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Changdeokgung Palace is set within a large park in Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. If you are planning to include palace visit into your Korea itinerary, Changdeokgung Palace comes second after Gyeongbukgung as it is a smaller palace.
We chose Changdeokgung Palace for our second palace visit because it was the principal palace for many of the Joseon kings and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. It is also a 600-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Behind the palace lies the 78-acre Huwon (secret garden) which was originally constructed for the use of the royal family and palace women. The garden incorporates a lotus pond, pavilions, and landscaped lawns, trees, and flowers. There are over 26,000 specimens of a hundred different species of trees in the garden and some of the trees behind the palace are over 300 years old.
The most beautiful time to see the garden is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves have just started to fall. However, we were there on bad timing. Spring flowers have not blossomed as Korea experienced an extended winter last year.
Our Chinese tour guide was humorous and knowledgable. English tour is also available at 1130 am and 230pm daily.
We were there during April 2012 while Buyongjeong pavilion in the garden is undergoing a year long restoration project. By September 2012, the restoration project has been completed.
Guess what? These are steps used by the king to ride on a horse back.
In general, we felt disappointed towards the view we saw in the Secret Garden. I guess it depends very much on the weather and the season. It is best to come here during autumn and winter for the best scenery.
Regular Tour (Changdeokgung Palace)-Adults 3,000 won/Children 1,500 won
Huwon Tour (Secret Garden area)-Adults 5,000 won/Children 2,500 won
Interpretation Services-Changdeokgung Palace:
Korean: 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30
English: 10:30, 14:30/Japanese: 12:30/Chinese: 16:00
Korean: 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30
English: 11:30, 14:30/Japanese: 10:30, 13:30/Chinese: 12:30
Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 3. Go straight for 5min.
Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3 or 5), Exit 7. Go straight along Donhwamun-ro Street for 10min.