Changdeokgung is the most preserved palace of the 5 royal palaces in Seoul. The most famous part of Changdeokgung Palace is the Huwon Secret Garden, which is well worth a visit. Visiting Changdeokgung and its Secret Garden is easy as it is right in downtown Seoul.
Tips for Visiting Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon Secret Garden
- Changdeokgung Palace, or Changdeok Palace, is open daily except for special events. On the other hand, the Huwon Secret Garden, which is inside the palace grounds, is closed on Mondays.
- Huwon Secret Garden is the most exciting part of Changdeokgung to visit. The ticket to visit the secret garden includes a free guided tour, but you can take a self-guided tour.
- If you visit other palaces in Seoul, you can take the pass instead of the unit ticket. This pass includes 4 royal palaces and Jongmyo Shrine.
- Come and visit Changdeokgung in traditional Korean dress (hanbok): the palace entrance will be free! This tip works for all royal palaces in Seoul.
How long does it take to visit Changdeokgung and its Huwon secret garden?
Plan for about 2 hours to visit Changdeokgung. Visiting the Huwon Secret Garden requires at least 1 hour and at least 30 minutes or 1 hour to visit the rest of the palace.
Tickets to visit Changdeokgung and Huwon Secret Garden in Seoul
You can buy tickets to visit Changdeokgung directly at the cash desks at the palace’s main entrance. Also, note that a pass includes the 4 royal palaces and the Jongmyo sanctuary.
The pass is interesting only if you visit several palaces in Seoul. Thanks to the pass, the price of the entrance ticket for the Changdeokgung Palace will cost you less. You can buy the pass at the checkouts of each palace, not just at Changdeokgung. The pass is a bundle of tickets, one ticket for each location.
The territory of Changdeokgung Palace is large. It could be compared to the largest palace in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung. As you will be walking a lot, bring comfortable shoes.
Free Guided Tour to Huwon Secret Garden in Seoul
The ticket to visit Huwon Secret Garden includes a free guided tour. The languages offered are Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese. The guided tour lasts 1 hour.
Guided tours in English are organized twice a day. Departures are at 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., except Mondays (the Huwon Secret Garden closing day). However, times may vary depending on the weather or other exceptional events.
The best season to visit Changdeokgung and its secret garden is autumn. During this period, we can most appreciate the beauty of this place.
A few words about Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul
When you visit Changdeokgung, you will discover Seoul’s most preserved royal palace. This palace is a perfect example of harmony between architecture and its environment. You will notice that the royal palaces in Seoul are often reminiscent of the colors of the surrounding nature: brown, green, and red.
Changdeokgung was built in 1405. It served as the primary residence for many kings of the Joseon Dynasty. It was damaged during the Japanese occupation in 1592 and from 1910 to 1945. The palace regained its splendor after its reconstruction. However, only a third of the buildings have been rebuilt.
Today, anyone can visit the Seoul Secret Garden. But when it was created, the Huwon, this secret garden of Changdeokgung, was dedicated solely to the king’s private use. Some trees in Huwon are over 300 years old.
How to get to Changdeokgung Palace?
To get to Changdeokgung Palace, you can take the subway or the bus. If you take the metro, the nearest station is Anguk (line 3). Otherwise, here are the buses that stop near or near the main entrance to the palace: blue buses 100, 102, 104, 106, 107, 108, 140, 143, 150, 151, 160, 162, 301, 710.
What to do around Changdeokgung?
Changdeokgung is in downtown Seoul. If you visit Changdeokgung, here is what you should not miss in the area.
Next to Changdeokgung Palace, there is also Changgyeonggung Palace. It is much less visited than other palaces in Seoul. A lovely view of Seoul opens up from the heights of this palace. It’s not a must-visit, but it’s worth visiting if you have the time to enjoy Korean palaces.
To the west of Changdeokgung Palace is Bukchon Hanok Village. You can visit this place after or before visiting the palace.
Changdeokgung and its magnificent Huwon secret garden are must-sees in Seoul, and you should visit them. Especially in autumn, when the garden is splendid.