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  >  Asia   >  How to See the Sublime Gyeongbokgung Palace at Night [2022]
korea in may | renting a men's hanbok in seoul at gyeongbokgung palace at night

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.

gyeongbokgung at night | gwanghwamun

Gyeongbokgung at night is simply stunning.

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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Gyeongbokgung Palace at Night | 경복궁 야간 특별관람

OPENING DATES FOR SPRING: April 1st – May 29th, 2022

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.

gyeongbokgung korea in april

Gyeongbokgung Palace is a must-see attraction in Seoul.

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.

gyeongbokgung palace at night

Visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace at night is a magical experience.

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…

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 (1,300 admissions per evening), that regularly sells out. In fact, the last time I checked, all tickets for April were already sold out!

gyeongbokgung palace at night

Tickets to see Gyeongbokgung Palace at night sell out fast.

You can try to reserve tickets online in advance (only in Korean) for May, once they’re released to the public on April 22nd at 10AM. Tickets are 3,000 won per person, for adults, and 1,500 won for children aged 7-17.

You can visit Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, everyday until May 29th, except for Mondays and Tuesdays, and between May 11th – 15th when it’s closed for the Palace Cultural Festival.

On-site Tickets

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 100 tickets per day are available at the ticket booth for the special night viewing sessions. These are sold on a first-come first-serve basis.

gyeongbokgung at night

Children under 7 enter Gyeongbokgung Palace at night for free.

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 1,300 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.

hanbok rental store in seoul

Renting a hanbok is the only way to GUARANTEE entrance into Gyeongbokgung Palace at night.

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.

gyeongbokgung at night | hairstyling with hanbok rental

Renting a hanbok is a must-do experience in Seoul

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 its 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.

gyeongbokgung palace at night | gwanghwamun gate

Gwanghwamun is the main gate into Gyeongbokgung Palace.

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.

TIP  |  I rented my hanbok for Gyeongbokgung at night at Hanboknam, because it’s super close to Gwanghwamun Gate and very convenient, but there a ton of hanbok rental shops nearby. Check out hanbok rental shops in Seoul here.

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.

korea in april | child in korean hanbok at gyeongbokgung palace at night

You’ll can see the Geunjeongjeon Hall, behind Geunjeongjeon Gate.

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.

korea in may | renting a men's hanbok in seoul at gyeongbokgung palace at night

Try heading to the back of Geunjeongjeon Hall for a quiet photo spot.

Pillars around Gyeongbokgung Palace

I didn’t get a shot between the many pillar 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.

gyeongbokgung palace seoul korea

There are photogenic pillars all over the palace complex.

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.

gyeongbokgung at night | Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion’s reflection glimmering off the pond is gorgeous.

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.

cherry blossoms in seoul | gyeongbokgung palace

Cherry blossoms bloom in April at Gyeongbokgung.

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

1
When is Gyeongbokgung Palace open at night? You can visit Gyeongbokgung Palace at night, twice per year - usually in the spring and autumn.
2
How much does it cost to go inside Gyeongbokgung Palace at night? Admission tickets for Gyeongbokgung Palace's special night viewing are 3,000 won for adults, and 1,500 won for children aged 7 and up.
3
Where can I get tickets to see Gyeongbokgung Palace at night? Tickets to see Gyeongbokgung at night can be purchased online, or on-site at the ticket office on the day you plan to visit (but only if you're a non-Korean passport holder).
4
How to get to Gyeongbokgung Palace? The closest subway station to Gyeongokgung Palace is Gyeongbokgung Station on Line 3. Take Exit 4 and walk about 250 metres to reach the palace.

Is seeing Gyeongbokgung Palace at night on your bucket list? Rent a hanbok and go!

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