As this is my 4th trip here, some of the places we went to were similar to my previous trip but it was more for the benefit of family members who had not been to them. Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of them.
Photos from previous post of Gyeongbokgung:
This is one of the well known and larger palace among the others and easily accessible as it’s just a short walk out of Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3, exit 5). Free guided tours are available and those held in English are available 3 times daily at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm starting outside the information office at the main Heungryemun gate. It is worth joining the guided tour to better appreciate its history. Do take note of the hourly changing of the guards at the same main gate , from 10am to 3pm (on the hour). We missed the guided tour but managed to catch the changing of the guards. This palace is closed every Tuesday.
At the end of the guard changing ceremony. It was blazing hot that day and pity these guards who had to endure the heat for an hour until the next change. We also visited the National Folk Museum which is located within the Palace grounds.
An even more impressive changing of the royal guards ceremony and street performances are held at Deoksugung Palace 3 times daily at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm (closed every Monday). From City Hall Station, Line 1 exit 2 or Line 2 exit 12.
I wished we had visited Deoksugung earlier instead of on our last day there on 1st October as it happened to be their Armed Forces 65th Anniversary celebration and the streets were really packed. It was difficult to catch the changing ceremony of the royal guards and other performances as our view was blocked by the crowds gathered along both sides of the street. But an unexpected bonus was being able to watch their Armed Forces parade through the streets. It was a joyous occasion with the citizens waving their flags and with the air filled with confetti thrown from some of the building rooftops.
I didn’t realize we had the privilege to witness South Korea’s biggest Armed Forces Day ceremony in a decade until I read about it in the news after returning home. Guess we were lucky to be at the right place at the right moment and got to share this special occasion with their people.
To be continued ……