The star of Seoul’s five Joseon Dynasty palaces, Changdeokgung Palace (Changdeok Palace) was built by King Taejong in 1405 and designed to blend harmoniously with its natural surroundings. Today, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for its ornate royal residence buildings and extensive tree-filled gardens.
As a well-preserved example of ancient Korean architecture, Changdeokgung Palace provides insight into the country’s history, culture, and values. The site can only be visted by guided tour—explore the complex, which was designed in accordance to Confucian pungsu principles; admire the colorful palace interior; and stroll past terraced lawns, flowering trees, and serene pavilions in the Huwon Secret Garden (separate ticket required).
Many city tours include a visit to Changdeokgung Palace, whether you want to explore Seoul on foot, by bike, or by bus. Some cultural tours include a stop at the palace along with historic sites such as Jongmyo Shrine, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, or Gyeongbokgung Palace. Private and small-group tours are available for a personalized experience, and it’s also possible to visit the palace independently on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Changdeokgung Palace is a must-see for history buffs and culture lovers.
- Palace visits are by organized tour only, and separate tickets are required for the Huwon Secret Garden. Several English-language tour options are available throughout the day.
- Bring comfortable shoes for exploring the sprawling palace and gardens.
- Visitor facilities include onsite parking and restrooms.
- Wheelchair and stroller rentals are available.
How to Get There
Changdeokgung Palace is set in the Jongno-gu area of Seoul. It’s possible to get there via guided tour, taxi, or public transportation. To arrive by subway, take Line 3 to Anguk Station. From there, the palace is roughly five minutes away on foot.
When to Get There
The Korean palace is open year-round and closed Mondays. The secret garden is especially beautiful in fall, when the trees’ leaves turn shades of gold and red. In late June, the lotus pond is surrounded by colorful flowers.
The Pungsu-Jiri Principle of Korean Palaces
Like other Joseon palaces, a stream runs in front of and a mountain sits behind the buildings of Changdeokgung Palace for good pungsu-jiri—the Korean version of Chinese feng shui. This concept layers spiritual importance on the topography of land, water, and mountains, and has been an important aspect of Korean architecture for more than 1,000 years.