Known for the blue tiles that cover its roof, Seoul’s Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae or Cheongwadae) sits at the foot of Mount Bugaksan and is the official residence of South Korea’s president. The house was built in the traditional Korean architectural style within a Joseon Dynasty–era royal garden.
The Blue House is an ideal spot to appreciate traditional Korean architecture and learn about South Korea’s tumultuous history. Seoul sightseeing tours often stop by the Blue House, allowing you to see the structure from the outside. City tours typically visit the Blue House along with other local attractions such as Gyeonbokgung Palace, Jogyesa Temple, and the National Folk Museum. Small-group and private tour options are available, and it’s also possible to visit the Blue House independently on a hop-on, hop-off tour.
To see the interior, a formal application must be sent via mail or email at least three weeks in advance. If you gain permission, you can stroll through the gardens, visit the main building where the president lives and conducts business, and see the Main Office Hall (Bon-gwan), the State Reception House (Yeongbin-gwan), the Press Hall (Chunchu-gwan), and the Secretariat Buildings.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Blue House is a must-see for history buffs and architecture lovers.
- Bring a camera to capture the Blue House with Bugaksan Mountain in the background.
- Tours of the grounds must be approved by a formal application sent via mail or email; applications must be submitted at least three weeks in advance.
- A passport is required to tour the grounds.
How to Get There
The Blue House is located in the Jongno-gu area of Seoul, adjacent to the Gyeongbokgung Palace grounds. It is accessible by guided tour, taxi, and public transportation. To get there on the subway, take Line 3 to Gyeongbokgung Station and leave via Exit 5. Then, head to Gwanghwamun Gate parking lot (east gate).
When to Get There
You can see the house’s exterior year-round. Guided tours of the grounds take place Tuesday through Friday and every second and fourth Saturday of the month. Visit at 10am on Saturdays to see the Military Honor Guard and Band perform outside the Blue House. The presidential residence is closed on Saturday, Monday, and national holidays.
The Blue House’s Auspicious Location
The Blue House was deliberately located at the foot of Mount Bukhansan. It is flanked by two other mountains—Naksan (symbolizing the azure dragon), and Inwangsan (symbolizing the white tiger). To the south is Namsan, said to be the capital’s protective mountain, while the Cheonggyecheon stream and Han River flow in front of the building.