Even if you have less time, Seoul offers a lot.
Here are some tips what to do in Seoul. Start your sight seeing tour at Gyeongbokgung Palace. There are five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty in Seoul, but Gyeongbokgung is the most comprehensive and grandest of all ....
Favorite thing: ... and if you are ready with Gyeongbokgung, then go to Changdeokgung Palace, which lodges the "secret garden" (Huwon, or Biwon in korean). In former days this garden was only reserved to the king and his attendends, but today EVERYONE can watch and visit this silent and peaceful place within such a big and busy city .... Did you know that this palace is registered on the UNESCO World Cultural List? Yes or no? However, it preserves it ....
In front of Gwanghwamun.
The ceremony of opening and closing Palace gate guard change at gate front area.
Sumunjang mean's are commander of the gate guard.
Uniforms, Weapons, Accessories of the guard are revived.
view to another culture of part of Joseon Dynasty.
Period march1 ~ november30.
10:00 the ceremony of opening Palace gate and guard change and a parade to the meeting at court
12:00~14:00 the ceremony of changing the gate guard
15:30 the ceremony of closing the Palace gate and changing the guard.
Sumungun costume try on with photo taking( for foreigners and families ), Sumunjang doll coloring
Gyeongbokgung was the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). One of five palaces in Seoul, it has a 500 year history. It was built by the founding King of Joseon dynasty, Lee Seong-Gye, in 1395 as he moved the capital city from Gyeseong to Seoul. Located in the northern part of Seoul, it is sometimes called “Bukgwol.” Gyeongbokgung is 5.4 million square feet and rectangular in shape. On the south side is the main gate Gwanghwamun. To the north, Sinmumun, east, Yeongchumun, and west, Geonchunmun. In the palace are the Jeongak buildings such as Geunjeongjeon, Gyotaejeon, Jagyeongjeon, Gyeonghoeru, and Hyangwonjeong. Geunjeongjeon, the main hall, was where inquiries and morning sessions were held. In the front courtyard, three granite walkways are present. The slightly more elevated middle walkway was for the King. The ones on the side were for his court. In the yard, Pumgyeseoks stand on each side. Jagyeongjeon and Gyotaejeon were the King's mother and Queen's sleeping quarters. Jakyeongjeon is famous for it's flower wall and Sipjangsaeng guldduk (chimney). The guldduk is recognized as the most beautiful made in Joseon period, and is listed as National Treasure no. 810. Gyotaejeon was the Queen's personal living area, and the wall and the rear entrance overlooking Amisan Mountain are particularly eye-catching. What adds to the elegance of Gyeongbokgung is its lotus pond. Gyeonghoeru and Hyangwonjeoung. Gyeonghoeru was where foreign dignitaries met and special festivals were held when good events occurred in the nation. Hwangwonjeong is behind the sleeping quarters, and is in the back courtyard. It also has a lotus pond, but has a distinct feminine feel to it compared to Gyeonghoeru's. Its architecture makes great use of the surrounding Amisan's geography, and the area blends in beautifully, a great example of traditional Korean palatial structure. There is also the library, sujeongjeon, and the King's work quarters, Sajeongjeon. There are many designated Cultural Assets in the Palace. Many of these were collected from all over the nation, such as Gyeongcheonsa's 10-story stone tower (No. 86), Beomcheonsa's Jigwangguksa-Hyeonmo tower (No.101), and Borugak's Automatic Clock and Heumgyeonggak's Water Clock and Cheonsang Clock. In 1910, when the Korea-Japan Treaty was signed, Japan tore down all the Jeongak buildings in the south area and built their Command Center on the spot. The Japanese building has now been dismantled and the palace is in the process of being restored.
- Hours: Mar.-Oct. 09:00-18:00, Nov.-Feb. 09:00-17:00
- Closed: Every Tuesday
- Inquiries: Gyeongbokgung Administration Office 03-732-1931 (KOR)
- Homepage: www.ocp.go.kr (KOR/ENG)
Ages 7-24 - 500won
Age 25 and over - 1000won
(Group: 400won, 800won respectively)
Favorite thing: This home for a king was turned into a zoo and amusement park with many building destroyed by the Japanese. In part of the restoration of the former dignity of the palace, a new Royal Guard Changing Ceremony is held every two hours (except in winter). Gyeongbokgung station (exit 5).
Favorite thing: Folk Museum in Gyeongbokgung Palace. I wanted to visit the National Museum but it?fs closed on Mondays, so I visited the Folk Museum. The LP description doesn?ft make it sound very interesting, but it has great exhibits on the history and life of Korean people. It explains various ceremonies and how kimchi is made, and it also has costumes and handicrafts.
This is one of the biggest and better preserved palaces in Seoul. A lot of the palace is under renovation at the moment but it is still worth a look. I went on National Day and the entrance fee was waivered but normally it would cost around 700won to enter Kongbok'kung Palace. The palace is open daily except Tuesday from 9am.
For more pictures please take a look at my Palaces of Seoul travelogue.
Center of Central Seoul
In 1394, when Seoul was established as the capital of the Choson Dynasty, King Taejo had the Kyongbok Palace constructed as the main palace.
Surrounded by Namsan, Mt. Inwang, and Mt. Bukak, the site of the Palace was regarded the most auspicious according to the then geomantic philosophy. It had 390 halls at the time of the first completion, and other structures were added later, until all the palace buildings were burnt down by invading forces, during the Korean-Japanese War (1592-1599). The Prince Regent Taewon-gun, father of King Kojong, restored the Palace to its current state in the 19th century.
A promenade through the palace also shows you the Amisan and the Chimneys with the Ten Symbols of Longevity in the backyard of the Gyotae hall and the Jagyung hall, respectively, both of which are decorated with beautiful patterns. The symbolical or mythical objects like the Ten Symbols of Longevity and the unicorn and unicorn-lion tell much about things that the Korean forefathers considered important for the prosperity of the country and the dynasty.
Favorite thing: The Choson Dynasty established Seoul as the capital in 1394 & KYONGBOK-GUNG PALACE (PALACE OF SHINING HAPPINESS) was built as the main palace.
Favorite thing: The Hyangwonjong is the pavilion located in a small pond near the north gate (the Shinmumun Gate).
Favorite thing: The original palace with the many halls & pavilions were destroyed by Japanese invaders in 1592. It was rebuilt in late 1800s & yet the Korean War (1950-53) spelled disaster for the palace.
Transportation: Get off at Kyongbokkung Station (Line 3).
Hours: 9 am - 6 pm, 9 am - 6.30 pm (May-Aug.), 9 am - 5 pm (Nov.-Feb.). Closed: Tuesday.
Admission: 700 Won.