One of the most touristic attractions of Seoul is visiting its palaces. However, there is more than one… there are 3 famous ones. All of them are similar but at the same time they are really unique and have their own particularities. If you have time in Seoul to visit the 3 of them it’s a unique experience that you’ll never experience outside of Korea. But if you have a short amount of time make a choice and visit one or two of them.
The first palace that I visited was the Changdeokgung palace. It was the second villa of the king after the main one : Gyeongbukgung.
Because it was the first palace that I visited in Korea I was really impressed by the architecture, the drawing and the colors of the place. The Changdeokgung palace is composed of different buildings, so you can spend some time there. Actually, I visited this palace twice, once during winter and once during spring. I preferred to visit it during winter because the place was empty. I could fully appreciate the beauty of the place.
What I particularly liked in Korean palaces were the drawings and colors. Every building is painted in a really colorful way. This is not only the case for this palace but for all the palaces in Korea. For me, it was what made Korean palaces so beautiful.
The particularity of the Changdeokgung palace is its secret garden. At the entrance, you can get another ticket to visit the secret garden of the king. This visit is in English few times a day. You can’t go on your own it’s a group visit.
The secret garden was built for the King and his family in order to rest and enjoy the nature. Nowadays, the secret garden reveals a true beauty.
The tour is around one hour and a half and the explanations are really good. It gives you the history of the place and also some information about the palace itself. It really helped me to imagine Korea at this time.
I visited the secret garden twice during winter and early spring. Of course, I recommend to visit it during spring (not early spring but full spring) or autumn because the colors of the garden are becoming even more charming.
If you are going to the Changdeokgung palace you should not miss the secret garden which is really beautiful to see.
The second palace I visited in Seoul is the most famous one : the Gyeongbukgung palace.
This palace was the main royal palace of the king during the Joseon dynasty. The main buildings of this palace looked really similar to the previous palace but its particularity was its size. The area of the Gyeongbukgung palace is really big and you have a lot of small areas to explore.
What I particularly liked in this palace was still the colors of the painting which were stunning. I also liked the fact that the area is big, there is a lot to visit. Moroeover one of the buildings of the palace is in the water which was beautiful.
If you have to visit only one palace in Seoul I would recommend seeing this one because it’s the most well known. Moreover, even if there are more people the area is spread and you have a lot to see.
Finally, the last palace I visited was the Deoksugung palace. This area is made of few palaces which were inhabited by the royal family during the Joseon dynasty but were used to receive guests.
I didn’t really love this place because the palaces are pretty but after seeing the other two palaces, this one is less impressive. However, I found it funny to be really near big buildings with huge screens. It showed me the contrast of Seoul.
If I was not a big fan of this place why I am talking about it?
Because of the royal guards ceremony! Every day at 11am, 2pm and 3:30pm a representation of the guards ceremony in traditional costoms is given. This is the particularity of this place that I loved. I was in love with the ceremony and the show given. To see it, you don’t have to go into the palace but just stay in front of it.
This is a really good experience of my staying in Korea and if you have the opportunity to see it don’t miss it, you’ll be impressed by the atmosphere.
Now the hardest part for you is to choose between these three different palaces in Seoul… If you don’t want to choose just visit all of them! (the 2 first palaces are really near so it’s easy to visit the 2 of them).