Although it is one of the smaller palaces that still exist in Seoul today, Deoksugung Palace retains its charm albeit being in the center of one of the densest city in the world. It originally served as the king's residence during the Joseon Dynasty during the 1500s and later on in the early 1900s. Today, only a third of the original palace remains but several historic structures are preserved.
There is a changing of the guards ceremony in front of Daehanmun everyday at 11am, 2pm and 3:30pm. Sadly, on the day that I was there, the ceremony was cancelled because of a political protest. Admission into the palace is only 1,000 won or $1 USD per adult!
Junghwajeon Hall or the throne hall is still in tact today. Outside, stone plaques mark where each high ranking advisor would stand.
One of the charms of Deoksugung Palace is the Western architecture that can be found inside the palace grounds. Seokjojeon Hall is a Western-style stone building that was intended as a living quarter for Emperor Gojong and his empress while Jeonggwanheon Pavilion was a place for contemplation or meditation. It was built by Russian architect Seredin-Sabatin and has a mix of both Western and traditional styles.
Surrounding each of the buildings is a tranquil park, perfect for those wanting to escape the busy city while exploring the traditional Korean culture.
Hours: 9am-9pm (closed Mondays)
Nearest Subway Station: CIty Hall Station