A Korean friend, Lilo and I wanted to see the first palace, Gyeongbokgung. As we exited from the Gyeongbokgung station, yellow was the prominent color in front of the Gwanghwamun square. Yellow umbrellas, yellow ribbons and yellow windmills were scattered all over. People were holding the signs, shouting in Korean with expression of determination written on their faces.
At first, Lilo and I weren’t too sure what was going on. Then our friend said, “ship. accident. At Jeju islands.” Then it hits us. It was two months ago when there was a ferry accident near Jeju Islands that unfortunately occurred on April 16, 2014. Several students were in this ferry for a trip to Jeju Islands had died. This tragic event caused an uproar in South Korea, blaming the captain and many crews for their actions (they left the ship and did not stayed to help). At that point, I wish I knew the protesters was saying. However, I felt it was about donation and perhaps asking everyone to sign petition to punish the captain and the crews due to observing their expression and how they tried to lure people to the booth to look at something.
We then proceeded to see the Gwanghwamun Square (which is in the front of Gyeongbokgung Palace) where precious statues were located of King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-Shin.
King Sejong the Great, according to the plaque, devised the Korean alphabet hanguel and presided over their cultural splendor. He was also the fourth king of Joseon dynasty.
Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, one of the most important and influential people in Korean history. He was a Korean admiral who became national hero for fighting against the Japanese invasion during the Imjin war and achieving victories.
*KOREAN DRAMA FANS* This is also where IRIS kdrama (Korean drama) was filmed where the NSS agents tried to fight off the North Korean terrorists, attempting to stop them from detonating a nuclear bomb.
You’ll also see the Gwanghwamun Gate from afar. It was a breathtaking scenery to see this rich cultural history of Korea.
I got excited when I saw the guards. Although it was only an act, it still felt surreal to see a partial history of Korea. Not only that but I often see this in Korean historical dramas! It was exciting to see it up close. At the time, we didn’t know about the Guard-on-Duty Performance. According to this, you can see the performance:
Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance:
11:00, 14:00, 16:00 / three times a day / 10 minutes per ceremony
We didn’t get a tour guide since it was not Deaf-friendly. We wouldn’t able to understand, even if the tour guide in English. Thankfully, our dear Korean friend, she guided us around and did her best to explain to us about the rich history of Gyeongbokgung palace. While exploring, we were amazed by its beauty of the agriculture and their stories. We didn’t realized it would be so big. It’s really big! You might need about 2-3 hours exploring everything, depending on your pace. We explored for about 2 hours.
*KDRAMA FANS* In the photo above, I believe this is where the young child actors were filmed here for The Moon Embraces the Sun!
We personally recommend visiting this palace! This is on the top five list to visit in Seoul according to Tripadvisor. If you want to learn about Korea’s history, Gyeongbokgung Palace is a great place to go. It’s a great insight to Korea’s rich historical culture form Joseon Dynasty (approximately years of 1392–1895).
Wear comfortable shoes! This place is huge!
Bring plenty of water, especially on a hot day.
Palace may looks the same as other palaces, but they all have different stories.
1, 500 won for the age 7-18
3,000 won for the age 19-64.
Free for Children who Ages 6 and under.
There is also a combination ticket! You can go to five different palaces within a month to Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung – the Secret Garden included, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung and Jongmyo Shrine for only 10,000 won! Lilo and I did purchased the combination ticket to visit all five palaces.
161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (Sejongno)
서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
June to August – 09:00~18:30 (Final admission at 17:30).
Do check for seasonal hours.
Closed on Tuesdays
How to get there:
Subway Line 5, Gwanghwamun Station, Exit 1 or 8