Despite being a mouthful for foreigners Gyeongbokgung is a fantastically beautiful palace situated right in the heart of Seoul. It’s shrouded in history and a must see for tourists, expats, and locals alike. Not to mention that there are hundreds of sweet photo opportunities!
Gyeongbokgung or “Palace of Shining Happiness” is easy to find, simply take the orange line 3 to Gyeongbokgung station and leave via exit 5, this will put you right in front of the main gate. You can also take the purple line 5 to Gwanghwamun station, leave via exit 2, walk a few minutes up the road and the palace will be directly in front of you.
As expats with friends and family visiting us occasionally, we have been to Gyeongbokgung a number of different occasions and have never been bored whilst there. The grounds are wonderful to explore and take snaps of and the buildings are intricate and inspiring.
There are many buildings, bridges, ponds, and pagodas to explore but perhaps one of the most beautiful sites is the Hyangwonjeong Pavilion and Chwihyanggyo Bridge. The pavilion is in the middle of a large carp-filled pond with a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The name Hyangwonjeong loosely translates to “Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragrance,” while Chwihyanggyo translates to “Bridge Intoxicated with Fragrance.” This is an incredibly photogenic site and is always abuzz with tourists and locals trying to get a good angle of the bridge and pagoda.
At the eastern side of the palace is the National Folk Museum of Korea, an interesting little place where you can learn all about the ancient traditions of Korea. Outside the museum is set up like a pre-war Korean village and you are free to wander amongst the barbers and bakers of old Korea, this is an interesting and photogenic side attraction to the palace and well worth a look.
Gyeongbokgung is well worth a visit for people of all ages, it’s probably best enjoyed on a warm day as it’s largely outside but could also be very beautiful in the snow.
Hours of Gyeongbokgung:
March through October 9am to 6pm
November through February 9am to 5pm
Open until 7pm Saturdays and Sundays and national holidays in May, June, July and August.
Adults 19 to 64 yrs: 3,000 won per person/ 2,400 won for groups of 20 or more
Minors 7 to 18 yrs: 1,500 won per child or teen/1,200 won for groups of 10 or more