Seoul seller / 서울셀러

Changdeokgung Palace / 창덕궁

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Having visited each of Seoul’s five great palaces it’s difficult not to think “once you’ve seen one palace you’ve seen them all.” However, Changdeokgung is noteworthy because it contains a ‘Secret Garden’, a vast space beyond the regular palace grounds. This exclusive area has fascinated me ever since I saw some stunning photos online and I finally decided to check it out for myself.

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Donhwamun, the main gate.

The ticket booth is located right next to the main gate. One ticket for the regular palace grounds is ₩3000 and you can walk around at your own pace. However, if you would like to experience the Secret Garden it’s necessary to purchase an extra ticket (₩5000) and you must follow an organized tour led by a guide.

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The royal library of the Joseon Dynasty.

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The gates, while magnificent structures, all tend to look very similar.

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These photos would suggest that winter is probably not the best time to visit the Secret Garden. The ponds were frozen, the trees were bare and everything was just a bit miserable. Obviously my complete lack of photography flair didn’t help matters either.

While I was slightly disappointed by what I saw I would definitely recommend the tour as it is genuinely very interesting and a nice way to spend an afternoon. In the concrete jungle that is Seoul opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle are few and far between and Changdeokgung is a welcome oasis.

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Directions: The entrance to Changdeokgung is B on the map above. I personally believe the easiest way to get there is to take Jongno 3-ga (종로3가) station exit 7. Come out, turn back on yourself, take a right then walk straight and it’s impossible to miss it. Alternatively, take Anguk(안국) station exit 3 and walk straight until you reach the entrance.

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