Omnipresent in all things digital, the exclusivity, much more the intimacy of an experience is starting to become underrated. I am culpable to some extent, giving in to new age and profusely taking advantage of it. However, paradox it may seem – there’s light at the other end of the spectrum. It undoubtedly gives away ideation, inspiration, and for some, spirit to finally pack their bags and go on their first jaunt.
I was once part of the demographics who shied away from getting any sun but all in the past now. Thank God, there’s what they called change. Fast forward to my over two decades of existence, I am afront of mirror staring at my black-winged eyeliner while donning my favorite red wine lipstick and waiting for a local store lady to finish braiding my hair in low chignon, that she, then, adorned by binyeo, pearl pins, and traditional headband. Cold, yet perfect day to be Princess. A false royalty fully clothed in carnation pink dangui, dragon-emblem at the bosom, and fuchsia chima with geumbak (gold leaf) patterns. Trust me, it was a memorable day that the little girl in me has fulfilled. The little girl’s dream of becoming Princess, twirling to full silk silhouettes in vibrant hues.
There’s Deoksugung Palace – a much pleasing and welcomed addition, I’d say. Known as “the palace of virtuous longevity”, the smallest of the five remaining palaces of Joseon Dynasty located in one of the busiest downtown intersections of Seoul. Therein lies the beauty of traditional and ancient Korea, amassed with centuries of undocumented stories, scribbled facts as past residence of Wolsandaegun, the Joseon King Seongjong’s older brother. Just in time for guard-changing at eleven in the morning, we witnessed, insert cute, locals reenacting as palace guards.
Luck has its limits, unfortunately. Gyeongbokgung Palace, most magnificent out of the five palaces, is closed on Tuesdays. Nonetheless, I have a friend who went inside the Palace so sharing his photos here. Meanwhile, we tried our hardest to maximize the time by searching winding historic alleys of Bukchon Hanok Village – while fighting the cold wind in our already-frigid faces. No, the sheer underskirt and full silk ensemble did not ease anything. Well, probably some morale when we were randomly stopped by tourists alike for photographs.
However, the decrepit rust coloured leaves hanging from the branches skirted by pools of autumn gold underneath, sweet chill breath of wind blowing our silk skirts while being surrounded by dynasties’ remains – imagine yourself basking in such glorious and gorgeous setting. The little discomfort will definitely be the least of your worries.
Hanbok Rental: BEST HANBOK, Tel.No.: 027337295, Mobile No.: 010-85823-5888
Photos: Bukchon Hanok Village, Gyeongbokgung Palace – Christian Claveria