Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul South Korea

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ChaMike visits Gyeongbokgung Palace.

ChaMike's very first agenda in Seoul was to visit the most famous temple in South Korea- Gyeongbokgung Palace. Even if I've been here already I opted to still put this on my list. I never really explored this famous site the last time I was here because I was so busy with our shoot (plus our cameraman got lost so we searched for him for over an hour! Kalurks!) So that's why I was so eager to visit this palace once more to appreciate its beautiful ancient architecture and history.

Gyeongbokgung Palace is the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. It is built in the late 1300's and is considered the largest of the 5 grand palaces.  It was the only palace we visited because it is the most important. Gyeongbok Palace was where the king and his household lived as well as the government of Joseon dynasty. Now it is considered to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. 

Gyeongbokgung Palace had gone through several restorations so most of the structures inside the palace are not in its original state because of the several wars it underwent.

Palace Guards

How to go to Gyeongbokgung
Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3) exit #5

Opening Hours
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

November- February
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

*Closed during Tuesdays

Entrance Fees
Adults (19-64 years old)
3,000 won (P123)

Children (7-18 years old)
1,500 won (P62)

* Children 6 and under and seniors 65 and over 
Ticket Office
My 3,000 won ticket

Royal Guard Changing Ceremony
One of the things that any tourist shouldn't miss is the changing of the guards ceremony. This is a good opportunity to witness a traditional Korean scene during ancient times. The reenactment of the parade with the colorful traditional uniforms, weapons, accessories and the routines is a feast to the eyes of people passing by especially tourists like us.

Guards in brilliant primary colors
There are three schedules per day for the Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony- 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm for 20 minutes per ceremony. We were lucky we witnessed it from the very beginning.

10 am Ceremony
The guards were very disciplined in doing the routine
Guards in perfect order

After the ceremony off we went inside the palace. Gyeongbokgung reminded me of Beijing's Forbidden City. The grandness, architecture, calligraphy and roof eaves closely resembles Chinese Imperial Palace it is because China had greatly influenced South Korea during the ancient times.

Gwanghwamun Gate
It is the main and largest gate where you can see guards in stationary position. 

Gwanghwamun Gate

We also had an opportunity to take a photo with the head guard before his duty ended.

Bet he's irritated from all the tourists who take photos of him

Heungnyemun Gate
The second inner gate. It is the gate before Geunjeongjeon.

Heungnyemun Gate

Geunjeongjeon Hall
The most well-known structure in the palace. During the Joseon dynasty it is the throne hall where the king welcomes officials and important people.

Geunjeongjon Hall
ChaMike at Geunjeongjon

This hall had been destroyed in 1500's and was only reconstructed in 1800's. The building has three separate aisles. Only the king was allowed the pass through the center aisle. 

King's Throne

Sajeongjeon Hall
Just right behind the Geunjeongjeon Hall is a main executive office where the king held his meetings with the officials.

Sajeongjeon Hall

Palace outfit:
Shades | Gsunnies at @georginasasha on Instagram
White Turtleneck | Terranova
Black and White checkered jacket | A'postrophe
Black pants | Jag
White rubber shoes | Cotton On
Black sling bag | Rubi
Black bowler hat | SM Accessories

Cheonchujeon and Manchunjeon Hall
The two buildings beside Sajeongjeon.

Stone creatures on the rooves
Dining area- we were asked to remove our shoes
Mike on the other side
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Built in the middle of a man made lake lies Gyeonghoeru Pavilion where the king held important banquets.

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion
This was ChaMike's most favorite part of the palace. A small, two-story hexagonal pavilion is placed in the middle of a man-made pond and island. A long wooden bridge connects it to the palace grounds

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion

Look how picturesque it is

The view is romantic, perfect backdrop for any pictorial.

Loving Mike's shot of me here

Finally had the courage to ask a stranger to take our photo
ChaMike wandered around the vicinity and came across other several attractions

Hall of red and green

All wooden brown building
Kimchi pots used for fermentation
It was a good two-hour walk around the palace.The structures were quite repetitive except for several pavilions that were picture worthy. You'll definitely appreciate it if you love learning about history & architecture. ChaMike loved wandering around because of the interesting sites and cool weather (can't imagine myself walking here during summer though). After visiting Gyeongbok Palace we proceeded to Bukchon Hanok Village.

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