When we first visited Gyeongbokgung Palace, we realized that it’s closed on Tuesdays. So please don’t make the same mistake! I should’ve checked beforehand. Newbie mistake ^^;; We took either the 402 or 405 bus there. It’s very accessible and close to Insadong and Bukchon Village as well. Admission price is only ₩3,000 for adults. The palace opens at 9am, but closing time varies according to when you visit. Double check the web site to make sure.
Anyhow, we revisited on another day and it was filled with both tourists and locals alike. If you’ve ever visited the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, Gyeongbokgung feels very familiar. The palace grounds are huge, so wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of walking. It’s also very easy to get lost. There are English tours given for free at designated times, so we just latched onto one of them.
The signs throughout the palace are all written in Chinese as this was before Emperor Sejong introduced Hangul (Korean alphabet) during the Joseon dynasty. So it was easier for us to tell what each area was for, haha. Parts of Gyeongbokgung are still under construction due to fires during the Imjin War as a result of Japanese invasion. But it’s slowly being restored and there are some quarters you can enter or at least peer into from the outside (like where the emperors held court).
One of my favorite places inside Gyeongbokgung is the royal garden. Imagine having this in your backyard! I’m really glad we came during the autumn season, too. The foliage paired with that mountain backdrop is just stunning.
Not surprisingly, a lot of photographers visit Gyeongbokgung as well. Initially we wondered if this girl was perhaps a celebrity. But upon further deduction, this was most likely just a photography class and the girl was just a model.
Spring would probably also be a great season to go to the palace. If you’re a lover of photography like myself, don’t miss out!