Experience Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gwanghwamun Gate – the main and south gate of the palace

Built in 1395, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded, Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first and also the largest of all five grand palaces in Seoul. The name “Gyeongbokgung” means “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven”.

Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon Dynasty, the Kings’ households, as well as the government of Joseon until the premises were destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion of Korea (1592-1598). Restoration efforts of the palace only began in 1990 and continue to this day.

Highlights Of Our Visit

Royal Guards Changing Ceremony – held at the square in front of Heungnyumun Gate , the second inner gate of the palace

We arrived at 10am just in time to watch the reenactment of the Royal Guards Changing Ceremony. The performance often catches the eyes of tourists when guardsmen perform the changing of guards in traditional costumes – a great opportunity to experience a rare traditional scene in Korea!

The ceremony takes place at the top of every hour from 10:00. You can watch the performance for free and be sure to come prepared with camera to capture the moment!

More details about the ceremony and schedules can be found here.

Visitors in hanbok

We saw many visitors came dressed in the traditional Korean clothing, hanbok, to experience the palace. Admission to the palace is free for all visitors wearing hanbok too.

Heungnyemun Gate – the second inner gate of the palace

After watching the royal guard changing ceremony, we bought tickets to enter the palace to tour and walk around. Note: Those who wish to pass through Heungnyemun Gate must have a ticket to enter the palace. 

Geunjeongjeon Hall – the imperial throne hall

We had the opportunity to look into the Geunjeongjeon Hall which is the main imperial throne hall of the palace. It was at this location where the King held meetings, handled state affairs, and held receptions for foreign visitors and dignitaries. Grand celebrations, such as coronation ceremonies of kings were also held here. 

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion – the royal banquet hall

We also toured the beautiful surrounding of Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, the royal banquet hall, that is located on a peaceful pond. The pavilion was once used for entertainment when important foreign visitors visited the palace.

At the palace grounds, visitors can also visit The National Palace Museum of Korea that displays relics from the Joseon Dynasty [1392~1910] and the National Folk Museum of Korea that presents historical artifacts used in the daily lives of Korean people in the past. 

Getting There

  • Take the subway to Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3) and use Exit 5.
  • There will be directional signs from the station that lead you to the palace, approximately 5 mins walk.

Operating Hours

  • Closed on Tuesdays
  • Jan – Feb (09:00~17:00)
  • Mar – May (09:00~18:00)
  • Jun – Aug (09:00~18:30)
  • Sep – Oct (09:00~18:00)
  • Nov – Dec (09:00~17:00)
  • Last admission is 1 hour before closing
  • Operating hours are subject to changes
  • Check out the website for latest information

Admission Fee for International Visitors

  • Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Groups (10 people or more): 2,400 won
  • Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Groups (10 people or more): 1,200 won