- Changdeokgung Palace 창덕궁 (昌德宮)
- Samcheongdong 삼청동 (三淸洞)
- Insadong 인사동 (仁寺洞)
- Cheonggyecheon Stream 청계천 (淸溪川)
- Myeongdong 명동 (明洞)
I kicked off my second day with an early breakfast at the hotel. Ibis Hotel has a breakfast buffet for 14,000 won. It's pretty pricey for the selection, but it's convenient. There are far better options just outside the hotel in the Myeongdong area, especially juk (rice porridge 죽). If you are a bread person, there are also 2 bakeries nearby in Myeongdong.
|KB Bank and Ibis Hotel|
After breakfast, I went to KB Bank (right next to the hotel) to exchange more money. If you recall from Day 1, I only exchanged enough money at the airport to buy my bus tickets in order to hold out for more favorable rates at places outside of the airport. The money exchange at the bank was fast and easy. The bankers will understand what you want even if you ask in English. I did end up get a better rate at the bank than at the airport, so I'm glad I waited until the next day to exchange my money. One thing I wish I did before I left the bank was to ask for smaller bills. 5,000 and 1,000 bills will come in handy, especially on taxi rides.
Something I wondered before heading out was whether or not I needed to take my passport with me. The hotel front desk said it would be best to carry my passport at all times while out in Seoul, so that's what I did. The upside is that you have a form of ID on you at all times, but the downside is that you need to be vigilant about your passport so you don't lose it. I didn't need my passport at all in Korea (except to check-in at the hotel and exchange money at the bank), so in hindsight, I would've probably locked it up in the hotel safe and called it a day.
I then took a taxi to Changdeokgung Palace. I was hoping for the hotel to call a cab for me (because cab drivers seem to be on their best behavior that way), but unfortunately, the hotel lobby on the first floor doesn't call taxis for you unless you need a jumbo taxi. You are on your own to hail a cab from the street. Make sure you grab your hotel's business card before you leave so you can find your way back!
|Injeongjeon at Changdeokgung|
Korea's Tourism Organization has a helpful page on the different kinds of taxis in Korea, but honestly, it's hard to tell them apart when you are trying to flag one down. I hailed a gray colored taxi, which according to that website is a regular taxi. When I got in the car, I busted out with: