Seoul’s Changdeokgung Palace

I was close to done with palaces, but the final one was worth the visit.

Changdeokgung Palace secreted one surprise after another. I turned corners and artistic buildings crystalized. Even the walls surrounding palace structures were impressive. Unlike Deoksugung Palace, I accompanied a guide. There was no choice!

Detail from a Changdeokgung Palace building, Seoul
Detail from a Changdeokgung Palace building, Seoul

We were led down a forested walkway to the Secret Garden, as it was called. Lilly pads blanketed the pond while opposite stood a pagoda. This was the height of luxury for only the Joeseon Dynasty’s emperors’ pleasures who reigned from the 14th to 19th centuries. It was clear why this was the favourite palace of many of them.

Lily pond, Changdeokgung Palace
Lily pond in the Secret Garden, Changdeokgung Palace

I wanted to dangle my feet in the pond and ruminate on Seoul the way a past emperors may have. With a guide, this wasn’t possible. He was eager to hurry his small party through the labyrinth of buildings and gardens back to the start, and our end.