Tickets cost 3,000 won and you buy them at the ticket booth towards the left. You can actually purchase a combination ticket for 10,000 won that grants you access to all the other palaces in Seoul: Changdeokgung (including the Secret Garden tour), Gyeongbokgung 경복궁 (景福宮), Changgyeonggung 창경궁 (昌慶宮), Deoksugung 덕수궁 (德壽宮), and Jongmyo Shrine 종묘 (宗廟). The closest places to Changdeokggung are Changgyeonggung (right next to it), Jongmyo Shrine (right below it), and Gyeongbokgung (to the left after passing through the Samcheongdong area). This combination ticket is a much better deal if you want to visit more than one palace. For me, one was enough.
If you visit Changdeokgung on a Thursday, you can roam around the palace grounds by yourself. Any other day and you have to join guided tours to get in. These tours are available in English, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese at different times of the day and last around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Changdeokgung is also known for its beautiful Biwon Secret Gardens 비원 (秘院), which you can only visit on special tours. Tickets to the Secret Gardens are sold separately for 5,000 won, but the Biwon tour is included if you purchase the combination ticket described above. However, this tour is two hours long, so I opted not to take it as I had a full day planned ahead.
I liked wandering around Changdeokgung on my own. You might think that you'll miss out on someone explaining everything to you in detail on the guided tours, but as long as you grab a brochure at the entrance, you'll pretty much know what you're looking at. It was nice to be able to walk around freely or sit down whenever I felt like it.
It wasn't crowded when I went, but there were lots of kids on field trips with their classes. If you need to use the restrooms (which were clean and stocked with toilet paper), go before the kids or you will be in for a long wait!
|Korean student at Changdeokgung|
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The weather was great that day. It made everything more vibrant and invigorating.
|Injeongjeon at Changdeokgung|
|Roof details at Changdeokgung|
Lots of trees and fresh air...
|Serene trees at Changdeokgung|
Even a persimmon tree!
|Persimmon tree inside Changdeokgung|
Some interesting details...
|Cool looking chimney|
|Mesmerizing bricks of Changdeokgung|
|Intricate door lock at Changdeokgung|
See that tiny hole in the window? It reminded me of those old Chinese martial arts movies where they blew poisonous smoke into a room through a bamboo straw.
|Rice paper window at Changdeokgung|
These stairs were pretty steep:
|Stairs at Changdeokgung|
And there were nuns too... at least I think they were nuns...
|Nuns at Changdeokgung|
|Nuns at Changdeokgung|
Don't miss the one with the blue roof!
|Palace with the blue roof at Chandeokgung|
Overall, Changdeokgung was a nice place to visit. It's a good change of pace from all the bustle in the city. It's small and underwhelming, but nonetheless peaceful. You can spend a good 2 hours here appreciating the fine details, but if you are pressed for time, a little over an hour is enough.
For more information:
Phone Number: 02-762-8262
- Closed on Mondays
- 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM, April - October
- 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM, November and March
- 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, December - February
- General Tour (not needed on Thursdays): 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Biwon Secret Garden Tour: 2 hours (with one restroom break in between)
- General Tour Course:
- Donhwamun 돈화문 (敦化門) - the main entrance gate to Changdeokgung
- Geumcheongyo 금천교 (錦川橋) - first bridge you see after you enter (it's really small and there's no water underneath)
- Injeongmun 인정문 (仁政門) and Injeongjeon 인정전 (仁政殿) - where coronation and congratulatory ceremonies were held
- HeeJeongdang 희정당 （熙政堂） - a council room for the King
- Daejojeon 대조전 (大造殿) - the King's bedroom
- Nakseonjae 낙선재 （靻鉏豏） - a living place for royal concubines (on Fri, Sat, and Sun)
- Biwon Special Garden Tour Course:
- Hamyang Gate
- Buyongji area
- Aeryongji area
- Jondeokjeong area
- Ongnyucheon area
- General Tour:
- Korean: 9:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30
- English: 10:30, 14:30
- Japanese: 12:30
- Chinese: 16:00
- Biwon Secret Garden Tour:
- Korean: 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30
- English: 11:30, 14:30
- Japanese: 10:30, 13:30
- Chinese: 12:30
Budget (adult/children prices):
- General tour – 3000 won/ 1500 won
- Special Biwon Secret Garden tour – 5000 won/ 2500won
- Combination Ticket (to see other palaces) - 10,000 won
- From Exit #3 of Anguk Subway Station 안국역 (Seoul Subway Line No. 3), walk 5 minutes.
- From Exit #6 of Jongno 3-ga Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 1, 3 and 5), walk 10 minutes.
- Blue Bus: 109, 151, 162, 171, 172, 272
- Green Bus: 7025