Things to do this weekend
Known as one of Seoul’s most beautiful skating rinks, the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Namsan transforms their summer outdoor swimming pool area into this romantic wonderland during the winter. Adorned with twinkling lights and decorated trees, the ambiance (especially ravishing at night) makes it a popular attraction for many couples and several proposals have been known to take place on the ice. Those adverse to the cold may find that the best part of skating here is the outdoor heating system that’ll keep you warm even at 20 degrees below zero. Hot beverages and other drinks are available at the outdoor café, so you can always rest your feet and take in the view.
Dec 2–Feb 28, 2017, 10am–9pm. Mon–Thu 26,000 won, Fri–Sun 30,000 won.
Inside the palace walls of Deoksugung is Korea’s first European style stone building, the Seokjojeon. The neo-classical architecture, complete with iconic style colonnades and a triangular roof, was built in 1910 and served as a audience hall and sleeping quarters of King Gojong. It presents indeed an interesting dynamic having Korean style palace architecture placed next to a European style chateau. Although the MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) Deoksugung, located next to the Seokjojeon, attracts many visitors to its beautifully curated art exhibitions, it is not very well known to the public that the Seokjojeon serves 8 free tours a day. The only catch is that the 45 minute tour requires a pre-registration online. Starting at the reception room located on the first floor (where the royal elite would meet and converse), the tour takes you to the second floor with the center hall and finally the third floor dedicated to the private bedrooms of the emperor and empress (along with the living room and bathroom). Arched windows along with ivory colored walls detailed with golden ornate decorations reflect the influence of European aesthetics, yet nevertheless exudes an aura of medieval Joseon. Special tours take place twice a day at 9:30am and 3pm every day, with “The Korean Empire through Foreign Eyes” as the theme of November and December special tours. These tours are a little longer, taking around 1 hour and 25 minutes. Non Korean nationals are welcomed t