Serene Changdeokgung Palace

Day 10:

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Changdeokgung Palace, the “Prospering Virtue Palace” or “East Palace” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at the east of Geongbokgung Palace within a large park. There is the palace building area which is wide and wondrous and a secret garden at the back of the palace. To enter the secret garden, you will have to join a guided tour that is available at certain times and there is also additional charges. It is best to make a reservation online for the secret garden tour.

This palace is the second palace established after Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was built in 1405 by King Taejong, the third ruler of Joseon. The palace lies at the foot of a mountain. It was the most favored palace of many Joseon princes and being here, I can guess why. The palace grounds are not as big as Gyeongokgung but it is beautiful and somehow it seems more relaxing here. I guess it might be due to the beautiful garden and also the way the buildings blend with the beautiful surroundings.

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The palace also went through its ups and downs. It was burnt down during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and reconstructed in 1609. It was burnt down again in 1623 due to political reasons. It was also attacked by the Manchu Qing. It was rebuilt and repaired after every damage true to its original design which we fortunately get to see today.

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The buildings are beautiful, aren’t they? The palace buildings are strategically placed. At the front of the palace lies most of the main halls, offices and official buildings. At the center are where the royal private courts and houses are placed, surrounded by the other buildings and courts in case any outsider breakthrough.

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I was here in the morning and there weren’t many people here yet. It feels nice to walk and take photos without a crowd. Just stepping in, I can feel the grandeur of the place. I love the simplicity of the buildings and the flowers in bloom gives a romantic feel to the place.

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I didn’t visit the secret garden since I was pressed for time. I had to catch my flight in the evening and I had another place I wanted to drop by. But what I could see from beyond the walls gave me a hint of how beautiful it is. I wish I had more time to explore the secret garden too.

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There is also a moonlight tour on full moon days. That would have been an amazing experience. Hmm… I guess next time I come here, I’ll make sure it’ll fall on one of those days.

Details:

Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁)

Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (와룡동)

Website: http://eng.cdg.go.kr/main/main.htm

Nearest Subway Station: Anguk Station

How to get there:

  • Anguk Station is serviced by Line 3, go out by Exit 3 to reach the palace.
  • Walk straight along the road and you’ll pass by Hyundai Building. The palace is just across the next lane.
  • For other modes of transportation, see here.

Operating Hours:

General Tour (Palace Building Area):

  • 9.00am to 6.00pm (February to May & September to October)
  • 9.00am to 6.30pm (June to August)
  • 9.00am to 5.30pm (November to January)
  • Tickets sales close 1 hour before closing time.
  • Closed on Mondays

Secret Garden:

  • 10.00am to 5.00pm (February)
  • 10.00am to 5.30pm (March to May & September to October)
  • 10.00am to 6.00pm (June to August)
  • 10.00am to 4.30pm (November to January)
  • Tickets sales opens at 9.00am close 1 hour 30minutes before closing time.
  • Closed on Mondays

Notes:

General Tour (Palace Building Area):

  • There are self-guided and guided tours available.
  • Each tour takes about 60 mins.
  • The English tours are at 10.30am and 2.30pm.

Secret Garden Tour:

  • For English tours:
  • Tour time and course are subjected to change due to weather conditions.
  • There are only 100 tickets available per tour. 50 tickets are sold at the ticket office and 50 online. To prevent any disappointments, it is recommended to book online.
  • To visit the Secret Garden, it is only through a guided tour.
  • For English tours: –
    • March to October – 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm
    • November to February – 11.30am, 1.30pm & 2.30pm
  • The tour takes about 90 minutes.

There is a special moon light tour only during the full moon. Only 100 people are allowed to participate. Look out for the details in the website. It costs 30,000 Won and takes about 120 minutes. Tickets are only by reservation.

Admission Fees:

General Admission (Palace Building Area only):-

  • 3,000 Won for Adult (19 to 64 years old)
  • 1,500 Won for Youth (7 to 18 years old)
  • Free for children under 7 years old, seniors above 65 years old, those wearing a hanbok and on culture days (the last Wednesday of each month)

Secret Garden (Palace Building Area & Palace Garden):-

  • 8,000 Won for Adult (Over 19 years old)
  • 5,000 Won for Seniors (Over 65 years old)
  • 4,000 Won for Youth (7 to 18 years old)
  • This is inclusive of General Admission Fee

Up next, the last place I drop by to explore, Dongdaemun.

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