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Changdeokgung Palace is one of South Korea’s Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. If you don’t have time to visit all the palaces in Seoul, I suggest you add Changdeokgung Palace to your priority. Why? Because aside from being one of the best preserved royal palaces, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the Cultural category.

Changdeokgung Injeongmun Gate

Changdeokgung Injeongmun Gate

About Changdeokgung Palace

Located east of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung is also referred to as the East Palace. It was the second royal villa constructed after Gyeongbokgung.

Injeongjeon, Main Hall

Injeongjeon, Main Hall

Changdeokgong is said to be the longest-serving royal residential palace that had maintained many of its original features to date. It is mainly comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. The rear garden was used as resting place for the kings.

Royal throne in Injeongjeon

Royal Throne in Injeongjeon

Seeing some similar structure as the Changdeokgung Palace before, what astonishes me more is its rear garden or what they call the Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

During the Joseon dynasty period, the rear garden was called “Huwon”. It has also been called “Geumwon” or the Forbidden Garden because even high officials could not visit it without the king’s permission. Today, Koreans call it “Biwon” or the Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden was kept as natural as possible and guests would really delight with its numerous pavilions and fountains. The garden actually comprised sixty percent of Changdeokgung Palace.

Note that the Secret Garden tour is a guided tour only, you cannot roam around it on your own. We were fortunate to visit it during a fabulous autumn foliage and all I can say is just wow! The Secret Garden was beyond gorgeous. It was magical.

Visit to the Secret Garden is a guided tour only.

Visit to the Secret Garden is a guided tour only.

Secret Garden Photo Gallery

Enjoy more photos from our Secret Garden tour.

Changdeokgung Chinese Juniper Tree

After our Secret Garden tour, we came across the Chinese Juniper tree. It is estimated to be about 750 years old. This means the tree was likely planted even before the palace was built. It is protected as a National Natural Monument.

Chinese Juniper Tree

Chinese Juniper Tree

Traveler’s Tip

Changdeokgung Palace offers free admission (Secret Garden tour not included) every last Wednesday of the month (monthly culture day).

Changdeokgung Palace

Operating Hours

Palace Tour
Feb-May, Sep-Oct – 9AM-6PM | Jun-Aug – 9AM-6:30PM | Nov-Jan – 9AM-5:30PM
Note: Last admission – 1 hour before closing

Secret Garden Tour (Guided Tour only)
Feb-May, Sept-Oct – 10AM-5:30PM | June-Aug – 10AM-6PM | Feb, Nov – 10AM-5PM | Dec-Jan 10AM-4:30PM

Closed: Mondays

Admission Fees

Palace + Secret Garden Tour
Adults (ages 19 and above): 8,000 won | Children (ages 7-18): 4,000 won

Palace Tour
Adults (ages 19 and above): 3,000 won | Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won

Address: 99 Yulgok-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Contact Nos.: +82 2-762-8261
Website: royalpalace.go.kr

February 8, 2018

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