✈ Seoul, Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded. It is the largest and the oldest of the Five Grand Palaces. Built in 1935, it is located at the northern end of Seoul's main boulevard.

Gwangwamun is the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was extremely damaged during the Japanese occupation and Korean war but was restored to its original site and reopened to the public in 2010. However, the location of the gate had been changed from where it originally stood.

Gwangwamun - the main and south gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace

There is the reenactment of the Changing of the Royal Guard and the Patrol Ritual, which are performed everyday between 10am and 3pm. 

Heungnyemun Gate is the second largest and inner gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace

Geunjeongjeon Imperial Throne Hall

Geonchunmun Gate

Parking area of Gyeongbokgung Palace

HB popped in a few minutes at Seoul Selection Bookstore located in the basement of a black brick building, which is just across the parking lot of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Seoul Selection Bookshop

While I busied myself observing and photographing the surrounding area.

Korean Policemen on duty outside the parking area of Gyeongbokgung Palace

Dongsibjagak Watchtower sits in the middle of intersection located at the southeastern corner of Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul's pedicab rickshaw
In Gyeongbokgung Palace, there is also the National Folk Museum if you want to learn the lifestyle and culture of Korean people. And the National Museum of Korea that exhibits a fine collection of historic relics and works of art used in the royal court during the Joseon period.

✿ Address: Gyeongbokgung Palace is located at 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
✿ FOR MORE DETAILS: See this link

Related Post:
πŸ‘ˆ Bukchon Hanok Village

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✈ Seoul, Korea: Bukchon Hanok Village

Our next stop is Bukchon Hanok Village, which is actually quite a long walk from Changdeokgung Palace. Most areas are filled with narrow alleys and some with uphill roads so prepare yourself physically. It's the only place in Seoul where hundreds of Hanoks (Traditional Korean Houses) are clustered together. It is said that the reason there are so many traditional houses in this area is that many people from the ruling class lived here during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). There are museums, workshop, hanok guesthouses and culture centers but we didn't pop into any of these. This neighborhood is not a tourist attraction but a quiet residential area. Visitors are required to observe silence.

✿ Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu,  계동길 37
✿ For more details visit http://bukchon.seoul.go.kr/eng/

✍Related Posts: 
πŸ‘ˆ Changdeokgung Palace

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✈ Seoul, Korea: Changdeokgung Palace

Injeongjeon Palace Hall
HB and I visited early morning at Changdeokgung Palace and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't crowded. There is usually a free guided tour in different languages (English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese) on offer. But we made an exception and decided to explore on our own at the public palace area only as we had limited time and wanted to maximize our planned itinerary on that day.

Changdeokgung ticket office
Donwahmun Main Gate with a two-storey pavilion-type wooden structure (outside view)

Donhwamun Gate (inside view)

Changdeokgung is also known as Donggwol, the Eastern Palace, because of its location to the east of Gyeongbokgung. For 270 years, the palace was home to the Joseon government and was also the favored residence of many Joseon Dynasty kings and other royalties. This makes Changdeokgung the longest-serving royal residential palace. 

Injeongjeon Main Palace Hall

Injeongjeon Courtyard

a shop inside the palace

Changdeokgung Palace was mostly damaged because of the several times of fires and from both Japanese Invasion and colonial era. But it is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces and still has many of its original features. A particular virtue of Changdeokgung is the way its building blend into the surrounding landscape. The structure's design and beauty played a major role in earning the palace a registration as part of UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1997.

Korean Terraced Garden near Nakseonjae area

Entrance to Sangryangjeong Pavilion

one of the doors in the palace

Jinseonmun Gate

beautiful architectural details of Jinseomun Gate

Zelkova Tree

Regrettably, we were  not able to see the palace garden, referred to prior as Huwon, which is now known as "Biwon" or Secret Garden" tucked away behind the palace. This is considered as an excellent example of Korean garden design and is the only rear garden of any Korean palace. Please take note visitors are required to pay additional charge and need to join a mandatory guided tour here.

If you appreciate a quiet atmosphere, birds chirping and beautiful Korean architecture you will surely marvel at the variety of well-preserved old traditional buildings and pavilions.

The palace is closed on Mondays. For further details, please refer to Changdeokgung Palace website.

✿ Address: Changdeokgung Palace, Yulgokro 99 Jongno-gu, Seoul Republic of Korea
✿ How to get there:
Get on: Hongik Univ. (Line 2)
Transfer: Euljiro 3-gal (Line 2, Line3)
Get off: Anguk (Line 3)
After go out through Exit 3 of Anguk Station, Walk 5 minutes

✍Related Posts: 
πŸ‘‰ Bukchon Hanok Village
πŸ‘ˆ Nami Island on a Cold Winter Day

Till next time,

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