How I Toured Central Europe for less than Php 35,000.00

When you hear someone going on a trip to Europe, the top-of-mind cities are always Paris, Rome, and London. I guess it’s media’s influence that made these cities so desirable – in movies, series, books, among other things. So when I was planning for my Europe trip, I was choosing between two things, visit these popular tourist destinations OR go for a cultural route (and visit family).

Though it was a tough decision, I chose the later. Here are the reasons why:

  • Rome and Paris also had cultural/historical sites. Admittedly, the expenses and lodging were more expensive than Central Europe when I was doing the costing. London, BTW, needs a different visa. For me, it’s more ideal to have a separate trip for London/England if the vacation time is short.
  • Another reason why I chose this route is because of my background in music. During college, I was part of a chorale group and I wanted to see the places where esteemed musicians came from.
  • Lastly, It’s easy to travel around Central Europe. Countries are an hour or two apart and you can visit a lot of places even if you have a limited stay.

Itinerary

You can start your journey from a city in the north, then move towards the south. My entry point was Copenhagen, as the Denmark part of my trip was sponsored by Arla, a dairy cooperative there (more on this later).

Afterwards, I moved to Vienna (Austria), the center of my trip. Since Vienna’s position is strategic, I left my things there during the day, traveled to different place, and came back at night. It was easier for me to do it this way since I didn’t want to carry luggage in every destination. It slows you down. I was able to see Salzburg (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia), and Budapest (Hungary) on day trips instead of staying overnight.

It depends on you if you want to follow what I did or have your lodging at a every city you visit. When I was budgeting, I computed for both options. I remember that staying at destination was a little cheaper than what I did, but the gap was not significant. In the end I chose the convenient option.

The last places I visited were Prague (Czech Republic) and Berlin (Germany). I headed back to the north as my return flight was from Copenhagen as well.

Places Visited

Aarhus and Holstebro

I started my European Tour in Denmark. After arriving at Copenhagen Airport, our team went straight to Aarhus, where the Arla HQ was located. We learned that Arla was a full-blown cooperative, where the farmers own the shares and has a say on how things are run. It’s very different from the setup in our country where farmers are suppliers to big corporations.

We also visited a farm called Faregard in Holstebro, about 1-2 hours drive from Aarhus. There we met a Birtit and Rasmus, a mother and son tandem who run a dairy farm. We had a chance to milk cows (Yey!), and learned how they keep producing high quality dairy in their farm. Did you know that when a cow moos, it’s a sign of stress? The farm was very quiet, and the cows seldom moos because they’re living comfortably.

We were also able to visit the Arla factory, where we saw how cream cheese and Lurpak (the best butter in the world) are made. At the end of the educational tour, we had a chance to taste all the flavors of cream cheese that they have. My favorites were tomato and lactose free. Curry was good too!

You can read more about Arla and our adventures in Aarhus, Denmark at Cheryl Tiu’s blog: Getting To Know Arla Dairy In Denmark– Did You Know The Company Is Owned By The Farmers?

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Den Gamle By (Old Town), Aarhus, Denmark (Credits: http://www.smilingglobe.com)

On our last day at Aarhus, we were able to tour Den Gamle By, Aarhus’ old town. It’s an open-air museum showcasing town life in Denmark. There are 75 historical buildings there collected from different parts of the country. These buildings were from different periods, as early as 1550 to the late 19th century. When I was there, I kept thinking this looked like a set from Beauty and the Beast (animated movie). Hahaha

I had a blast during our short stay in Copenhagen. After checkin-in at our hotel, we headed to Tivoli Garden, an amusement park in the middle of the city. It’s known as the one of the oldest theme parks ever built in the world. We also took the Copenhagen Canal tour where you get to see the city via boat. You’ll pass by historical landmarks and the famous Little Mermaid.

Vienna is probably the city I enjoyed the most. Not only because my family is there, but everything is just so picturesque and beautiful. Must visits are Belvedere, Schonbrunn Palace, Rathaus, and Wiener Riesenrad (ferris wheel). Transportation is also very efficient. In my opinion, they have one of the best transpot systems in the world (Seoul is still my best bet).

I also got to see the Wiener Alpen (Schneebergbahn), it’s a 1-hour drive from the city. You can get to the top of the mountain by riding the Salamander train. It has an awesome view and a great attraction to visit. I noticed that families visit this place for a weekend picnic. You can bring your own food or buy food and beer at the restaurant on the mountain. This part of my trip is not included in my costings since my uncle covered the expenses.

Salzburg is a must visit if you are into classical music. It’s known as the shooting location for the movie, The Sound of Music, and it’s also the birthplace of Mozart. Tip: buy a ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus, it really makes the experience convenient. Attractions are far from each other and commuting will be expensive. Also, if you really want to enjoy this place, stay for 2 days. A day here is not enough. Best time to visit is Spring.

Old town Bratislava is great because it’s compact and fun. You will see a lot of statues doing funny poses as you roam the area. Food here is really great. We were able to find a good restaurant in old town and enjoyed Slovakian cuisine.

I think the best and most tiring experience in Bratislava is visiting the castle. It rests on top of a hill which you need to climb for a good 20-minutes. I sweat this castle is worth every sweat. It’s so majestic that it’s my favorite castle. Yes, I liked it better than the ones I saw in Denmark and Austria.

Budapest also a good place to visit. The best view is of course, at the Budapest castle, where you’ll be able to see “Buda” and “Pest” which is separated by the river. I was a bit confused by the transport system, since the city runs on mostly trams. I prefer trains, since it’s easier to map your way through a city through subway. But important places were visited, so it’s okay.

If you go to Budapest, you have to visit the cathedral. When I entered, I was awestrucked (Yes, this is not a real word) when I saw the interior. It’s the most beautiful church I’ve seen. Also, I went up the cathedral observatory where you ride an elevator to the top of the church’s roof terrace and you can see a view of the city. There’s a fee for this, about 5 Euros or less.

I cannot stress how beautiful Prague is. A visit here should be at least 2 days. Transportation was easy, since my hostel was at the old town, near Charles Bridge. There are a lot of events and museums around that can be enjoyed.

This is where I first experienced a free walking tour. I got a flyer from my hostel front desk and just decided to join the tour in the morning. You’ll learn about the city’s history, culture, and roam around the old town during the 2-hour tour. I wasn’t tiring at all because we stopped every time we were somewhere important. I didn’t take a lot of pictures during the tour as it has sensitive parts where things stories about the world war was covered. Out of respect, I decided not to take photos.

Also a must visit is the Petrin Tower, their replica of the Eiffel Tower. It was small, but since I like going to Eiffel Tower replicas, I just had to go there.

I didn’t have much time to explore Berlin, as I only had half a day to spend there. I had an early bus ride back to Copenhagen. Never the less, I still enjoyed the this short stop. Of course, a visit in Berlin is not complete without seeing the Brandenburg gate. Aside from that, I just wandered around its vicinity.

Spent most of my time in Madame Tussauds wax museum. The highlight of this stop for me is seeing the One Direction wax figures and Star Wars exhibit. The geek in me was so happy.

Budgeting

I’m a bit iffy to share the planning costings I used because it’s been a long time since the trip and I had to recreate this from memory. I have my hotel bookings and bus ticket prices in tact, but i lost my day-pass tickets and food receipts. What I have here are just estimates.

For food, I generally go to groceries. Sometimes I try restaurant food but only when I really, really want to. A friend of mine spent Php 8,000 for 8 days in Italy and toured 12 cities. He was able to do so by planning carefully and saving-up on food by eating fruits and veggies. He was able to find a vegetarian pizza there too!

For city transportation, the ticket price and duration vary per city. Some cities offer 3-day and 24h passes. Some only offer a day pass which expires at a certain time, not 24h usage (this is Berlin, BTW). Budapest offers a group ticket, which is cheaper than buying individual ones. The most pricey ticket I bought is in Berlin (7 Euros), so I guess it’s safe to allocate that amount per day.

I actually spent about 25% less than than my estimated budget. During my trip, there were impromptu decisions/changes I did. I also didn’t spend much of my miscellaneous and food budget since I go to groceries for food and didn’t buy a lot of souvenirs.

You may download my estimated planning budget here: Europe Costings

Travel Tips

Here are other things I learned while planning and during my trip to Europe. Hope these little details will be of help to you as well. 🙂

  • Water – During my trip from Copenhagen to Vienna, there was a stopover in Berlin. After I bought food at McDonald’s (because some things never change), I decided to stop by water for the rest of my trip as well. I just grabbed the cheapest 1 liter bottle I could find. This was a big mistake, because it turns out a lot of people there actually preferred carbonated water – which was what I bought. I didn’t know this because the label was all in German (huhuhu). My relatives explained this an told me that I should look for “Ohne” on the label. It means that it’s still water.
  • Condiments – I’m a big fan of condiments, especially ketchup. In the Philippines, you can easily ask for these for free, so it was a big shock for me to find out that you need to pay for these in Europe. Yes, you have to pay even if you ordered fries! So, to spare your change, just bring your own packets of condiments/ketchup, if you cant live without these.
  • Rice – By the end of my trip, I was pretty much craving for rice. Do you know where you should go? Your trusted fast food chain, KFC. Hahaha. They offer combo meals where you can have rice as a side dish! (Hoorah!)
  • Restrooms – It’s hard to find free-to-use restrooms in Europe, so you should always have coins ready to pay the maintenance fee.
  • Luggage – Limit your luggage to 10-15 kg. I’m serious with this one. It’s hard to drag your luggage on cobblestone streets, which is pretty much most of the old towns you’ll visit in Central Europe. If you really want to buy souvenirs, keep it at a minimum while your touring and splurge at the last stop, before checking-in at the airport. Bring a portable scale to measure your luggage and know if you can or can’t bring home anymore souvenirs.
  • Train, plane, or bus? – It depends on your priority. If you want a cheaper route, I suggest taking buses. If you want an efficient route, you can take a plane. Trains are usually the mid range, a bit more pricey than a bus, but it’s more comfortable. I used the GoEuro website to search and compare travel routes. They have prices too, and you can already book online. I mostly used Flixbus when I was traveling. I found out about it in GoEuro. To make things easier, I saved the Flixbus app and booked my tickets online. Tickets online are cheaper than the ones in the terminal. Also, the prices increase as the departure date nears, so I suggest to book them early.
  • Hotels / hostels – When applying for a visa, you need to submit hotel bookings. At first, this ruling makes no sense for me because booking costs money. Why spend money if you’re not yet sure you’re going to be granted a visa? The way around it is Booking.com. There are hotels/hostels here that allow free cancellations in a given time frame. You can search for hostels, budget hotels, and high-end ones here. Since my visa was approved, I didn’t need to cancel my bookings and used them during my trip.
  • Chocolates – Chocolates are generally cheap in Europe. Don’t forget to to stock-up.

That’s it! Let me know how your trip goes, okay? 🙂

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Korea 2017 Day 7: Deoksugung Palace and Hanbok Experience

For our last touring day in South Korea, we decided to keep it light since we had to pack the same day and leave early the next day.

Our first stop was Deoksung Palace. It’s one of the 5 palaces you can find in Seoul built in the Joseon times. This palace is very accessible to public transport. You just need to ride the metro and alight at City Hall station, then voila! You can see the palace across the city hall.

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I liked this place since it’s  compact. the grounds are not too big to explore and you can finish touring it in about 1 hour.

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What’s unique about Deoksugung is that it has a western-style building (Seokjojeon) and garden with a fountain that looks like a European mansion. It’s a nice place to take photos. We also attended the changing of the royal guard ceremony at the palace gate. It’s similar to the one in Gyeongbukgung (which is a palace I visited in my previous Korea trips) but it’s more intimate because of its smaller scale.

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Deoksugung has become quite popular with tourists recently due to it being one of the shooting locations for the drama, Goblin. Outside the palace walls, was where they shot the first time Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) saw his goblin bride, Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun).

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Our last stop for this trip is in Myeondong. We went back for last minute shopping and to visit the Seoul Global Center at M Plaza. Seoul Global Center is a tourist center where you can get info, books, flyers coupons, and attend Korean arts and crafts, and language classes. They also have a hanbok experience booth, which is what we wanted to do. M Plaza is beside the main entrance of Forever 21. Don’t miss it!

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There are a lot of hanbok experience areas in Seoul which you can try. I think best ones are at the palaces, since you get to take pictures in the palace grounds wearing the Korean traditional costumes.

For Seoul Global Center, the hanboks are free and you can only take the pictures at their booth for 10 minutes, but the good thing about this place is that it’s not crowded. We didn’t have to wait to take our turn in the booth. You can borrow tripods there, too! It’s a good place to take pictures for an intimate number of people, say 2-4 persons. If you have a big group, I suggest to try K-Style Hub since they have a bigger platform and backdrops you can enjoy.

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

Annyeong!

Korea 2017 Day 6 : Suwon (Shoot location of Love in the Moonlight, Jewel in the Palace, and Running Man)

Started the day early again for our 6th day in South Korea because we headed for the neighboring city, Suwon.  Suwon is the capital and largest metro of the Gyeonggi-do province, which surrounds Seoul. From general knowledge, this city is not usually part of the top destinations for first-time visitors of South Korea, since you can already do a lot in Seoul.

So, what did I came here for? I first found out about Suwon in Running Man Episode two, where they visited the Hwaseong Fortress, Suwon World Cup Stadium, and World Cup Memorial. Suwon being a Running Man location was already enough reason for me to go, but I was even more convinced when I found out the location set for Jewel in the Palace and Love in the Moonlight (Moonlight Drawn by Clouds) was also found here.

Suwon’s cultural sites are pretty easy to visit as they are within the vicinity of the Hwaseong Fortress. Since we only had a day to spend here, I had to prioritize certain sites visit and took out museum stops. Before your trip to Suwon, I suggest to pin the sites you’d like to see. Then, get a map from the Tourist Information center near Exit 4 of Suwon Station that would help you get around the area.

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Our first stop was the Padalmun Gate, the southern gate of Hwaseong Fortress. This is the entrance used to get inside the Fortress. You have to pass-by this area since this is also the bus stop to Hwasong Palace.

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Padalmun Gate: This gate is unique as it’s the only one detached from the Fortress. The reason for this is that commerce took place around the Padalmun Gate area even before its construction, making it impossible to close the fortress in that area. (Credits: Korean Tourism Organization)

Next is the Hwaseong Haenggung (Hwaseong Palace). I wasn’t used to the word “haenggung” as all the palaces in Seoul were called “gung”, so I looked it up. Apparently, a “haenggung” is a temporary palace where the king and royal family retreated to during a war. Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is the largest one of these that was used during the Joseon times.

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From upper left to bottom right – Hwasong Haenggung entrance; first interior gate; martial arts painting at the side of the palace; King’s receiving area

We were lucky because we visited Hwasong Haenggung during their spring break season. We just found out that during this time, a lot of cultural places have promos or discounts for entrances to encourage people to visit. So we got in for free. Yehey!

NOTE: Our trip was from May 6-13. I guess if you want to have free entrances as well, you should go at this time. The downside of this schedule is that most likely there won’t be any cherry blossoms anymore as spring is already transitioning to summer.

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What I like about Hwaseong Haenggung is that they used the palace as a museum to show court life in the past. You’ll see lifesize figures of a queen being served, the king at his study, scholars studying, and kitchen staff.

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From upper left to bottom right: King’s stamp/seal – You’ll get to experience how to use the king’s seal; Memorial banquet – this is what they cook for memorial services; A diorama of a palace celebration; And the king’s throne.

Hwaseong Haenggung might be familiar for K-drama fans, as it is the filming location for the popular Korean period drama, “Jewel in the Palace”. Recently, it was also used by KBS to film the promotional video of “Love in the Moonlight” (also known as “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds”). It’s the one where Park Bo Gum was dancing to tune of “Boombastic”.

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Took a picture with Jang Geum and captain of Jewel in the Palace.

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This is where Park Bo Gum danced Boombastic for his Love in the Moonlight (Moonlight Drawn by Clouds) promo video.

Next, we visited the Yeonmudae Post at the edge of Hwaseong Fortress. It’s another Running Man location (hahaha), but aside from that, I wanted to go here because they had the Korean archery experience (Gakgung).

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Me, preparing for my archery lesson.

I recently watched the Korean drama, Hwarang, so this attraction is something I really wanted to try. I was really excited because the you only need to pay 2,000 KRW (Php 90-100) for a 30 minute lesson. You’ll have to set a schedule on-site. They only have a few slots per session. The lesson was short and after which, you get to shoot 10 arrows. I hit the target 3 times! (Yeah!)

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Information and timeslots of Korean archery (Gakgung) experience

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Hwaseong Fortress and Yeonmudae post that was featured in Running Man episode 2.

Before going home, we stopped by Suwon Stadium. This is also a Running Man location, a very famous one. Got to go inside as the entrance was open. There were staff cleaning the stadium and setting up goal posts. Preparations were being done for the FIFA U-20 World Cup that’s being hosted by South Korea this year from May 20 – June 11, 2017. Suwon Stadium is their largest stadium with a capacity of 42 thousand.

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Suwon Statdium being prepared for the upcoming FIFA U-20.

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Outside Suwon Stadium

That’s it for day 6. Annyeong! 🙂

Korea 2017 Day 5: Korea International Horticulture Festival (Goyang)

For our 5th day in Korea, we  went outside Seoul to attend the Korea International Horticulture in Goyang.

I found this event while I was planning the itinerary. I had an inkling that we’ll be arriving on a Spring-Summer transition season and there won’t be flowers anymore, so I opted to include a flower festival in the itinerary to experience that aspect of spring. 

The event was at Ilsan Lake Park, more than an hour away from Seoul via train. The good thing about this park is that it’s very near the train station, so it’s easy to find. Did I mention that it’s also a Running Man location? This is where they shot couple race episode with Girls Generation.

I enjoyed the festival very much. It’s my first time to see a lot if the plants there, since we don’t have spring in the Philippines. I loved taking photos of the tulips and different installations done for the festival. One garden had a Wizard of Oz theme. It was so cute!

Within the vicinity of Ilsan Park is a Mapo Mandu branch. For those of you who don’t know, Mapo Mandu is one of the best dimsum chains in Korea. It’s been featured on TV a couple of times including (Yes, have you guessed?) Running Man!

We tried the beef mandu for our afternoon snack and ordered 2 more sets of that for dinner. We were supposed to go to Mapo to find a Mapo Manju branch and see Digital Media City but decided to cut the day short since the next day’s itinerary was loaded. We will save that location for a future trip. 

That’s it for day 5. Annyeong!

Korea 2017 Day 4: Our Love for Running Man

Even the rain and cold weather couldn’t stop us from pushing through our itinerary for this day, because we were scheduled to visit some Running Man shooting sites (Yehey!).

Korean Manhwa Museum entrance

When I was planning our itinerary, my sister and I made sure to squeeze in some shooting sites from our favorite variety show. One of our favorite episodes was shot at Korean Manhwa Museum, so we first headed to Bucheon.

Robot manhwa

With the famous dinosaur, Dooly.

Bucheon is one of the cities near Seoul. It’s about 1 1/2 hours travel from the place we’re staying at (Yongsan). If you think about it, it’s pretty far, but that’s okay. All for Running Man. Hahaha

Manhwa shelf

A manhwa artist’s desk

When we reached the Korean Manhwa Museum, the entrance fee was discounted (from 5,000 to 3,500 KRW) because it’s election day today. It was a happy coincidence.

Running Man theme song challenge

Running Man played hide and seek here

This is Shin from Goong. His Philippine TV name is Gian.

We got to see and took photos of the shooting areas, where Running Men played hide and seek and the theme song game. We participated in one of the activities where you get to draw a manhwa character. I drew Pororo. AIso, I saw copies and characters of my favorite manhwa, Goong (Princess Hours – it became a drama and was dubbed in the Philippines).

Drawing Pororo

Within walking distance from the Korean Manhwa Museum is another Running Man shooting location, Aiin’s World. It’s a small theme park where you will see miniature models of the world’s famous landmarks. You will literally “go around the world” in 30 minutes. Word of advise, it’s better to visit this destination at night. Landmarks look better with colored lights around.

Colosus of Rhodes, Morocco, Jordan, Mr. Kilimanjaro, Egypt

Sagrada Familia, Collessium, Acropolis, Versailles

We headed back to Seoul to visit my college batchmates, Anne, at Ehwa University. It’s one of the top universities in Korea. It’s famous for their ECC building, one of Korea’s modern architecture landmarks. Enjoyed catching-up with Anne while we toured around campus. She even brought us to the cafetria with good kimbap.

Ewha University ECC

Ewha University Admin Bldg

Ewha University pretty building HAHA

Ewha University Hanok House

That’s it for day 4! Annyeong!

Korea 2017 Day 3: Hongdae, Myeondong, Dongdaemun

We decided to have a light day after a tiring experience yesterday. Thus, we only visited shopping centers today.

Late morning at Hongdae Street

Found SHINEE again, all of them this time!

Our first stop of the day was Hongdae. This is popular amongst young people. It has unique cafes, galleries, accessory stores, fashion stores, clubs, art markets, and gourmet eateries. We basically came here to look for Running Man locations, but ended up shopping and eating as well. 

Seen on Running Man Hongdae episode

Haha’s restaurant: Loco Quan 401

Korea has cheap socks that have good quality. Bought the Sailor Moon set for myself. Hahaha

For lunch, we found a dongkatsu place near Haha’s restaurant. We went in because we saw the picture of the big dongkatsu for 6,900 KRW. Even though it’s cheap (for a restaurant), the food did not disappoint. 

The dongkatsu place!

Dongkatsu meal

Next, we came back to Myeondong to find cosmetics for my sister’s officemates and other finds. I only bought a few things but ended up with a lot of freebies because my sister was going from shop to shop to find items. We’re gonna have a round two of Myeondong because her officemate’s gonna send here more money for stuff. More freebies for me!

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Bought aloe vera and got a lot of freebies!

At night, we came back to Dongdaemun area to eat at a Korean buffet with the family. I enjoyed the food at it has stations to make your own veggie wraps and bingsu! I also got to try dukboki, the traditional Korean rice cakes. 

Buffet place at Hyundai City Outlets, Dongdaemun

Some of the food at the buffet

Before going home, I invited the family to see the LED Rose Garden at DDP since only my sister and I have seen it. Glad we came back because the sky wasn’t too dark we got to take better photos. 

LED Rose Garden, DDP

That’s it for day 3! Annyeong!

Korea 2017 Day 2: Myeondong Cathedral, Palace Tours, K-Style Hub, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Dongdaemun Design Plaza

We started the day early and went straight to Myeondong, Seoul’s shopping street. We didn’t come there to shop yet though. We went there to attend the English mass at Myeondeong Cathedral. It was a solemn experience and very different from how we celebrate the holy mass in the Philippines.

Minho, Key, and Bo Gum at Myeondong

Myeondong Cathedral

Right after the mass, we rode a bus to Jongmyo Shrine. Jongmyo is the place of worship and venue or royal memorial ceremonies during the Joseon dynasty. Today, ceremonies are only held once a year, the first Sunday of May.

Entrance to Jongmyo Shrine

Coincidentally, that’s also yesterday, the time we visited the shrine. Though we enjoyed free entrance, We didn’t get too see much, as some buildings were closed for the event. We watched the live feed of one ceremony on a screen but decided to move on to the neighboring palace.

Changdeokgung Palace

The throne room of Changdeokgung

Located beside Jongmyo Shrine is the Changdeokgung Palace. It’s the secondary palace after Gyeonbukgung. Personally, I think this palace is more beautiful, definitely a must see.

Tea tasting event at Changdeokgung

The Changdeokgung Palace compound is divided into two. The front part houses the throne, the king, queen, and crown prince’s residences, as well as the government offices. The back part is where the Secret Garden is.

Changdeokgung Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a shared garden between the Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung palaces. It’s said that it’s one of the most attractive places in Korea. They’ve preserved the ponds and pavilions built in this place during Joseon. Access to this place is different, you’ll have to buy a different ticket or have a royal pass which includes an access pass here.

I have to be honest. Visiting the Secret Garden is no walk in the park. I wasn’t expecting to have an impromptu trek. If you don’t like trekking, I recommend not to push through. It’s beautiful to see but tiring to experience.

Connected to the Changdeokgung Palace is the Changgyeonggung Palace. This place was originally built as a residence for three dowager queens. In later years, it also served as residences for concubines and princesses.

The throne room at Changgyeonggung

Changgyeonggung is the simplest palace I’ve seen. The layout is practical as convenience of the residents were considered when this was being built.

Joong Ki is here!

After visiting palaces, we went to K- Style Hub. This is a new place that only opened last year (by Song Joong Ki, no less). It’s a tourist center that lets you experience Korea in a nutshell. There’s a free hanbok experience and post card painting at scheduled times. There are also cooking classes (which are not free) that you can take to learn how to make Korean food.

Korean ingredients

I enjoyed the K-Star photo booth where you can virtually take studio pics with Psy, Big Bang, and 2NE1. I also liked the food exhibit where you can learn about korean food in general, harvesting, and food preserving practices. There’s also WiFi and resting areas in the hub where you can take a break from all the touring.

Photo op with G-Dragon

After roaming K- Style Hub, we went down the Cheonggyecheon Stream to see the lantern festival. I found out about this on the internet. We’re lucky to be able to book our visit on dates with a lot of festivals happening. We waited for about an hour to see the lanterns light up. It was cold but it was worth it.

Lantern Festival

Trisha at the lantern festival

Me at the lantern festival

Finally, our last stop of the day was Dongdaemun Design Plaza. This was a stop I forced my sister to go to, as I wanted to see the shooting place of She Was Pretty.

It’s a night attraction, since it’s best to see the building with lights. Within the vicinity is an outdoor exhibit of hundreds of LED roses. I enjoyed taking photos of this place. Would det come back with a better camera and lighting equipment. Haha

At the LED Rose Garden

That’s it for day 2. Annyeong!