It was a sunny yet cooling autumn Thursday morning when we started our visit to the palace, okay, more like visiting Secret Garden instead of the palace. After some research, we decided to go with Changdeokgung (창덕궁) for our very first palace sight-seeing. Why Changdeokgung, and not Gyeongbokgung, Changgyeonggung, Gyeonghuigung or Deoksugung?
Second palace built after Gyeongbokgung, it was said to be a favored residence to many of the late Kings. Regardless of countless reconstructions, Changdeokgung preserved it’s original features. In the year 1997, Changdeokgung was listed as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site.
Yes, we chose this as it still have many of it’s original features that were well preserved, giving us a better view of what royal quarters looks like. Since it was the first time visiting such palaces, I wanted to see something different and worth keeping in my mind and heart.
Walking through Donhwamun Gate, main gate of the historical palace, the path stood ahead of me was so clean and stunning, as if diagnose with germaphobes, the sky even looks so blue and clear on that day. Do comment if you spot a cloud!
Surrounded by the palace walls and buildings, all I can say is that this whole place blended in so well with nature, almost like it’s unreal, like you could only see this in your imaginations, or those you saw in dramas.
Geumcheongyo, believed to be a oldest bridge still existing in Seoul, built around 6 centuries ago in the year 1411. Unlike those scary wooden bridges that constructed in villages or in the middle of the jungle, Geumcheongyo is a stone bridge. Strong and sturdy. There’s no need to worry about collapsing, at least not yet.
See my lovely mama trying to prove how tough it is?
Rows of trees lined along the sidewalks, providing shades for anyone who like to take a rest while keeping their eyes locked on the serene views around the area. Clean and stunning isn’t it?
Hidden behind the giant bushes lies a 78 acre Huwon (후원) (widely known as Secret Garden), constructed for the use of royal family and palace women. Main highlight of this palace, you never know the real Changdeokgung until you take a stroll in Huwon. Personally, I think this garden is very well taken care of and well protected as it’s only accessible with a guided tour from the palace staff. You need to make a reservation online if you planned to visit the Huwon. Book here!
We booked an 11.30am session tour, after a short walk at the main palace, we headed to Huwon and wait for our tour to start. Once the tour started, you are actually free to roam about inside but just try not to be mischievous wandering in the prohibited area.
Free admission to the palaces every last Wednesday of every month!
I don’t know if we were the only one who wander off on our own, however I did saw some other visitors did the same too.
Strolling around, we stop by a place when we saw a pack of humans gathering around, snapping loads of pictures and… in front of me is a beautiful pond! Ok, the pond alone wouldn’t be nice to watch but what makes the sight even more beautiful is the Juhamnu Pavillion. Erected right beside, as though dominating this entire area while bringing an overwhelming calmness to it.
Sorry that I had to take a crop shot as there were too many people getting in my way and bombing my pictures! Anyway, the lower level of the pavillion was served as a Gyujanggak, the Royal Library, while upper level was used as a King’s reading room.
Such a huge garden, sometimes I really do wonder if the King and Queens had been to every inch and corner, not to mention that they had to remember how to get to a particular place.
To get there by subway, take Line 3 (orange line), and get down at Anguk Station, exit 3. Go straight for 5 min.
Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3 or 5), Exit 7. Go straight along Donhwamun-ro Street for 10min.