Changdeokgung Palace, Jongno-Gu

Okay so time to update this post!

Sunday I checked out of the hotel and headed across the street to Dunkin Donuts.  They’re everywhere here.  And as of late, they have attempted to copy Paris Baguette with their pastry trays and open shelves… Hmmm…. Mr. Dunkin is stealing ideas I see.

I ordered and they give you a pager that will tell you when your food is ready, but these pagers play commercials for you while you wait.  I guess there’s a way to change the channel but I couldn’t figure it out, not that I really cared.  And yes, he’s straightening his hair.

20141026_095140 (1)Their breakfast deals are pretty good, only 3.500W!

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And they literally squeeze the oranges fresh for the orange juice.  I like Dunkin Donuts, it’s a lot healthier here.  Or at least it seems like it is.  Even if it isn’t, it’s still good.

I took the longest subway ride ever north of Seoul Station and got off at Anguk (Orange Line) exit 3.  If you follow the street Changdeokgung Palace will be on your left.  You literally cannot miss it.  The trees are changing color so it makes the street landscape really nice to look at.

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I also passed some kind of museum.

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That had a floating cafe.

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I didn’t go inside.  Next time!

When you get to the palace there’s a ticket booth to your left.  General admission is 3,000W, but if you want to see the secret garden it’s an extra 5,000W and it’s a required guided tour.  The tour is pretty loose though, you’re able to wander around if your heart desires… But you can’t enter until your designated tour time.  For english speakers there are only 3 tours daily, 11:30, 13:30, and 15:30.  You cannot get into the grounds without a ticket, so you have to at least pay the 3,000W at the ticket booth in order to get in.

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Honestly this is the perfect time to go.   Well, either now or in April when the cherry blossom trees are budding, that’s definitely really beautiful.  But the changing leaves is really, really beautiful and it’s worth the trip.

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Selfie sticks are out of control here.  Millions of them exist and people bring them EVERYWHERE.  Even old people are getting into them.  I won’t hate, but I will say it looks pretty ridiculous.

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I only took that picture because of the couples tees.  You can see couples tees from a mile away, and it’s hilarious.  Some couples even match the pants and shoes.  LOL.

The real reason I wanted to come was because of the secret garden, I’ve heard a lot about it and I wanted to see it during this time of year.

A little bit of background on the palace, this actually used to be a part of Gyeongbokgung Palace.  Gyeongbokgung used to be an even bigger palace run by some famous King, and his son, a prince, decided he wanted to move out.  His son built his own palace, this one, in his dad’s backyard.  Later on after some fires and wars and stuff they ended up being rebuilt and turned into two separate palaces, but for all intents and purposes this is the son’s palace in the back 40 of his dad’s palace.  I could never be a history teacher.

Here’s the gate going into the secret garden.

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They give you a cool little map.

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The garden is broken up into several separate areas that are all connected by these paths.  I know that’s super descriptive… But the first area you go into is this garden/temple with a water feature.  Now that I think about it, I should become a travel guide.

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And if you turn around you can see one of the tree lined paths.  This is actually a really steep hill…

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If you go further down you get to another area, that means something… I didn’t really catch the meaning other than it was a place for the prince to pray for himself, like for beauty.  Like the guide asked everybody how old we thought he was so people were mumbling about 20’s and he said he was 30, and said he thinks he looks young because he prays for himself every day.

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The garden is filled with these… I guess there’s a name for them, but I want to say pergolas but they are like… I don’t want to keep guessing because I’ll just look dumb.

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All the ceilings are painted.

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I think my true feat of the day was capturing this guy jumping to another tree.

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From here you walk down into another area.  It’s really hilly so don’t bring a wheelchair.

IMG_2978 (1) IMG_2980 (1)The last place they take you is living quarters for…someone important.  There’s a women’s side and a men’s side, and the doors lift up and out of the way.  They had parties here too apparently.  Well I guess every palace has parties, but still.

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From here they release you to wander at your leisure.

I think it would be cool to go in a week or two when the leaves have really started to change because it’s gotten cold now.  It’s in the 30’s to low 40’s at night now, so I’m sure all the tree’s hormones are going wild.

The way back takes you out to the other side through some tree lined areas.  It would be cool to see this thing filled with water or something.

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And then this shot- The old, the aging, the new, and the city symbol.  Perfectly fitting, in my opinion.

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Great little side trip and I’d definitely do it again.  Now is the time to go!

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Oh by the way, I passed by this restaurant next to exit 3 at Anguk and it smelled amazing.  I want to go back but it was packed and I didn’t feel like waiting so… I think it had a yellow sign.  Bunch of pictures on the window.  I need to look it up…






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