Also known as the Northern Palace and the Palace of Felicitous Blessing, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest of the five palaces in Seoul. It is also the Main Palace of the Joseon Dynasty. Closed on Tuesdays and opens at 9AM.
We wanted to witness the Gatekeeper Military Training and the Changing of the Royal Guard ceremony so we went here early. As it turned out, marami ring tourists na kapareho sa amin mag-isip so marami pa ding tao nang dumating kami. Xyza and Angel went to buy their Palace Tour Combo tickets (meron na kami ni Claudia from our own tour of Deoksugung Palace several days ago).
One of the greatest takeaway ko on our way papunta dito is that Xyza has criminal tendencies. Something na hindi namin inakala. Gusto niyang tibagin ang tiles sa subway dahil and pretty at gusto niya iuwi. We told her na kung gusto niya, mag-isa siya kasi gusto pa naming bumalik ng South Korea.
Gyeongbokgung Palace offers a free palace tour in several major languages including English. All tours depart from in front of the information center at Heungnyemun Gate. If you have an hour and a half to spare, it is highly recommended to join the palace tours. Gyeongbokgung is really beautiful but you will be able to appreciate it more if you understand what you are seeing.
Spot-the-chimney is a good game to play while touring the palace. There are various designs and some of them are installed directly on the building unlike this. The chimney in the queen dowager's residence is decorated with the ten signs of longevity: sun, mountain, water, stone, cloud, pine, herb of eternal life, turtle, crane, and deer.
Up and Around the Palace Grounds
National Palace Museum of Korea
We had some time so we decided to visit the National Palace Museum on our way out. Malapit lang kasi ito sa Gwanghwamun Gate. There is no entrance fee and there is a guided tour in English if makaabot kayo sa schedule niya. You can also rent an audio device for around 1000 won. We did not join the tour kasi hindi naman kami umabot and we did not get the audio device, too. We just sprinted through the museum just to look around.
Au revoir, Gyeongbokgung Palace!
But our day is far from over. There is another palace to visit (for Angel and Xyza) and revisit (for Claudia and I).