Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 Reviews

99 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul +82 2-762-8261

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  • qaminari's Profile Photo

    Changdeokgung (Palace)

    by qaminari Written May 17, 2007

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    This was my favourite of the 3 palaces I visited, although it is a pity you can't wander around on your own but must visit with a group, and the guide gets stroppy if people don't keep up (it is a bit of a hike, especially for people encumbered with pushchairs etc.). I particularly liked the picturesque Buyongji pond, surrounded by equally charming pavilions, and when I was there (in April) there were also some lovely flowering plants, including plum blossom. Parts of it have more atmosphere than some of the other palaces.

    Aeryeonji, on Buyongji (pond)
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    Changdeokgung Palace

    by Tom_Fields Written Nov 7, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This was the King's official residence. It has impressive buildings and beautiful gardens. Constructed in the style of the Joseon Dynasty, it's the only palace that preserves that style.
    In front of Donhwamun Gate, The Royal Guard Changing Ceremonies are re-enacted three times a day.

    Changdeokgung Palace The King's throne Entrance to the garden The pond at the garden Another scene from the garden
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    Secret Garden In Changdeokgung

    by suhadis Updated Jun 26, 2006

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    When you descend the hill while on the walking tour, you'll come across this area. If you listen to the tour guide speak of this place, it seems to have an interesting history behind it. I went in winter where the landscape was pretty see through as the trees have no leaves on them. I eventually saw one of the place in summer and it looked totally different.

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    Changdeok Palace

    by nicolaitan Updated Dec 18, 2005

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    The Changdeok Palace was constructed in the early 15th Century during the early Choson Dynasty. It was desroyed in the Japanese invasion of 1592 and reconstruction began about 20 years later.the oldest existing buildings date from about 1615. 13 royal families occupied this palace till another Japanese invasion and conquest ended the dynasty system in 1910. It is the largest of 5 royal palaces in Seoul, and considered the most beautiful at least in part because of the secret garden.

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    Visit Changdeokgung Palace and Secret Garden

    by victorwkf Updated Nov 4, 2005

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    Visit Changdeokgung Palace and Huwoo (Secret Garden). This is another magnificient ancient palace of beautiful Korean architecture with a large compound. There are conducted tours scheduled at regular intervals.

    Changdeokgung Palace at Seoul, South Korea
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  • A sideways glance at Changdeokgung - Part II

    by mke1963 Written May 13, 2005

    Secondly, there is at least one more side gate to the complex, probably looking just as it did back when the palace was occupied.
    Thirdly, just before the Buddhist Art Museum is the site of one of the old campgrounds of one of the five military garrisons that defended the sity of Seoul during the Joseon dynasty. Nothing remains there now - a house is built on the location - but a plaque notes the site.
    Finally, this is a friendly, peaceful neighbourhood worth exploring for its harmonious mix of old and new - unpretentious, ordinary Seoul people with their neat houses, cluttered shops and small businesses, and the usual profusion of small trees, bushes and plants, all lovingly tended.

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  • A sideways glance at Changdeokgung - Part I

    by mke1963 Written May 13, 2005

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    A slightly unusual perspective can be had on Changdeokgung by several cunning but entirely legal means. It's a little like small boys climbing trees to watch a soccer match, but large parts of Changdeokgung can be seen from the outside, and can supplement your visit at little extra cost. Firstly, you can see some of the unvisited buildings and woods of Changdeokgung from the western edges of Changgyeonggung - notably the Nakseonjae building (which is not on the current tour of the palace) from the pathway that connects Changgyeonggung with the Jongmyo royal shrine.
    Also in the woodlands in the northern part of the complex it is also possible to see some of the buildings.
    However, a more general view, and one which is particularly attractive in the afternoon sunshine, is from the small hidden plaza to the west of the road leading up the side of Changdeokgung (where the coaches park). The plaza, where locals play boules and croquet, has wooden benches and beautiful juniper and cypress trees among the huge splashes of spring azaleas. Below you, is the main gate of Changdeokgung, with the palace buildings behind. This is a good spot, in the shade, to just chill out, looking over the silent rooftops of the palace, fringed by the huge scholar and plane trees.
    The lane to the side of the palace is worth also worth exploring for three more reasons.
    Firstly, the Museum of Korean Buddhist Art is up here, 250 metres from the main road (reviewed separately), with its excellent Yong-Am cafe.

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  • More access to Changdeokgung’s gardens and tombs

    by mke1963 Written May 13, 2005

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    There is an opportunity to see a lot more of the Changdeokgung gardens on the fourth Wednesday of each month, by reserving a place on the internet (upto 4 visitors per application) or on-site at the ticket office up to one hour before, if spaces are still available.
    There are three slots – 10am, 1pm and 2pm – with the 10am visitors allowed to wander around at leaisure without a guide.
    This visit provides access to the Ongnyucheon and the area of the Joseon dynasty royal tombs in the northern part of the complex.

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  • Seoul’s Royal Palaces: practicalities - Part II

    by mke1963 Written May 13, 2005

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    My favourite of the palaces must be the neighbouring Changgyeonggung, with the largely unknown Umhyeongung - also nearby - a close second. The formerly massive Gyeongbokgung has lost much of its atmosphere through the demolition of so many buildings by the Japanese.
    Each of the palaces has its merits and visiting any one of them (except Gyeonghuigung, of which virtually nothing is left) will give a good feel for the architecture and royal life of the Joseon dynasty.
    For sheer romance and style, and a good walk through a beautiful park (and the Jongmyo royal shrines), Changgyeonggung would be the best choice.
    For intimacy and a feel for court life and palace architecture and customs, head for Umhyeongung.
    For the feel-good factor from visiting the primary royal palace, but also for some stunning architecture (and the excellent adjacent National Folk Museum), go to Gyeongbokgung, but make sure you see the changing of the royal guard.
    For arguably the best single piece of Joseon architecture, go to Gyeonghuigung to see the Heunghwamun, although it is now positioned totally out of context and the presence of nearby skyscrapers has almost destroyed the impact: surely it would be better to place it back in line further up the slope? Also the park, and the rather forlorn palace building gives cause for reflection on the legacy of the Japanese occupation.
    For grandeur, and for some beautiful garden scenes - even if they are rushed - head for Changdeokgung and its secret garden.

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  • Seoul’s Royal Palaces: the practicalities - Part I

    by mke1963 Written May 13, 2005

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    Changdeokgung is the only royal palace in Seould to be classified on UNESCO's World Heritage List, yet probably for this reason is the least accessible of Seoul's seven main royal palaces and residences. The only way to see the palace is on a 90 minute tour, which leave every fifteen minutes. The English tours start at 11.30, 13.30 and 15.30 (don't believe what the guidebooks say, especially Lonely Planet which seems to make a habit of being more wrong than right). There are also foreign language tours in Chinese and, surprisingly given how they destroyed most of the royal palaces, in Japanese.
    The tour guide is charming, but, by definition, the tour delves quickly into the patronising, including such gems as "Did you know that silk comes from insects?"
    The tour moves swiftly, leaving little time to enjoy the sights and the wonderful architecture, and even in the gardens, the group is whisked rapidly along the paths with barely a second to draw breath. Laggards are whipped into shape by a somewhat less charming attendant in a suit.
    Be aware that the tour is out in the open for much of the time, so bright, hot sun or rain could make the 90 minutes an ordeal.
    The first half of the tour runs you through the main part of the palace buildings, with the very occasional glimpse inside, and the second part is through the 'secret' garden on the slopes behind. Ironically, with most buildings shuttered up, it is difficult to see why the tours are necessary. Somehow, the palace loses a lot of its magic and ambience by the forced pace behind even a knowledgable tour-guide. I have now visited all seven of Seoul's royal palaces and residences, and this one felt the most sterile. It is beautiful, stunning even, but it doesn’t feel like a palace; it feels like a museum-piece, dusty and fragile. Furthermore, the tour misses many of the buildings, concentrating on the main buildings only.
    .

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    Palace Tour at Changdeokgung

    by i-s-a Written May 8, 2005

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    Changdeokgung is a palace used by most Joseon kings. There are daily guided tours for the Palace and the "Secret Garden" which is available in different languages. English tours are scheduled trice a day at 11:30AM, 1:30PM and 3:30PM.

    Open:
    9:15AM to 5:15PM
    9:00AM to 4:00PM, November to February)

    Closed:
    Mondays

    Entrance Fee:
    W2,500

    Interesting things that I saw from this tour:
    - The grand Main Halls: the King and the Queen maintained separate halls.
    - The icons at the roof¡Kthat serves as guardians of the building.
    - The "Lucky Gate"
    - Colorful roof with flowers, designed by the Japanese to shame the Korean royalty.
    - The "Secret Garden" which is not a secret anymore ;0)
    - The "Poor Man's House" built for the King because he was curious and wanted to experience how the poor people live.
    - The Concubines' rooms

    Note:
    Some of the older visitors find the trip exhausting. Those with knee problems may have difficulty climbing the stairs from the Secret Garden.

    colorful roof
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    The Second Palace

    by amambaw Written Apr 23, 2005

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    Changdeokgung is Seoul's secondary palace. That being said, I found it far more interesting and beautiful than Gyongbukgung, the First Palace.

    Changdeokgung, unlike the First Palace, was spared most of the destruction that accompanied the Japanese colonial period. As a result, lots of the original architecture and many of the gardens remain intact. The Korean government is currently working on restoring some of the buildings that were destroyed. Because of these two points (the original structures and restoration), Changdeokgung may only be visited on a walking tour. The tours offered are in Korean, Japanese and English, along with a few others that escape me at the moment. The ticket and the tour will set you back 2-3000W.

    Our tour leader provided us with a ton of information about the palace. We learned about the significance of most of the major buildings. We also learned about the construction and use of the palace's Secret Garden. We visited Changgyeonggung, which was home to the royal family right up until 1989. The only disadvantage of the tour was that it was quite fast-paced, so there wasn't a lot of time to absorb the palace atmosphere. The biggest advantage was that because the palace was only opened to people on a walking tour, we visited the palace in relative quiet (only about 20 people in our group). This was a blessing after visits to sites that were overrun with tourists!

    To see some more pictures of the palace, check out my Photo Journal: Changdeokgung in Black and White.

    In the Secret Garden
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    Changdeok Palace

    by emoja Written Apr 18, 2005

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    13 of Korea's kings lived at Changdeok over the course of 270 years. It's supposed to be the most preserved of the palaces in Seoul. If this is your only chance to see an Asian palace, I'd strongly suggest visiting one here Otherwise, save your palace tours for China or another country and spend your Korea time elsewhere.

    Changdeok Palace is right outside the Insadong neighborhood. Take the bus/subway to the Anguk station and walk east a couple of blocks (ask someone which way), or take a taxi.

    You MUST be on a tour to visit the palace. They do English tours at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30PM every day except Mondays. Expect to spend at least 90 minutes on the tour. The English tour was so packed on the day we were there that we couldn't even get close enough to the tour guide to hear everything. Keep that in mind if you see a big crowd forming.

    Changeok - Secret Garden

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  • jckim's Profile Photo

    Changdeokgung palace

    by jckim Updated Feb 19, 2005

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    Changdeokgung was built in 1405, by King Taejong, Joseon Dynasty. in 1412, the palace was completed with the construction of the main gate Donhwamun. King Sejo expanded the palace grounds about 500,000 square meters ( more than 110 acres ). Changdeokgung palace was included in UNESCO's world heritage list 1997. ( Historic Site No.122 )

    Admission Fee : 3000 won/p
    Closed : Mondays
    Four languages guides.

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    Changdokgung

    by Vita500 Written Feb 4, 2005

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    Constructed from 1405 to 1412 East of Gyeongbokgung.
    Even though destroyed in1592, Changdokgung is the best preserved palace of all since members of the royal family used to live here until quite recently.

    Visits are only allowed as part of a 90-minute guided tour.

    Tours include a visit to the famous Biwon (Secret Garden) within the palace's compound.

    Opens daily except Monday.
    Admission: 2,200 KRW

    Secret Garden within Changdokgung
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