Long Ride For 1 Palace

Seoul Travel Blog

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Changdeokgung Palace

I ended up waking up early, so I could see my mom leave, who was going on another trip of her own. Then tried to go back to sleep, which was hard, probably due to jet lag and sleeping on the floor.

Later on, I was ready to go out and see the city on my own. This is probably the first time for me in Korea, as in past trips, I would be accompanied by family members. I went out, and got lost, walking around in blocks for a while. I backtracked, and was able to find the Metro station.

I tried to figure out the system, and wasted more time, looking for a place that sold some of kind of card that the guidebook mentioned. But did not find any, so I just paid the individual fare card. Then got on the Metro, and was in it for about 90 minutes. Hard to believe how far it was.

me at Changdeokgung Palace


When I got off, I tried to exit through the turnstile, but could not. Turned out that each ride is rated according to distance, and that there is a machine nearby, to insert money to pay the difference. Once I did that, I went to Changdeokgung Palace. I would pay admission for both the palace and the secret garden, which is guided tour only. More about visiting this place in the review here.

Changdeokgung was built in 1405 during the Joseon Dynasty, as the secondary palace to Gyeongbokgung (which I will be visiting later on). The Japanese invaded Korea in the 1590's, and burned down all the palaces. While Gyeongbokgung was left in ruins, Changdeokgung became the main palace shortly after in 1610, and remained that way until 1868, when the other one was finally rebuilt.
inside the throne hall


I spent about 90 minutes, walking around the palace grounds. Starting from the entrance gate, I crossed the  small bridge, which goes back to 1411. Then went to the main building, where the throne hall was, and where the king conducted his affairs there, with the ceremonies done in the courtyard.

After that, there are other areas to see, seeing where the king and queen, along with other palace officials, lived and conducted their affairs. Just seeing the architecture and setup of the buildings, was really fascinating to see. I went one way to the end, then backtracked all the way, to the area straight ahead from the entrance. This area was where the government offices were, and the ancestral rites were performed.

With some time still available, I decided to step out and get something to eat.
secret garden
But I did not really find anything to my liking, either because it would take too long to serve the food, or just not to my liking. I stopped by a Dunkin Donuts, and saw Korean twists to a burrito, like a jalapeno bulgogi. I ended up eating some snacks. Then when it was time, I reentered the palace, and went to the entrance for the secret garden.

I waited until it was time for the secret garden tour. The entrance was on the right side of the palace area. With the tour started, we were given a guided tour of the secret garden, or sometimes known as Huwon. It was called that, because it was only for private use by the king and some of his officials.

At first, I wondered if this would be a waste of time, paying extra for what I thought, was a typical tourist trap.
me at secret garden
But after seeing the garden, it turned out to be well worth the money. In fact, I remember visiting this place back in 1987, with the pond and the buildings in the background, being the only things I remember from this palace.

We were given the tour of the different parts of the secret garden, and the unfortunate thing was that we came after all the autumn leaves are gone. Thus, it makes the place a lot less colorful. While disappointing, I was still amazed by the architecture of the buildings, and the background with nature. I could only imagine it would look a lot more nicer at other times of the year.

After the garden tour, it got dark, and I had to head back to my grandmother's place. I had to ride the Metro for 90 minutes, which just felt like forever. Once I got off, I got lost, but eventually found my way. Then went inside to her place, where I had dinner. Then to sleep, as the next couple days will not be fun.

Cho says:
I was at this palace too but missed the secret garden. Didn't even know about it until now!
Posted on: Apr 12, 2013
mosted says:
Great Blog and comes at the right time for me, cause I'm going there aswell this May. Thank you!
Posted on: Feb 08, 2013
WalterC says:
I thought this one was smaller and more compact, and did not think the 2 palaces themselves were too different from each other. But the secret garden is the main reason to come to Changdeokgung, and the main difference from the other one.
Posted on: Feb 06, 2013
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Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace
me at Changdeokgung Palace
me at Changdeokgung Palace
inside the throne hall
inside the throne hall
secret garden
secret garden
me at secret garden
me at secret garden
Donhwamun Gate, main entrance to p…
Donhwamun Gate, main entrance to …
Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace
other side of Donhwamun Gate
other side of Donhwamun Gate
description of palace
description of palace
walkway in Changdeokgung Palace
walkway in Changdeokgung Palace
stone markers, with ranks of offic…
stone markers, with ranks of offi…
courtyard, in front of Injeongjeon…
courtyard, in front of Injeongjeo…
Seonjeongmun Gate
Seonjeongmun Gate
period furniture inside Seonjeongm…
period furniture inside Seonjeong…
blue tiled roof of Seonjeongmun Ha…
blue tiled roof of Seonjeongmun H…
Changdeokgung Palace grounds
Changdeokgung Palace grounds
Huijeongdang Hall
Huijeongdang Hall
Huijeongdang Hall
Huijeongdang Hall
period furniture inside Huijeongda…
period furniture inside Huijeongd…
inside Huijeongdang Hall
inside Huijeongdang Hall
palace wall
palace wall
gateway
gateway
Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace
Seongjeonggak Hall
Seongjeonggak Hall
Seongjeonggak Hall
Seongjeonggak Hall
Nakseonjae Complex
Nakseonjae Complex
Nakseonjae Complex
Nakseonjae Complex
Gwolnaegaksa
Gwolnaegaksa
Gwolnaegaksa complex
Gwolnaegaksa complex
former waterway at Changdeokgung P…
former waterway at Changdeokgung …
Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace grounds
Changdeokgung Palace grounds
Buyongjeon Pavilion by the pond, a…
Buyongjeon Pavilion by the pond, …
Yeonghwadang Pavilion
Yeonghwadang Pavilion
Eosumun Gate, to Juhamnu Pavilion
Eosumun Gate, to Juhamnu Pavilion
Uiduhap Pavilion
Uiduhap Pavilion
Bulromun Gate
Bulromun Gate
Aeryeonjeong Pavilion
Aeryeonjeong Pavilion
Uiduhap Pavilion
Uiduhap Pavilion
building by Aeryeonji Pond
building by Aeryeonji Pond
gate into a complex
gate into a complex
stone structures
stone structures
red leaves around the garden
red leaves around the garden
Seoul Sights & Attractions review
See both palace and garden!
Originally built as a secondary palace, Changdeokgung Palace is a nice place to check out, mainly for the secret garden. But that may depend on what t… read entire review
Seoul
photo by: chiyeh