At Changdeokgung Palace in autumn, you can walk in the footsteps of long-gone Joseon-era kings and queens. Stroll past a riot of colourful walnut, white oak, plum, maple, gingko and pine trees, while admiring a calm lotus pond or relaxing in a regal pavilion, during the most gorgeous of Korea’s seasons.
In this guide
- 1 Secret Garden and Changdeokgung Palace in Autumn
- 2 Visiting the Secret Garden in Autumn
- 3 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 4 About Changdeokgung Palace & Huwon
- 5 How to get to Changdeokgung Palace
Secret Garden and Changdeokgung Palace in Autumn
Changdeokgung Palace is impressive in every season, but I’d dare say that it’s most breathtaking during autumn in Korea, when its army of thousands of trees slowly surrenders its leaves to the earth.
Make sure to visit Changdeokgung’s Secret Garden to really see the majesty of autumn in all its glorious colour. This is where you’ll find trees and plants changing hue in every imaginable shade possible. It’s truly a feast for the eyes and senses that shouldn’t be missed.
Best time to visit Changdeokgung Palace in Autumn
The Secret Garden at Changdeokgung is gorgeous all through autumn, but there are peak times for the best foliage. Typically, in Seoul, the peak of autumn is near the end of October. To see the Secret Garden at its most colourful, I recommend visiting between mid-October to mid-November at the latest.
Visiting the Secret Garden in Autumn
While you’re free to wander around the grounds of Changdeokgung Palace in autumn solo, a visit to the Secret Garden requires a guided tour. It’s something you definitely don’t want to miss during this season, because the autumn foliage is undeniably epic.
You can get tickets for the Secret Garden tour and Changdeokgung in autumn by booking tickets in advance online, getting them in person on-site, or by joining a group tour.
Reserve tickets online in advance
There are a total of 100 tickets available for each Secret Garden tour per day. Half of these (50) are offered up for online reservation. You can reserve from 10AM, 6 days in advance to the day before your planned tour date. You must pay for these tickets by credit card 24 hours before the date of your tour, and each person is allowed to reserve 10 tickets total per day.
For more detailed information and to reserve tickets, check their website here.
Purchase tickets in person on-site
There are 50 tickets available for each Secret Garden tour on-site at the Changdeokgung Palace ticket office. These are sold first come, first serve, so try to arrive as early as possible to get tickets. The tours sell out quickly, especially in the photogenic seasons of autumn and spring.
The ticket office opens at 9AM. Any tickets purchased on-site must be used on the same day.
Join a tour group
Finally, if you want to take all the guesswork and stress out of visiting the Secret Garden and Changdeokgung Palace in autumn, you can join the Seoul by Foot: Secret Garden and Bukchon Hanok Village Walking Tour.
This tour includes admission to both Changdeokgung Palace AND the Secret Garden tour. You’ll also visit Bukchon Hanok Village, Samcheongdong, and the K-drama filming locations for Goblin, Love in the Moonlight and Personal Taste, with an english speaking guide. (Check prices and times here)
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About Changdeokgung Palace & Huwon
Considered the most beautiful of Seoul’s 5 Grand Joseon era palaces, Changdeokgung Palace was originally constructed in 1405 as a secondary palace to Gyeongbokgung. It was burnt down during the late 16th Century Japanese Invasion, and rebuilt in 1610, where it served as the main seat of the dynasty for the next 270 years.
Located at the foot of a mountain, the 462,000 square metre complex follows the contours of its natural environment, resulting in a peaceful and relaxed ambiance, with the massive Secret Garden taking up fully 2/3 of the total area. You can just imagine how breathtaking Changdeokgung Palace is in autumn.
How to get to Changdeokgung Palace
Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (와룡동)
Via Seoul subway
Take Seoul subway Line 3 to Anguk Station, and go out of Exit 3. Walk straight out of the exit for 5 minutes until you reach the entrance of Changdeokgung Palace.
Via Seoul bus
All of the following bus numbers stop at the Changdeokgung Palace bus stop. It’s best to check exact directions from your current location to Changdeokgung Palace on an app like Naver Maps, or Kakao Maps. Both offer info in english.
- Blue Bus numbers 100, 102, 104, 106, 107, 108, 140, 143, 150, 151, 160, 162, 301 or 710
- Airport Bus number 6011