People heard of club hopping, pub hopping, but today’s ima introduce palace hopping! (Okay not exactly, because I didn’t visit them all at one go, but you guys could!)
In Seoul there are five palaces and if you only intend to visit only one of the many, you’e missing out on ALOT. For those planning to visit more than one palace, good for you! They have a ticket called the Integrated ticket of Palaces that goes at 10000won, and you get to visit the 4 main palaces (Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung and Deoksugung) and the Jongno Shrine. If you are planning to finish all the 5 places in one day, good luck! Because I don’t think you can, unless you rush through everything. But the ticket is valid for 1 month, so as long as you have time and are still in Korea within that 1 month validity date, you can use it! & just in case you are curious, the fifth palace is called Gyeonghuigung, but they mentioned that it is more like a villa. I myself have yet to visit this one but really intend to, someday when I am there again!
I’ve decided that since all the posts are going to be picture heavy, I shall make them into different parts, and you can check them out!
& I will be starting from the smallest and considered the newest, Deoksugung!
Deoksugung was initially built for the use of King Seongjong’s brother and went through lots of name change through time, but was eventually name back after its original name. It is the palace where the father of last king of the Korean Empire stayed in after he came down from the throne. This palace is pretty interesting because other than Korean buildings, it also has a British building in it’s compound.
It also has an unpainted building, so you could see how the palaces building looks like before it was painted with all the colours, which I find it really interesting.
Deoksugung has 3 Guards changing ceremony and I managed to change one the other time I was there. Smaller scale than the one at Gyeongbokgung but definitely as interesting! There’s also a booth which allows you to try on Traditional Hanbok costume during the guard changing ceremony timing.
After catching the guard changing ceremony, we took pictures with the guards before heading in. Which is why those Traditional Hanbok costumes are there. Dress up and take a picture with the guards!
As mentioned, this is one of the smaller palace, and I mean, really small! I could finish it in about an hour. If you guys are interested, the British building in that compound holds the National Museum Modern and Contemporary Art and holds special exhibition from time to time, but if there isn’t any, you can still head in and take a look in the permanent exhibitions. Entrance is included in the ticket into the palace. Special exhibitions would require an additional ticket to enter.
The main building together with the main hall, like any other palaces in Korea, are very carefully painted. See that the roof of the building features some creatures, which were believed that they would protect and guard the palace and the royals. The ceiling of the main hall features dragon, a representation of the royal family. If you look carefully, you would notice that the paintings are all made on wood, and as time goes by, the colours and paint are slowly fading away… The exterior though, are repainted again after the restoration of this palace and it really looks good!
If you happen to be visiting during autumn, don’t miss out those colourful trees that beautifies that entire palace.
Just outside the palace, we have the famous Deoksugung Stone Wall Road. This road is featured in a lot of dramas and if you are visiting during autumn, this is a place not to be missed! It is really romantic just by walking along this stretch of road. Due to the trees planted along this road, it is sheltered and during autumn when the trees start to change colours, this road becomes a painting!
Just recently they have made this area to be car-free on Saturdays and Sunday. You would be able to see artists along the street selling their painting, some arty thingy around on the street. If you are luckily, you might also be able to catch their flea, most of them selling their handmade items.
To get there: City Hall Station Exit 2. Come out of the exit and walk about 50m, the palace would be right in front of you. Closed on every Monday.