Destinations

Gyeongbokgung: The Main Royal Palace of Joseon Dynasty

One of the things that will really fascinate you when you visit Korea is the existence of its palaces. Most of them are in the middle of the city and are lively up to this day. When you visit Seoul, make sure to visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁).

About the Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first and largest of the royal palaces built in 1395. It was the main royal palace in the Joseon dynasty. However, during the Japanese invasion from 1592, this palace left ruined for the next 273 years. In 1867, it was finally reconstructed with some 500 buildings built on a site of over 40 hectares. Now, the Korean government is investing its resources to rebuild, restore and maintain the main royal palace in all its remaining glory for the future generations. It is guarded by the majestic Gwanghwamun gate.

Gwanghwamun Gate

Over the years, it has become one of the must-visit places in Korea which showcases the cultural heritage of the country. This palace remains beautiful during all four seasons in Korea.

How to reach Gyeongbokgung

Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul / 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)

Directions

  • By Subway: Get off at Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5. Or get off at Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1. Or get off at the Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 9 or 7.
  • By Bus: Take Bus No. 1020, 7025,109, 171, 172, 601 or 606 and get off at Gyeongbokgung Palace Bus Stop. Or take Jongno Bus No. 11 and get off at National Folk Museum of Korea Bus Stop.

You will be greeted by the Statue of Sejong the Great and his Admiral Yi Sunshin.

Attractions and Facilities at Gyeongbokgung

You can watch the changing of the guard ceremonies at the main entrance Gwanghwamun. Then set aside at least half a day to do justice to the compound. It includes a couple of museums, ornamental gardens and some of Seoul’s grandest architectural sights.

Many of these halls were built by the King Gojong for his own personal use. These are some of the main attractions and facilities that you can see at the palace:

  • Geunjeongjeon Hall: the main palace building. This is where kings were crowned, met foreign envoys and conducted affairs of state.
  • Sujeongjeon Hall
  • Gyeonghoeru Pavilion: a large raised pavilion resting on 48 stone pillars and overlooking an artificial lake with two small islands.
  • Sajeongjeon Hall
  • Gangnyeongjeon Hall: the king’s living quarters.
  • Gyotaejeon Hall: the queen’s chambers.
  • Amisan Garden: the brick chimneys decorated with longevity symbols on the garden’s top terrace are to release the smoke from the palace’s ondol (underfloor heating) system.
  • Donggung: the living quarters for the Crown Prince.
  • Sojubang Kitchen
  • Jagyeongjeon Hall · Chimney with Ten Symbols of Longevity in Relief at Jagyeongjeon
  • Hyangwonjeong Pavilion: an attractive hexagonal pavilion on an island.
  • Geoncheonggung Palace
  • Jibokjae Hall
  • Taewonjeon Hall
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

Free Guided Tour

An audio commentary and a free guided tour (at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm) are available if you wish to learn more about the palace. They are available in four different languages. Tourists have the option to choose between English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

The popular two-hour Starlight Tour (₩50,000; 6.30pm and 7.40pm daily mid-March to mid-April) includes a 12-dish modern take on Korean royal court cuisine. Also, it includes a visit to the royal kitchen, and an evening visit of 10 locations across the palace including the pavilion for a live performance of traditional Korean music. However, the tickets must be bought in advance online and are available from early March.

Operating Hours

  • March-May, September-October 09:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Last Admission 5:00 PM)
  • June-August 09:00 AM -6:30 PM (Last Admission 5:30 PM)
  • November-February 09:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Last Admission 4:00 PM)
  • Closed on Tuesdays

Admission Fees

Koreans
  • Adults (Aged 25-64): KRW 3,000; Groups of 10 or more: KRW 2,400
  • Seniors (Over 65): Free
  • Juniors (Under 24): Free
Non-Korean Visitors
  • Adults (Aged 25-64): KRW 3,000; Groups of 10 or more: KRW 2,400
  • Seniors (Over 65): Free
  • Juniors (7-18): KRW 1,500; Groups of 10 or more: KRW 1,200
  • Children (Under 6): Free
See the weather as well with the ticket

P.S. If you visit the palace wearing the Traditional Hanbok Dress, your entrance is free of charge. That is why there are many hanbok rental shops surrounding the palace. They offer great deals in dressing you and doing your touch up just like the women used to do.

a lady in hanbok

This palace is also a very popular site among KDrama lovers. As many shows and movies have been shot here. Some of the latest ones are:

  • When My Love Blooms (2020)
  • Mother of Mine (2019)
  • Kingdom (2019)
  • Temperature of Love (2017)
  • My Sassy Girl (2017)
  • Chicago Typewriter (2017)
  • Legend of the Blue Sea (2016-17)
  • Goblin (2016-17)
  • The Royal Gambler (2016)

REMARKS

My first visit to the palace was unfortunately cut short due to heavy rain. However, I fully intend to visit the palace again in fall and enjoy what it has to offer then. Hopefully, I will have a better plan then.

Blossoms at Gyeongbokgung palace

Thank you so much for reading my post and sharing my experience. Also, if you like this post, please share your reviews or you can read about my other experiences here. Have a good day and stay safe !

🇮🇳 Amitesh Sharma

Hi, I'm Amitesh, a 23 year old Indian Student currently pursuing my Master's Degree in Bionanotechnology at Gachon University in Bukjeong-dong. I'm a hobbyist photographer and I love to explore new places and click amazing pictures.