Moonlight Tour at Changdeokgung Palace
of the must-do’s in Seoul is none other than visiting one of the city’s
ancient palaces -Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gyeonghuigung Palace, Deoksugung
Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon.
These architectural gems were not only residences of kings and queens,
but were also the center of politics and city life during the Joseon
as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, Changdeokgung Palace is
said to be the most traditional and authentic of Seoul's five palaces.
It has been praised for its architectural sensitivity to its natural
surroundings and lauded as a representative masterpiece of East Asian
Palace Architecture. The palace is also believed to have the perfect
geographical location according to ancient philosophies like that of
Feng Shui. The palace is even more magical when seen under a full moon.
Join the Moonlight Tour at Changdeokgung Palace for a pleasant evening
stroll within the royal palace.
- Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour Route:
- Donhwamun (Start point) → Geumcheongyo Bridge and Jinseonmun Gate
→ Injeongjeon Hall → Nakseonjae → Sangnyangjeong Pavilion (Daeguem solo
performance) → Buyongji Pond → Bullomun Gate → Aeryeonjeong Pavilion →
Yeongyeongdang Hall (performance and refreshments) → Huwon Garden Trail →
Donhwamun Gate (end of tour) (Total program takes approx. 90 minutes)
Tidbits to make your palace journey even more enjoyable!
1. Donhwamun Gate: The oldest main palace gate
Donhwamun Gate (Credit: Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation)
Donhwamun Gate is the oldest of all the palaces’ main gates. First
built in 1412, it was burnt down during a period of conflict and later
restored in 1608. The two-story high gate was given the name Donhwa,
which means "to teach and love the subjects with compassion." This is
where participants can take memento photographs with chief gatekeepers
in traditional uniforms before the tour. The Moonlight Tour officially
begins with cheongsachorong (a traditional candle lantern from the Joseon Dynasty covered with red and blue silk) lighting the path.
2. Injeongjeon Hall: The venue for royal ceremonies
Injeongjeon Hall at night
The main building of the palace, Injeongjeon Hall was used as a
reception venue for foreign diplomats as well as for royal ceremonies
such as a coronation. Inside this prestigious room, visitors can see the
king's throne and folding screen behind, called Ilwoloakdo byeongpung,
embroidered with the sun, moon, and five mountain peaks. The hall
itself is quite beautiful lit up at night, but be sure to take a moment
to observe the full moon and the modern cityscape looming in the
3. Nakseonjae: The king's quarters
was built as the study and sarangchae (living quarters of the head of a
household) of King Heonjong (24th king of Joseon, 1827-1849). Literally
meaning “to enjoy virtue,” Nakseonjae implies that a king should serve
his people with virtue so that both the people and the king himself will
be happy. After King Heonjong passed away, the compound was used by
King Gojong (26th king of Joseon, 1852-1919) and King Sunjong (27th king
of Joseon, 1874-1926) to carry out state affairs.
4. Sangnyangjeong Pavilion: The perfect spot to view the full moon
Sangnyangjeong Pavilion (Credit: Cultural Heritage Administration)
A hexagonal pavilion located on the hill overlooking Nakseonjae’s
rear garden, Sangnyangjeong Pavilion provides a panoramic view of the
surrounding area. Participants of the tour will be able enjoy the mood
of a moonlit night with a daegeum performance here.
5. Buyongji and Aeryeonjeong Pavilion: The majestic royal backyard
Scenic view of Buyongji Pond (Credit: Cultural Heritage Administration)
Buyongji Pond and its surroundings are the most beautiful and
tranquil area inside Changdeokgung Palace and is one of the finest
examples of landscapes designed during the Joseon period. This garden
where kings would take leisure walks in the past consists of the small
but pleasant Buyongji Pond and the surrounding trees that have endured
hundreds of years, creating a cozy and elegant scenery. This area was
the venue for celebratory banquets for those scholars who passed state
exams during the Joseon Dynasty.
Aeryeonji Pond and Aeryeongjeong Pavilion (Credit: Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation)
Following one step behind the beauty of Buyongji Pond is Aeryeonji
Pond. On the northern side of the pond is Aeryeongjeong Pavilion, a
small pavilion placed half over the water, which is known to offer a
gorgeous view of the pond’s scenery.
6. Yeongyeongdang Hanok: A stage fit for the royal family
Yeongyeongdang Hanok (Credit: Cultural Heritage Administration)
Yeongyeongdang Hanok is a wooden building built in the same style as
the houses of the noblemen during the Joseon Dynasty. The building was
built in the 19th century and was used as a venue to hold ceremonies and
performances for the royal family by the best performers at that time.
During your moonlit journey, Yeongyeongdang Hanok will serve as the
venue for an array of gugak (traditional Korean music)
performances. The building's expansive yard is complete with enough
seats for the audience. Korean tea and snacks are served as well.
7. Huwon Garden Stroll: Soak in Seoul's past and present
Huwon Garden forest path (Credit: Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation)
After the performance, visitors will be led into the forest of
Changdeokgung Palace, known as Huwon. For centuries its access was
strictly limited to the royal family. Now open to the public, guides
dressed in hanbok lead visitors through the trees using the light of
the cheongsachorong. Guided by the delicate glow of this
traditional lantern and the serene light of the full moon, visitors are
guaranteed a unique and unforgettable evening.
Moonlight Tour at Changdeokgung Palace (Second half)
- ☞ Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99)
- ☞ Event period: Round 1 Aug. 26 - Sep. 16, Round 2 Sep. 23 – Oct. 28 / Sundays
- ☞ Tour hours
- Round 1: 20:00-22:00
- Round 2: Group 1 19:00-21:00 / Group 2 20:00-22:00
- ☞ Number of participants: 100 people per tour
- ☞ Main Programs
- Changdeokgung Palace Night Walk: Guided tour (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) through the palace, approx. 90min.
- Traditional Performance (Take place within the tour course)
• Daegeum solo performance: Sangnyangjeong Pavilion
• Pansori, shadow play, traditional dancing, traditional desserts: Yeongyeongdang Hanok
- ☞ Admission: 30,000 won
- ☞ Ticket reservations (Second half basis)
- Online reservations: ticket.auction.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
• Ticket sales open August 8 (Wed.), 14:00 KST
• Only accessible via computer (Not mobile-supported)
• After signing up, members can reserve up to two tickets per ID
- Phone reservations & inquiries: +82-1566-1369 (Korean, English)
•Weekdays 09:00-18:00 (Not available on weekends and public holidays)
- Tickets can be picked up starting from 40 minutes before the tour
starts at the registration desk in front of the ticket booth (Must
provide ID, name of site ID, and reservation number or information)
※ Tour canceled with full refund in the case of heavy rain (more than 5mm before 11:00 on the day of the tour).
- ☞ Websites
Changdeokgung Palace: www.cdg.go.kr (Korean, English)
Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation: www.chf.or.kr (Korean, English)
- ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)