Gyeongbokgung: The One Palace in Seoul Everyone Visits

With four palaces in Seoul, you have a few choices of how to attack Korea's royal history. You can visit all four to get the grand tour (using the 10,000 won [~$10] pass) or hit a few together. If you are limited to just one, Gyeongbokgung is the northernmost palace and the grandest, so it is probably the most worth visiting.
 On one side, the inner gate awaits. The left-hand photo shows you the entrance where you'll buy your ticket. The much larger outer gate is seen on the right (as viewed from the inside). The other tourists below give you a sense of scale.
 Follow the path to the front.
 Buy your ticket, and in you go!
 One thing I really enjoyed was the architectural highlights seen in this and the other palaces.
 The main building holds the throne. It's the largest and most complex building as far as architecture goes, and why wouldn't it be?
 The palace was built in 1395, but destroyed during a Japanese invasion in the 1590s. It was rebuilt in the late 19th century by King Gojong.
 The smaller buildings around the palace are generally open for viewing.
 Most of them are fairly empty, but the interior architecture is still worth admiring.

 The further into the palace you go, the smaller and more intimate the courtyards become.

 Around the back is the original pond and pavilion, which date back to the Joseon Dynasty.
 Unfortunately, the pavilion is off-limits, but it can be admired from afar. In winter, as you can see, the pond is frozen over and is a perfectly flat snow-covered sheet of white.
 This really is a massive complex; all of the palaces are large but this one is enormous. If you want to see all the buildings, expect to stay for a couple hours; I believe I was here for almost four hours because I was taking so many photos. And don't forget that the Palace Museum and Folk Museum are located here, adding additional time to your visit.
 I believe that octagonal pavilion is larger than the room in my apartment; that other room is much bigger.

English tours are given at 11:00, 13:30, and 15:30, and last 60-90 minutes. And don't forget to save time for the Palace Museum and Folk Museum!
Admission to the palace is 3000 won ($3); a combination ticket for all four palaces and Jongmyo Shrine is 10,000 won ($10) and is an outstanding value because it includes the secret garden tour at Changdeokgung.

Grounds open at 9:00 and close sometime between 17:00 and 18:30 depending on the time of year (closed Tuesdays).

Access is very easy from Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 5.

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