Although I've been living near the Hyehwa area for over a year now, it never really occurred to me to visit the place. Until recently, when I discovered that this area is greatly known for it's theaters and also has a palace nearby.
It's called the Changgyeonggung Palace and like many other of it's kind has beautiful architecture and many cultural assets. What I liked most about the palace was how it integrated itself within the natural setting, but also it's sort of dark history during the Japanese occupation. It was a zoo during that time period, and also a rice field was turned into a pond. All of which, can be enjoyed alongside winding paths amongst tree-lined forests.
When entering the palace you are first greeted by the long stone path to the Myeongjeongjan or Hall. Apparently, because this hall faces east it is quite irregular from the usual Joseon pattern, but was done so due to the areas natural elements.
Above is a view of the interior, where the throne was placed. The windows around the structure are made with lattice work.
Heading around the Hall, one is greeting with the gate Binyangmun, which made for an interesting frame around the scenery.
Passing trough the gate one enters a courtyard with several structures. I looked around and headed up towards a Hall one could rest in.
Those characters up there were written by a King, giving this space a stately feel to it although it was rebuilt over many times.
Leaving this area I headed towards the pond and forest-path section of the grounds. One walked by small monuments, vending machines in a forest and a green pond with ducks and other life in it.
The pond area would make a great spot for a picnic or just some place to generally kick back in the city. After you pass the pond you come upon the Greenhouse, which looked splendid amongst the scenery.
All together, I would recommend coming out to the Changgyeonggung Palace because it isn't too crowded, and there is a lot of greenery to be enjoyed. I think it is one way to enjoy the historical relics of Seoul, but without all the Seoul-ness in it. Meaning, it has enough ground to cover that you can feel like your in an oasis in the city.
How to get here?
To reach Changgyeonggung, one option is to enter through a back gate within Changdeokgung Palace (main gate near Exit 3 of Anguk Station, Line 3). The famous “rear garden” (huwon) can also be entered here. If you wish to avoid buying a ticket for Changdeokgung, you can simply follow its outer wall until you reach Changgyeonggung, since they are side by side. Alternatively, you can come out of Exit 4 of Hyewha Station (Line 4). Just walk along the street to the end, turn left and walk until you spy the main entrance across the main road.It's also just 1,000 Won to enter, which is such a deal!