With all the excitement visiting the palace, there are so many places within the palace. The beautiful palaces in the Gyeongbokgung Palace itself...... makes the trip worth it!
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Very much like those of the western counterpart, these have elaborate costumes on them! It's hard to take a photo with them because 10 other people are thinking about the same thing!
I saw a Change of Guards ceremony outside of the Palace once on a Sunday. I wasn't too sure if this was done every week but the commentary was delivered in Korean, English, Japanese and Mandarin.
This palace is within the city limits so it's quite convenient to get there on the Seoul Metro. It's spread out over a large area with the mountains in the background. On certain days of the year the have a procession at the palace. Just beside this palace there is a Museum as well.
The Changing of the Guards can be witnessed in any of the 3 palaces in Seoul: Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung and Changdeokgung. I witnessed the practice of the changing of the guards in Gyeongbokgung so they were not dressed up in colorful clothes. Below is the schedule:
* Jan-Feb (may change depending on the weather): 10:00-10:30, 14:00-14:30, 15:00-15:30
* Mar-Dec: 10:30-11:00, 14:00-14:30, 14:30-15:00, 15:00-15:30
Areas not to be missed in Gyeongbokgung:
Geunjeongjeon (main building) - Dragon pattern on the ceiling
Gyeonghoeru - pavilion with a pond
Central building of the king's residence - 9 rooms with the central room for the king and the rest for the concubines
March-Oct - 9:00-18:00
Nov-Feb - 9:00-17:00
Closed on Tuesday
Admission: 3000 W
Special tour for the pavilion: 5000 W
While inside the compound of the palace, visit the National Folk Museum.
It was at this palace where the Japanese Ninja assassins killed the queen in 1909 because she was encouraging the king to resist the egregious plots of the Japanese diplomats. The cottage where she was murdered along with her hand maidens is in the far right corner. Near that cottage you will find a garden plot where traditional Korean vegetables are grown. The buildings have been destroyed three times during Japanese invasions, so that not much of what you see is original, but painstakingly restored. In 1995, the Korean people celebrated 50 years of independence from the tyranny of Japan by beginning to remove the Japanese built marble and granite museum from the grounds. It has now been replaced with a museum more in keeping with the traditional building concept.
In the center of the quad area is one large building surrounded by water. It was here that past kings held dances and parties. It is also here, and in the National Folk Village that many of the scenes for the historic television dramas are filmed.
The palace is a must see when you're in Seoul. It's almost comparable to a "little forbidden city". If you time it right - you can also see a changing of the guards ceremony (where the guards wear cheesy glue on mustaches!) and the King and his entourage wander around the palace. (pretty cool) Cal 02-1330 to ask when it is. (a few times a day)
King Taejo was responsible for the building of Gyeongbokgung Palace in 1395. The palace name translates to "shining happiness." The palace was burnt down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, and was left in ruins until being rebuilt in 1865. Most of the buildings were demolished during the Japanese occupation. A massive restoration project began in 1995 to restore the palace to its original state.
One of the most impressive site is Geunjeongjeon Hall within the palace walls. Here the King conducted state business and received foreign dignitaries. High-ranking officials assembled in the courtyard for review before the King. From 1399-1546, seven of twelve kings were enthroned here: Jeongjong, Sejong, Danjong, Sejo, Seongjong, Jungjong, and Myeongjong. Also of note is Gyeonghoeru (Pavilion of Joyous Meeting) which is the oldest and most famous of Gyeongbokgung's pavilions. The pavilion was reconstructed in 1865 and was spared the ravages of the Korean War. It was used as a royal banquet hall during the Joseon dynasty.
The palace possesses great examples of classic Korean architecture and The National Folk Museum of Korea is located inside it. The National Museum of Korea was there too but it has been relocated in Yongsan. Tickets are a great price at 1000 Won for adults.
This impressive wooden building on a stone base was the throne room where the Chosun kings conducted their business. This series included one image of the beautiful detail under the eaves and one of papasan and mamasan in traditional dress visiting this national heritage site.
Built in 1395 as residence for the royal family as well as seat of the government. It was destroyed in 1592 and only restored in 1865. After further destruction during the Japanese colonisation, a reconstruction program was launched in 1995.
As it's one of the most frequently visisted palaces of Seoul, try to avoid the weekends when the place is pretty crowded out with tourists and locals alike.
Open daily except Tuesday.
Admission: 700.- KRW
This hexagonal pavilion is one of the most photographed and painted scenes in Korea. A decorative bridge crosses the surrounding lotus pond. Visitors are not allowed unfortunately on the bridge or in the pavilion. This is about as close as one can get - it helps to have a long telephoto lens (second photo).
The signpost placed at the entrance to the palace gives a concise history chronologically but is lacking in historical transparency. For instance, in the 1592 Japanese invasion, the king and his court fled the city ahead of the Japanese. The local citizens were so unhappy with the king's behavior that they burned the palace down, not the Japanese. Reconstruction was delayed for several hundred years because of financial problems and lingering disatisfaction. The new palace was much larger and more opulent than the old. It was built with heavy taxation and was the beginning of the end for the ruling Prince Regent Kojong and his family. In the 1910 annexation, the Japanese destroyed the palace, dismantling and burning or selling parts. In the other images, the amazing Korean Folk Museum is pictured. It features exhibits on Korean history and culture.
At the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty (also known as the Chosŏn), Seoul became the capital. During this dyndasty construction for Gyeongbok Palace began in 1394. This palace was the center of power for the Korea dynasties from its inseption until the 20th century. The last Korean dynasty ( came to an end with the Japanese Empire occupation of Korea in 1910. At that time, most of the 200 buildings on the palace grounds were destroyed by Japanese troops leaving only a dozen or so structures.
Gyeongbok Palace has a number of sites to check out including:
Gyeonghoeru (Pavilion of Joyous Meeting): It was used as a royal banquet hall during the Joseon dynasty for honoring foreign dignitaries. It was burned down during the Japanese Invasion of 1592, but rebuilt in 1867. It's the largest elevated pavilion in Korea.
The National Museum
Keunjeong-jeon: This was the royal throne hall of the Joseon dynasty and is Korea's largest surviving wooden structure.
I happened to visit there on Oct. 3rd . On the way there, you can see Korean national flags in the street. And when we arrived their, there was Korean traditional performances right in front of the main palace of Gyongfugong.
It was because of Korean National Foudation Day. This day marks the traditional founding of Korea by Tan-gun in 2333 B.C. According to legend, the god-king, "Tan-gun" founded the Choson Kingdom in 2333 B.C.
With the beautiful wheather, under the clear sky, enjoy the the splendid show while visiting the ancient palace. That is cool!
3000 won entrance fee
Subway : Line 3, Gyongfugong
The palace will not cost you a lot of time, so if you have time you can exit from Guanghwamen, and cross the road, walk along the street south.
Here we are the ShiZong Art Museum. and If you go one block further, you will easily find City Hall at your left hand.
The Kyongbuk Palace is one of the most popular tourist sites in Seoul. It was founded in 1395 by King Taejo. This was the home of the Chosun Dynasty, which was the last Dynasty of Korea. You will amazed at the beautiful architecture. It's also a great place to relax. There are many park benches throughout the palace.
Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395 by Lee Seong-Gye, founder of the Joseon Dynasty, who established the city as the capital of Korea. The magnificent rectangular palace, which now contains the National Museum of Korea, features Royal apartments and state rooms, gardens and elegant lotus ponds. The palace is still in process of restoration but this is no problem for visitors as the area is enormous and only small parts of it are under restoration.
From some perspectives you only see the surrounding mountains but no skyscrapers, which is amazing considering the location in one of the biggest cities in the world!
Opening time: Daily 9am to 6pm (closes 5pm between November and February); Admission: 3,000 won (adults); 1,500 won (children 7-18)