Sunday, March 31, 2013

Seoul Day 4 - Culture seeking at Gyeongbokgung Palace (Part 2)

The next area we went to was the Sajeongjeon. It was here where the king held early morning meetings to manage routine state affairs. Early is not an understatement! These meetings started at 3:00am in the morning! Imagine getting up at that hour to discuss political matters!

Next stop was the king’s living quarters, the Gangnyeongjeon. The structure was divided into 9 sections with the center being the king’s room. It is here where the king read books, rested, and attended to state affairs in private. 

at the front of Gangnyeongjeon

Behind it is the Gyotaejeon which is the queen’s main residence. Here, she oversaw how the palace household should be run.

at the front of Gyotaejeon

Walking into an archway situated in the tall walls led us to the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. Situated in a pond, this structure served as the area where the king threw his many banquets – especially those dedicated for foreign envoys. Impressive views can be definitely appreciated here!

serene scenes at the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

Afterwards, we strolled towards the Jagyeongjeon. This separate structure served as the residence of Queen Dowager Jo – mother off King Heonjong. At the back, you can see the Ten Longevity Chimney – decorated with ten longevity symbols that wish for good health and happiness for the queen dowager. Considered as a national treasure, it was one of the finest chimneys built during the Joseon period.

the infamous Ten Longevity Chimney at Jagyeongjeon

A few minutes of walking led us to the Hyangwonjeong which is situated in the middle of a pond. This structure was a sight to behold with its intricate designs and craftsmanship. It was built when King Gojong built Geoncheonggung at the back of the pond in 1873 to have political independence from his father. This building complex included living quarters for the king and the queen. It even has a study. Unfortunately, it was also here where Queen Myeongseong was killed in 1895 during the Japanese invasion.

picture perfect at Hyangwonjeong

location of the tragic scenes at Geoncheonggung

The last building we visited was the Jibokjae. Used as a library and a reception hall for foreign envoys, this structure was actually moved here from Changdeokgung Palace in 1885 during King Gojong’s reign. A distinctive feature here is the mix of Qing Chinese and traditional Korean architectural styles used to produce this structure.

a mixture of cultures at Jibokjae
Gyeongbokgung Palace truly proved to be the grandest of all the palaces located in Seoul. I was so awe-inspired during my tour of the place that I did not notice the time passing by. It felt like I was discovering something new in every turn. More so, all the buildings were filled with historical significance – although some were really tragic in nature.

Although some structures here were still in the process of being restored, I like how they keep it to retain its original state. Another thing I saw here was how Koreans are proud of their culture and heritage – to even spend a whole lot of funds to keep these prominent and very much alive. I wish my country, the Philippines, could perform better steps in the preservation of such things.

Oh yeah, Gyeongbokgung Palace's popularity skyrocketed due to a traditional Korean drama called Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace) which showcased so much about Korean culture. Here's a poster in recognition of that located at the royal kitchen vicinity - under restoration at the moment.

the very popular Dae Jang Geum

Opening Hours:
March - October: 9:00 – 18:00
November - February: 9:00 – 17:00

Closed on Tuesdays

How to get here:
Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Line 3, Exit 5)
Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5, Exit 2)

Did you find this post informative and educational about Korean history and culture? Perhaps you've visited this grand palace in the past? Feel free to tell me your opinions and experiences by commenting below or by using the Contact button on the right.

Up next, spotting high ranking officials at Cheongwadae (Blue House) 

Want to discover more about my 5 Days and 4 Nights in Seoul, South Korea? Just click the link.


  1. Hi! I found this post while browsing about the palace! :))
    I love this post! Everything is so detailed, like what activities were done in the area, what happened there, etc :O
    Well, I just wanna say thank you for the well-written information lol, keep up the good work :D

    1. hi Fei! thanks for the appreciation. glad you enjoyed reading the posts here in my blog.

  2. Did you attend the group tour or are there information in each stop? Is the free group tour worth it?

    1. hi Steffie! thanks for dropping by. I did not avail of the free group tour. I signed up for a walking tour of the palace with a guide - it's free too. The link is a the first part of this post. As for the free group tour, it's going to be probably the same content as what I got so it might be worth it if you want to know more about the history and culture of the place. Happy travels!

  3. Hi there,

    Awesome reviews on the Gyeongbokgung palace!
    While searching the internet, found yours that was actually give me an eyeopener that the palace shoudl be on my top visited lists :)

    Just want to ask where exactly I could purchase the admission ticket before entering? Noted that you purchased it from the link you given, but how if I just want to enter the palace without having a tour?

    Feel free to drop any information about it, thanks :)

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed this post. You can purchase the tickets infront of the palace on the right side upon entering the gate. Enjoy your trip!