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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

Get the most out of your visit to Deoksugung Palace. Below is a list of some of the best activities:

Why not consider buying a Full-Day City Tour with Lunch? It's one of the most interesting activities on offer here.

For more activities, peruse our Seoul things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Deoksugung Palace


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Lodging Near Deoksugung Palace

See all 1,745 Properties near Deoksugung Palace
Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong $109
Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

362, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
     
    4.3
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    4.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Seoul City Hall and Gwanghwamun. Gyeongbok Palace is 1.3 mi (2 km) away. Dongdaemun Station is 26 minutes by foot.

    Lotte Hotel Seoul $182
    Lotte Hotel Seoul

    Lotte Hotel Seoul

    30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
       
      4.4
      of 5, from 2,600 reviews
      5.0 out of 5.0

      within the Myeongdong area, the Lotte Hotel Seoul is one km (less than a mile) from several attractions such as Kyung Bok Palace and Dong Dae Moon Gate Market. Seoul City Hall is nearby.

      Loisir Hotel Seoul Myeongdong $78
      Loisir Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

      Loisir Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

      115 Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
         
        3.8
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        3.5 out of 5.0

        Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Gwanghwamun, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Ewha Woman's University.

        Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong $98
        Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

        Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

        27 Myeong-dong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
           
          4.6
          of 5, from 2,876 reviews
          3.5 out of 5.0

          Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is steps from Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and Myeongdong Street. Namsan Park and Gwanghwamun are also within 2 mi (3 km).

          Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong $82
          Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

          Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

          52, Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
             
            4.4
            of 5, from 1,969 reviews
            4.5 out of 5.0

            This luxury hotel is located in the heart of Seoul, walking distance from Namdaemun Market, Sungnyemun Gate, and Postal Museum of Korea. Also nearby are Seven Luck Casino Millennium Seoul Hilton Branch and Bank of Korea Museum.

            L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE $99
            L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE

            L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE

            137 Toegye-ro Jung-gu, Seoul
               
              4.4
              of 5, from 2,256 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Myeongdong Street and Namsan Park. Seoul City Hall and Gyeongbok Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km).

              ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun $89
              ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

              ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

              36, Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
                 
                4.5
                of 5, from 634 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                This hotel is located in Seoul (Jung-gu), close to Sungnyemun Gate, Deoksugung Palace, and Cheonggye Plaza. Local attractions also include Dongdaemun Market and Hongik University.

                Hotel Gracery Seoul $79
                Hotel Gracery Seoul

                Hotel Gracery Seoul

                12, Sejong-daero 12-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
                   
                  4.4
                  of 5, from 305 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Located in Jung-gu, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Seoul City Hall and Gwanghwamun. Gyeongbok Palace is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) away.