Why Gyeongbokgung Palace Should Be on Your Korea Travel List

While Korea is very well known for its trendy pop-culture achievements, such as K-pop or K-dramas, however, it is equally well known for its rich cultural and traditional heritage. Korea as a nation is an astonishing combination of modernity and tradition, evident in all different facets of life there. With highly digitized interfaces present in all places, it is clear that Korea is pushing toward a very technological and advanced future. However, this does not mean that it must leave its history behind. Throughout the country, there are numerous landmarks and destinations rich in cultural significance. One of the most prominent of these sites is Gyeongbokgung Palace. 

Gyeongbokgung Palace was first constructed in 1395 and served as the main palace for the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. It is located in the heart of Seoul, just above Gwanghwamun Square, and today it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the massive city. For those visiting, they might find the juxtaposition of the palace very interesting at first, as it is located near a high density of very modern governmental buildings. Just getting off the subway nearby the entrance, there is a commotion of political rallying and tourists seeing the area. Notably, the statues and fountains in Gwanghwamun Square on the way to the palace are absolutely worth a visit, such as the monument to King Sejong, the creator of the modern Korean alphabet, or the Myeongnayang Fountain, a memorial to Admiral Yi Sun-sin.

Entering Gyeongbokgung Palace, the grounds themselves are very expansive. Encompassing dozens of gates, buildings, and ponds, each structure is a beautiful architectural marvel. A standard ticket to get in costs about ₩3,000 (~$2.32 USD) but admission is free if you arrive in a traditional Korean hanbok. The hanbok is a traditional Korean style of clothing consisting of long flowing garments with vibrant colors, and they can be rented from dozens of shops situated around the palace. I would definitely recommend renting one for the day, as it enhances the pictures you take to another level. 

Wandering around the palace, there are picturesque locations everywhere. Some places that you should definitely visit are the throne room, which is highly preserved and protected, as well as Hwangwonjeong Pavilion, a peaceful artificial lake with a serene atmosphere. Overall, I encourage all visitors to simply just explore what the palace has to offer as it is truly a fantastic experience. If you are planning a trip to Korea, this should be at the top of your places to visit!

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