It was only on our 3rd day in Korea that we got to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace since my friend Kat and I pretty much spent our first few days in Myeong-dong eating and shopping. Although in reality, most of our time there were actually spent looking for shady places to hide from the scorching heat of the sun (we visited Korea during Summer time). 🙂
We took the Seoul City Bus Tour to Gyeongbokgung since we thought it was more practical than taking the train or a normal bus. Plus, we had plans to visit other attractions in the city so we might as well ride the bus that we can easily hop-on or hop-off whenever we wanted to. We bought our bus tickets for 10,000 KRW each at a small shop in front of Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
That bus took us around the city first then got dropped off at a Seoul City Bus Stop near Gyeongbokgung Palace. As soon as you get off, the first thing you will see is the marvelous statue of King Sejong the Great – one of the two most important leaders during the Joseon period honored in Korea. It’s right in the middle of the road of Gwanghamun square so it’s not hard to miss!
The royal palace is divided into several gates. The first one is called Gwanghamun Gate – the front and main gate of the royal palace. It’s where you can witness the Royal Guard Changing ceremony held 6 times a day from 10:00 to 16:00 except Tuesdays so plan accordingly.
- Gate Guard Changing Ceremony: 10:00 am / 13:00 pm / 15:00 pm ~ 15 minutes
- Gate Guard Duty Performance: 11:00 am / 14:00 pm / 16:00 pm ~ 10 minutes
Next is Hyeungnemun Gate. It is the second inner gate into Gyeongbokgung Palace. Before you can pass through it, you have to buy an admission ticket that costs 3,000 KRW for adults and 1,500 KRW for children. While on my way to the next gate, I spotted a lovely old couple first then two young women wearing traditional dresses at the royal palace.
Our final stop was the Geunjeongjeon Hall. This was the place where the King would give declarations of national importance. It was also where he would grant formal audiences to his officials and foreign envoys.
It was a long walk before we finally reached this place. We took a few photos, but it was hard to get a clean shot since there were too many tourists visiting at that time.
HOW TO GET THERE:
By subway, get off at Gwanghwamun station (line 5) and use exit 2.
Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In Hangul its’ 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
Tel: +82 2 3700 3900 | Website: royalpalace.go.kr
Operating Hours: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (closed on Tuesdays)