While I was in South Korea with Conrad Hotel Seoul they put together an itinerary for me. Being a more ‘get lost in the side streets and make friends with strangers’ to discover a city wanderer I always end up throwing the whole itinerary out of the window. My main reasoning is that locals usually only suggest to tourists what they assume other tourists go there to do/see. The best recommendations I’ve ever had is when asking locals “What do you like to do/where do you eat/where do you go out?” etc. Thankfully the list that Conrad Seoul put together was everything I wanted to experience, and we started our first morning getting lost in Changdeokgung Palace’s secret gardens. Followed by Korean BBQ of course…
We joined an English speaking tour group at the royal Palace but within minutes of the Secret Garden we had accidentally (/cheekily) hung back and let the group go ahead without us. The freezing cold seemed to make the air sharper; with every bird chirp, blow of the wind and leaf crunch acutely louder. If I could only write one word to describe Seoul, it would be ‘trees’. I happen to adore trees. After travelling through cities or living beside the beach at home, being drenched in dwarfing trees makes me instantly breathe deeper. Walking through the park with not a soul around except my baby brother made us constantly stop at every new path, temple or valley, and silently grin in appreciation.
This feeling is like a drug for me. To be standing somewhere I hadn’t considered or known to exist beforehand. I never pictured Seoul to have these treasures quietly nestled amongst the bustling city. It was only our first morning in Seoul and I was already kicking myself for not ever coming sooner.
Photos by myself and Jayden Stein