Monday, April 22, 2013

Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Village: Strolling around Seoul like royalty – Day 14 in South Korea

We were supposed to meet up with our host for lunch, but due to some miscommunication, it never happened on that day so we had lunch by ourselves on a restaurant near the dormitory. It was a sumptuous meal of Samgyupsal, which by now you should know that I absolutely love! The plan for the day was to visit the palaces around Seoul and we were fully energized thanks to our most loved Korean meat.

killing some time to wait this be cooked. yummmm!

The trip to Anguk Station from where we were staying took more than an hour. We have arrived at Chandeokgung Palace by 2PM. Good thing it was only ten minutes by walking from the station and we already saw this gate and immediately bought tickets.

Chandeokgung Palace
The gate to Chandeokgung Palace

Set at Jongno-gu, Seoul, Changdeokgung Palace is one of "Five Grand Palaces" constructed during Joseon dynasty. It is also referred to as the "East Palace" to signify its location. The 600-year-old palace is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts outstanding architectures and is also famous for its marvelous display of nature's beauty at the Biwon or Secret Garden.

palace seoul

palace korea

Chandeokgung Palace seoul
King's throne

Changdeokgung has been one of the important palaces for the Joseon kings as it was used as a resting place of the kings during that time. It has been burnt down during the Japanese invasion in the 15th century and was then later on restored.

The palace houses several cultural treasures such as Injeongjeon Hall, Daejojeon Hall, Seonjeongjeon Hall, and Nakseonjae. The Secret Garden has also been well preserved and was only touched by human hands to maintain its pristine beauty. The place is 78-acres and incorporates pavilions, landscaped lawns, lotus ponds, and different species of trees and flowers.

palace autumn

Chandeokgung Palace autumn
Entrance to Secret Garden

We only took a stroll around the palace and did not go to the Secret Garden as we did not have much time. Also, there was a different entrance pass to the garden that costs 5,000 won so I just took pictures of nature around, being there during autumn added an extra charm to the entire palace.

autumn seoul

autumn seoul

We quickly headed to Gyeongbokgung palace as the changing of guards ceremony will start by 4PM and we did not want to miss it.

Gyeongbokgung Palace changing of guards
Just in time!
When we arrived at Gyeongbokgung, the routine was almost finished. :( One more bummer for the day was that we also missed the Hanbok experience! It was scheduled to be open until 4:30PM but when we went on the office, it was already closed. :( Good thing was that we just made it on time for the changing of guards ceremony which would have probably been a sad moment if we missed the chance to see this too.

changing of guards Gyeongbokgung
Changing of Guards ceremony at Gyeongbokgung

changing of guards seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace hanbok
Since I was not able to wear the real hanbok...

Also built during Joseon dynasty, The Gyeongbokgung Palace is also known as the "Northern Palace" and like most historical structures in Korea, it has underwent restoration as was also destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion. The literal translation of its name means "Palace of Shining Happiness" and is thus known as one of Korea's grandest and most remarkable architectures at present.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gate to the palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace autumn

Another fail moment probably was we, or rather, my friend stayed at the Hyangwonjeong Pavilion and met with a Filipino and had a chat and a photoshoot there until closing time so I was not able to explore the whole area. :( Oh well, more reasons to go back to Seoul next time. :)

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace korea

Next off, we headed to Ganghwamun Square to check out the place as it was just across the palace.

Goodbye, Gyeongbokgung, and hope to see you again soon

Ganghwamun Square houses the statue of Korea's most prominent people namely Admiral Yi and of course, Kim Sejong. It's quite a long strip which is very hard to miss given the flock of tourists that also visit this site.

view at Ganghwamun Square by dusk

Kim Sejong is the fourth ruler during the Joseon dynasty and is probably one of the most prominent kings in their history as he was the one who has invented "Hangul", Korea's alphabet. You can also see his face in the 10,000 won note.

Ganghwamun Square seoul
statue of King Sejong the Great

We alighted at Gyeongbukgong station and it was quite a walk from the station and when we arrived at Bukchon Folk Village, it was already dark. Though I still took the opportunity to take pictures, it's still not enough to show the amazing views of the traditional houses in the area.

Bukchon Village
alleys at Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village is one of Seoul's traditional folk village located nearby Gyeongbokgung and Chandeokgung. The village is said to be preserved for over 600 years now and displays hanok, a traditional Korean home, that gives its visitors a very authentic atmosphere of the Joseon dynasty.

Bukchon Village seoul

One could opt twalk around the village or better yet stay for a couple of nights and experience the traditional Korean style of accommodation. There are a number of hanok homestay in the area that would probably be one of the highlights on your visit to Korea.

Bukchon Village korea

One lesson for me for today was to do research. Lots of events and plans were not enjoyed because we didn't know the directions and schedules. Anyway, I was still able to enjoy the day and was able to see a different side of Seoul.

folk village korea

Directions and Admission:


Anguk Station, Line 3, Exit 3

Regular Tour (Changdeokgung Palace)
Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Group (over 10): 2,400 won
Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Group (over 10): 1,200 won

Huwon Tour (Secret Garden area)
Adults (ages over 19): 5,000 won
Children (ages 7-18): 2,5000 won


Gyeongbokgung Station, Line 3, Exit 6

January-February, November-December: 09:00-17:00
March-May, September-October: 09:00-18:00
June-August: 09:00-18:30
* Last admission: 1 hr before closing.

Integrated Admission
- Admission to the Four Palaces (Changdeokgung Palaces (including Huwon, Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace) and Jongmyo Shrine
- Ticket price: 10,000 won per person (Valid for 1 month after purchase)
- Refunds are not available after the ticket has been used at the first site.

※ Closed on Mondays: Changdeokgung, Deoksugung, and Changgyeonggung palaces
※ Closed on Tuesdays: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jongmyo Shrine

Ganghwamun Square:

Gwanghwamun station, Line 5, Exit 2

Bukchon Hanok Village:

1. Anguk Station, Line 3, Exit 2 (Subway Line # 3) walk straight for about 500-800m
2. Gyeongbokgung Palace Station, Line 3, Exit 5, walk for around 10-15 mins

Day 1: Gangwon-do
Chuncheon and Nami Island

Day 2: Gangwon-do
Mt.Seorak (Seoraksan)

Day 3: Gyeonggi-do
Yongin and Food Tour

Day 4: Gyeonggi-do
Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, Korean Folk Village

Day 5: Gyeonggi-do

Day 6: Gyeongju
Food Tour

Day 7: Gyeongju
Seokguram Grotto

Bulguksa Temple

Cheomseongdae and Anapji Pond

Day 8: Busan
Railway Train in Korea

Day 9: Busan
Igidae Coast

Busan Fireworks Festival

Day 10: Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Flying with Jeju Air

Day 11: Jeju (E)
Food Tour- Altang

Dragon Rock

Jusangjeolli Cliff

Teddy Bear Museum

The Seaes Resort

Day 12: Jeju (W)
Sunrise Peak


Trick Art

Folk Village

Sangamburi Crater, Mt.Halla

Manjanggul Cave, Maze Park


Day 13: Seoul
Flying with T'way Airlines

Couchsurfing in Korea

Day 14: Seoul
Palaces and Bukchon Village

Day 15&16: Seoul
Myeongdong and Ewha University

N Seoul Tower

Booking Flights
via T'way Airlines

Travel Report for South Korea
16 days travel itinerary and tips


  1. ganda talaga ng autumn colors. ^_^

  2. about the integrated ticket , is it okay to visit one by one not at one day as long as the period still a month to go ?

  3. Hi! Thanks for this informative blog! How did you go to Gyeongbokgung palace from Changdeokgung?


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