Wandering the hushed stillness of Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, clad in a traditional Korean hanbok, you can’t help but be transported back in time. With its graceful buildings brilliantly lit against the night sky, this is a magical event that not everyone gets access to.
Twice a year only, for a limited period of time, and for a limited number of people – this gem of the Joseon Dynasty, is opened to the public for night viewing. If you happen to be in Seoul for this special occasion, count yourself lucky.
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- 1 Gyeongbokgung Palace at Night | 경복궁 야간 특별관람
- 2 Gyeongbokgung Palace Night Tour Tickets
- 3 Gyeongbokgung Palace at Night | Photo Spots
- 4 How to go to Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace at Night | 경복궁 야간 특별관람
OPENING DATES FOR SPRING: April 1st – May 29th, 2022
OPENING DATES FOR AUTUMN: September 1st – November 6th, 2022, 7:00 – 9:30PM (last tickets at 8:30)
Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
Gyeongbokgung is the largest, and perhaps most iconic of Seoul’s 5 royal palaces. Built in 1395 to serve as the royal home and political seat of the Joseon Dynasty, it’s survived wars, fires, occupations, demolitions, and restorations during its tumultuous history.
Today, Gyeongbokgung Palace is an enduring symbol of Seoul, and one of Korea’s most popular tourist attractions.
If you’re visiting Korea for the first time, a trip during regular daylight hours is essential to any itinerary. If you have the opportunity to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace at night however, you’re guaranteed a remarkable evening, devoid of daytime buzz and excited crowds of tourists.
Cross the threshold of majestic Gwanghwhamun Gate in the early evening hours, and you’ll enter a world so markedly different from the one you came from, you’ll have to pinch yourself. Maybe you really DID time travel back to the Joseon Era…
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Gyeongbokgung Palace Night Tour Tickets
If you plan to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, it’s best to reserve tickets as far in advance as possible. This is a popular event, with limited tickets available, that regularly sells out. Tickets for the spring event were sold out incredibly quickly. And the autumn viewings will be no different.
You can try to reserve tickets online in advance (only in Korean) once they’re released to the public. Tickets are 3,000 won per person, for adults, and 1,500 won for children aged 7-17. Children under 6 and seniors enter free.
You can visit Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, everyday until November 6th, except for Mondays and Tuesdays. For the autumn viewings, the night tours will still take place during Chuseok in Seoul, and during the Royal Culture Festival on October 3rd and 4th.
Don’t stress if you missed your chance to buy tickets online though. Because tickets to see Gyeongbokgung Palace at night are also issued on-site. Up to 200 tickets per day are available at the ticket booth for the special night viewing sessions during autumn in Seoul. These are sold on a first-come first-serve basis.
On-site tickets are ONLY available for purchase by non-Korean passport holders. You MUST present a passport or alien registration card in order to buy them. Each foreign passport holder can purchase up to 2 tickets on-site, and anyone can use these tickets (even Korean friends).
Renting a hanbok near Gyeongbokgung Palace
Wearing a Korean hanbok is the only way to guarantee entrance into Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, if you don’t have an advance ticket. You’ll be admitted to Gyeongbokgung, even if the maximum number of visitors per night is reached – so it really is guaranteed.
Just show up wearing a hanbok, visit the ticket booth to grab FREE tickets, and then enter one of Seoul’s most iconic attractions for an epic night time photo shoot.
Don’t have a hanbok? Don’t worry. There are many affordable hanbok rental shops near Gyeongbokgung Palace, where you can get help getting dressed properly, pick accessories, and have your hair done in a traditional style.
I’ve rented hanbok in Seoul, a few times with my daughter, and it’s a wonderful way to commemorate your visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace at night.
If you’re nervous about how to put on a hanbok, or feel like it might be cultural appropriation, don’t be! Koreans are generally thrilled to see foreigners wearing their traditional dress. Here’s the lowdown on exactly what’s involved in renting a hanbok in Seoul.
TIP | Learn all about the history of the Joseon Dynasty on a guided tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace, the National Folk Museum, Jogyesa Buddhist Temple, and Namsol Hanok Village. Check details and availability of the Joseon Dynasty Tour here.
Gyeongbokgung Palace at Night | Photo Spots
You can snap a pic pretty much anywhere inside Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, and be guaranteed a gorgeous result, but here are some suggestions for where to start.
Gwanghwamun Gate | 광화문
There are 4 entrances into Gyeongbokgung, but Gwanghwamun Gate is the one you’ll want to enter at. As the main gate, it’s larger and more ornate than the other 3 gates. It’s located on the south wall of the palace complex, across the street from Gwanghwamun Plaza.
You don’t actually have to be inside Gyeongbokgung Palace to enjoy a stunning night view of Gwanghwamun Gate. You can take pics with all its lit-up glory without even entering the palace.
Geunjeongjeon Gate and Hall | 근정전
Once you cross Gwanghwamun Gate, you’ll walk through a grand stone courtyard with three footpaths running through the centre. These lead to Geunjeongjeon Gate and Geunjeongjeon Hall – the main throne hall of Gyeongbokgung Palace.
During the Gyeongbokgung Palace at night event, it’s brightly lit so you can capture pictures even on dark nights. The front of Geunjeongjeon Hall is one of the most popular places to snap pictures, so it can be difficult to get a shot without other people in it.
Try walking around to the rear of the hall, and you’ll likely have plenty of room to get that perfect solo shot.
Pillars around Gyeongbokgung Palace
I didn’t get a shot between the many pillars around Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, but these are a worthy spot. You’ll find these all over the palace complex, but head to the right of Geunjeongjeon Hall for a well-lit and beautiful place to pose.
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion | 경회루
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion is one of the few structures at Gyeongbokgung Palace that survived the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945, relatively intact. It’s the biggest pavilion in Korea, and sits on a peaceful pond, with views of Mount Ingwangsan and the surrounding temple complex.
Lights glow on the pond’s surface during the Gyeongbokgung Palace at night event, creating a wonderful atmosphere. For an extra special experience, go when the moon is full and admire Gyeonghoeru Pavilion’s reflection glinting off the surface of the water.
How to go to Gyeongbokgung Palace
Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
The simplest way to get to Gyeongbokgung Palace is to get on Seoul Subway Line 3 to Gyeongbokgung Station. Take Exit 4 and walk about 250 metres until the reach the palace grounds.
If you prefer to take a bus, its best to map out your route on Naver or Kakao Maps. Both apps offer service in English.
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Gyeongbokgung Palace at Night: Essential Info and FAQs
Is seeing Gyeongbokgung Palace at night on your bucket list? Rent a hanbok and go!