I put the two main palaces in Seoul first things first in our tour. Basically because it holds the history and heart of Seoul. If you want to know something, you have to start in the heart right? And it’s also requested by mommy which I really can’t say no. So we hop on the subway enroute to Changdeokgung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The nearest train station in Changdeokgung Palace is Anguk Station in Line 3 Exit 3. If you are in Line 4 like us, you can transfer to Chungmuro Station. Train fare is just KRW 1,050. But if you want to go to Gyeonbokgung Palace first, go down at Gyeonbokgung Station also in Line 3 and used exit 5. I prefer that you do Gyeongbokgung first.
We did Changdeokgung first and arrived as early as 8am in the palace. It opens at 9am so we still have time for breakfast. Koreans are not really early risers on a weekend. Cafes near the palace are still closed.
We purchased our tickets for the palace and the secret garden for KRW 8,000. Changdeokgung is called the East Palace for it is in the east side. The palace is built because the King doesn’t want to go back to Gyeongbokgung palace because he killed his half brothers there for the throne, Game of thrones ang peg!
The palace is not too big. I’ve got the chance to see all the halls- throne hall, meeting hall, king’s hall, prince’s hall, queen’s pavilion. And I was wondering what is it like to live in their age, being a queen or a princess.
We waited until 11:30am for the Secret Garden tour. Unlike in the palace, you can’t roam around Secret Garden by yourself. It’s called Secret Garden because before only the king or whoever he wants to bring there are the only ones who can go inside. And upon entering you’ll understand why its just for the king. It’s so peaceful and serene and just quiet – perfect spot to reflect and seek help to the One above.
We have a pretty korean tour guide with her cute English accent. We toured with different nationalities here. And honestly, I like being surrounded by different races. It is where I can feel that my world is so much bigger than I imagine, that there a lot of things still waiting for me. Yes, sometimes I just became weird like that.
Secret Garden is worth seeing but will truly test your cardio. Imagine walking up and down the hill. Please save your feet by wearing walking shoes, don’t be like my sister wearing her heel boots. She actually cry after.
By 2pm, we just walked our way already to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Entrance is KRW 5,000. It is the first palace built and also the biggest one. It’s in the west side of Changdeokgung Palace. I fell inlove with Gyeongbokgung since my first eyes laid on her. If ever I lived before and I’m a queen, I’ll surely pick this one this to be my home.
The palace remain beautiful despite thousands of tourist. There are Korean girls in their hanboks walking around. Couples too are present in their traditional costumes taking photos. So if ever I’ll return here someday with my future husband, I’ll make sure we’ll go here in our hanboks. HAHA!
This is my favorite hall among others. This is a banquet hall where special gatherings are usually held. During snow, the lake is frozen and you simply can just walk through it.
With out tired feet, we tried our best to roam around the area. But it has more buildings and halls than Changdeokgung. So somewhere in the middle, we gave up. Our feet need rest. Let my pictures do the talking instead?
Koreans preserve their history despite the vast technology present. They’re even one of the great contributors to innovations and technology now. But they never abandon their roots. It’s overwhelming to see that in the middle of Seoul City, despite the advance and tall buildings, there’s a palace, still looking good as new, that makes them always remember who they are and how they become who they are now. They took good care of the city’s heart.