on February 27, 2006
Changdeokgung Palace is a 600-year-old palace of the Korean rulers from their Joseon Dynasty. The kings residence and other official buildings are all very nicely preserved/restored. All admission is by guided tour only. It lasts about an hour and 20 minutes, and they describe the various buildings very nicely. The admission is also very inexpensive (about US $3)When you're walking around, take time to notice the details of the colorful roof tile and wall paintings.A highlight of a visit to this palace complex is the Royal Guard changing ceremony at the main entrance gate. This is supposed to take place daily at 2pm. (But double-check the times, since we encountered some confusion when asking about it.) Get there 15 minutes early to get a good viewing spot.The ceremonial guards have very colorful traditional uniforms. The ceremony begins with a parade of several units of guards, each unit wearing a different colored outfit. There are several huge Korean drums used in the ceremony, and it is fun to see them played. The ceremony doesn't drag on, and it is a nice little spectacle. Afterwards, you're invited to take photos with the guards, drums, flags, etc. No hassles, no fees, just take your turn with the other watchers. You can view the ceremony for free if you don't want to enter the palace grounds after. But the palaces are worth a walk around also.
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