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Changdeokgung Palace Complex in Seoul

We show you what you can see when you visit the Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul, a South Korean and world heritage site.

If you want to make a visit to Seoul, you mustn’t forget to visit the Changdeokgung Palace, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site known worldwide as the palace of many Joseon kings. Let’s discover it together!

Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

Information to Visit Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul

How much does it cost?
3000 WON

Which are the schedules?
From 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Can you take photos?

How to get there?
The nearest metro stop is Anguk, from there you don’t walk much, it’s not that it’s next to it either, but it’s well indicated.

Tip: If during your stay in Seoul you are also planning to visit the Secret Garden of this palace + the Gyeonbukgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung palaces, we advise you to buy the multi-palace ticket worth 10,000 WON. It can be purchased at the ticket office of the palaces.

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Is a guided visit to Changdeokgung palace complex mandatory?

The Changdeokgung palace complex can be visited in your own, but you can also join one of the free tours given by the palace staff. You have to be very attentive to the schedules of the visits, this so that you get a group in English because in Korean language, at least in our case, we would have hardly been able to understand something.

Luckily, just upon arrival, a group in English was leaving, all the schedules are displayed at the box office, although among so many symbols in Korean it is easy to get lost! (In our case, it was our first day in Seoul, so we hadn’t gotten used to it yet).

In any case, joining a guided group and seeing all the explanations did not prevent us from being able to return to see some things on our own at the end of the visit. The bad thing is that we did not know that at the beginning of the visit and I felt some anguish since there were MANY people in guided + school groups. Total overwhelm!

Entry is through the Donhwamun Gate.

A bit of history about Changdeokgung Palace

The Palace was built in the early 15th century, but at that time it was not a “main” palace. When the Japanese invasion of 1590 arrived, in which the palaces were destroyed, it was rebuilt and rose to the status of “Main Palace”.

It had this status until 1872, yet it remained in use by members of the royal family until the 20th century.

Visiting Changdeokgung Palace

The king’s path

Once we had our ticket in hand, we set out to enter Changdeokgung Palace. The first thing we see is Injeongjeon Square, it was where important events such as the king’s coronation were held. Here we learned that there were certain paths designated for royalty. In the courtyard, a path can be seen in the center, which connects the door with the building that can be seen in the background. That path was exclusive to the king. It was forbidden for commoners. The military could go on the left side and “high-ranking civilians” could go on the right side.

The fact that the group was so large made it difficult to listen to the explanations and take photos at the same time. So, we divided the tasks: I took photos and Vincent listened to the guide.

In the central part of the square there were also some stones with inscriptions, such as names of high-ranking civilians, military, etc. As we moved forward we could see the interior of the Plaza building, yes, you cannot enter.

The curious Korean heating

After that, we went on to see other pavilions like the Seonjeongjeon, where the king had his meetings with the ministers. We also saw the official residence of the queen, called Daejojeon.

During the visit they explained to us how they did to have heating, the boy took out a diagram where he explained how everything worked. In short, heating for Koreans was different from the one known from the other side of the pond: the idea was to heat the floor. Yes, the floor. For this, you should know that they slept on the ground, sat on the ground to eat, etc.

Plenty of activities close to the ground. In addition to not wearing shoes on the interior floor. Taking all this into account, heating the floor is, then, very logical. This system is still used today, in fact, we were able to test it ourselves in several of the hotels where we stayed.

The decoration and the flowers

Since it was the first palace we visited on our trip to Korea, I was amazed at the figures on the peaks of the roofs. Later they would become habitual in each palace. That yes, each palace has its different touch, I do not believe in that if you see one you see them all.

A pleasant surprise: it was the season of the Azalea. This flower blooms everywhere in Seoul!

Almost at the end of the visit, the guide told us the unfortunate story of one of the last emperors who inhabited the Palace, Sunjong. He had a wife, she died. He had another, with whom he had no children. With him ended the Joseon dynasty of kings. It was not only because they did not have children, of course, this happened because the Japanese invaded Korea and ended the empire.

After the sad story, we were able to go back to calmly see the entrance of the palace. The truth is that we did not try to do the whole tour again, since we were hungry.

Leaving Changdeokgung Palace Complex

No, we did not leave the place without visiting the Secret Garden, here we’ll tell you about our Tour or Huwon or Secret Garden of Seoul.

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.