Changdeokgung Palace is the most well-preserved of the five existing royal Joseon palaces. It was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Committee in December, 1997. The palace has a public area, royal family residence building and a garden.
I just walked from Bukchon Hanok village to the palace, it wasn’t that far. At least, not for me. When I reached the gate, I bought two tickets – one for entrance (3000 won) and one for the Secret Garden tour (5000 won).
They have schedules set for tours in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese languages. I arrived past 2PM so, I took the 2:30PM English tour. The tour lasted for one hour.
What I did not expect was the weather. I was thinking that winter was almost over and should be sunny already but the opposite happened. It was a bit of misfortune because my clothes were not as suitable as it should for the winter season. So, I had to wear a thick shirt, a sweater and a jacket, every time.
The inside of the palace is vast and beautiful. It’s a long walk before reaching the Secret Garden. The structures of the buildings reflect the Korean traditional houses. A Hanok is a traditional Korean house.
The Secret Garden has a small pond, a pavilion and trees believed to be over 300 years old.
It is the resting place for the royal family and was once called a Forbidden Garden. It was so private that only the members of the royal family can enter.
They preferred to keep the garden as natural as possible and only touch it when it’s really necessary.