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seoul map 1.1 – Cheongyecheong to Deoksugung
Since we flew in with Air Asia, we get to start our day early. Our flight arrived at 615 am, it took us a while to clear the immigration and an hour to get to the city. It was around 830 am right after we drop our luggage at the hotel. With T Money card on one hand and guide book on another, we went off on our language-handicapped romp through the city.
South Korea has really gone great lengths to spruce the place up for tourist arrivals. Tourist information kiosks are everywhere, and one can easily find friendly staffs well versed in Mandarin, English and Japanese language stationed at most tourist hot spots.
We were at the beginning of Cheonggyecheong Stream, just look out for Chongye Plaza or an upside down ice cream cone sculpture.
City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 4. Walk 250 m north to Cheonggye Plaza.
Cheonggyecheon Stream used to exist merely as an overpass neglected in 1970 until it was restored in 2005, becoming a beautiful recreational area amidst downtown Seoul.
seoul map 1.2 – Cheonggyecheon Stream
As you can see from the map (which we seized somewhere), the stream is surrounded by various attractions. The 8.4 km long stream passes through Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, the Changdeokgung Palace, and the Changgyeonggung Palace.
From Cheonggyecheon, we took a leisure stroll to Deoksugung to witness the Royal Guards Changing Ceremony. It is a re-enactment of the ceremony from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). This ceremony takes place three times a day in front of Daehanmun, the main gate of Deoksugung (palace) at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (except for on Mondays).
City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 2. Go straight 100m to arrive at Daehanmun Gate on the right.
5 minutes walk from Cheongyecheon Stream.
It is a tradition similar to the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace and offers a rare opportunity to experience royal culture.
Next Up: SA Seoul Apartment – MUJI style service apartment near Seoul Station