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Gyeongbokgung Palace Information & More

Get all the details you need to spend a day at the palace and in the nearby area.

Alexis Collazo
2 years ago

When you think of things you'd like to do in Korea, many things come to mind. Seoul alone provides enough to see and do that you could easily spend a month here and not get to everything. But in the quest to do everything, there are some things that can easily fall through the cracks. One of Korea's incredible talents as a society is beautifully blending old with the new. Gyeongbokgung is the perfect example of such a feat. 

Not only that, but Gyeongbokgung has been the setting of many popular K-dramas such as Kingdom, Legend of the Blue Sea, and Goblin 😍. 

Goblin

We spent the day at Gyeongbokgung, the largest palace in Korea, just to see why people from all over the world fall in love with it from every visit. Come with us to find out why. 

If you'd like to see a more detailed history about the palace, please make sure to read this.


Information 

Location: 서울 종로구 사직로 161
161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Hours: Tuesdays OFF

January - February 
November - December
9am - 5pm (Final admission at 4pm)
March - May
September - October
9am - 6pm (Final admission at 5pm)
June - August
9am - 6:30pm (Final admission at 5:30pm)



Free Tour Schedule 

Language
Time
Day
English
11:00am
1:30pm
3:30pm

Monday - Sunday (Tuesday CLOSED)

Japanese
10:00am
Chinese
1:00pm
Bahasa Indonesia
11:00am
Friday
Vietnamese
3:00pm



Gyeongbokgung Guide & Map

Tour Additional Details

The tour starts in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace Information Center inside the Heungnyemun Gate.

The tour is around 1 - 1.5 hours. 

Masks must be worn in indoor locations.

Groups with 10 or more people must make a reservation in advance. 

Individuals with less than 10 people can join a tour without a reservation. 

Reserved and unreserved groups and individuals are guided together by one guide. 

For more information call 02-3700-3900.


Palace Etiquette

Please do no run or speak loudly within the palace. 

Pets, sports equipment, balls, mats, and outside food are not allowed to be brought onto the palace grounds. 

Smoking is not allowed on the palace grounds, including the parking lot. 

Flying drones is not allowed on the palace ground which is in a Seoul No Fly Zone. Doing so without written approval can result in a fine of up to 2,000,000 KRW. (Please contact the Drone Fly Approval Authority in Charge of Capital Defense Command at 02-534-3346 if you are interested in attaining written approval.)


Price

Who
Price (KRW)
Adults (19-64)
3,000/2,400 (for groups of 10 or more)
Youth (7 - 18)
1,500/1,200 (for groups of 10 or more
Children (6 and under)
Seniors (65 and up)
Combination Ticket Buyers 

People Wearing Hanbok

Free

Why We Recommend It

Gyeongbokgung is the largest palace in Korea, and the most famous. 

The palace, which was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, has been beautifully replicated. 

There are daily performances by actors at various times of the day. 

It's a great location to take amazing amazing photos. 


Our Visit

Gwanghwamun

Gwanghwamun

We've written many articles about Gyeongbokgung until now since it is one of the most famous landmarks in Korea. But this time we decided to take a more personal approach. It's one thing to read about a place, but it's another thing to experience it yourself. We hope that this blog can convince you why you should consider adding this famous palace to your sightseeing list. 

Since we were visiting the largest palace in Korea, we knew we had to go all out. After we made our way to the Gyeongbokgung area, we made our way to Hanbok Girls, a hanbok rental shop in the area, to get our traditional attire. If you want to wear hanbok on your visit, we definitely recommend Hanbok Girls. The quality of hanbok is A+ and the staff makes sure that you are well-fitted and comfortable within the clothes. They carry a range of sizes, including plus sizes, and various styles of hanbok. All Creatrip members can get 10% off if they reserve with us!

Hanbok Girls

While we chose Hanbok Girls, there are plenty of other rental shops in the area. Check out our list to get a discount with our other partners!

If you want to snap some pictures in the area before you enter as well, we are also partnered with the following studios! Get your hanbok captured professionally at a reasonable price:

Once we were dressed, we made our way to Gyeongbokgung! The walk from the hanbok shop was not very far, but as we made our way down the street, we were overcome with a feeling of excitement. Prior to coming to the palace, we felt very familiar with it. It's a very well-known landmark and one we have highlighted often, but walking towards a palace dressed in hanbok really upgraded the experience for us. 

When we entered through Gwanghwamun, the main gate, we saw the ticket booths to the right, but there was no need for us to stop by. As we knew, all guests wearing hanbok are let in for free!

If you do need to buy a ticket on your visit, you can either buy your ticket from one of the attendants or you can use one of the automated ticket machines. They are able to be used in multiple languages including English so you should have no problems getting your ticket. 

After you get your ticket, you can head straight into the the palace and explore as you like or you can stop by the rental booth to rent an audio guide which is available in Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese. For those interested in the history of the palace, this is a great way to take in a lot of information at your own pace. If that seems like too much, they also have maps available with various information in a larger selection of languages. 

When you finally make your way into the palace, you'll realize just how popular this place is. Even on a weekday in the middle of the day, you will be greeted with crowds of people making their way to famous palace. But the views you see even immediately after entering the palace walls are super exciting. The architecture and design of all the Seoul palaces are somewhat similar, but Gyeongbokgung is by far the most grand.

Guenjeongmun

We made our way inside through the Guenjeongmun towards Guenjeongjeon Hall, a building where important state functions were held, such as when court officials were granted audience with the king. We took many pictures here since the area was so spacious. But once we finally made our way to the hall, we saw inside the to ornately decorated interior, to where the king sat for such events. Since this is the first building you see in the palace, there were many people waiting to take a look inside. 

Guenjeongjeon Hall Interior

One thing to note about Gyeongbokgung is that its size can be deceiving. Despite knowing that Gyeongbokgung was the largest palace in Seoul, we were still taken aback by just how expansive it is. It seemed no matter how many times we entered a new area, there was more and more and more. We became overwhelmed with the prospect of taking in the whole palace in its entirety so we depended heavily on our map to inform us of what we were seeing.

Sajeongmun


Sajeongjeon

Next, we made our way to the Sajeongjeon Hall, the Council Hall where the king would regularly discuss national affairs with his court officials. Once again, we could see people lining up to look inside.

Gangyeongjeon Hall

If you continue on, you'll see Gangyeongjeon Hall, the king's sleeping quarters. It is located near to Gyotaejeon, the queen's sleeping quarters. Despite being his bedroom, the veranda of Gangyeongjeon was often used to hold meetings with the king's officials. 

Heumgyeonggak

Continuing through the living quarters of the King, we saw Heumgyeonggak, a building that housed Ongnugiryun, the astronomical water clock that indicated the seasons and the time. 

Jagyeongjeon Hall

Jagyeongjeon Hall is a building that was built by King Gojong for his adoptive mother, Dowager Jo (Queen Sinjeong), to live in. 

We continued on and found that buildings continued on and on. Seemingly, everyone in the royal family had their own building 😅. We continued on to Donggung, the crown prince's compound where he lived with the crown princess while training for the throne. 

As mentioned before, the architecture of the palaces all resemble each other. Certain patterns can be seen throughout them all and the structure itself is reminiscent of the time it was designed. No matter where we walked, we saw another place to capture, another perfect background for a photo, or just something to be taken in and appreciated. 

One of the most breathtaking areas we found was a small gazebo sitting in a lake connected by a bridge. We later learned it was called the Hyangwonjeong Pavilion. The water reflected the structure and paired so well with the blue sky that was shining over us. It was also in this moment we realized we could see Namsan from within the palace walls. People admired its beauty in many ways. From capturing it on camera, to relaxing with their loved ones on a bench to take in the view, it was clear that this area captured the attention of more than just us. 

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

As we made our way around, we found another structure surrounded by a pond, but this one was open for visitors. Our curiosity was peaked so we circle for a closer look of what we later learned was the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. It's located to the west of the living quarters, and was built as a venue for feasts with foreign envoys, as well as the king and his officials. This is an area that visitors are allowed to go inside if they make a reservation here

We were also able to gain more perspective of how this palace ran and its various functions. We found the palace's kitchen, which had been renovated into a small cafe. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, they only allow visitor's through reservations and they have a daily break around lunch time which kept us from being able to go inside, but from what we could see, it was beautiful. 

Saeng Gwa Bang Cafe

Right outside, we found the beauty continued with plants, flowers, and trees, along with an area to rest and take it all in. We were quite tired from our journey in the palace so the spot was greatly welcomed. 

Jibokjae

Jibokjae, which was located further back in the palace, acted as a residence for the king's officials. 

Taewonjeon

We also found Taewonjeon, where you can find the enshrined photo of King Taejo, was also nice place for a quick photo shoot. We saw many people in their hanboks awaiting their turn to get a picture. 

Sujeongjeon 

National Palace Museum of Korea

If you visit Gyeongbokgung, one area you must stop by is the National Palace Museum of Korea. The museum shows many artifacts collected from the Joseon era and really brings to life the history that you read and see while walking through the palace.

Museum Info:

Hours: 10:00am - 6:00pm (Closed on holidays)

Tours: They are usually available in English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese but are currently not available. 

Fee: Free

As you walk through Gyeongbokgung, you may wonder what each building was for. The various locations are numbered and have a sign displaying a short history of the structure and its purpose in Korean and English. If you look at the map that can be picked up near the front gate, you can read this history in your own language and follow along quite easily. 

As we walked deeper and deeper into the palace, we came closer and closer to the Blue House, the building that is purposed as a home for the acting president. It felt fitting that the home of the country's past kings, would neighbor the home of the current leaders of Korea. We learned that the Blue House actually sits in Gyeongbokgung's original location with that intention in mind. Since the current president is not residing in the Blue House for his term, it is now open to the public to visit, so iff you have the chance, we recommend visiting the Blue House as well. 

Since the palace is so big, it is likely that'll you want to take breaks throughout your sightseeing. Luckily there are quite a few places to rest throughout the palace. As you walk around, you'll see people sitting on edge of various buildings, on benches throughout the garden, or even at the cafe named Sarang ('love' in Korean) that is located near the entry. There you will find people in and out of hanbok enjoying beverages after a long journey throughout royal grounds. 

Finally after two and a half hours, we felt satisfied with our palace adventures. There is so much to see so we easily got carried away walking around. We took our final pictures and finally made our way out of the palace and back to the hanbok shop to change into our clothes. 


Gyeongbokgung at Night

Another way to take in Gyeongbokgung is to visit during the time of year where they open it at night. This happens annually around April to May for a short time so if you're planning a trip in the Spring, we definitely recommend booking tickets! 


How to Get There

Take subway line number 3 to Gyeongbokgung Station (경복궁역) and take Exit 3-1. 

Walk straight about 119m and cross the street. 

Continue to your right and walk straight another 220m and Gwanghwamun (광화문), the main entrance into Gyeongbokgung, will be on on your left. 


Nearby Attractions

Cheonggyecheon (청계천)

Whether you visit during the day or at night, Cheonggyecheon provides a peaceful environment where you can enjoy the view, find a nice cafe and take it all in.

Changdeokgung and the Secret Garden (창덕궁/후원)

Arguably the most beautiful of the palaces is Changdeokgung with its Secret Garden. Explore the grounds and see the garden so beautiful, the royals kept it all to themselves. 

Changgyeogung (창경궁)

Experience the wonderful night view of the Changgyeonggung Palace without the need of a reservation. Located next to Changdeokgung, so you can easily make a day visiting the two. 

Deoksugung (덕수궁)

Come explore the past home of King Gojong, where you can see a unique combination of traditional Korean architecture and buildings with modern influence. 

Gyeonghuigung (경희궁)

The smallest of the palaces but also the most affordable: FREE! Come take a quiet walk in the middle of Seoul to enjoy the secluded area of Gyeonghuigung. 


Nearby Cafes

Gabaedo (가배도 삼청점)

Come enjoy a peaceful visit to the Samcheong branch of Gabaedo where you can try delicious drinks and desserts. All Creatrip members can also enjoy an additional 10% discount when they present this coupon

Cafe PIU (카페 PIU)

This cafe is a small and simple cafe with a great menu that is hand-crafted for a great experience. Cafe PIU presents the perfect atmosphere for refreshing after a long day of walking around Gyeongbokgung. Enjoy 10% off with an exclusive Creatrip coupon

Tea Therapy (티테라피 안국점)

If you're looking for ultimate relaxation follow your Gyeongbokgung visit, we definitely recommend going to Tea Therapy to enjoy a soothing cup of tea and a relaxing foot bath. You will feel your fatigue disappear and your mind clear when you take in the scent of the tea. Get exclusive pricing for your foot bath when you reserve your visit with Creatrip. 


Nearby Restaurants

Masan Agujjim (마산아구찜)

If you're craving something spicy after a day of palace adventures, then we recommend visiting Masan Agujjim. There you can enjoy a large plate of nutritious fish steamed with bean sprouts, minari (Korean parsley), and gochuchang (red pepper paste). Enjoy 10% off with a Creatrip coupon

Najuso Naju Gomtang (나주소 나주 곰탕 경복궁점)

If you're not feeling spicy food, then you can try a nice traditional Korean meal, at Najuso Naju Gomtang. The broth of this soup is made by simmering meat in water for a long time to create a deep, delicious base. Get a taste of Naju-style gomtang with a 10% discount with your Creatrip coupon.

Maji (마지) 

Have some diet restrictions but not sure where they can be accommodated? Try Maji, where you can enjoy a traditional style meal with vegetarian-friendly and meat-lover options. All Creatrip members can enjoy 5% off when they show this coupon


We hope you enjoyed coming along with us to Gyeongbokgung. We definitely recommend that everyone visits at least once to really take in a piece of Korean history and enjoy the beauty of a Joseon era palace in modern day Seoul. If you want to find out about other palaces in Seoul, then make sure to check out our Seoul Palace Guide. 

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at help@creatrip.com or join our Facebook group where you can ask questions freely. Also make sure you're following us on InstagramTikTok and Facebook to get all the latest content on Korea. 

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