During our visit to South Korea, we were able to see different historical palaces. These palaces are well preserved to show Korea’s history. You will also notice the colors black, white, yellow, red and blue used to decorate the palaces. The colors are limited to only these because they use paint extracted from nature (flowers and plants) and everything is created by hand.
I have my top 3 historical palaces in South Korea that I want to share with you all. I was mesmerized with how huge and beautiful these palaces were. When you visit South Korea, make sure to visit these sites. Also, try to wear comfortable clothing and footwear since a lot of walking uphill and downhill might be required. Likewise, it’s always wise to have bottled water, caps/hat, fan or umbrellas handy especially during summertime. Of course, it goes without saying that cameras/phone cameras are a must! Everything’s photo friendly!
You guys ready? Let’s go!
SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS
This UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site was built over 2 years and 9 months from January 1794 to September 1796 by King Jeongjo, the 22nd king of the Joseon Dynasty. The wall is approximately 5.7 kilometers long and was designed by the Silhak scholars Yu, Hyeong-won and Jeong, Yak-young.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is known as a unique structure in the history of architecture because of its use of stones and bricks together. It was designed to deflect arrows, spears, swords, guns and cannons. For 200 years, the walls and structures had been collapsing particularly during the Korean War. The restoration and repair of the fortress began in 1975.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress has 4 main gates: Jangdaes (Command Post), Porus (Sentry Posts), Porus (Sentry Posts) and Bongdon (Beacon Tower).
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress was registered as a World Heritage Site in the 21st Assembly of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Napoli, Italy on December 6, 1997.
Amusement in Suwon Hwaseong Fortress:
1. Hwaseong Trolley
Take this train to enjoy Suwon’s scenery. It has a power train and 3 tourist trains. The front part is shaped like a dragon’s head while the tourist trains represent the king’s chair to symbolize the king’s authority.
2. Traditional Korean Archery
You can experience traditional Korean archery at Yeonmudae where King Jeongjo’s army practiced martial arts 210 years ago.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Hwaseong Temporary Palace Admission Hours:
Summer: (March – October) 0900H-1800H
Winter: (November – February) 0900H-1700H
Hwaseong Temporary Palace Opening at Night Admission Hours:
(June – September) 0900H-2100H / Tour guide available
*Last entry 30 minutes prior to closing time
*The exact dates for the opening at night refer to the homepage of Suwon Cultural Foundation.
Admission to Suwon Hwaseong Fortress:
Individual Rate: 1,500Won
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 700Won
Individual Rate: 700Won
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 500Won
Individual Rate: 500Won
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 300Won
Admission to Hwaseong Haenggung (including Hwaryeongjeon):
Individual Rate: 1,500Won
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 1,200Won
Individual Rate: 1,000Won
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 800Won
Individual Rate: 700Won
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 500Won
(Combined ticket of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, Hwaseong Temporary Palace, Suwon Hwaseong Museum and Suwon Museum)
Individual Rate: 3,500Won (6,500Won per one)
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 2,000Won (3,900Won per one)
Individual Rate: 2,000Won (3,700 per one)
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 1,200Won (2,300Won per one)
Individual Rate: 800Won (1,200Won per one)
Group rate (min. of 20 visitors): 600Won (800Won per one)
*The museum closes on the first Monday of each month, therefore, combination tickets are not on sale.
No.1 National Road
East Suwon intersection (toward Paldalmun) to Jung-dong intersection (turn right) to Paldalmun rotary (go straight) to Jongno 3-way intersection (turn left) to Hwaseong Haenggung
East Suwon (IC) to Changnyoungmun intersection (go straight) to Jongno 3-way intersection (turn left and then turn right) to Hwaseong Haenggung
Suwon IC to East Suwon intersection (go straight) to Jung-dong intersection (turn right) to Palpaldum rotary (go straight) to Hwaseong Haenggung
Subway (Suwon-Seoul) from 5:14AM
(intervals: 10-20 minutes)
Suwon Station to Jongno 3-way intersection (in front of Hwaseong Haenggung): available bus nos 11,13,36 and 39
Intercity Buses (Suwon-Jamsil) from 5:00AM
(intervals: 8-12 minutes): Red Bus no. 1007
From: Suwon Station, Hwaseomun, Gyonggi Provincial Police Agency, Suseo Station, Jamsil Station, Seokchon Station, Garak Market
To: Hwaseong Haenggung (Yeomingak)
(Suwon-Gangnam, Yangjae) from 6:00AM
(intervals: 20 minutes): Red Bus no. 3000
From: Suwon Station, Paldalmun, Janganmun, Hanil Town, Pajang-dong, in front of Yangjae Station,Gangnam Station
To: Hwaseong Haenggung
No smoking within the boundaries of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Hwaseong Haenggung. Pets are not permitted inside Hwaseong Haenggung.
(14 Namchang-dong) 11 Haenggung-ro, Paldal-gu,
Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
“The sacred site where the mother and the teacher of the nation were born.”
Ojukheon was built around 1450. This is the birthplace of Lady Shin Saimdang (1504-51) and her son Yulgok Yi Yi (1536-84).
Lady Shin Saimdang was a role model for Korean women because of her gentle disposition, kindness and deep filial piety. She excelled in scholarly achievements from her childhood and became the most outstanding woman artist in Korea.
She was also an outstanding artist in the areas of poems, poetry, calligraphy, embroidery etc. In fact, Saimdang can be seen in Korea’s 50,000 note as well as her painting of grapes.
Yulgok Yi Yi on the other hand was a great philosopher and politician who finalized Korea’s neo-Confucianism.
This inscription says:
“If you get something special, you have to think about it if it’s right or wrong.”
Yulgok passed the junior civil examination at the very young age of 13 and won first prize in the state examination in 1564, the 19th year of the reign of King Myongjong (r.1545-67) at the age of 28. As the Minister of National Defense, Yi Yi urged training of 100,000 soldiers in preparation for possible invasions from Japan and China. Yulgok can also be seen in Korea’s 5,000 note.
This is where the portrait scroll of Yulgok Yi Yi is enshrined. Munseong is a posthumous name of Yi Yi which which was conferred by King Injo in Joseon Dynasty in 1624. The name Munseong refers “Yulgok attained the heights of ethics and learning and built the foundation of politics and administration for stable life of the people.” The hanging board that you see was handwritten by President Park Jeong Hee.
This was built to preserve the book Gyeokmongyogyeol written by Yulgok and the inkstone he used as ordered by King Jeongjo in 1788.
YULGOK MEMORIAL HALL
This is the exhibit hall where you can experience and learn more about the various historical aspects of Ojukheon.
When at Ojukheon, stand on this spot that can be found in the middle of the courtyard.
This is to get a similar shot that you see at Korea’s 5,000 note. And this was my shot from that spot.
Closed on January 1st/Lunar New Year’s Day/Chuseok (Ojukheon Munseongsa is open throughout the year)
Groups of 30 or more: 2,000Won
Groups of 30 or more: 1,500Won
Groups of 30 or more: 500Won
How To Get To Ojukheon
City Bus: Take a bus going to the directions of Gyeongpo Beach, Gangneung University, Jumunjin and get off at the stop of Ojukheon.
Driving: Gangneung toll gate from expressway to Gyeongpo direction to Ojukheon.
#24, Yulgokro 3139,
Gangwon Province, 210-330
F: 033.640-4771 / 033.645-9338
A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site
Changdeokgung Palace was constructed in 1405 as a secondary palace of the Joseon Dynasty. After its deconstruction during the Japanese invasion (1592-1598), it was rebuilt in 1610 and served as the main palace for about 270 years.
This is the throne hall used for holding the most formal of state events such as audiences with ministers, coronation ceremonies and receptions of foreign envoys.
Inside the Injeongjeon Hall.
You will also see the oldest bridge in Seoul at Changdeokgung Palace.
And when you are at Changdeokgung Palace, make sure to visit The Secret Garden.
This beautiful palace is in the center of the city. It is truly worth all the walking and photo taking!
0900H-1800H (Feb-May, Sept-Oct)
Closed on Mondays
Tickets can be purchased prior to one hour before the palace closes.
Group (10 persons or more): 2,400Won
The Secret Garden (Required to purchase a general admission ticket)
*(No group discounts available)
Changgyeonggung Palace is accessible with extra-ticket purchase.
Combination ticket (10,000Won) includes admission to 5 other sites. (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, The Secret Garden included), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine).
Combination ticket is valid for 3 months from the date of purchase.
The Palace Building Tours
0930H, 1130H, 1330H, 1530H and 1730H
1030H and 1430H
1000H and 1600H
The Secret Garden Tours
1000H, 1100H, 1200H, 1300H, 1400H, 1500H, 1600H and 1630H (Feb – Oct)
1130H, 1330H, 1430H, 1530H (Feb – Oct)
Only guided tours are available in the secret garden.
Tour leaves on scheduled times, no late admittance.
Foreign language guided tours are only available for foreigners and accompanying persons.
Jongno 3-ga Station (Line 1, 3 or 5, Exit 6)
Anguk Station (Line 3, Exit 3)
Blue Bus: 109, 151, 162, 171, 172, 272
Green Bus: 7025
No smoking or open flames and pets are allowed within the palace grounds.
Food is not permitted except for drinking water and beverages.
Please do not lie down on the benches, buildings or pavilions.
For more details, please call 02-762-9513 / Twitter: @changdeok11
99Yulgong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Korea is such a beautiful country and I never really thought that I would fall in love with the place. There is so much to share and so many attractions to show. I will be sharing more of them again soon. So please keep on checking back here on my blog for more on my wonderful tour of South Korea.