Last Tuesday Jinhee and I visited Changdeokgung Palace. I specifically wanted to see the Secret Garden, as it was on my Korea Top 10 Bucket List. (There are four missions I sadly won’t be able to complete: Everland, a hockey game, Dongdaemun Market, and Olympic Park.)
We took the Secret Garden tour in Korean at 3pm. They offer English tours at 11:30am and 3:30pm but I didn’t want to wait that long and I don’t mind not understanding the tour guide. I’m more interested in taking photos than learning about history! (Note: There are regular palace tours in English at 10:30am and 2:30pm. The information I found on websites was not accurate.) The Secret Garden tour costs ₩5,000 plus the ₩3,000 admission fee to the palace (so ₩8,000 total). The palace is closed on Monday.
Changdeokgung Palace was built in 1405. Like all the palaces in Seoul, it was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion in the 1500s. However, it was rebuilt in 1610 and served as the main palace for almost 300 years. Changdeokgung is considered to be unique because it was created to be in harmony with the landscape and therefore has an asymmetrical layout.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the Secret Garden tour. As I often do, I set my expectations too high. I was just expecting it to be really awesome… But it wasn’t. I think I should have gone a few weeks earlier when the flowers were in full bloom.
Directions: Take exit 3 from Anguk subway station on line 3.