Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Palace in Seoul - Changdeokgung (Seoul Trip Day 1)

Changdeokgung (昌德宮) was built in 1412 and served as the secondary royal palace after Gyeongbokgung. It is sometimes referred as the East Palace. The palace was burnt to ground in 1592 but then fully restored in 1618. The palace was served as ruling palace before the reconstruction of Gyeongbokgung in 1800s. It is the most well-preserved royal palace in Seoul. It is currently an UNESCO Heritage Site.

Unlike Gyeongbokgung which was built on a leveled ground, Chandeokgung was built with better landscape design. If Gyeongbokgung gives us a feeling of "huge and elaborative", Changdeokgung gives the feeling of "calm and beautiful". According to some records, there are trees that grown over 300 years in the palace compound. 

Changdeokgung is near to subway Anguk Station (line 3 exit 3). We need to walk for five minutes to reach the main gate of the palace. The entrance fee for an adult is KRW 3000. Secret garden is a part of the palace, but we need to pay extra KRW 5000 to enter the garden (the ticket can be bought only at the entrance). More information about the entrance fee and open hours are available at Imagine Your Korea website. Useful information can be obtained from the official website of the palace as well.

We reached the palace at around 3:15 pm, and spent around 1 hour and a half there. Due to the time constraint, we didn't visit the secret garden. Changdeokgung is smaller compares to Gyeongbokgung, and we are using the same way to go in and and out. Thus we won't miss out any of the hall in the palace.

Donwhamun (敦化门), the main gate of the palace. The ticketing counter is located on the right side of the gate. The ticket to the secret garden is sold at the counter as well. We queued for less than 5 minutes to get our tickets. 

Beautiful walkway behind Donwhamun. We can go straight to see the officials' office, or turn right to enter the palace.

 Shrubs and trees are everywhere within the palace compound. 

 Jinseonmun (进善门), the first gate within the palace wall.

 Long passage behind Jinseonmun. The throne hall is on the left.

The throne hall, Injeongjeon Hall (仁政殿) is smaller than the throne hall in Gyeongbokgung. However, it looks nicer with the proper stone tiles and colourful foliage.

The throne hall is extensively decorated. The electric lamps were fixed in 1894.

 Seonjeongjean Hall is the place for the king's council. The hall is located beside the throne hall.

The residences for the king and queen are located next to the council hall (upper left). The residences are well-maintained (upper right). The rooms are connected by corridors (lower right) or by sliding doors. 

 The crown prince study hall is located beside the king's residence.

Another side of the study hall.

The entrance to the secret garden is next to the crown prince's study hall. There is a ticket checkpoint there.

We can see many visitors moving around the entrance to Changgyeonggung. Changgyeonggung is located beside Changdeokgung. We need to buy the ticket at the entrance of Changgyeonggung.

Nakseonjae complex was the last building that we visited in Changdeokgung. It was built in 1847 for the concubine named Gyeongbin. The concubine bear the king's child on behalf of the queen, thus being given a nice place to live in the palace. 

A part of Changgyeonggung can be seen from Changdeokgung.

We left Changdeokgung around 4:45 pm. It was getting dark early in autumn. However, we still managed to visit Bukchon before our dinner. Bukchon traditional village is not far away from exit 3 of Anguk Station. We spent around 10 minutes walking along Bukchon-ro to reach there.

We went to Buckhon information center to get information about the traditional village (upper left). The road to the village is smaller compare to the main road (upper right). People are still living in the traditional hut called hanok (lower right). The narrow alley, the hanok, and the village have been preserved in Bukchon for more than 600 years. 

Our photo at Bukchon.

After a tiring day trip to Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung and Bukchon, we took some street food on our way back to our hotel. Next on our trip- Nami Island.

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