National Palace Museum of Korea

Although all signage within Gyeongbokgung Palace was also in English, to gain a deeper sense of how the royal family ruled, I recommend a visit to the National Palace Museum of Korea located just outside the palace grounds.

Entrance to National Palace Museum
Entrance from Gyeongbokgung Palace to the museum

Oldest sons from the royal family went through rigorous training beginning at age five to fulfill their role in ruling the country to the best of their ability. Texts they needed to study were on display along with exams citizens needed to pass to become an official. Royal garments and regalia, portraits of past kings, paintings, calligraphy, rituals and scientific achievements were just some of the topics presented. Even the history of a king’s rule was recorded, and stacked manuscripts were stored within one display.

Water clock, National Palace Museum
Water clock, National Palace Museum of Korea

This was an excellent experience for those interested in a deeper understanding of South Korea’s past and as a bonus, the museum was free.