Standing proudly at a busy intersection in downtown Seoul is Deoksugung (Toksukung) Palace. It is known for its stately stone-wall road. It was built during the rule of the Choson dynasty.
Its features include the Taehanmun Gate, which is the palace's main gate. Moving inward, you can see the Chunghwa-jeon Hall, which is the throne room of the Palace. It is also an audience hall. Here, people had the chance to seek an audience with the king. Have a glimpse (albeit brief and far from grandiose when compared to the actual ceremony) of what happens during royal ceremonies. In the courtyard, you can stand on the stones that were used as markers to indicate where a certain official is supposed to stand when a royal ceremony is performed. The throne and its surroundings are also very intriguing. Behind the throne, you can see pictures of the moon, the sun and five peaks depicted behind the throne. The hall boasts of having a Choson-period style roof, with elaborate multi claster brackets and double eaves.
Other halls include the Chukcho-dang and Chunmyong-dang Halls. The two halls are connected by way of a corridor. The Chunmyong-dang was used as King Kojong's residence and office – this was where the king received visitors of State. Meanwhile, the Chukcho-dang features the Woltae terrace. Some of the kings were crowned or ascended to the throne at the Chunmyong-dang.
One must-see of the Deoksugung Palace is the Changing of the Royal Guard. It provides an excellent insight to Royal Palace guards. During the ceremony makes use of drums, flags and verbal orders. The ceremony is conducted everyday, except on Mondays.
Other halls include the Sogodang Hall, the Hamnyongon Hall and the Chonggwanhon Hall. The Hamnyongon Hall is the sleeping quarters of the king. The hall is an L-shaped building, with a gabled roof. The Sogodang Hall, on the other hand, is the only structure in the palace grounds that has two floors. King Sonjo had this built and dedicated it to the Chosun king that ruled before him. The Sogodang is a simple structure that is comprised only of one large hall located on the second floor. Meanwhile, the Choggwanhon hall features European-styles. It is the first building inside a Korean royal palace that sports the European architectural style. It has quite a number of wooden columns in its interior and exterior. The outer columns feature Romanesque designs with arabesque floral designs on its lower parts. There are openwork design of animals in between the tops of the columns.
Once the building housing the National Museum of Korea, the Sokchojon Hall is built in the Colonial style (circa early 19th century America). It has 3 stories covering more than 4,000 square meters. The third floor housed the king's royal apartments, the second floor contained audience halls while the first floor were for the valets and attendants to the king. It now houses the Royal Museum and includes fascinating artifacts of Royal households.
Other attractions include the Bell from Hungch'ong-sa and the Water Clock (Chagyongnu).
The palace's address is 5-1 Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Opening hours are extended to 6 p.m. from March to October. Note that the palace is closed on Mondays.