comScore
Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) picture in Seoul
Vincent_St_Thomas / Getty Images

Key Info

Details

  • Castles/Palaces Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The ornate Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbokgung Palace) was originally built in A.D. 1395 and served as the focal point and governmental seat of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). In Korean, its name translates to "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven," but its history seems to paint it as anything but blessed. Gyeongbokgung was destroyed in 1590s during a Japanese invasion, after which Korea's rulers abandoned the palace and set up camp about a mile east in Changdeokgung (Changdeok Palace). That is, until King Gojong began Gyeongbok Palace's restoration during his reign (1852-1919). The site once housed some 500 buildings. But the king's efforts were for naught: Another Japanese invasion resulted in the demolition of the majority of the complex. Restoration of the twice-destroyed palace began afresh in 1990, and visitors today can once again marvel at its magnificent architecture, lustrous grounds and historical significance. 

Recent visitors said the Gyeongbokgung palace is a must-see for anyone interested in Seoul's Joseon Dynasty. Travelers loved learning about the history of the palace and how it played into the larger story of both Seoul and South Korea. Visitors also admired the beautiful yet extensive grounds, saying you'll need at least a couple of hours to see everything the palace has to offer. Reviewers also recommended bringing walking shoes and if you have flexibility with your schedule, to visit when the changing of the guard ceremony commences (the ceremony is held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day the attraction is open). The only thing that put off some visitors was the touristy nature of the site, noting that crowds, especially on the weekends, can hamper a visit. Try to stop by during a weekday or plan a morning visit to avoid sharing the attraction with loads of other sightseers. 

Gyeongbokgung welcomes visitors every day except Tuesday. Hours vary by season, but generally, you can expect the attraction to be open from 9 a.m. to 5 or 6:30 p.m. Admission costs 3,000 won (around $2.69) for adults and 1,500 won (about $1.35) for visitors age 7 to 18. Also consider purchasing an integrated ticket for 10,000 won (about $9), which grants access to Seoul's other Joseon palaces as well as the Jongmyo Shrine. Or take advantage of the free guided tours offered by the palace. There are three English tours offered daily, with one at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Located in northern Seoul, Gyeongbokgung is easily accessible by the Gyeongbokgung subway station. For more information, visit the Korea Tourism Organization's official website.

Powered by Viator See more Tours & Tickets

Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun

Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun ...

  • 0.5 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

Four Seasons Hotel Seoul ...

  • 0.6 Miles Away
  • 5.0-star Hotel Class
Somerset Palace Seoul

Somerset Palace Seoul ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Seoul »

More Best Things to Do in Seoul

N Seoul Tower picture in Seoul
Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Bukchon Hanok Village picture in Seoul
Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Bukhansan National Park picture in Seoul
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Changdeokgung picture in Seoul
Castles/Palaces Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Hongdae picture in Seoul
Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Insadong picture in Seoul
Shopping, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) picture in Seoul
Castles/Palaces Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Dongdaemun Market picture in Seoul
Shopping, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Jongmyo Shrine picture in Seoul
Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Demilitarized Zone picture in Seoul
Monuments and Memorials, Tours Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Lotte World picture in Seoul
Amusement Parks Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
|

#1 Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower Home to five warning beacons and a protective city wall during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Mount Namsan now hosts a park and a smattering of tourism sites like an aquarium ... Read more » Chinnaphong Mungsiri / Getty Images

#2 Bukchon Hanok Village Bukchon Village occupies the hilly neighborhood between Gyeongbok Palace and Changdeok Palace in north-central Seoul. The neighborhood has the largest collection of privately owned hanoks, or traditional Korean homes with ... Read more » Mathieu Thouvenin / Flickr

#3 Bukhansan National Park Located in northern Seoul – but still quite accessible via public transportation – Bukhansan National Park is a mountainous oasis in a bustling metropolis. The park, which covers more than 30 square ... Read more » Noel Drevermann/EyeEm / Getty Images

#4 Changdeokgung (Changdeok Palace) Changdeokgung may not be the oldest or largest of Seoul's five Joseon Dynasty palaces (that honor goes to Gyeongbokgung), but it is the most intact. Originally constructed in 1405 ... Read more » kamponwarit / Getty Images

#5 Hongdae The neighborhood surrounding Hongik University in west-central Seoul is a hub for Korean youth culture. Hongdae beckons to college students and other young adults with its propensity for self-expression and ... Read more » Conor Jen Fan Club / Flickr

#6 Insadong In this quaint central-Seoul neighborhood, you can find everything from hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) to herbal teas to calligraphy supplies. About 40 percent of Korean crafts are exchanged in Insadong ... Read more » BIKEWORLDTRAVEL / SHUTTERSTOCK

#7 Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) The ornate Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbokgung Palace) was originally built in A.D. 1395 and served as the focal point and governmental seat of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). In Korean, its name ... Read more » Vincent_St_Thomas / Getty Images

#8 Dongdaemun Market Dongdaemun isn't just a market – it's a shopping mecca. Encompassing 10 city blocks, Dongdaemun features 26 malls, 30,000 specialty shops and scores of wholesale stores, making it ... Read more » Kaizer Rangwala / Flickr

#9 Jongmyo Shrine A UNESCO World Heritage site, Jongmyo Shrine is one of the oldest and best-preserved Confucian royal shrines in the world. Built in the late 14th century, the Jongmyo Shrine served ... Read more » Kevin Sato / Flickr

#10 Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) A mere 35 miles north of Seoul, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a 148-mile-long, 2-mile-wide swath of land marking the division between North and South Korea. Running close to the ... Read more » Bryan Dorrough / Flickr

#11 Lotte World Lotte World may not be as magical as Disney World, but it is home to the largest indoor theme park in the world. Recent travelers said that if you have ... Read more » LH Wong / Flickr

N Seoul Tower picture in Seoul
Bukchon Hanok Village picture in Seoul
Bukhansan National Park picture in Seoul
Changdeokgung picture in Seoul
Hongdae picture in Seoul
Insadong picture in Seoul
Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) picture in Seoul
Dongdaemun Market picture in Seoul
Jongmyo Shrine picture in Seoul
Demilitarized Zone picture in Seoul
Lotte World picture in Seoul
N Seoul Tower picture in Seoul
Bukchon Hanok Village picture in Seoul
Bukhansan National Park picture in Seoul
Changdeokgung picture in Seoul
Hongdae picture in Seoul
Insadong picture in Seoul
Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) picture in Seoul
Dongdaemun Market picture in Seoul
Jongmyo Shrine picture in Seoul
Demilitarized Zone picture in Seoul
Lotte World picture in Seoul

N Seoul Tower looms high above Seoul's skyline, and offers an excellent vantage point for dazzling cityscapes. Chinnaphong Mungsiri / Getty Images

Some of the hanoks, or traditional Korean houses, have been in Bukchon Village since the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). Mathieu Thouvenin / Flickr

In the northern reaches of Seoul, the mountainous Bukhansan National Park stands as a hiker's dream. Noel Drevermann/EyeEm / Getty Images

Changdeokgung's peaceful grounds provide a great escape from Seoul's bustling city streets. kamponwarit / Getty Images

The area surrounding Hongik University — Hongdae — is known for its vibrant nightlife scene. Conor Jen Fan Club / Flickr

History and culture collide at Insadong, a shopping district that sells traditional Korean crafts. BIKEWORLDTRAVEL / SHUTTERSTOCK

Gyeongbokgung is the oldest and largest of Seoul's five Joseon Dynasty palaces. Vincent_St_Thomas / Getty Images

Dongdaemun Market is a bustling mall area in Seoul. Kaizer Rangwala / Flickr

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Jongmyo Shrine was where the Korean royal family came to pray to their ancestors. Kevin Sato / Flickr

The DMZ – the neutral space between North and South Korea – is thought to be the most heavily armed border in the world. Bryan Dorrough / Flickr

The biggest indoor amusement park on Earth, Lotte World will appeal to young children and thrill-seekers. LH Wong / Flickr

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Seoul »

Explore More of Seoul

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo