My friend Kylee and I ventured to Seoul for the Chuseok Holiday weekend–5 days off work-woohoo!!  We decided on a relatively ‘open’ itinerary with a couple ‘must do’ items and a lot of free time to play things by ear–this worked out great for us as we were walking between 6 and 9 miles each day and desperately needed some bouts of R&R.

We stayed in Insa-dong as it appeared to be super close to may of the touristy places we wanted to visit.  Though our hostel was far from good, we couldn’t ask for a better location.  We will most likely stay in the area again, but will stay far away from that place!  We were able to see and do quite a few things on our trip and have several things lined up to do on future trips…

Saturday: We left Daegu at 9:00 and took the KTX to Seoul (2hrs).  The train was clean, had free wifi and was super-fast (topping out at 300km per hour.  We got in to Seoul shortly after 11 and found our hostel with some ease (thanks Google Maps!).  After quickly checking in to our hostel, we headed to Changdeokgung Palace to sign up for the 13:30 Secret Garden tour. As we had some time to kill, we goofed off a bit and found ourselves a lovely sandwich shop (with real cheese!) for lunch.  It was a lovely palace and a nice tour of the gardens (especially since it was only 8,000 / $8).  A few of the highlights of the palace and tour below:

Sunday:  We were exhausted!  After a late night on Friday plus a full-on day on Saturday (and poor hostel conditions), we decided to take it easy on Sunday.  We took a tour on the Seoul City Tour bus and did a lot of shopping.  I do not recommend doing this city tour as it was a joke.  It was not open top (we knew that going in) and we barely received more than a 2 sentence description of each stop on the itinerary.  I would recommend researching the places you want to see and then taking the subway!

While in Myeongdong, we managed to find a Cat Cafe, where we paid about $8, sipped on the beverage of our choice, and played with some kitties. It was super fun and I will be doing it again!  We also had great fun shopping around and finding good food for lunch and dinner.  We were EXHAUSTED after dinner and forced ourselves to stay up until 9pm (haha)! Thankfully Kylee and I have similar tastes in movies, so The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy kept us awake and entertained until bedtime–Magrathea!!!

Monday:  Time to hit it hard again!  We actually had a fairly good night sleep and had a busy day ahead of us.  We walked to Gyeongbokgung Palace and the National Folk (sometimes spelled Fork) Museum to celebrate Chuseok.  While there, we were able to do some arts and crafts at the National Folk Museum and were fortunate enough to see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace. There was free entry to the Folk Museum and Gyeongbokgung Palace for Chuseok, so they were PACKED!  I will definitely visit Gyeongbokgung Palace again when it is not a holiday weekend.

After touring Gyeongbokgung Palace and the National Folk Museum, we toured around Insa-dong with our friend Ke, did a bit of shopping and had a fabulous dinner!

Tuesday:  Kylee and I did more shopping around Insa-dong and ventured to Myeong-dong (where we shopped on Sunday) to go to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch-Yummers!!  We stumbled upon a couple really cool stores and even some street performances.

We left Seoul in the late-afternoon on Tuesday and took the slow train back.  4hrs on a stuffy/wobbly train is not my cup of tea–KTX all the way in the future!

I had an absolutely wonderful time in Seoul during the Chuseok weekend and am looking forward to returning.  I will most likely divvy up my trips based on some sort of theme:  Partying in Itaewon, Shopping in the Markets and Malls, Museums and Palaces, etc.  There is a lot to see and do in this lovely city and I look forward to going back!

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