subway stops from Bong House. By many people regarded
as the most beautiful palace in Seoul, Changdeokgung Palace
is the second royal villa built after Gyeongbokgung Palace
in 1405. It served as the main palace for many Joseon kings
and is the best preserved one of the five royal palaces.
rear garden, known as the Biwon Garden, is one of its main
attractions. You can see (very) old trees, beautiful pavilions,
fountains and ponds.
To visit the palace and garden,
you have to take a tour. English tours are available at
11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30 pm daily (except on Mondays when
the palace is closed).
Gyeongbokgung Palace : 7 minutes by bus
in 1395, it was the first palace to be built by the Joseon
Dynasty. Though many of the buildings were destroyed during
wars with Japan, it has always been rebuilt with accuracy
and great care for detail and it is the most beautiful and
grandest of all the five palaces. Every day you can witness
the changing of the guards ceremony (10am, 11am, noon, 1pm,
2pm and 3pm), which is great fun to watch and an excellent
picture moment. The great benefit of visiting this palace
is that you can walk around freely for as long as you want
on the enormous palace grounds, which also house the National
Folk Museum and the National Palace Museum of Korea. English
tours are available for free at 9.30am, noon, 1.30pm and
3pm (in front of the tourist centre inside the palace grounds
next to the entrance). The palace is closed on Tuesdays.
Five subway stops from Bong House.
Insadong Traditional Culture Street : 5 minutes
Insadong is a famous art and antique district,
home to numerous art galleries (selling traditional Korean
ceramic ware, paintings and calligraphy), antique shops
(selling old books, pictures, calligraphy, pottery and jewellery),
souvenir shops, tea shops and Korean restaurants. You can
find accessories, handicrafts, traditional Korean clothes
and all kinds of artistic and authentic Korean items here.
In the weekends Insadong is packed with people, and fortunately
also closed to vehicles. Be sure to explore all the side
alleys, where you can find many more special and unique
little shops, traditional Korean restaurants and tea shops.
You can get a map of Insadong at the Tourism Information
Centres in the main street.
It¡¯s a great place to stroll
around and explore, and extremely close to Changdeokgung
Palace (and similarly just four subway stops from our guesthouse).
DMZ tour- If you would
like to take the DMZ tour, please contact the staff. We
can organise pickup for you right outside the guesthouse
(no additional fee needed).