The royal palace grounds stretch for 100 acres (40.5 hectares) and offer a number of sights to see, including the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, Hyangwonjeong Pond, and the National Folk Museum of Korea, which features more than 98,000 artifacts that detail Korean history and culture. Other highlights are the Third Inner Gate (Geunjeongmun), the Throne Hall (Geunjeongjeon), the Executive Office (Sajeongjeon), and, of course, the king's and queen's quarters. If you can time your visit right, you'll get to see the twice-daily royal guard-changing ceremony at Gwanghwamun Gate, the imposing main gate that separates the palace from one of the busiest parts of the city. Get ready to see full Joseon-era regalia in all its glory.
A stop at Gyeongbokgung Palace is included in most of Seoul city tours and on just about every royalty-themed tour of Seoul. Visit on a bus or walking tour that includes entry and you can explore all parts of the complex while also stopping at other cultural sites such as Jogyesa Temple, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Namsangol Hanok Village.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
The closest metro station is the aptly named Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3). Get out at Exit 5 and you'll emerge right at the palace grounds. A parking lot sits to the left of the palace.
When to Get There
Gyeongbokgung Palace is open from Wednesday to Monday year-round, and on weekdays, it’s often full of touring Korean schoolchildren. Fall is a popular time to visit thanks to the autumn foliage that turns a deep red, while springtime brings cherry blossoms. If you want to see Gyeongbokgung Palace at its quietest, come early in the morning. (The Korean palace complex opens at 9am throughout the year but has varying closing hours.) The site is huge, though, so you should be able to find some peace and quiet no matter the time of day.