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Gyeongbokgung Palace is a representative tourist attraction in Seoul, South Korea.

It is the first and largest of the five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. It is close to Gwanghwamun Square in the middle of Seoul, so accessibility is good. Gyeongbokgung Palace is a very large palace, so it takes a lot of time to look around properly. I introduced how to get around this vast Gyeongbokgung Palace and where to see and visit.

Heungnyemun Gate

1. Location

It can be reached in about 5 minutes on foot from Exit 5 of Gyeongbokgung Station. It is right next to Gwanghwamun Square, so you can visit Gwanghwamun Square together.

2. Viewing Time

  • March – May: 09:00 – 18:00
  • June – August: 09:00 – 18:30
  • September – October: 09:00 – 18:00
  • November – February: 09:00 – 17:00

Every Tuesday: Closed (If a public holiday and a holiday overlap, the next day is closed

3. Gwanghwamun Gate(광화문)

Gwanghwamun Gate

It’s the first thing you see outside. If you look at it from the Gwanghwamun Square side, you can see a beautiful appearance in harmony with Bukhansan Mountain in the back. Gwanghwamun is the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace, and you can see the gatekeeper guarding the front if you go during the daytime.

4. The Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony(수문장 교대식)

The Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony
The Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony

The Changing of the Guard Ceremony is one of the must-sees. Since 1996, it has been verified by experts and reproduced the royal palace guard changing ceremony in the past. You can stop by the gatekeeper wearing a colorful hanbok and a performance using Korean traditional musical instruments. In particular, since the ceremony is held at the location where the ticket office is located in Gwanghwamun, you can watch it for free even if you do not enter Gyeongbokgung Palace.

  • Time: 10:00, 14:00 / twice a day / 20 minutes required

5. Ticket Office

Ticket Office in Gyeongbokgung Palace

If you look to the right after entering the Gwanghwamun Gate, you can see the ticket office. Also a guide map is provided at the ticket office, so be sure to bring it with you

Admission fee

  • Age 19~64 : KRW 3,000
  • Age 7~18 : KRW 1,500
  • Age 6 and under, Age 65 and older, Last Wednesday of every month (Culture Day) : Free
  • Hanbok wearers : Free

<Hanbok rental near Gyeongbokgung Palace>

If you look around Gyeongbokgung Palace, you can see many tourists wearing hanbok. Admission to Gyeongbokgung is free if you wear hanbok, and taking pictures while wearing beautiful hanbok is a good memory, so we recommend you to try it on and see it.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

6. Free Guided Tours

  • English Free Guided Tours : 11:00, 13:30, 15:30

It takes about 90 minutes. Free tours are conducted in a total of six languages, including English. Detailed times can be found below. If you find it difficult to meet the commentary time, you can rent an audio guide at the ticket office(paid).

Free Guided Tours Detail>>

7. Geunjeongjeon Hall(근정전)

Geunjeongjeon Hall
Geunjeongjeon Hall

When you enter Palace, you can see Geunjeongjeon, the first building you can see. This is where national ceremonies such as the coronation of kings are held. If you look inside the building, you can see the seat where the king sat. Aslo this place is famous for the BTS performance.

8. Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Pond

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Pond in Gyeongbokgung Palace

If you go to the west of Geunjeongjeon, you can see Gyeonghoeru Pavilion above the pond. It is one of the most beautiful places in Gyeongbokgung Palace, and you can see it floating on the water. It is said that in the past, it was used as a place of entertainment for kings.

9. Walk Around Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Hyangwonjeong Pavilion

Gyeongbokgung Palace is a large place, so it takes a lot of time to look around all of it. It takes more than an hour to slowly look at the entire Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is recommended to get the map provided at the ticket office or download from the official website of Gyeongbokgung Palace introduced below, and tour Gyeongbokgung Palace according to your available time.

Download Map>>

10. National Folk Museum of Korea, National Palace Museum of Korea

National Palace Museum of Korea

There are two museums located at the entrance and to the right side of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Both are places where you can see the traditions of Korea, and admission fee is free.

National Palace Museum of Korea

National Palace Museum of Korea
National Palace Museum of Korea

After entering Gwanghwamun, the ticket office is on the right, and the National Folk Museum of Korea is on the left.

You can see many relics related to the Joseon royal family, such as royal clothing from the Korean Empire to the Japanese colonial period and the seal of the Joseon Dynasty.

National Folk Museum of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea
National Folk Museum of Korea

There is an entrance so that you can pass inside Palace. However, once you leave Gyeongbokgung Palace, you cannot re-enter. However, there is a Gyeongbokgung ticket office at the National Palace Museum of Korea. So if you have not enter the Gyeongbokgung Palace yet, you can purchase a ticket and enter Gyeongbokgung directly from the museum.

It is a cultural space that researches and exhibits the life culture of Koreans.

11. Night opening

Gyeongbokgung Palace Night opening

Gyeongbokgung Palace is open at night during certain period. Unlike during the day, the night opening allows you to see Gyeongbokgung Palace through the lighting. The appearance of the palace seen in this way is beautiful.

There is a limit on the number of people entering the night opening. Because it is so popular, Koreans must make a separate reservation to enter. These tickets sell out quickly. However, there is a separate number of entrances for foreigners, so foreign tourists can enter more easily without a separate reservation. Also, if you wear a hanbok during the night opening, you can visit for free, just like during the day.

(The opening schedule for 2023 has not yet been set. In 2022, night viewings were held in April, May, September, and October.)

12. Places to visit nearby

So far, I have introduced the things you mus- see if you visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul’s representative tourist attraction. I hope you will see the various beautiful scenes of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

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