Monday, July 27, 2015

The Korean Palace in Summer

On my last full day in Seoul I still had one must-see item on my list: a Korean palace! While there are multiple palaces in Seoul, I selected Changdeokgung based on my guidebook's recommendation, and Matt figured out the subway system to get us there! I have only seen Okinawan castle ruins, so the rebuilt wooden palace with multiple buildings and courtyards was completely different! The color palate was rust red and seafoam green with dragon gargoyles on every corner. We could only peek into the building that held the throne room, and the most impressive part to me was the ceiling with intricate designs. There were details painted everywhere!

We were able to walk around the castle grounds for free, but if we wanted to see the secret garden we had to pay and stay with a tour guide. I wanted to see the gardens since the castle itself was so beautiful, so despite my aching feet from walking to and from the subway we signed up for a 90 minute walking tour. We missed the last English tour, so our only language option left was Korean. The gardens were very beautiful with lotus ponds and tiny pavilions and old, old trees.  However, Matt and I were able to read the paragraph of English on the sign at each location in two minutes, but the speaking portion of the tour lasted 15 to 20 minutes at each stop. We were not allowed to go at our own pace. Also, the lands are famous for "blending with the natural topography," but I discovered that means, once again, I was unexpectedly hiking up mountains. 

A manmade pool with a poem inscribed on the stone.
Unfortunately, the heat and my aching feet caught up with me about an hour into the tour. I started to get dizzy and did not want to listen to any more about the gardens in Korean. We were not supposed to leave the group, but we found a security guard and asked for the exit. I made sure to look especially pathetic, and I think my red, sweaty face helped convince him to show us the way pretty quickly.

Even though I wimped out after an hour of walking up hills (this is why I am not climbing Mt. Fuji next month), Matt took some beautiful photographs and I got to see an exotic palace!


  1. Eden & I went to this palace when we visited over Thanksgiving last was gorgeous especially with all the fall foliage! Pleased you got to not only see your husband but also do some sightseeing :)

    1. Seoul was never high on my list of must-see places, but now I want to go back! I bet the palace was stunning in the fall.