Day 7: Visited Gyeongbok Palace today. We were suppose to tour the Blue House (Cheongwadae), which is the president’s house but we missed our tour because I got us lost. However, all was not lost we did get to see the changing of the Royal Guard ceremony and that was really cool. We also toured the rest of Gyeongbok Palace which was great and that was my last palace to see. Now I’ve been to all Five Grand Palaces!! Gyeongbok Palace was the largest of the 5 and with the most still standing or restored. It was the main palace and called “Palace of Shining Happiness.” Inwangsan stands in the background while looking west at the palace. It also has the National Folk Museum and Palace Museum on the grounds.
After our trip we went to Chad’s school to meet his kinders and older students. They were great. One even wrote my mom a letter, it was so sweet.
Now the big adventure tomorrow, the DMZ.
Day 6: Toured the Five Grand Palaces and the Secret Garden of Changdeok Palace today. The Secret Garden was so beautiful. It’s a giant rear garden that was a relaxing place for the king and queen. They would partake in several outdoor activities such as military exercises and archery. The king would even raise grain and the queen would engage in sericulture, the rearing of silkworms for raw silk. It was a little bit of a up and downhill walk at times but completely worth it. I’d love to go again in autumn and spring. Tickets were 8,000 won per person that was to go around Changdeok Palace and The Secret Garden guided tour. You can only enter the Secret Garden with a tour group. They have tours in Korean, English and Japanese.
Gyeonghuigung or Gyeonghui Palace is one of the “Five Grand Palaces” of Seoul built by the Joseon Dynasty. It was built as a detached royal villa where the kings would stay during daily excursions and emergencies. Construction began in 1617 and finished in 1623. It was large enough that it connected to Deoksu Palace. Sadly, Gyeonghui Palace was destroyed during Japanese occupation of the early 20th century. In the 1980s the site was designated as Historical Site 271 and parts of the main palaces were rebuilt from historical descriptions, tablets and sketches; that’s what stands today.
Admission is free and it’s a great place to wander around. The recreated buildings are full of vibrant colors and beautiful Asian architecture. Right next to the palace park is an art museum and the Seoul Museum of History. There is also a walking tour between Gyeonghuigung and Deoksugung that I accidentally took that’s a beautiful little walk that parts don’t feel like you’re in present day Seoul.
Deoksugung or the Deoksu Palace is on of the “Five Grand Palaces” in Seoul built by the Joseon Dynasty. It is one of the only ones that include Western architecture. Most of the buildings of the five palaces were heavily destroyed by Japanese invasions. But the parts still remaining are beautiful and are some of Korea’s best examples of Far Eastern architecture.