There are 5 grand palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest palace of five grand palaces in Seoul. It was used as a residence of the King as well for governance purposes. Today this palace is the most popular palace among foreign tourists. The first place most foreign tourists visit in Korea is Gyeongbokgung Palace.
The tour of the palace starts from the Gwanghwamun Gate. Here, you can also observe the ‘Changing of Royal Guards Ceremony’. Other than this you can also experience Gwanghwamun Gate Guard on Duty Ceremony, Royal Guard Costume Experience (Before and after the Changing of the Royal Guard Ceremony), and Gatekeeper Military Training. You can see these ceremonies without paying any fee.
Check out: Changing of Guards Ceremony
Note- Due to the COVID situation, the ceremonies are not taking place.
Regardless of seasons, the palace is really beautiful and gives tourists a glimpse of the Joseon dynasty. Every season brings out different charms of the palace.
Summer-Autumn of Gyeongbokgung Palace
First time I visited the Palace on Hangeul Proclamation Day, which is celebrated on 9th October of every year. Since it was the beginning of October, the weather was really nice as autumn was approaching after the end of summer. I could see Koreans as well as foreigners since the weather was nice and it was a holiday. Although, only a few leaves started to change color the palace was really beautiful. The compound was full of colors mainly green and few red leaves. This made it a perfect place to hang out and collect many memories by clicking pictures or making videos.
Winter of Gyeongbokgung Palace
On one fine day of winter, it snowed the whole night. The first thing I did the next day was to visit the Palace in the morning to witness the beauty of the Palace. The place was breathtakingly beautiful covered in white snow. It was really cold but seeing the palace covered in white was fluttering. The whole compound was covered in snow. I was in awe after seeing the white Gyeongbokgung of winters. Despite it being cold everyone was enjoying their day out.
I made plans to visit the palace again in spring, however, could get the opportunity to visit it. I have to wait for another spring to see what cherry blossom brings to the beauty of Gyeongbokgung palace.
Best Way to Enjoy Gyeongbokgung Tour
There can be different ways to enjoy the Gyeongbokgung Palace Tour according to your needs or interests.
- If you are a history buff and want to go in historical details of the palace and life around that time. I suggest you make an online reservation for a guided tour. The tour is free of cost. However, you need to pay for the experience fee of any kind and admission fee. The guided tour is available in four languages i.e. English, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. (Note: Due to the COVID situation, guided tours are not available.)
- If you are a memory squirrel and would like to click lots of pictures then I would advise you to rent a Hanbok to get the best shots of yourself and the palace. Traditional Korean dress makes the tour more memorable and fun to explore the palace while feeling like you have reached back to the Joseon dynasty.
- If you are a photographer, then I would like to suggest you not to miss out Hyangwonjeong, Gyeonghoeru, and Geunjeongjeon inside the compound. Personally, Hyangwonjeong is my favorite one. The reflection of clouds and trees makes it stunning, especially the autumn leaves. Also, snow-covered Hyangwonjeong is as beautiful as the autumn one.
Take Seoul subway line 3 and get down at Gyeongbokgung station or Anguk station. Or you can also take subway line 5 and get down at Gwanghwamun Station. It will allow you to explore the Gwanghwamun square as well.
61, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161)
The entry is free if you wearing Hanbok, Korean traditional clothes, or visiting the palace on last Wednesday of a month.
- Winters: 09:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Summer: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Last admission closes an hour before the closing of the palace)
- The palace is closed on Tuesday.
For more details on Gyeongbokgung palace or any other four royal palaces please check out the website given below.