Seodaemun Prison History Hall and the Changdeokgung

Seoul Travel Blog

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Anguk underground station
Today is my last day in Seoul. Since yesterday was all about palaces I decided to start the day at the Seodaemun Prison History Hall (see separate review).

There is no snow here, but it is sooooooo cold. An ice cold wind that blows right through your soul. Before I could continue to my last sight in the South Korean capital I had to warm up and stopped at a place I by coincident ran into. It was the Paris Croissant Café (also a separate review).

CHANGDEOKGUNG
It was now 11:15 and I had bought my ticket for the Changdeokgung, Palace of Illustrious Virtue. If the palace walls could talk, we would probably listen in on court intrigues, plotting eunuchs and feuding royalty.
The orange line
Instead we were informed on the form and function of the now empty palace buildings scattered across acres of land in the middle of bustling Seoul by a well-informed tour guide.

Changdeokgung Palace was built as a secondary palace in 1405. It served as the residence for many kings and later became the main palace. Then the same story again. The palace was totally destroyed during the Japanese invasion in 1592. It was not until 1610 where it was restored and continued to serve as the main palace for the next 258 years. Sadly, the stately royal palace complex fell victim to Japan´s intentional destruction during the occupation (1910-1945). Restoration of the palace to its original stat began in 1991 and continues today. In 1997 the Changdeokgung Palace complex was inscribed on the Unesco World Cultural Heritage List.
The underground
Unlike other palaces, where major buildings were arranged along a main axis, Changdeokgung is laid out in harmony with the landscape. Everything was pretty grey this time of the year, but I can just imagine the beauty of this place in spring and summer when trees are green and flowers blossoming. Particularly the Secret Garden must be quite a sight. Maybe autumn is even prettier when all the maple leaves turn bright red.

The entrance fee to Changdeokgung Palace is W3000 and it is open Tuesday to Sunday. Entry is by a 90-minute guided tours in English at 11:30, 13:30 and 15:30. On Thursdays between April and November you can visit unescorted which i would recommend. That way you can walk around at your own speed. You can also see more of the palace and the grounds than on a tour.
Getting off at Dongnimmun station
An audio guide can be borrowed free of charge.


Since I was done with my sight seeing for the day and also had to get out of my hotel I left early for the airport. Check in was done in seconds, so I walked around exploring the airport and took some photos before I went through security and immigration. It was late in the afternoon and I needed a bit to eat. Decided to try something Korean since this was my last chance. See the review on Bon Bibimbap!

After clearing through immigration I still had a couple of hours too kill. But no worries! The departure lounge was like a big shopping mall and enough of things to look at. I like people watching and it was quite amusing to watch all the people hurrying by on their way somewhere in this big wide world. If you feel creative you can make brooches at the Korean Culture experience Zone. I tried on the Hanbok, the Korean National Costume instead. Must say I felt very elegant!

Finally it was time to go. Flight KE051 left from gate 22 at 20:10. My visit to Seoul had come to an end. Next stop: Honolulu and my first TB meet-up!
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Anguk underground station
Anguk underground station
The orange line
The orange line
The underground
The underground
Getting off at Dongnimmun station
Getting off at Dongnimmun station
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photo by: chiyeh