South Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace & Insadong (Seoul)

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Gyeongbokgung Palace
161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82-2-3700-3900
royalpalace.go.kr

Right smack in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Seoul is the Gyeongbokgung Palace, a 14th century royal residence that is known for its striking architecture, charming pavilions, and kaleidoscopic changing of the guard ceremony.

In contrast to the calm and serene atmosphere surrounding the palace, everything else from the structures to the attire of its guards is intensely and spiffingly filled with color. The palace is so massive with each building having its own story to tell that we ended up putting in more hours than we had expected. We would’ve probably spent a couple more had it not been our last day in Seoul.

Unfortunately, most of what can be seen are merely restorations and there are still a number of repair works going on as Gyeongbokgung had been repeatedly reduced to ashes by the Japanese in the past. Also, signs or plates explaining what was in front of us were infrequent and brief, so I imagine it’d be better to hire a guide to genuinely appreciate everything by getting insights into things you wouldn’t otherwise pick-up on your own or from your guidebook.

Admission is very reasonable at 3,000 KRW (for aged 19+) or 1,500 KRW (18 and below). While the guard-change ceremony takes place every top of the hour from 10 AM to 3PM.

Top tip: Make sure to have some water in hand before going inside!

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Insadong
visitkorea.or.kr/insadong

Only a stone’s throw away from the palace, Insadong is the best place to find art galleries, street food, teahouses, and a myriad of quirky and typical tourist shops for your overpriced souvenir items. Unlike Seoul’s other shopping districts, Insadong has a wide main road paved with cobblestones and lined with trees which makes everyone walk at a slow and leisurely pace, taking in the sights and sounds of the busy quarter.

It’s a bit of a tourist trap, but somehow a likable one as there’s just too many interesting things there to ignore. Try to venture off into the side streets or alleys where you could find less commercialized shops and little old-worldish restaurants that serve a fine selection of teas.

Just about to head back to our hotel, we also bumped into a fun bunch of students and professors from UST Manila

Insadong

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31 comments

  1. Marvin payurob

    Nice shots! Thankful that you are sharing more photos than before. Btw i like you longsleeves! Where did you get em?

  2. Ryan

    Thumbs up for these pics! It just make the places you visit much more interesting and exciting to visit! Definitely a fan of this blog.

  3. Bianca

    Hi Jake! Thank you for allowing us to have our pictures taken with you and for making it part of your blog. You are really nice!

    -UST College of Nursing Exchange Students in Korea 2014

  4. Crio

    I’m amused! Great shots, kuya Jake! 🙂 Your photos makes me feel like I want to go to Seoul like now, but at the same time it hurts a lot knowing that traveling to Seoul will never gonna happen to me. 😦 But nice! I really appreciate your pictures. Very interesting 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experiences! Love you so much! 🙂

  5. great post and such lovely photos! I went to Seoul over ten years ago but cant remember visiting this palace. Oh well, all the more reason to go back!

    styleandchocolates.blogspot.com

  6. Chris Chan

    WOW! Didn’t know you’re into blogging as well. Good photo! Should you decide to go back here, tell me and I will introduce you to some of the best places to discover here in South Korea.

  7. Hi there,I check your blogs named “South Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace & Insadong (Seoul) | jake ejercito | Are we there yet?” daily.Your writing style is awesome, keep it up! And you can look our website about proxy list daily.

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