Changdeokgung Secret Garden

Enter Huwon’s expansive ocean of greens and the sweeping waves of lush nature beckons you to take a step back in time. The whispering breeze gently nudges you forward, and the city becomes nothing more than a fading backdrop of a play. You wish you had visited earlier because curiously, this is one of those few places in Seoul that does not smell like a city. Instantly, the simple yet striking beauty of this ‘Secret Garden’ silences you, and you want nothing more than to aimlessly prance amidst the various walkways of the garden.

Built in 1405 after the construction of the Gyeongbuk Palace in 1395, Changdeok Palace (Changdeokgung) was Joseon kings’ favored refuge out of the five palaces. Huwon, the rear-garden of the palace and mystically known as the ‘Secret Garden’, was built during King Taejong’s reign as a royal sanctuary. The palace endured numerous tragedies throughout history, such as the fire in 1592 during the Japanese invasion. Fortunately, the continuous restoration processes faithfully followed the original architecture.


As the sun benevolently smiled through the leaves toward the end of my tour, I slowly brought up my hand to shadow my eyes. Surrounded by the entirely harmonious splendor, I could not help but wonder about all the royal gossip, drama, and love affairs that carefully treaded these grounds hundreds of years ago.



To visit the Changdeokgung Secret Garden you must make reservations beforehand. The rest of this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site can be explored without one.


Anguk Station Exit 3. Walk straight and take your second left which will lead you to the front entrance of Changdeok Palace.

Photos by RL of SeoulSync

About The Author


Seoul-born and Cali-bred, JYC is a wanderlust who fancies clean eating, outdoor frolicking, and pretty, sparkly things.