Budget Travel Korea | Seoul | Gwanghwamun Square

I have a feeling the word ‘mun’ in Korean means ‘gate’ or 'door' .. will check that out later :P 

Which brings us to today’s post ~ the Gwanghwamun Square. It’s located in front of the main gate Gwanghwamun,  of the Gyeongbokgung palace and is said to be the most beautiful of all the ‘muns’ in all 5 palaces in Seoul. The square is practically in the middle of the main street Sejong-ro. I haven’t been to the other 'muns' though but the special thing about this one is it has the square where 2 stately statues of Joseon Dynasty heroes are located - namely King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun-shin. 

King Sejong Statue
Admiral Yi Sun-shin statue 
King Sejong is also known as the Father of Korean alphabet or Hangul as he was the one who invented it because he wanted people of all classes to be able to read and write (back then only nobilities had the privilege of literacy). Whilst Admiral Yi Sun-shin was 

a national a national hero whose naval victories were 

instrumental in repelling Japanese invasions of Korea 

in the 1590s

The Gwanghwamun square is big and surrounded by Gyeongbokgung on the north side, museums and government institutions on the west as well as office buildings and hotels on the east and south sides. Take a look at the whole stretch of the Gwanghwamun square in the photo above… you can see all three attractions here. It was raining when we were there, so photos are a bit off too on my phone camera -_- 

On a clear day, you would be able to view the rocky mountains of Bukhansan that form a beautiful backdrop for the Gwanghwamun and the whole Gyeongbokgung palace area. Between the 2 statues lies exit 9 of the Gwanghwamun station (Line 5, purple); there’s also a place to try on the hanbok right outside the exit. I’m not sure of the charges though coz when I was there the shop was yet to open =D

Pretty end-of-spring blooms ^^

Somehow, my sister and I missed exit 9 and got out of exit 1 instead and delightedly found ourselves in this charming little park in front of the Sejong Performing Arts Centre ~ that building behind those trees :D 


.. and if you are lucky you’d be able to catch a performance or two by the students of the centre at the café right outside the building.. When we arrived, the performances just ended but as we walked through the park, we could see a choir group singing on the other side.. there are just performers everywhere here! So cool :)

That’s me standing right in the middle of the park.. this picture doesn’t do it justice but this park and the whole area surrounding it is so charming and cute! (Well, including so many other parts in Seoul lol..)

At this point, we were about 100m from the Gwanghwamun square. Although we had to walk a little more than we should’ve, I think this was a good Korean experience.. which you’ll only find if you just (accidentally) wander a bit more into the nooks and crannies of the city. From here, we continued walking to the left on that little street behind me practically on the corridor of the Sejong Performance Art building.


If you see that sign on the wall (left photo) of the corridor you’re only steps away from the Gwanghwamun square.. coz the museum is facing it. When you reach the end of the street and you look to your left, you’ll see that huge museum building… must be full of cool exhibits but we didn’t go there coz of our tight itinerary heee..

I found this oppa sitting alone on a bench at the right corner of the museum building <3 <3 .. at this point we were actually facing the square which is just across the street.

Took another selfie as I was crossing the street to get to the square.. and as you can see from the back ground on my left is the statue of King Sejong and the Gwanghwamun gate at the far back..

We went on a Tuesday and the Gyeongbokgung palace was CLOSED -_- Lol we forgot to check out the operation hours. Normally when the palace is open there would be royal guards standing at the gate and they would have changing-of-guards ceremony at every hour until 3pm. I read about this somewhere.. do find out more about it should you plan to see the event. 

So after the square we just headed straight away for the Bukchon Hanok Village via another cute lil’  street in Samcheong-dong area  and went to the palace the next day instead which was thankfully a beautiful sunny day yeay! Saw a different perspective of the gate too from the inside.. wrote all about that here.


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