Gyeongbokgung Palace Place guide



Gyeongbokgung Palace

‘Gyeongbokgung’ means ‘greatly-blessed palace’ and is the largest and grandest of Seoul’s five ancient palaces.


‘Gyeongbokgung’ means ‘greatly-blessed palace’ and is the largest and grandest of Seoul’s five ancient palaces. It is considered one of the best places to visit in Korea, where you’ll get a glimpse of dynastic Korea’s culture, palace life, and architecture.

Gyeongbokgung was built to house the royal family of the Joseon Dynasty after they transferred the capital here in 1392. This made it the embryo of Seoul’s emergence as a place of power, witnessing fires, repeated destruction, and a royal assassination. However, the regal atmosphere of former glory is still tangible here thanks to thoughtful reconstruction – using mighty crags from Bugaksan mountain to the north, no less!

Stroll the dusty paths between the place’s delicate tile-roofed buildings, and visit the excellent on-site museums in the large historical complex. Make sure you set aside a great chunk of your day if you want to see it all. 

In 1989, the city government embarked on a massive 40-year campaign to recreate the hundreds of buildings that once filled the palace walls of Gyeongbokgung. Today, more than half of the palace’s buildings have been rebuilt, to good effect. 

In 2010, the Gwanghwamun was reopened – Korea’s most famous palace gate. For the first time since the Joseon dynasty, it was reconstructed in its original position, built with traditional materials.

Points of interest: 

  • Gwanghwamun: The palace’s southern gate, where most tours begin

  • Geunjeongjeon: The palace’s former throne room

  • The living quarters: The buildings that once housed crown princes; Gangnyeongjeon, former residence of the king and queen; Jagyeongjeon, chimneys decorated with animal figures and backed by a beautiful stone wall 

  • Gyeonghoeru: A giant pavilion overlooking a peaceful lotus pond, a favorite among imperial artists

  • Geoncheonggung: Miniature palace renowned as the site of Empress Myeongseong’s assassination 

  • Jibokjae: A miniature palace erected in 1999 to in Chinese design 

  • Taewonjon: Buildings with mountain views and few visitors

  • National Folk Museum: A traditionally-styled, multi-tiered edifice showing the Korean way of life during times gone by
  • National Palace Museum: See the Ilwolobongdo, a folding screen placed behind the imperial throne featuring the sun, moon, and five peaks positioning the seated monarchs at the nexus of heaven and earth. 

How to get there

  • Join the Full Day Seoul City Tour Gyeongbokgung Palace & Korea Folk Village Tour

  • Book a South Korea tour package: Gyeongbokgung Palace & Cheongwadae Sarangchae Tour

  • Take Subway Line 3 and exit 5 at the Gyeongbokgung Station.

Sajingno 161; Open March-Oct daily 9am-6pm, Nov-Feb Wed-Sat 9am-5pm, Free English tours at 11am, 1.30pm, and 3.30pm; Changing of the Guard Wed-Mon at 10am, 1pm & 3pm

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