After you’ve finished walking around Bukchon Hanok Village, you can take a short walk over to one of the “Five Grand Palaces” – Changdeokgung Palace. This Palace was built during the Joseon Dynasty and is rumored to have been the favourite amongst many Joseon Princes. Unfortunately, like the other Palaces, Changdeokgung Palace suffered heavy damage during Japan’s occupation in the early-to-mid 1900s. As a result, only about 50% of the structures you will see at the Palace are from before the occupation.
Walking throughout the Palace gives you a lot to think about; the Koreans’ way of life during this time, their past political structure, various traditions, and so forth. If timing allows, I recommend visiting the Changdeokgung Palace during one of their guided tours. The lady who hosted our tour was great – engaging, informative, and insightful (not to mention she wore traditional Korean dress!).
During the tour, we explored the various sights throughout the Palace. It was so interesting hearing about the day-to-day happenings that occurred here (like how the Palace was heated in the winter, where women could and could not go, where the Queen slept, etc.). Many of the buildings appeared similar in architecture and were beautifully and brightly painted, though the chambers for the servants were extremely plain and did not look like they belonged with the rest of the buildings. Unfortunately, my photographs couldn’t quite capture how vibrant everything was as the weather was not cooperating with me that day (and for pretty much my whole time in South Korea).