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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.

Popular Activities at Deoksugung Palace

Make the most of your visit to Deoksugung Palace. Below is a list of some of the top things to do:

Why not consider purchasing a Full-Day City Tour with Lunch? It's one of the most interesting experiences available here.

If you'd like even more options, check out our Seoul things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Deoksugung Palace


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Deoksugung Palace

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Lotte Hotel Seoul CA $207
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. Deoksugung Palace and Cheonggyecheon are also within 10 minutes. Euljiro 1-ga Station is only a 2-minute walk and City Hall Station is 5 minutes.

    ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun CA $111
    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 Market are also within 3 mi (5 km). City Hall Station is 6 minutes by foot and Seoul Station is 11 minutes.

      Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong CA $132
      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.

        Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong CA $98
        Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

        Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

        52, Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Jung-gu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Namdaemun Market, Postal Museum of Korea, and Bank of Korea Museum. Seven Luck Casino Millennium Seoul Hilton Branch and Sungnyemun Gate are also within 10 minutes. Hoehyeon Station is only a 2-minute walk and Myeong-dong Station is 8 minutes.

          Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong CA $70
          Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong

          Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong

          15, Namdaemun-ro 5-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Jung-gu, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Namsan Park, Gyeongbok Palace, and N Seoul Tower. Changdeokgung Palace and Dongdaemun Market are also within 3 mi (5 km). City Hall Station is only a 5-minute walk and Hoehyeon Station is 6 minutes.

            L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE CA $188
            L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE

            L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE

            137 Toegye-ro Jung-gu, Seoul
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Myeongdong Nanta Theatre, Namsan Park, and Myeongdong Street. Namdaemun Market and Sungnyemun Gate are also within 15 minutes. Myeong-dong Station is only a 2-minute walk and Chungmuro Station is 8 minutes.

              Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong CA $138
              Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

              Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

              27 Myeong-dong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is steps from Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and Myeongdong Street. Namsan Park and Lotte Department Store are also within 10 minutes. Myeong-dong Station is only a 3-minute walk and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 8 minutes.

                Koreana Hotel CA $93
                Koreana Hotel

                Koreana Hotel

                135, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cheonggyecheon and Seoul City Hall. Deoksugung Palace and Lotte Department Store are also within 10 minutes. Gwanghwamun Station is only a 4-minute walk and City Hall Station is 5 minutes.