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Visiting Changdeokgung’s Secret Garden: Fall in Korea

Seoul’s UNESCO listed Changdeokgung’s Secret Garden is impressive in every season, but I’d dare to say that it’s most breathtaking during fall in Korea, when its army of over 26,000 trees slowly surrenders its leaves to the earth.


In the palace’s massive rear garden or Huwon (Secret Garden), you can walk in the footsteps of long-gone Joseon kings and queens, past walnut, white oak, plum, maple, gingko and pine trees, while admiring a calm lotus pond or relaxing in a regal pavilion.

I felt so serene while in Changdeokgung’s Secret Garden, I found it difficult to believe that all the chaos and noise of Seoul’s busy streets was but a short distance away.


Considered the most beautiful of Seoul’s 5 Grand Joseon era palaces, Changdeokgung 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 Changdeokgung complex follows the contours of it’s natural environment, resulting in a peaceful and relaxed ambiance, with the massive Secret Garden taking up fully 2/3 of the total area.

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While you’re free to wander around Changdeokgung’s grounds alone, a visit to the Secret Garden requires a guided tour. Given in Korean, English, Chinese or Japanese, the tour is 90 minutes long, with times varying by season.

The Secret Garden tour is extremely popular, so it’s best to book well in advance, especially during peak seasons.

For detailed information and to reserve a tour, visit the Changdeokgung Palace website.


By Seoul subway

Take Seoul subway Line 3 to Anguk Station, and leave out of Exit 3. Walk straight from the exit for 5 minutes until you reach the entrance of Changdeokgung Palace.

By Seoul bus

All of the following bus numbers stop at the Changdeokgung Palace bus stop.

  • Blue Bus numbers 100, 102, 104, 106, 107, 108, 140, 143, 150, 151, 160, 162, 301 or 710
  • Airport Bus number 6011


12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great photos! It certainly is a beautiful place 🙂

    November 16, 2015
    • Thanks Holly! and so peaceful in the middle of Seoul. 🙂 Have you completed your great cycling adventure?

      November 16, 2015
      • I have!! I came back to Canada about two months ago, and it feels good to get back to normal life, although unfortunately ‘winter is coming’ with a blizzard on its way tonight! Ha!

        November 19, 2015
        • Congrats! Will check out your blog for posts about this amazing adventure! 🙂 Lol..winter is something I definitely DO NOT miss about Canada. It’s getting a bit chilly here now, but still able to walk around with just a light jacket. 😀

          November 20, 2015
  2. WOW! This garden looks so beautiful! You will not really find gardens that are this planned in Phuket. We do have a Botanical Garden though, which I now want to go to and see if it is anything near as beautiful as the one you shared today! Look for a post from me about it someday. 🙂

    November 16, 2015
    • It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? I find most landscaping in Seoul is pretty planned – but this one is really the pinnacle. For Kings and Queens, I suppose. :p Ohh, I imagine the Botanical Garden there must have an amazing variety of tropical flowers and vegetation…will look out for that post! 🙂

      November 16, 2015
  3. Did you go back this year too?

    November 16, 2015
    • Haha busted. Nope, these are from our visit last year. Lol. What can I say, I’m a little slow with the post-writing. 😉

      November 16, 2015
      • Haha yeah I didn’t think I saw a post last year but then again I had a baby shortly after our visit.

        November 16, 2015
  4. S. #

    I’ve only been to Changdeokgung secret garden in summer, but it was beautiful! We went during the palace festival and just wandered around by ourselves. Great pics!

    November 18, 2015
    • I’ve been in autumn and winter, but never summertime. It must be stunning then too, with all those trees!! 😀

      November 18, 2015

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