Seoul Experiences: Changgyeonggung at Night (창경궁 야간 특별관람)

As one of my favorite royal palaces, Changgyeonggung - which I have previously written about- is quite an aesthetically beautiful one that's often overlooked in favor of the larger Gyeongbokgung or Changdeokgung palaces. Luckily for other fans like me, the Cultural Heritage Administration (who oversees the royal palaces), have begun opening up some of the palace grounds, including Changgyeonggung, for evening tours.

There are several factors to take into consideration for these evening royal palace tours. First, that the evening access is available at only some of the royal palaces (usually Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and Changgyeonggung) and these tours are only offered periodically through the year. Unfortunately these periods aren't set in stone so you'll have to just do a search online to see if they happen to be going on during your time in Seoul. They've really taken off in popularity for both visitors and residents and while the online reservation method is quite competitive with daily quotas for tickets, I've heard that for foreign visitors who purchase their tickets on site, access shouldn't normally be a problem. Because of the limit to the number of people they allow in everyday on weekends and holidays you may want to go early or avoid altogether lest you get turned away. I've included information on the evening tour information, including dates, for 2018 below.

Even if you've been to one or more of the royal palaces of Seoul before, it's certainly worthwhile to do a night tour at least once. There's something about the way structures are illuminated and the way the palace grounds takes on a different atmosphere. Dare I say, it seems even more regal at night?

I won't go into too much explanation about Changgyeonggung since I did so in the previous post. But the pictures are just a small glimpse into what you can expect.



The beautiful colors of the structures become positively radiant in the illumination at night- especially against the blue-black skies. In day light, the sun's glare often competes or impedes the vision of a visitor but at night, the colors, their hues, the focus becomes solely on the structures themselves.


Fans of historic K-dramas and movies will particularly find the atmosphere quite special and may even draw out the romantic within you. One can only imagine the stories that could be told from those of centuries past if walls could talk. And those who know their Korean history will know that Changgyeonggung has some of the most captivating, and sometimes tragic, events that took place on these grounds (again, refer to the original Changgyeonggung post).



As with traditional Korean feng shui practices, the royal palaces were designed to be in cohesion with the natural surroundings and this is evident of Changgyeonggung's grounds as it has ample trees, a pond, hills, and more. Although the pathways are illuminated, much of the natural surroundings remain unlit making it clear that once, long ago, there was a more undisturbed peace and quiet that came onto Korea's capital than the bustling metropolis one seems today. 



Changgyeonggung's real unique offering is their Daeonshil. As beautiful as it is, I've written about its more darker beginnings during the Japanese occupation. It's one of the very few structures left from this period when they turned the palace grounds into a zoo and park. 

Objectively, it is quite beautiful and particularly radiant at night. But its origins, and this sad chapter in Korean history, should not be forgotten. 






At least the plants within are always beautiful to admire on any day- or evening.




*Note for Changgyeonggung Evening tours in 2018: 3,500 tickets a day are being offered with 2,800 of it for regular sale which is accessible only online through Auction or Interpark. If you’re a group and you have some Korean friends who can do this for you, this may be an attractive option as each individual can purchase up to 4 tickets online. But purchasing things online in Korean is not an easy task for non-Korean speakers. Luckily for non-locals, they’ve also set aside 300 tickets a day that you can purchase, at the palace’s ticket box, on a first-come-first-serve basis. You’ll probably have to show some form of proof such as a foreign ID to qualify. All prices, as of 2018, are just 1,000 KRW per ticket. 


This year’s evening admission to Changgyeonggung periods are:
April: 28- May 6
May: 20 – June 2
June: 17 – 30th
July 22 – August 4
September 16 – 29

October 21 – November 3

Address: 
Changgyeonggung Palace
185 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Phone number:
+82-2-762-4868

Homepage:
http://english.cha.go.kr/html/HtmlPage.do?pg=/royal/RoyalPalaces_3.jsp&mn=EN_02_03

Information about the 2018 Changgyeonggung Palace evening admission can be found here although only in Korean

Hours:
Evening Hours : 19:30 - 21:00