Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Double decker views

The Seoul city tour by night on the double decker bus was another one on the bucket list of things to do before i leave Seoul. I have no idea of what i was expecting. A brilliant night time of the city I currently call home, view from atop without the hassle of climbing up a mountain or was it just that I had seen too many movies featuring the double deckered ride that i felt the need to go on one? Anyway, with a lot of spirit, I boarded the bus which takes a Han river focussed route.

Seoul city tour double decker bus
Image from

I got into the seat that was allotted according to the time it was booked. Comfy seats with the promised headset which provided multi-lingual audio translation. I was set on the seat behind the first seat on the top. It was good, but the front seat would have been the best seat for taking pictures. Though the view through the windows were pretty nice too.  We started out exactly at 8PM from Gwanghwamun and snaked our way through the traffic to the bridges of the Han River. The city itself is full of skyscrapers all lighted up in unique, interesting and sometimes weird ways. The bridges over the river are all lighted up and are distinct from each other. Good for pics! The audio did not do justice to the bridges in the sense that it was just delivered a two lines about each bridge. But it was a diversion listening the information in various languages :) We didnot get to see the rainbow fountain show in the Banpo bridge :( which I thought was the major attraction of the tour. The traffic too seemed determined to slow us down and it took us forever to move in some places which made the tour so boring and too long for me and the kids. This was not a fun tour nor informative :(

night time view of Seoul
Night time view of Seoul atop the double decker Seoul city tour.
Super shot of night time Seoul from the Seoul tour bus
The bus started out fast...
Skyscrapers at night Seoul
Soon was slowed down due to the horrible traffic in Seoul. Jihachul is the way to go in Seoul.
Han River at night
Pretty views of the Han River 
Night time view of the bridge over the Han River
Interesting patterns, dont you think?

night time Traffic in Seoul
Traffic shakes
Skyscrapers edging the Han River
Skyscrapers edging the Han River
Han River and the tall buildings
I like the patterns made by the lights! 
Another bridge over the Han river at night
Yet another bridge over the Han River
Night time traffic in Seoul
Shaky lights

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Changgyeong Palace in Seoul

There are five major palaces in Seoul, built during the Joseon dynasty by following the principles of Confucianism. The Gyeongbukgung is the biggest and most famous of all located in the center of Gwanghwamun square. The Chandeokgung is acclaimed to be the prettiest of all and a must-go place during the cherry blossoms and the fall season. The Changgyeongung was a part of the Chandeokgung until the Japanese invasion when it was separated and made into a zoo and a botanical garden. This palace is also the place where Jang Geum of the famous Korean Drama Dae Jang Geum- The renowned cook turned physician is said to have lived.

The Changgyeonggung at Seoul
The Changgyeonggung at Seoul on a grey, gloomy, rainy day
The beautiful patterns on the gate of the Changgyeonggung palace in Seoul
The beautiful patterns on the gate of the Changgyeonggung palace.
The huge door of the Changgyeonggung palace
The huge door of the Eastern gate of the Changgyeongung. It reminds me of the huge Temple doors in South India.
The Forbidden Stream in the Changgyeong palace in Seoul
The Forbidden stream in the Changgyeong palace.
According to Feng Shui principles, the best place for a palace is with a stream in the front and with the mountains in the back. Hence the artificial stream was built in the entrance of the palace.

The Haichi and Phoenix to protect the palace
The Haechi is a mythical animal which is a guardian of justice which could distinguish between the good and evil and also said to protect the palace. 
Haechi is now the mascot of Seoul. It is a mythical animal which is a part lion and part dragon. I am reminded very much of the stone "Yaalli" protecting the Temples!
Haechi, the mascot of Seoul
Haechi, the mascot of Seoul
The phoenix is also a symbol of protection
Another protection symbol- The Phoenix
Beautiful roof structure and animals atop.
The beautiful roof of the palace with protective images atop. The first one from the right is the Monk and the second is the Monkey king.
Graceful inclines of the palace roofs
Graceful inclinations of the palace roof
The bucket of water which is said to ward off the evil fire
All important structures in a palace had this bucket of water to ward away the "Evil Fire".
Beautiful patterns on the doors of the Changgyeong palace in Seoul
Beautiful patterns on the palace.
Patterns on the roof
Patterns on the roof of the Changgyeong palace
Beautiful throne with the uniquely Korean painting of the important symbols.  5-mountains, with the sun and moon, waterfalls and pine trees.
The beautiful painting is an important Korean artefact denotes the Yin and Yan and is also found on the Korean 10,000won bill.

Ondol place in the palace
Ondol is the floor heating with hot water pipes which is the prevalent home-heating method in Korea. 
garden in the Changgyeongung palace
Garden in the Changgyeong gung, close to the botanical garden

Artificial lake in the Changgyeong gung.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tricky Trip to the Trick Eye Museum

Summer holidays are here and the temperatures are climbing up! Thankfully, there are so many cool ways to keep the kids engaged in Seoul. Hongdae, where the student crowd of the Hongik University gather, is a hep and happening place with all the pubs, bars and awesome shopping all around and houses the Trick Eye Museum, which creates fun effects by optical illusion!

A famous spot for some serious camera work! at Trick eye museum
A famous spot for some serious camera work.

Fake ticket dispenser at the Trick eye museum
We started out with the Ticket dispenser

The horse guy attacking at the trick eye museum
And then proceeded to more violent business!
All these drawings are done on the wall, all with 3D-like-aspects that tricks the eye in believing something else (trompe l'oeil). And, together with just the right lightings and a bit imagination with fun poses, the effects are really amazing!

The huge child optical illusion at the Trick Eye museum
The curious case of the colossal kid!

Cupid chases from trick eye museum seoul
Get away from me pink skirted boy!
Flying in air optical illusion at Seoul
Don't mess with the Gods! Or suffer the consequences! 
3 way picture at Seoul
This is a curious piece of art which shows three different paintings depending on the angle from which it is viewed.

The 3 way painting at Trick eye museum at school
The same painting, as viewed from the left

The 3 painting that could be viewed in thee different ways
And as viewed from the right!

The dino ride at the trompe d'oeil in Seoul
The Dino ride!

Stuck with the green monster at the trick eye museum in Seoul
Stuck in the ceiling with the green monster! Oops! Should have placed the cap more carefully!

Climbing with the panda
Climbing with the panda is a lot of fun!
The fierce fish at the museum of trompe d'oeil at Seoul
The fierce fish attack! Thankfully he escaped unscathed :)

How the painting really looks!
The fishy secret revealed!

This is how it works:  It is the corner where the realistic looking fish painting is at. On the right hand side of the painting are some suggestions on how to pose for the best effect and the foot picture at the bottom shows the perfect spot for the right shot.

The Trick Eye Museum is a good place for a hour or two of fun where cameras are mandatory! It also houses the Mirror Maze where we find our way out through the hall of mirrors. It was actually quiet fun!

How to reach the Trick Eye Museum?

Entrance fees is 13,000won for adults. But there are coupons found in the free Seoul magazine which can be used to get the admission for 10,000 won. Here is also another website that lets you print out the coupon after registering.

Take the Hongik University station exit 9. And it is possible to reach the museum in around 10 minutes.  The Trick Eye Museum in housed in the basement of a building.
Directions to trick eye museum in Seoul
Image from

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