For an insight into Korean history, it is hard to resist Gyeongbok Palace. Founded in 1394 by King Taejo, this was the base of the Joseon Dynasty. (the last Dynasty of Korea). This impressive palace has traditionally designed Korean buildings, majestic towers and a lake with a stone bridge. Apart from its unique history, the palace is a perfect place to relax, featuring an interesting mix of greenery combined with beautiful architecture.Unfortunately it was agloomy day with a lot of light drizzle during our visit so i could not capture great photos.
This is my favorite Palace in Seoul. It is not as grand or spacious as some of the others, but it has a great charm to it which the others don't. The charm comes from the abundant plant life which surrounds it. In fact, thre is a "Secret Garden" on the grounds which was a very beautiful spot to just sit and kill a few hours reading.
The Palace itself is so beautiful that many Korean brides go to the Palace to have their pictures taken. I swear I must have seen fifty brides roaming the grounds in their wedding dresses. School girls can also be found drawing and painting scenes from the amazing grounds.
Across the street and available by a path and bridge is the Jongmyo Royal Ancestral Shrine. Also quite interesting.
The palace was built and resided in by my favorite Korean King, King Sejong. He is responsible for the Korean script, Hangul, and even now the ease with which it is used is a direct result of his vision.
This palace should not be missed.
Changgyeongung (Changyeong Palace) was originally built in the fifteenth century for the father of King Sojang and was then used by dowager queens. The original throne hall, built in 1616, still stands. During the Japanese colonial period, the palace's extensive grounds housed the city zoo, which was seen as an insult to the Korean royal family. Today there is a botanical garden in a beautiful glasshouse.
Opening hours: March-October 09.00-18.00
Admission 1,000 won
It seems that almost every palace in seoul has a sad story behind it. To belittle the Korean spirit, this former summer palace was demoted to a zoo during the Japanese occupation. The palace was only restored to its former glory in the 1980's, long after the war.
Though not as grand as Gyeongbokgung, this place is still worth a look. Take a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of Seoul and go to lovely , quiet place.
For the same admission ticket, you get to go to Jongmyo via a footpath.
Bpacker's Seoul Page
Over the past few years, the two most important palaces in Seoul have added Changing of the Guard ceremonies. My favorite is at Changyeonggung, because it comes with a 15th century band and is narrated in five languages. I believe it is only held on weekends, but it occurs every half hour.
Changgyeonggung (창경궁) was originally built in 1483, destroyed in 1592 during the Japanese occupation, then rebuilt in 1616. It typically housed former kings and princes. Many of the main buildings in the center of the palace were rebuilt as recently as the 1980s.
Honghwamun is the main gate which faces east. Beyond this gate is the Okcheongyo bridge, a second gate called Myeongjeongmun, then the palace's main hall, Myeongjeongjeon. To the north of the palace is an area I failed to visit: the Chundangji pond with its greenhouse and pavilion. This palace also houses an observatory.
This palace has two features making it unique from the others in Seoul: the main gates face east instead of south, and the palace grounds are very hilly and rocky. This tranquil palace is a long hike from either Anguk Station (Line 3) or Hyehwa Station (Line 4).
Admission is about 1,000 Won for adults. Jongmyo (종묘) is located across a walking bridge from Changgyeongung. Paying the entrance fee to one allows you free access the other if you use this bridge. It is also located right beside an even better palace, Changdeokgung with its Secret Garden.
This is the best preserved of the five Joseon dynasty palaces and easily my favorite. Changgyeonggung Palace was originally a Goryeo dynasty summer palace built in 1104.
During the Japanese occupation the the palace was changed into a park. They built a zoo, a botanical garden, and the royal Yi Household Museum on the site. The zoo was moved in the 1980s and the palace has been restored.
Through the Honghwa Gate is Okcheon Bridge, an arch bridge over a lake, which are typical to Joseon Dynasty palaces. Over the bridge and past Myeongjeong Gate is Myeonjeongjeon, the office of the King.
The biggest building in the palace precinct, Tongmyeongjeon, built for the queen, has the most delicate structural details. Past this is Jagyeongjeon and, to the southeast, Punggidae - a long-poled measuring instrument with a cloth hung at the end which was used to check the speed and direction of the wind. To the north is a large pond called Chundangji, half of which was originally a rice field for the King to take care of.
The cost to enter the palace site is 1000 Won for an adult.
After Kyungbokkung was burned down by the Japanese, the Korean monarchs took up residence in Changgyeonggung, where the remained until the 19th century. During this time, they retreated from the stress of their office in their private Secret Garden (Piwon). Now, you can retreat from the stress of big city Seoul in the same place, but without the guilt that comes with taxing your subjects into grinding poverty.
Changdeokung Palace was completed in 1412. In 1463, King Sejo expanded it and created Biwon (secret) Garden. The Japanese burned all the buildings during 1592. Although rebuilt, many of the buildings have burned and been rebuilt several times. Thirteen of Korea's kings lived here for a total of over 270 years. The palace grounds cover over 110 acres. Thirteen of the original buildings remain, with an additional 28 in Biwon Garden.
To visit the palace, you should at least reserve half a day and wear good footwear, as the walk is long (and very hot, sometimes !)
Following opening-times apply:
Feb. - 09:15 ~ 15:45 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Mar. - 09:15 ~ 16:45 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Apr. ~ Oct. - 09:15 ~ 17:15 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Nov. - 09:15 ~ 15:45 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Dec. ~ Jan. - 09:45 ~ 15:45 Enter every 45 minutes past the hour.
* The last entrance time varies according to sunset time.
Built originally as a Goryeo dynasty palace in the 1100's, this was used by the Joseon dynasty while Gyeongbok gung was built. It has been hit with numerous fires through the years such that none of the originally built buildings are left from that era. The buildings here are modest compared to the other palaces of Seoul. It has extensive grounds with a pond, garden and a botanical building.
This palace was built in 1483. It was destroyed by Japanese. But more terrible than this, it was unfortunately transformed into a zoo. Later the remaining buildings were restored and open to public. Besides the buildings, there are also a pond, a park and a glasshouse which are great for photography. The admission fee is 1000 W and the ticket also allows you to enter Jongmyo shrine. It is closed on Tuesdays.
13th century palace in the center of Seoul. Take a tour if you can (english tours run several times a day) there aren't enough signs to give you the full story. The highlight of the tour is the "secret garden". It's a large garden in the rear of the palace that only the emperor and his wife could visit.
On a 1 hour tour we learned so much about this palace and about Korean culture from the 13th century on.
Changgyeonggung Palace was the third palace compound built in 1483 by King Seongjong.
the size of the palace is compact and simple, and similar to Changdeokgung Palace.
Changgyeonggung Palace is one of the " eastern Palace ".
April - October: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Dec - February: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
November & March: 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Holiday : Every Monday.
English 11 a.m., 4 p.m.
Japanese 10 a.m., 2 p.m.
Chinese 1 p.m., 3 p.m.
The oldest of all palaces was built in 1104 and served as the king's summer residence.
It was destroyed during the Japanese invasion in 1592 but later restored.
Open daily except Tuesday.
Admission: 700.- KRW
Suganggung was built by the 4th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong for his retiring father, King Taejong, and was often used as residential quarters for queen and concubines. During the reign of King Seongjong, the palace was renovated and renamed Changgyeonggung. This palace is unique in that its front gate and the throne hall face east while those in all the other palaces face south. Close on Tuesday.