Deoksugung Palace: Seokjojeon Hall Tour

Recently Josh and I were able to book a tour inside Seokjojeon Hall in Deoksugung Palace, which we were told was the first Western style building built in Korea. Also, this is apparently where coffee was introduced to Korea as the emperor at the time really enjoyed coffee. Walking around Deoksugung Palace costs ₩1,000 ($1) per person and I think well worth a trip to anyone visiting Seoul. The palace consists of multiple buildings (some of which are under restoration currently) and the contrast between the older style palace and the Western style buildings is really unique.

 

Inside the gates of Deoksugung Palace...seems bigger on the inside

Inside the gates of Deoksugung Palace…seems bigger on the inside

Deoksugung Palace

Deoksugung Palace

You can see the other buildings in the background

You can see the other buildings in the background

Here you can see the Western style buildings in the background. The one on the left is an art museum and the one on the right is Seokjojeon Hall, where we would later be touring

Here you can see the Western style buildings in the background. The one on the left is an art museum and the one on the right is Seokjojeon Hall, where we would later be touring

You can see how the palace is in the middle of Seoul

You can see how the palace is in the middle of Seoul

Walking around Deoksugung Palace

Walking around Deoksugung Palace

A plus of our visit was that the cherry blossom trees were blooming and it made the visit a little more special to see the pretty flower petals. Check out our cherry blossom experience here.

Not a cherry blossom tree, but still blooming and beautiful

Not a cherry blossom tree, but still blooming and beautiful

The two Western style buildings in Deoksugung Palace are the  National Art Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Seokjojeon Hall. The National Art Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art didn’t allow pictures to be taken inside but had free entrance and some interesting art pieces.

National Art Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

National Art Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Close up of the museum

Close up of the museum

Museum sign

Museum sign

We pre-booked a tour inside Seokjojeon Hall which was free but required the reservation. Inside we met with a small group for the tour. Since the tour is given in Korean we were given some super cool ear pieces to follow along with the tour. I would recommend pre-booking a tour for Seokjojeon since the tour was very informative and gives you an inside look at how the emperor and his family lived.

Exterior view of Seokjojeon Hall

Exterior view of Seokjojeon Hall

Close up of Seokjojeon Hall

Close up of Seokjojeon Hall

We got the audio tour!

We got the audio tour!

Looking like bosses while on the audio tour

Looking like bosses while on the audio tour

Small tour group

Small tour group

A huge plus of the tour is that they only take small amounts of people in at a time, our group was less than 15 people so you don’t feel overcrowded or rushed while touring through the palace.

One of the front rooms of Seokjojeon Hall

One of the front rooms of Seokjojeon Hall

Main hall of Seokjojeon Hall

Main hall of Seokjojeon Hall

The emperor's building. Apparently he was really short and his custom made bed is a little shorter than your typical bed.

The emperor’s building. Apparently he was really short and his custom made bed is a little shorter than your typical bed.

Boudour of the empress

Boudour of the empress

Looking down on the marble landing

Looking down on the marble landing

Dining hall

Dining hall

The tour lasted about 45 minutes and was a great experience. I would say visiting Deoksugung Palace and touring the art museum and Seokjojeon Hall would be a great half day trip to any visit to Seoul!

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