In this travel guide, I’ll share helpful information about Gyeongbokgung Palace and tips to plan your trip.
A glimpse into Gyeongbokgung Palace’s past
Gyeongbokgung Palace’s grandeur dates back to 1395, when it was built as the royal residence of the Joseon dynasty. This palace’s life has seen the tide of time, surviving the Japanese invasion in 1592, which reduced it to ashes.
However, the palace refused to fade into oblivion and rose like a phoenix in the late 19th century. It underwent major revamps in the 20th century, getting a fresh lease on life while retaining its historical essence.
Today, walking through its numerous halls, pavilions, and gardens feels like navigating the pages of Korea’s past.
Every nook and cranny, every intricate detail of its architecture, whispers stories of the yesteryears.
So, if Korean history and culture pique your curiosity, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the treasure trove that you’ve been looking for.
When is the best time to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace?
I find both early morning and late afternoon great for exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace grounds.
These hours are when the sun showers soft, golden light, giving you a photographer’s delight. And, trust me, Gyeongbokgung Palace’s allure deserves to be captured!
If you yearn for a tranquil ambiance, early morning visits will serve you the serenity you seek. Being at the gate 5 minutes before the opening time would be ideal.
How much time to spend at Gyeongbokgung Palace?
Prepare to set aside a good 2 to 3 hours of your day for Gyeongbokgung Palace. It’s the perfect amount of time to appreciate the palace’s beauty and soak up its fascinating history.
The main halls, pavilions, and gardens demand your undivided attention, their stunning designs leaving you spellbound.
Considering a guided tour can be a great move to help you understand the palace’s historical timeline.
How to get to Gyeongbokgung Palace
Reaching Gyeongbokgung Palace is fairly easy, with several transportation options available.
Hop onto Subway line 3 and exit at Gyeongbokgung Station (Exit 5).
From there, a short bus ride will drop you off at Gyeongbokgung Palace Bus Stop, after which you can access the palace on foot.
Best things to do in Gyeongbokgung Palace
Here’s my list of must-dos that have always filled my heart with joy!
Wear a Hanbok
To experience Korean culture at its finest, try wearing a hanbok. It’s a traditional Korean dress that transforms your visit into an immersive journey into Korea’s past. Plus, it serves as a perfect prop for some unforgettable photos!
You can rent a hanbok from numerous shops around. Or, easier, book your slot online and visit the store!
Wearing a hanbok gives you free entry to the palace, making your visit all the more exciting.
Witness the Changing of the Guard
This ceremony is not only incredibly photogenic but also an enriching glimpse into Korean customs.
You can watch the royal guards and officers parade in their full, vibrant costumes, creating a majestic spectacle that echoes tradition and honor.
Remember to check the ceremony times, as they vary by season! You can see it daily at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. During summer (April to October), you get an extra chance to witness the spectacle at 3:30 pm.
Admire Gyeongbokgung Palace architecture
The architectural splendor of Gyeongbokgung Palace is something that will leave you gasping in awe.
From the grandeur of its structures to the vibrant colors and meticulous detailing, every aspect of this palace reveals the extraordinary craftsmanship of Korean artisans of the past.
Let’s take a quick peek at some of the notable architectural highlights:
Gwanghwamun Gate: This majestic gate serves as the grand entrance to the palace. A walk through this gate is like a portal into the historical world of the Joseon dynasty, rich in artistic and cultural charm.
Heungnyemun Gate: One step into this gate, and you’ll instantly feel the weight of Korea’s vibrant history. Its imposing size and intricate details never fail to leave a lasting impression on me.
Geunjeongjeon Hall: This hall never ceases to captivate my attention. From the high, two-tiered roof to the ornate carvings, everything about this place screams splendor!
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion: Perched on an artificial island, this pavilion is the perfect spot to find tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle. The blend of stone pillars, wooden structures, and serene waters makes it my personal favorite!
Hyangwonjeong Pavilion: This two-story pavilion is a picture-perfect spot. With a beautiful blue roof and a serene garden encircling it, it offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s clamor.
Gangnyeongjeon Hall (King’s Quarters): Here’s where you get to relive the royal life of the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. The hall’s stunning wooden structure and the beautiful paintings depicting flowers and birds add to its royal charm.
Gyotaejeon Hall (Queen’s Quarters): This hall, once home to the queens of the Joseon Dynasty, is a treasure trove of historical stories. The peaceful ambiance and its significance make it a must-see spot at the palace.
What to wear when visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace?
While visiting this cultural icon, dressing modestly is a way to show your respect. Opt for clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
Steer clear of tank tops, shorts, or mini-skirts, and stick to lightweight trousers or skirts that fall below the knee and tops with sleeves.
And don’t forget, with the expansive palace grounds, comfortable walking shoes are your best friends!
Pro tips for visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace
Here’s a little extra advice from my bag of travel tricks:
- Arrive early: Early birds not only catch the worm but also enjoy a serene exploration experience, dodging the usual crowds.
- Bring a camera: With all the scenic beauty and architectural grandeur, you’ll regret not having a camera handy!
- Check palace hours: The palace has different opening hours depending on the season, so it’s wise to check in advance.
- Pack snacks & water: Though there are food and drink vendors within the palace grounds, having your own supplies keeps you energized and hydrated throughout your visit.
What is Gyeongbokgung Palace famous for?
As the grandest palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung Palace is a living testament to Korea’s vibrant history. Its awe-inspiring architecture, elaborate details, and rich cultural significance make it a celebrated landmark. This palace complex houses many famous historical sites that will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of Korean heritage.
How much is a ticket to Gyeongbokgung Palace?
The entrance fee to the palace is 3,000 won for adults aged between 19 and 64 years old, and 1,500 won for children between 7 and 18 years old. If you’re below 7 or over 65, you’re in luck – your visit is on the house!
Can I visit Gyeongbokgung Palace for free if I wear a hanbok?
Absolutely, yes! The palace welcomes and encourages visitors to don a hanbok as it enriches the overall experience. Plus, it’s a super fun way to feel part of the rich Korean culture, and of course, it makes for some fantastic photos!
What time does the guard change at Gyeongbokgung?
You can catch the Guard Changing ceremony twice daily, at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. During summer (April to October), you get an extra chance to witness the spectacle at 3:30 pm.
I’m always excited to hear about your experiences, so do drop your stories in the comment section below. I can’t wait to hear about your Korean palace adventure!