Hotel → Jogyesa Buddhist Temple → Changing of the Guard Ceremony → Gyeongbok Palace (Deoksu Palace on Tuesday only) → Pass by Presidential Blue House → Cheongwadae Sarangchae (closed on every Monday) → Ginseng Center → Lunch → Changdeok Palace (N Seoul Tower on Monday only – excluding Observatory) → Insadong Arts & Crafts Market → Shopping Center → Namdaemun Traditional Market → Nanta Performance → Return on your own
Nanta! Is a blast. The show is done entirely without words. The cast pounds drums, beats out rhythms with cleavers, juggles plates, makes fun of kung fu movies and most other stuff. Nanta! Also manages to incorporate elements from the Korean cultural heritages of samulnori and Buddhist ceremony.
Tour Course Information
Built in 1395, Gyeongbok Palace is also commonly referred to as the “Northern Palace” because it is located more toward the north, compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeok (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghee (Western Palace). Gyeongbok Palace is arguably the most beautiful and remains the grandest of all the five palaces.
Nanta Theater is the permanent home of the first Korean non-verbal performance called ‘Nanta.’ Nanta is a hybrid artwork, the combination of a traditional Korean folk performance called ‘Samulnori’ and Western forms of performance. On the stage is a giant kitchen, where four cooks appear and start cooking dishes for a wedding reception. In the process, they perform Samulnori using the various cooking utensils, such as pots, pans, and plates, etc. It was a big hit from the moment it opened, due to the power and speed of the performance. Though mainly consisting of rhythm and beats, its clever plot makes it enjoyable for people of all ages and backgrounds. It received high praise for its performance in other countries, and now has a foreign audience of about 70-80%. A theater was built exclusively for Nanta in Gangbuk in 2000, but a second one was built in Gangnam due to the overwhelming number of patrons. The Gangnam Theater was opened in April of 2002. The Gangbuk Theater has a capacity of 291, while the Gangnam Theater has a capacity of 293.
Namdaemun Traditional Market
Opened in 1964, Namdaemun Market is the first largest traditional market in Korea with various goods in store such as children’s, men’s and women’s wear. The displayed goods are sold at a reasonable price and it also functions as a wholesale market. Most of the goods are produced directly from shopkeepers. Namdaemun Market is opened from 11:00 pm and at 3:00 am; it is crowded with retailers from all over the country. At daybreak, the site of busy Koreans creates a unique scene in the market where it is becoming a worldwide tourist attraction.
Changing of the Guard Ceremony
Every day visitors to Gyeongbok palace can watch a reenactment of the “Changing of the Royal Guards” ceremony, which takes place at the Gwanghwamun and Heungnyemun plazas. The royal guards of the Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910) were in charge of protecting the gates of the capital city and the royal palace.
Insadong Arts & Crafts Market
Insadong has been at the heart of nation’s capital for 600 years and it has been the center of culture during the Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910). This is where the Ministry of Art was once situated. Insadong usually refers to the area from Anguk-dong Rotary to Tapgol Park in Jongro 2(i)-ga, past the Insadong Intersection. The notable features of Insadong are the countless alleys that branching out from the main street. Insadong has become known as ‘Merry’s Area,’ a favorite shopping spot among foreigners.
Jogyesa Buddhist Temple
Jogyesa Buddhist Temple is the center of Zen Buddhism in Korea, and is famous for being located in the city. From the busy streets of Jongno, follow the road towards Anguk Subway Station, and you will see Jogyesa Temple. The first things you will notice at the temple are the lovely trees. These locust trees and baeksong trees in front of the Daeungjeon, the main temple building, are about 500 years old.
Presidential Blue House
The symbol of Cheongwadae (known to westerners as the Blue House or the presidential residence), is the blue tiles. The first thing that catches your eye when you arrive at Cheongwadae is the blue tiles of the main building. The blue tiles and the smooth roof are in beautiful harmony with Mt. Bugaksan behind it. As the Blue House represents Korea, the blue tiles and the smooth curve of the roof represents the beauty of Korea.
The newly opened Cheongwadae Sarangchae, which opened to the public on January 5th, 2010, is a history center that gives visitors a chance to follow in the footsteps of presidents of Korea and gain insight into the history of Seoul. It encompasses the past, present and even the future of Seoul as well as the entire nation. It serves as a tourist information center that offers detailed information on World Cultural Heritage sites and assets.