Yi Sun Shin Statue
At Gwanghwamun Plaza looking at the statue of Admiral Yi Sun Shin.
Sejeong The Great
Statue of King Sejeong the Great at Gwanghwamun Plaza.
Namesake of the plaza: Gwanghwamun gate.
I Seoul U
At Gwanghwamun gate looking south at the plaza.
The most famous of the ancient gates in Seoul, Gwanghwamun marks the entrance to the imperial palace.
This iteration of Gwanghwamun was newly refurbished - and put back into its original spot - in 2010.
While they do indeed look cool, it can't be too fun being an honor guard in full costume during the sweltering Seoul Summer.
Behind the Gate
The reception plaza behind Gwanghwamun gate.
Gyeongbokgung, the Joseon-era imperial palace, is indeed a popular tourist spot.
Traditional Korean Hanboks - male or female - are available for rent so one can stroll the palace grounds in garb just like people did many hundreds of years ago.
Two Doors Down
Joseon-era design motif.
One of the many gardens scattered about the Gyeongbokgung palace grounds.
During the hot summers in Seoul, shade given by trees are most welcome.
Patterns and intricacies
Hand laid are the best made.
This giant pavilion is built on an artificial lake and is used as a frequent play house for the imperial family.
Everything in this picture, except the mountain in the back, is man-made.
Bosingak Bell Pavilion
The building that gives the historic Jongro - "Bell street" - it's name: the Bosingak bell pavilion.
The icon of Seoul: Namsan Seoul Tower.
View from Namsan
Seoul from up high in Namsan Park, a mountain right in the heart of the city.
A distinct feature at the Seoul Tower premises: locks symbolizing people's love. Yes you can buy one right on site and add it to the collection.
From the Seoul Tower observatory.
N Seoul Tower
On the Way Down
We rode the bus up to Namsan Park, and we rode the cable gondola back down.
At the base of Namsan.
Entrance to Changdeokgung, palace of the Joseon Prince.
The main hall/pavilion of Changdeokgung.
Square of Joseon
Sleeping quarters, Joseon Korean style.
Traditional Korean homes are built elevated on platforms so that during the winter heat can be circulated underneath the floors.
A door to presumably the famed Secret Garden of Changdeokgung.
I really admire the superb masonry work in Changdeokgung.
Have a Rest
One of the best times on the trip was escaping from the heat in one of the pavilions.
A fitting scene as Changgyeonggung was the residence for royal queens and concubines during the Joseon dynasty.
Secret Garden Pond
Secret Garden is the special retreat of the Joseon King at the rear section of Changdeokgung.
Secret hiding places in the Secret Garden.
Jongmyo is the royal shrine dedicated to services in remembrance of dead ancestors. This is the main hall, which photos cannot convey the astonishing size.
Find your peace.
Follow the Stone Road
Entrance to one of the smaller shrine halls in Jongmyo.
Walking back out towards the Jongmyo entrance.
A shimmering sunset on the shores of the Hangang river in Banpo district.
Banpo bridge appears to be just an ordinary bridge, but when the sun goes down, that's when it lights up.
Banpo Bridge's Moonlight Rainbow Fountain Show, the world's longest of its kind.
Colors of the Rainbow
Music plays from speakers as canons spray water into patterns and movements. The Moonlight Rainbow show was definitely the highlight of our trip to South Korea.
Across the River
Seoul's skyline lacks a defining feature other than the ever present Seoul Tower.
There's a show every 30 minutes, so by all means, stay for multiple like we did. It's too lovely.
Clouds Over Seoul
Massive clouds over Seoul as we stroll along the Hangang Park at Yeouido.
The Hangang Park at Yeouido.
The river view from Yeouido Hangang Park.
Escaping the heat by going underneath the bridge.
The Best Picnic
Care for a picnic? There's a convenient store conveniently nearby.
Under the Bridge
"Take me to the place I love, take me all the way."
Kids These Days
They've got it so well.
500 Days of Summer
The few high-rises of Yeouido.
The world famous KBS broadcast hall at Yeouido.
Taking in the Korean version of America's pastime at Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
Lotte World Tower
Seoul's brand new jewel in the sky: the Lotte World Tower. It was opened just this April, which we were lucky to have visited Seoul in June.
Baby, we're going up.
Flower in Your Hair
At the Lotte World Tower observatory.
Take a Look
When the weather is good, the view is spectacular at the Lotte World Tower.
Namdaemun, 'Great South Gate', one of four great gates facing the cardinal directions that used to be part of the fortress wall surrounding Joseon-era Seoul. .
As one can tell from the colors, Namdaemun gate is practically entirely rebuilt.
Into the City
Joseon-era citizens would be looking up at the facade as they enter Seoul.
After Seoul, we took the KTX bullet-train to Busan, Korea's second most populous city. Here we at the Gamcheon Culture Village, nicknamed the "Santorini of Korea".
Gamcheon Cultural Village
A kaleidescope of colors.
Stacks on Stacks on Stacks
The amazing vertical density of the housing at Gamcheon Cultural Village.
Strange to see a lone tall condominium amongst all the normal flat houses. Must suck to have that block your view of the ocean where it was previously free.
It goes without saying: Gamcheon Cultural Village is extremely photogenic no matter which corner you turn towards.
At the appropriately busy Busan harbor.
The restored Yeongdo Bridge, what was then (1934) the first bridge to connect mainland Busan to the island Yeongdo district. Sadly we did not see the single-leaf draw section rise while we were there.
Clouds over Busan, and a Value Hotel under construction.
The ocean of Jeju Island, the Hawaii of Korea. And just as one does in Hawaii, we spent a few days in Jeju lounging around the Airbnb home and taking in the sights by rental car. Truly a gem of an island.
The sparkling azure waters of Jeju Island.
So painfully gorgeous.
I've never been so up close to a wind-electric generator. The path on the right took us right underneath one.
The entire Island of Jeju is dotted with these, and good on them for it.
A wind-farm out in the ocean.
A beautiful and worthy exploration. Our parked rental car was relatively far from here.
Even lighthouses on the island is powered by green energy. Notice the solar panel atop the structure.
Jeju Island at 5AM, as we climb up the steep stairs of the famed Seongsanilchulbong crater to catch the morning's first light.
The world famous sunrise peak of Jeju Island. Before the sun have risen, obviously.
Until the Morning Light
The view that gives the place it's name.
Sunrises are a spectacting sport.
Not ADA Approved
The way back down from Sunrise peak is just steep yet can be equally as scenic as what's at the top.
Morning Golden Hour
A side benefit of chasing the sunrise up in Seongsanilchulbong is that when you come down, you get to see this side of Jeju showered in gorgeous golden hour light.
Sleepy town comes awake.
The sharp verticle of Seongsanilchulbong.
Angel of the Morning
In my opinion the best view isn't atop the summit of Seongsanilchulbong, but rather down at the base. I can stare at this all day, except the sun doesn't stay stationary unfortunately.
This is the route heading up the crater, though I'm not sure of the value of heading up there after the sun has risen. Good exercise, though.
Notice the fisherman in the middle hunting for abalone.
Photos from South Korea, the land of the morning calm.