A Stroll Through the Secret Garden of Changdeukgung

Getting there: LINE 3 Anguk Exit 3

There are 5 palaces in Seoul, and I thought they would all be the same. But it was apparent that not all palaces are created equal.

On this trip (and day) we made our way to 2 different palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace (the picture on the left)  and Changdeukgung Palace (the picture on the right). I chose to visit the ladder. Although Gyeongbokgung Palace is the main palace, Changedeukgung Palace is an UNESCO world heritage site because it is considered to be the best preserved. It also features a secret garden in the palace. Plus, if you compare the main entrance to each palace, I think Changdeokgung Palace is prettier. I shared my full day itinerary which includes both palaces on Creative Cynchronicity.

Seoul South Korea Gyeongbokgung Palace Entrance

Gyeongbokgung Palace Entrance

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Entrance

Changdeukgung Palace Entrance

To see the secret garden, you have to purchase an additional ticket and follow a guided tour. Tours are available in Korean, English, and Chinese. Check their schedule before going (you can also book the tickets online). We didn`t give ourselves enough time to walk around the palace, instead we just made our way directly to the Secret Garden.

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Secret Garden Tour

We went on a Wednesday afternoon (the last tour group of the day) and found ourselves among a large tour group. I don’t know if this is just how it is but it was not easy trying to listen to out tour guide (even though she had a microphone), and take some good pictures without others in our pictures. So we decided to stay at the back of the pack for pictures.

The group also seemed to get smaller and smaller as we went on. That is because you can choose to leave the tour and head out to the palace at any time, you just can’t wander the gardens on your own.

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Secret Garden

Unlike other palaces, the buildings here seem to be in harmony with its surroundings (that sounds tacky, maybe its the secret garden making me tacky). Lets just say everything just seems to fit in nicely and its obvious that not very many trees seemed to be killed in the process of building this place.

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Secret Garden

Closed doors and gates throughout the garden.

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Secret Garden  Gate of Everlasting Youth

Walking through Bullomun “Gate of Everlasting Youth”

I don’t know if it’s because I have seen too many traditional Asian traditional buildings or what, but they are all seeming to look the same. The signs above the doors and gates are written in traditional Chinese characters instead of the Korean characters. This one says “Forever Youthful Door” or “Forever Spring Door”.

This gate is call Bullomun which literally means “Gate of Everlasting Youth”, by walking through will we gain everlasting youth? Looks like it was built specifically for that right?

This little gate lead us to a smaller garden courtyard with a little lake which leads to more courtyards and buildings in the Secret Garden. By now, I think I could get lost with out our guide and tour group leading the way.

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Secret Garden Korean doors and locks

I love seeing the details. (Left: traditional Korean lock. Right: Dragonfly in the Secret Garden. It actually just sat there on the sign and let me take a ton of pictures.)

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Secret Garden

This little part of the secret garden looks like a fairy tale garden with the greenery, rocks, and its little stream running through.

After a little bit of research I found that this area is called Ongnyucheon Stream at the back of the Secret Garden. This area was where kings held parties along the stream. Near the stream are little pavilions with thatched roofs made from the dried rice plants grown right there.

Seoul South Korea Changdeukgung Palace Secret Garden

Even as were were leaving the Secret Garden, the view behind the trees made it feel like a little secret.

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One comment

  1. […] This was a 1.5 hour tour of what they call a garden, but I think it was more like a park. It was huge! The tour group was huge too! We stayed at the back of the tour group to stay away from the crowd, but unfortunately we couldn’t hear everything she was saying. It was a beautiful garden with many traditional buildings nestled throughout. I would recommend that you take a long break at a cafe before taking this tour, because it was a lot of walking up and down some hills. Check out more of my pictures of the secret garden on my blog. […]

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