Address: Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
How to get there: the Gyeongbokgung Station Exit 5 directly to the National Folk Museum which is inside the palace grounds
Operating Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (depending on the season)
Entrance Fee: W3,000, tour included (W10,00 if you purchase the consolidated tickets for 4 palaces and the Jongmyo Shrine)
Gyeongbokgung is the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty. It was built in the 1300s through the order of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty.
It was destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Korea to make way for their governor general. In the 1990s, restoration efforts started.
The palace offers free tours in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Although there are place markers that tell the story of each building, a tour guide can tell stories that these texts won’t tell you.
One of the palace guards in traditional clothing.
The Royal Guard Changing Ceremony happens thrice a day – 10 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM. The colors and the feel of Korean tradition in the middle of a bustling city capture your eyes and your heart.
The Yeongjegyo (bridge) and Geunjongmun (gate) that leads to the Geunjongjeon. A lot of tourists are present during the afternoon tours.
The throne inside Geunjeongjeon. It is considerably bigger than the one in Changdeokgung.
The Gyeonghoeru is a hall where important social and political banquets are held. There’s a moat outside the hall to consistently remind the people to ‘cleanse’ themselves before meeting the king. Also, the pavilion is supported by circular and rectangular pillars that represent yin and yang.
The Sajeongjeon which is the king’s main executive office. This is where a lot of discussion with his advisers and ministers are held.
The National Folk Museum of Korea houses artifacts from the daily lives of the Koreans.
The palace is really grand and the size alone is enough to prove that. Behind the palace is The Blue House where the current Korean president resides.
There are still large clear areas because the restoration process hasn’t even reached 50% yet.
The palace is the gateway to Korean history and you’d feel like Korea was a different world of its own.