Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

palace in Seoul

One of the first places I visited in Seoul was Gyeongbokgung. Classical Korean architecture wasn’t entirely new to me  as the Center for Korean Studies at my alma mater, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is actually a gorgeous recreation of Korean palaces. In fact, Kyongbok Palace in Seoul provided the design inspiration for the buildings at UHM and some of the hotels in Seoul.  So Gyeongbokgung Palace sort of felt like a place I used to go watch films on Thursday nights and take Indonesian martial arts courses on Sunday mornings.

korea sign
This sign made me giggle. It says “Only Koreans over Age 65 are Free”, the meaning is of course not what is expected here, but perhaps in Korea everyone 64 or younger are not free.

Still, Gyeongbok Palace, located in northern Seoul is a far more impressive structure and complex than I’d ever seen in the Korean style. The palace was built in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867 and is the largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty.

gyeongbokgung palaceThere were huge numbers of people there, but the grounds were so vast that it didn’t make much of a difference. The pomp of the changing of the guard ceremony was epic, as you can see here.

Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as “Palace of Shining Happiness.” Certainly I saw lots of shining happiness from visitors during the changing of the guard ceremonies.

gyeongbokgung palace pondIt is called the“Northern Palace” because it is the furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeongheegung (Western Palace). It contains 7,700 rooms and the remains of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonghoe-ru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond.

palace Gyeongbukgong KoreaThe National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located east within Hyangwonjeong. I’ll write more about those later along with more pictures for you.

Admission Price : 3,000 South Korean Won (about $3) includes the National Folk Museum and National Palace Museum – Free walking tours available.

Open Wednesday-Monday
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

I’ve got tons more pictures, but for now, this will have to do. Have you been here? What did you think?

As always, if you are heading to South Korea and want to ask anything about it, the travel advice is free for the asking or you might find the links below to be helpful.

South Korea Resources

Seoul Hotels
Hostels in South Korea
Travel Insurance for South Korea
South Korea Guidebooks
South Korea and Around the World
Last Minute Flights, Hotels, Cars

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Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook