Wednesday 16 May 2012

Seoul's Secret Garden

Last weekend I had a visitor in Seoul, My uncle came on business and had the weekend free. In the spirit of showing him what there is to see, and also to tick another thing off my list, I took him the ChangDeok Palace. It's slightly smaller than GyeongBuk Palace, but throughout Korea's royal history it had a few moments in the sun. Various Kings moved their court here and it is the most well preserved of all Seoul's palaces. It is also the only one with a 'secret' garden. It's not really a secret, especially nowadays, but the name alludes to the fact that only members of the royal family could use it. To see the gardens visitors must join a tour, and I have been unsuccessful on two previous occasions and therefore this time I made sure I booked our places online. English language tours run twice daily (which, in my opinion, is quite frankly not enough) at 11.30 am and 3.30pm. Our tour guide was very engaging and knowledgeable and her English was fantastic. The gardens are very pretty and well worth a visit. The rest of the palace is quite nice too and it really is a good place to go, I enjoyed the day even after all the hundreds of palace and temples I've seen throughout Korea and China!

This building supposedly stood out because of it's blue tiles. But I couldn't see much difference!
The Kings former bedchamber, which became his workspace
Our guide

Former Libraries and study places.

Middle door for the King and two side doors for servants (they had to duck through to enter; thus bowing and showing respect)

Pavillion for fishing

A noble-man's house. Notice there is no bright paint decorating the eaves.

A well for the King should he need a drink while he's hanging out here

A really REALLY old tree

Entrance to the King's bedchamber (notice the extra patterned panels)

Western influenced decor (carpets, furniture, glass windows and electric lighting)

It's very unusual to see wooden staircases in Korean buildings

The picture from the Photospot

A little bit of philosophy on the train home.

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  1. Looking at your blog makes me think I will come to Korea with Russell on one of his trips. Lovely photos and comments, maybe you should be a travel guide. Aunt Lin xx

  2. Great post! I went to Changdeok Palace last month, but didn't shell out on the extra for the gardens. Looks like it was well worth going to!

  3. Great blog post again. Think I should apply for a transfer? The Library looked a little more appealing than Chipping Ongar!!!

  4. Great post, wonderful photos. It's like stepping into a legend, an ancient Asian legend. Breathtaking.

  5. What a lovely place! And I love that quote that you took a picture of, very inspiring!!!