Favorites, Places in Korea, Travel

Autumn Afternoon at the Secret Garden

Changdeokgung Palace is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It is the most well-preserved palace from the Joseon Dynasty. Inside the Changdeokgung Palace lies a more magnificent beauty: the Secret Garden, known in Korean as Huwon. The Secret Garden can only be accessed through a guided tour.

This is the schedule of the Secret Garden guided tour:

Secret Garden or Huwon Tour (Guided Tour only)
Mar – May, Sep & Oct   10:00 – 18:00
June – Aug                    10:00 – 18:30
Nov – Feb                      10:00 – 17:30
Dec – Feb                    09:00 – 17:00

English:    10:30, 11:30, 14:30 / Feb-Nov 15:30
Japanese: 13:30
Chinese:   13:30

Rates

The Secret Garden (palace and Huwon):
Adult (over 19 yrs.): 8,000 won
Adult (over 65 yrs.): 5,000 won
Youth (aged 7~18): 4,000 won

The Secret Garden has one of the most beautiful Fall scenery in Seoul. Its landscape remains true to its natural form and has undergone minimal artificial landscaping.  The pavilion beside the pond greets you with the colors of Fall and you can’t help but admire how the man-made easily blends with nature.

pavilion

Please remember that only 100 visitors are allowed per guided tour. You can either reserve online or on-site. My friends and I targeted the 11:30am tour so we met in front of Changdeokgung Gate around 10am. We prepared for the long line. I felt sorry for the tour guide but most of us really just wanted to marvel at the beauty of this private garden. Even high-ranking officials during the Joseon Dynasty could not easily get in without the King’s permission. Honestly, we wandered around away from our tour guide. My most favorite part is the Aeryonji Pond.

Aeryonji Pond

At the other side of the Aeryonji Pond are old, tall trees. Stepping on the fallen red and yellow and orange leaves on the ground makes our walk magical and nostalgic.

other side of Aeryonji Pond

If there were no limit to the number of visitors per tour, the Secret Garden will be swamped by people. I am glad that they put a cap on the allowable number inside. It’s beautiful and deserves to be maintained with a lot of care.

How to go there?

Address: 03072 2-71, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Subway: 5 minutes walk from Anguk Station (Line 3) exit 3, or around 10 minutes walk from Jongno 3-ga Station exit 6

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