We started the day with exploration of Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁). Also known as Gyeongbok Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) was the main royal palace back in the Joseon dynasty. It serve as the home of the Kings back in the Joseon dynasty.
Known as the Northern Palace, it was built in 1395 and is said to be the largest of the Five Grand Palaces in Seoul.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) was destroyed by fire during the Imjin War and then was abandoned for two centuries until the palace were restored in the 19th century. The architectural principles of ancient Korea were incorporated into the tradition of the Joseon royal court on the site of over 40 hectares.
The walled palace was then gradually reconstructed to its original form after it was destroyed in the early 20th century.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) is said to be the most beautiful and grandest palace among the five palaces. The ground also housed National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) is also a Historic Site No.117 (Designated on January 21, 1963).
We head to Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) by Subway Line 3 where we got off at the Gyeongbokgung Station. Heading out from Exit 5, it brought us to the Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) entrance.
Admission fees for International Visitors is 3,000 won per adult.
There are also option for Integrated Palace Ticket covering Four Palaces (Changdeokgung Palace (including Huwon, Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace) and Jongmyo Shrine) at only 10,000 won. Ticket is valud for use for up to three month after purchase. And ticket is non-refundable upon visiting at least one place from the list.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) palace ground is huge although some portions are currently under renovation. We were very lucky that the weather were cooling hence we had a great time exploring the palace group. Despite the missing Cherry Blossom, the palace ground was indeed beautiful.
We enter Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) through Geunjeongmun (근정문) the main gate to the courtyard and to Geunjeongjeon (근정전).
Around us that morning, although it was a Monday, we were surrounded with enthusiastic visitors dressed in traditional korean costume, Hanbok (한복)
Geunjeongjeon (근정전) also known as Geunjeongjeon Hall, is the throne hall of the King granting audiences to his officials and many of his official duties back during the Joseon dynasty. This building was designated as Korea’s National Treasure No. 223 on January 8, 1985.
Gangnyeongjeon (강녕전), also known as Gangnyeongjeon Hall was the King’s main residing quarters. It was first constructed in 1395 but was destroyed during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592. The building was later rebuilt during the reconstruction in 1867 but unfortunately burned down in November 1876 by a major fire. It was later restored in 1888.
We took a short break for a cold drink as the day was getting warmer….
Our next stop was Gyeonghoeru (경회루), also known as Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. A registered Korea’s National Treasure No. 224 on January 8, 1985, Gyeonghoeru (경회루) is a hall on an island of an artificial rectangular lake of 128 m wide and 113 m across. It used to hold important and special banquets during the Joseon Dynasty. A beautiful sight that we had truly enjoyed.
Further exploration of Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) leads us to many beautiful and filled with Korean Culture building… and beautiful early spring flowers….
Our last stop leads us to the 12 stone zodiac of the Chinese calendar.
Although we missed it, one of the favourite activity for visitor to Seoul is watching the changing of the guards at the main gate of Gwanghwamun. The changes are available from 10:00 to 15:00 daily.
We also managed to snap some night views of Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) when we were heading back after our next exploration of the day.
And the beautiful surrounding night views….