Seoul is home to many awesome cultural places of interest, and one of those we visited was Gyeongbokgung (which I found out meant ‘Palace of Shining Happiness’) Palace. We made our way there during the “Changing of the Royal Guards” ceremony – so we got to see how the procedure was!
The ceremony takes place every day at Gwanghwamun (the main gate of the palace) and Heungnyemun (the first gate inside the palace walls at the front) from 10am – 3pm, every start of the hour.
If you are a fan of popular K-dramas like Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Yoochun!!) and currently airing Rooftop Prince (YOOCHUN!!!), you’ll be familiar with the Joseon Dynasty and their guards – they were in charge of protecting the gates of the palace and city, as well as opening and closing them. Although it is a reenactment, we get to see how it really happened back then, with the guards in their historic uniforms playing instruments. Cool stuff.
I love the colours of their uniforms – super vibrant!
Watching the ceremony itself outside the palace is free, and the entrance fee into the palace is 3,000 won. I heard that if you wear your Korean traditional garb, entrance is free.
You can also purchase an integrated ticket at 10,000 won, which will allow you to all four palaces (Changdeokgung Palaces, Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace), as well as Jongmyo Shrine.
How awkward we made Mel feel. HAHA.
The architecture of the building structures are really amazingly detailed and beautiful. The above three pictures are of Geunjeongjeon Hall, the main gate to the courtyard, and also where the king made important announcements and declarations.
While exploring the rest of the place:
Keith being a guide to Korean school girls haha.
The Gyeonghoeru Pavilion – a royal banquet hall that overlooks a crazily scenic view.
Missing such beautiful scenery already.
Check out this tree! It has its root supported cos of the way it grows.
It was pretty warm inside the palace – we felt fine walking around after awhile without our coats on. A rare occasion since we were wearing literally all the clothes we had on other days. I think it was kind of a pity that we didn’t manage to read up on the history/go on a guided tour when we were there since we had no clue on the history behind the pavilions. Had to do my own research when I got back home.
We could actually rent the traditional historic costumes to wear if we wanted to, but we saw the waiting list and it was like two hours (!?!) so we passed and made do with these:
While leaving the palace I also saw the most adorable kid ever!
Guess he finally realised sand doesn’t taste very nice.
I’m thinking a lot of tourists who visit Seoul will visit at least a few cultural places of interest since the place has loads – and the palaces are a great place to start. Joining a tour would definitely be your best option unless you are a natural history buff – make the effort to read up on where you are going and note down what are interesting snippets of the place you are visiting.
Also worthy of mention! Later that day, we made our way down to Sinchon for a really cheap, free-flow BBQ meat buffet at only 8,000 won!! That’s really cheap considering we each paid about 10,000 won when we ate at the BBQ place near our hostel. It wasn’t very difficult to find and owned by a Chinese ahjumma, but I can’t remember the exact name. Let me know if anyone reading is interested and I’ll link you to the directions I found online.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
Exit 5 from Gyeongbokgung Station, Line 3