What to do at Changdeokgung?
It was also a palace of the Joseon Dynasty, built in 1405 (the same time Gyeongbokgung was demolished). Although it has been a long time, the palace still retains its magnificent and ancient features after many restorations. Due to the later construction, the architecture of Changdeokgung is quite meticulous, elaborated. I like the main blue tones on the roofs of the palace.
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Inside Changdeokgung palace is divided into zones similar to other palaces. At the Injeongjeon Hall (The throne hall of Changdeokgung), you will see the throne, some precious furniture inside the palace. This place used to discuss the imperial court work, which took place important ceremonies of the imperial court. Huijeongdang Hall is the place to eat, work and rest of the King. Seonjeongjeon Hall is the office for mandarins. Daejojeon Hall is the residence of the Queen.
However there is a place that you definitely have to visit when coming to Changdeokgung which is Huwon Garden (Royal Garden, Secret Garden) covering an area up to 32 hectares. This is the best place of the palace. Especially when you come here in the fall. Secret Garden is a place for the King and the royal concubines to relax, resting, writing poems, admire the scenery, so inside the garden is so beautiful that you think you are in a beautiful dream. As expected of its name “secret garden”. In the garden there is a giant 300-year-old tree, luxuriant trees, gold leaves, ponds, and the viewing pavilions that look very beautiful like a fairyland … Rent a Hanbok suit and come here to take pictures as if entering a perfect picture.
You will have to spend another 8.000 won ($6.59) to enter here. But it is totally worth it, a place you definitely must go. If you don’t have a lot of time to visit the five grand palaces in Seoul (5 grand palaces in Seoul), you just need to come here is enough and complete. Extremely excellent. Traveling to Seoul without coming here is really a waste, a big regret.
Getting there: Changdeokgung is located “close to” Gyeongbokgung so it is reasonable to visit two palaces in one day or half-day. If you search Google Maps then “Google sister” will advise you to take a subway. DO NOT BELIEVE! Walking is faster, guys. 2 palaces are separated by 1 road, about 1.2km, a beautiful and airy road. Walking a little is also good for health, combine both walking and shooting some street style photos for a while is coming.
Or you also can take the subway: Seoul Subway Line 3, get off at Anguk Station, Exit 3. Or take the bus No. 100, 102, 104, 106, 107, 108, 140, 143, 150, 151, 160, 162, 301, 710.
Address: 99 Yulgok-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opening time: 9AM – 6:30PM (April to November); 9AM – 5:30 (November to March). Closed: Mondays
Phone: +82 2-762-8261
Ticket price: 3.000 won ($2.47)/adult, children 1.500 won ($1.24).
Built for his father to rest when he reached old age by King Sejong, the 4th King of the Joseon Dynasty. Later, Changgyeonggung Palace was used as a harem (imperial bed chamber), residence for the queen and royal concubines. An entire palace like this only for the harem is enough to know how happy it was to be a King in the past, haha *just kidding*. However, when it was invaded by Japan, it was turned into a zoo. It has now been restored and renovated to return to majesty and grandeur of the old days. I really like the “mystery stories”, so I can not ignore this palace, LOL.
What to do in Changgyeonggung?
In terms of architecture, Changgyeonggung is not too different from the two palaces that I introduced above. About the magnitude, it’s not equal. But the palace has a beauty and its own story. While visiting, listening to explanations about the palace (free of charge if you arrive on time for the tour guide that day) or discovering by yourself follow the guide boards is also very interesting.
Placenta Chamber, it is said placenta and umbilical cord of the babies born in the Joseon royal family will be buried here in a jar.
Getting there: Take the subway Seoul Subway Line 3, get off at Anguk Station, Exit 3. Then walk along the directions on Google Maps for about 20 minutes. Or you can take the bus No 100, 102, 104, 151, 171, 272, 301, 601 710.
Address: 185 Changgyeonggung-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82 2-762-4868
Ticket price: 1,000 won ($0.82)/adult), children 500 won ($0.41).
This is the only palace reserved for resting place for Joseon kings. The palace was greatly damaged by two major fires in the 19th century. Until now, Korea has only recovered 30% of its palace compared to the old days, so the remaining area is very small.
What to do in Gyeonghuigung?
The remaining architecture inside Gyeonghuigung is quite simple, mainly trees so if you visiting here in the autumn, it is quite nice to take photos. Free entrance, so if you have time, just stop by.
Getting there: Take the subway Seoul Subway Line 5, get off at Seodaemun Station, Exit 4. Then walk for 10 minutes according to the instructions on Google Maps is reach. Or you can take the bus No. 101, 160, 260, 270, 271, 470, 710, 721.
Address: 45 Saemunan-ro, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opening time: 9AM – 6PM. Monday and January 1 the palace closed.
I chose this place as the final destination of exploring journey the ancient palaces in Seoul. I combined to visit Gwanghwamun Square once because the 2 places are located on the same avenue. I started the journey in the afternoon with the desire to see the palace scene how look like at night. If you going to the square in the afternoon, the square will be even more beautiful.
What to do at Deoksugung?
Deoksugung is Seoul’s smallest palace, small but has “martial arts”. Built in the 20th century, so half of the palace will bear the mark of traditional Korean architecture, the other half is Western-style.
You only need spend about 1 hour to visit the whole palace. I wonder if anyone has watched the Goong (Royal Palace) movie yet? When I was young, I loved this movie so when I set foot here, I was surprised because I felt the palace was exactly like in the movie. The palace style is both modern and ancient, so it is a bit of weird. Unfortunately, without Imperial Prince Shin and Prince Yul in real life, haha.
Getting there: You can go to Gwanghwamun Gate (behind Gyeongbokgung Palace) and walk along the boulevard. If you don’t like walking, you can take the subway straight to Deokgusung. Take the subway Seoul Subway Line 1, 2 then get off at City Hall Station, Exit 1, 2 or 3. Or you can take the bus No. 1711, 7016, 7022 (Green Bus); 103, 150, 401, 402, 406, 604, N16 (Blue Bus).
Address: 99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82 2-771-9951
Opening time: 9AM – 9PM / Closed: Mondays
Ticket price: 1.000 won ($0.82) / adult, children 500 won ($0.41).
Some useful notes when before exploring the 5 grand palaces in Seoul
If you charge the total entrance fee of the above-mentioned palaces, you will have to spend about $20.00. So I bought the DISCOVER SEOUL PASS. If you plan to visit many other places in SEOUL, I highly recommend you to buy this card. This card will be free to visit 35 tourist attractions in Seoul (of course the above palaces are already on this FREE list). There are also other hot attractive places. You can refer to and buy the card here.
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