If you’re thinking of booking a trip to South Korea, you might be looking for things to do while you’re there. Well, how about visiting a palace or two? There are lots of palaces all around the country, but did you know there’s not one, but FIVE in the capital itself? We’ll be having a look at each one and telling you more about them.
1. Gyeonghuigung Palace (경희궁)
Operating Hours: 09:00-18:00 Tuesday-Sunday only
Literally translating to Palace of Serene Harmony, it is probably the smallest one in Seoul. Its size used to be impressive but unfortunately a lot of the palace was lost in two fires which broke out in the 19th century and due to urbanisation, only a third could be reconstructed to its former glory.
Nearby, you’ll find the Seoul History Museum as well as Deoksugung Palace, which we’ll be looking at next!
2. Deoksugung Palace (덕수궁)
Operating Hours: 09:00 – 21:00 Tuesday-Sunday only (last ticket sale and admission is at 20:00)
Admission: 1,000 won for Adults, 500 won for Teenagers and free admission for children under 6, seniors and visitors wearing a hanbok!
The palace changed its name from Gyeongun Palace to Deoksugung, meaning virtuous longevity, because Emperor Gojong tried to move here to try and ensure the longevity of the monarchy, which failed.
If you visit this palace, you definitely shouldn’t miss the royal guard changing ceremony! It is held at 11:00, 14:00 and 15:30 each day so make sure to come around those times to see it! Nearby is the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which is worth checking out as well.
3. Changgyeonggung Palace (창경궁)
Operating Hours: Feb-May, 09:00–18:00, Jun-Aug 09:00-18:30, Sep-Oct 09:00-18:00, Nov-Jan 09:00 -17:30. Closed every Monday
Admission: 1,000 won for Adults, 500 won for children aged 7-18, free for children under age 6
This palace, known as the Flourishing Gladness palace, was built for King Taejong by his son, King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty. During the Japanese occupation of Korea, a park with a beautiful garden and zoo were built in order to undermine the status of royalty.
4. Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
Operating Hours: Mar-May 09:00-18:00, Jun-Aug 09:00-18:30, Sep-Oct 09:00-18:00, Nov-Feb 09:00-17:00. Closed on Tuesdays
Admission: 3,000 won for Adults, 1,500 for children aged 7-17
One of the largest and arguably most beautiful royal palace of the Joseon dynasty is this one, also known as the Felicitious Blessing Palace. The site was destroyed during the Imjin War in the 16th century, but then restored during King Gojong’s reign a few centuries later.
Nearby, you’ll find the National Palace Museum of Korea as well as the National Folk Museum.
5. Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon (창덕궁과 후원)
Operating Hours: Feb-May 09:00-18:00, Jun-Aug 09:00-18:30, Sep-Oct 09:00-18:00, Nov-Jan 09:00-17:30. Closed on Mondays
Admission for the Palace: 3,000 won for adults, 1.500 for children and teenagers under 18
Admission for Huwon Tour (Secret Garden): 5,000 won for adults, 2,500 won for children and teenagers
This palace was built after Gyeongbokgung Palace in 1405, known as Prospering Virtue Palace. Like other palaces, it got burned down in 1592 by angry citizens and was only restored again in 1611. Arguably, this is the most important palace of the five, as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We hope that now you know a bit more about the amazing palaces that Seoul has to offer. If you’re interested in seeing all of these palaces, then you should consider investing in the Integrated Ticket of Palaces. It allows you to see all four paid palaces with tours for only 10,000 won. Happy travelling!
Featured Image Source: © Inspire Me Korea, 26.05.17, www.inspiremekorea.com