a royal send-off

royal guards

Just when you think there’s nothing left to do, no corner left unexplored, Incheon Airport travels back in time as the Korean Royal Family of the Josean Dynasty make a ceremonial procession through the terminal. Dressed in colorful traditional costumes, an enfilade of noblemen and women (staff from the Cultural Heritage Foundation actually) re-enact a scene from a bygone era: the daily walk of the Royal Family. It turns out that transit travelers spend an average of 5.2 hours at Incheon waiting for connecting flights and the procession is part of a push to make the gateway more than just an airport but also a destination representing Korean society. A Cultureport, if you will, which also includes a Traditional Craft Gallery, the Korea Culture Museum, and the Korean Traditional Cultural Experience Centre, all within the terminal confines. Delirious after five hours of shopping and walking and eating and staring at the departures board it made for one of the more intriguing distractions I’ve ever witnessed in an airport and a fun photo-op, too – not to mention a very royal send-off.

the royal procession

the royal guard

a royal nobleman and woman

me and the royal guard

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fly over: wat phra sri sanphet

Three main stupas – which once contained ashes of the Kings Boroma-Tri-Loka-Nat, Boroma-Rachathirat III and Ramathibodi II – and a scattering of ruins are all that remain of Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, a temple inside the grounds of the former royal palace at Ayutthaya which once served as the family’s private chapel. By chance I happened to catch a plane flying overhead.

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