Gyeongbokgung Palace & Hanbok dressing, Seoul's main attraction - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Gyeongbokgung Palace & Hanbok dressing, Seoul's main attraction

Gyeongbokgung Palace is Seoul's most popular tourist attraction. The area is famous for visitors renting South Korea's traditional dress (Hanbok) and getting their photos clicked in the temple/palace complex.

 Gyeongbokgung Palace visit: basic info

  • Entry fee: 3000 KRW (200 INR) per person, free if wearing South Korean traditional dress Hanbok
  • Time required: About 2 hours to walk around the campus.  
  • What to look for: main temple/palace, several smaller temples, lake, foliage
  • Facilities available: rest rooms
  • Nearby: Changdeokung Palace, Insadong street    
  • Timing: 9 AM till 6 PM
  • Location: Heart of Seoul city.  (161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul), easy access via city bus or tax


Gyeongbokgung Palace is a 14th century residential complex used by the then rulers of South Korea. Unlike Indian palaces which show residential area, darbar area and various other parts of royal family residence, I couldn't see such detailing at Gyeongbokgung Palace. One central hall, 2-3 rounds of peripheral walls, nice corridors, few ponds and pavilions are what are visible to visitors.

Hanbok rental near Gyeongbokgung Palace

Hanbok rental is a popular business around popular temples and palaces in South Korea. The rentals are not cheap. Premium men's dress costs 45000 KRW (3000 INR) for 90 minutes, 55000 KRW for 3 hours. Women's dress also has similar pricing depending on quality. Various accessories (hats, hairpins, flowers, locker rental etc) have their own rental pricing. So you will end up spending around 3500-4000 INR easily for getting few of your photos clicked with traditional South Korean dress. Because tourists think it is a unique must do experience.

Putting on hanbok will give you free entry to South Korean palaces and temples. But it will slow you down a bit-particularly women, because of large rings under the dress to make it look bigger- you will have to cut short your exploration and return the dress within stipulated time if you don't want to pay extra rental. While the Gyeongbokgung Palace campus is huge, you will end up skipping a part of it. Visiting restroom also will be a bit tricky with hanbok.

Indian fashion websites sell hanbok dresses for prices starting 5000 INR going all the way up to 32000 INR. Instead of paying 3000 INR rental, you might as well buy one in Korea (should be cheaper than India to buy).

What to expect in Gyeongbokgung Palace?

Gyeongbokgung Palace is a huge campus. The main palace can be entered after crossing 2-3 gates or entrances. However there is nothing much to see inside- visitors can't enter the main building and have to see from a distance. Below is the pic of the inside view of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

You can enjoy the designer roofs, nice pillared corridors and smaller temples around. You can also exit the main block and walk around to see some more temples, scenic views. 

This is the inside view of main temple in Gyeongbokgung Palace. We can see the throne, designer ceilings. Looks more like a Darbar hall where king would meet Visitors are not allowed inside, so need to view from a distance.

There was one library building.

This temple on a lake was giving nice reflections. Referred to as Palace Pavilion.

This pond with a pagoda was nice, known as Hyangwonjeong Pavillion

There was a wooden temple

Below temple is outside the  Gyeongbokgung Palace- if I exit I can't come back, so didn't get closer. Could have taken a different road later but skipped it.

Foliage or colourful autumn leaves in the trees was a delight for the eyes. 

There were no restaurants inside Gyeongbokgung Palace unlike Changdeokung Palace.

Should we visit all palaces in Seoul?

If you are pressed for time, you can visit Gyeongbokgung Palace and skip the rest. Changdeokung Palace we visited had similar architecture.

What else to do? 

Indian restaurant Nirvana is about a km from Gyeongbokgung Palace. You can plan to have your food here. There was an elevated deck near the palace. I believe climbing up will give us top view of the palace campus. We didn't go up. Expect some musical performances/shows by artists on the streets around Gyeongbokgung Palace.

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