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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Deoksugung Palace

The smallest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces is renowned for its mixture of western and eastern architecture.  

Deoksugung Palace features stately architecture and exhibits featuring national treasure and art.

The palace was first built on this site by the Joseon Dynasty in the 15th century. As with Seoul’s other Grand Palaces, Deoksugung has been the victim of much destruction over the years, notably during Japanese occupation in the early 20th century. The palace was the only one of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces to survive the Japanese invasion of 1592. Today the complex is around a third of its original size, although there are modern additions such as the National Museum of Art. 

Enter the walled palace complex across the Geumcheon Bridge, which was once used to transport royal carriages. As you continue around the grounds, you’ll come across Jeukjodang and the Junmyeongdang building, the simple yet beautiful royal living quarters. The Borugak Jaguwongnu is a water clock that was made in 1536 and, although no longer functioning, is still a notable piece of surviving history.

The two Western-style buildings to look out for are Jeonggwanheon and Seokjojeon. The former was built in 1900, and was where the Emperor Gojong allegedly liked to drink his beloved coffee. Seokjojeon was designed by a British architect. The building was completed in 1910, and now houses an excellent exhibition on the palace’s treasures.

A Deoksugung Palace highlight is the Junghwajeon. This is a grand hall where leaders of the Great Korean Empire once met to discuss important matters. The interior is particularly striking, with its centerpiece of two golden dragons on the ceiling. These mirror the dragons on the canopy outside. Junghwajeon is not always open to the public, so check ahead.   Free English guided tours of Deoksugung Palace are conducted daily. It’s advisable to book one of these tours to get the most out of the palace, as there’s a lot to take in. You can buy an integrated ticket to Deoksugung, which also gives you access to Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung and Gyeongbokgung palaces, and Jongmyo Shrine. 

Deoksugung Palace is open daily except on Mondays and public holidays. To get there, take the subway to City Hall.


Guide to Exploring around Deoksugung Palace


Top Deoksugung Palace Flight + Hotel Deals

Best Lodging Options Near Deoksugung Palace

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ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun ¥5,970
ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

36, Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Jung-gu, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sungnyemun Gate and Deoksugung Palace. Cheonggye Plaza and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park are also within 3 mi (5 km). City Hall Station is 6 minutes by foot and Seoul Station is 11 minutes.

    Four Seasons Hotel Seoul ¥25,324
    Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

    Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

    97, Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the center of Seoul, this family-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Seoul Finance Center, U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Korea, and Gwanghwamun. Seoul City Hall and Deoksugung Palace are also within 15 minutes. Gwanghwamun Station and Gangwhamun Station are within a 5-minute walk.

      Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun ¥7,044
      Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun

      Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun

      71, Sambong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Jongno, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Jogyesa Temple, Sejong Cultural Center, and Gwanghwamun Plaza. Cheonggye Plaza and Gyeongbok Palace are also within 15 minutes. Jonggak Station is 6 minutes by foot and Gangwhamun Station is 6 minutes.

        Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong ¥7,996
        Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

        Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

        362, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Seoul City Hall, Namdaemun Market, and Gwanghwamun. Gyeongbok Palace is 1.3 mi (2 km) away. Euljilo 3-ga Station is 6 minutes by foot and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 8 minutes.

          Lotte Hotel Seoul ¥16,880
          Lotte Hotel Seoul

          Lotte Hotel Seoul

          30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Seoul hotel is located in the business district, within a 5-minute walk of Seoul City Hall and Lotte Department Store. Myeongdong Street and Cheonggyecheon are also within 10 minutes. Euljiro 1-ga Station is only a 2-minute walk and City Hall Station is 5 minutes.

            Four Points By Sheraton Seoul, Namsan ¥6,574
            Four Points By Sheraton Seoul, Namsan

            Four Points By Sheraton Seoul, Namsan

            37-85 Dongja-dong, Youngsan Gu, Seoul, Seoul
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Yongsan-gu, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Lotte Outlets - Seoul Station Branch and Sungnyemun Gate. Namdaemun Market and Deoksugung Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Seoul Station is 7 minutes by foot and Sukdaeipgu Station is 9 minutes.

              Shilla Stay Seodaemun (Seoul Station) ¥5,528
              Shilla Stay Seodaemun (Seoul Station)

              Shilla Stay Seodaemun (Seoul Station)

              76, Chungjeong-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Seoul
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Namdaemun, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Seoul Museum of History, Namdaemun Market, and Seoul City Hall. Myeongdong Street and Lotte Outlets - Seoul Station Branch are also within 1 mi (2 km). Seodaemun Station is only a 2-minute walk and Chungjeongno Station is 10 minutes.

                The Westin Chosun Seoul ¥17,768
                The Westin Chosun Seoul

                The Westin Chosun Seoul

                106, Sogong-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
                   
                  5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Jung-gu, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Bank of Korea Museum, Noon Square, and Postal Museum of Korea. Seoul City Hall and Seoul Metropolitan Library are also within 10 minutes. City Hall Station is only a 3-minute walk and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 7 minutes.