Changdeukgung’s Secret Garden


Beautiful day for exploring

On a beautiful, sunny Thursday a week and a half ago, I joined a group of ladies on a tour of Changdeukgung, one of Seoul’s many palaces. Changdeukgung Palace 창덕궁 requires an entrance ticket for the main palace (3,000 KRW). You can easily buy these tickets at the ticket counter. I’ve now been to the main palace four times (it was one of the very first places Alex and I visited in Seoul, on a hot August day back in 2013!). The secret garden, however, requires a separate entrance ticket (8,000 KRW combination ticket with main palace), and these are hard to come by. You must join a tour, and tickets for these tours are limited. When my dad visited Seoul in the fall of 2014, we managed to buy tickets for the Moonlight Tour (I highly recommend!), but the tour was (obviously) at night. Visiting the secret garden (during the day) to see the fall foliage (what is with this girl and fall leaves?!) has been on my Seoul bucket list. So, when a friend’s friend was organizing a group, and offering to reserve tickets for us, I signed up! The morning that the tickets went on sale, she was on her computer, ready to reserve tickets the minute they became available… You can only reserve 10 at a time, and only 50 tickets are able to be reserved online per tour (the other 50 tickets are sold on a first-come first-served basis).


Bright colors of the palace perfectly compliment the bright colors of the trees


Fall colors!

Baby M and I had a great time walking around the secret garden and seeing the pretty leaves. I had a good workout carrying her in the Ergo to/from the palace (a 45 minute subway ride each way) and on the tour (1.5 hours). Though I did see a few strollers, I wouldn’t say the path was super stroller friendly (lots of dirt/unpaved paths). Since the tour group was large, and the tour guide’s English just so-so, it was hard to hear/understand what he was saying, but it was still nice to walk around.


Vibrant leaves

If you have the chance to see the secret garden in the autumn (or spring, I imagine — especially with the cherry blossoms!), definitely do it!


If you wear a traditional Korean outfit (hanbok), you get free entrance into the main palace!

Official website (reserve tickets through here):

My blog post about my dad’s visit to Seoul (pictures of the Moonlight tour included): Dad’s First Visit to Seoul

My blog post about my friend Robert’s visit to Seoul: Robert’s Week in Seoul


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3 responses to “Changdeukgung’s Secret Garden”

  1. dw says :

    i didn’t realize that part is special! We visited the secret garden in the summer but no fall leaves. who doesn’t love fall foliage?? 😉

    • OliviaM says :

      Yeah, it was hard to get tickets in the fall — I guess because everyone wants to go see the foliage. (And glad I’m not the only fall foliage fan — fff???)

      • dw says :

        Zoran and I came back from Seattle and saw so many colors on the trees! You don’t see that in Miami. I’m sure Boston is even more beautiful!!

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