After breakfast our full day of discovery begins. Start at Gyeongbokgung, the largest and most spectacular of Korea’s iconic “Five Grand Palaces.” Built in 1395 as the main residence of the ruling Joseon dynasty, but abandoned for nearly 300 years after the Japanese destroyed it in a 1592 fire, the complex has undergone several restorations as well as repeated destruction during WWII and the Korean War. But the splendor of what remains is enough to explain why Gyeongbokgung is called “the palace greatly blessed by Heaven.” While here we will visit the onsite National Folk Museum where you will learn about everyday Korean life through the ages, admire costume and crafts displays, and try your hand at using everyday implements.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll delve further into traditional Korean life when we walk through Bukchon, an authentic hanok village of antique houses, courtyards, and alleys that is nestled between two royal districts. Our walk leads us to the Insadong neighborhood, a popular enclave of shops and old tea houses where you can sample a cup of the local brew. From here we call at the Jongmyo Shrine, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and conclude our exploration in Namdaemun, Korea’s largest traditional market where you can browse 30 or so buildings and stalls overflowing with clothing, housewares, fabrics, jewelry, accessories, toys, food, flowers, stationery and appliances. The market is near our hotel, where we will reconvene later for our included dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner