FREE Observation Deck to Enjoy Autumn Scenery in Seoul – Jeongdong Observatory

Do you like observatory?! I am a big fan of observation deck! Whenever I go travel to a city, I get excited about visiting any observation deck available in that city. I normally spend about 2 hours at the observation deck when I travel alone. Most of my friends don’t understand why I love visiting observatory because the tickets are normally not that cheap, and of course, how can I spend 2 hours looking at the same thing? 🙂

At some places, admission to the observatory is free, for example: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Decks, but usually, you need to buy an admission ticket to enter the observation deck.

In Seoul, there are a few observation decks that you may visit. Most of them charge a fee for admission, but there is one observatory that is FREE! YES, you read it correctly. It’s FREE. Check out the list of observatory in Seoul below:

    1. Namsan Seoul Tower (Admission Fee – KRW10,000. Get discounted ticket from Klook – N Seoul Tower Ticket Combos in Seoul)
    2. 63 Building Observatory (Admission Fee – KRW13,000 . Get discounted ticket from Klook – 63 Building Observatory Admission Ticket)
    3. Lotte World Tower Seoul Sky Observatory (Admission Fee – KRW 27,000. Get discounted ticket from Klook – Lotte World Tower Seoul Sky Observatory  )
  1. Jeongdong Observatory – FREE
Jeongdong observatory in seoul during autumn

Jeongdong Observatory in Seoul | Autumn 2018

So, yes, the admission to Jeongdong Observatory is totally FREE. Jeongdong Observatory is located on the 13th Floor of Seoul City Hall Seosomun Building and is overlooking  Deoksugung Palace. Although the observation deck is just on the 13th floor, you don’t really get a grand view of Seoul city but the view here is pretty amazing, especially during Autumn.

This year, I visited Jeongdong Observatory a little late and it seems like some leaves were falling down already, so my photos didn’t turn out as nice and colourful as my friend’s photos. Nonetheless, I managed to see this breathtaking Autumn scenery and very beautiful view of Deoksugung Palace & around Seoul City Hall area. The best time to visit Jeongdong Observatory is probably around the last week of October to first week of November, when the leaves have changed into red, orange or yellow (and before they fall off the trees).

deoksugung palace view from jeongdong observatory during autumndeoksugung palace view from jeongdong observatory during autumn

How many hours can I spend in Jeongdong Observatory? I wouldn’t mind coming here a few times, and spend 1 hour on each visit. Haha! What to do in Jeongdong Observatory other than looking at the view? There is a cafe called Cafe Darak at this observation deck. Grab a cup of hot coffee or tea, take a window seat, and enjoy the awesome autumn view of Seoul City Hall and Deoksugung Palace. The drinks are quite cheap in Cafe Darak. Check out their menu below.

Citron Tea @ KRW 2,500 at Cafe Darak

Citron Tea @ KRW 2,500 at Cafe Darak

Cafe Darak at Jeongdong Observatory

Cafe Darak at Jeongdong Observatory

Cafe Darak at Jeongdong Observatory

Cafe Darak / Menu

Jeongdong Observatory (정동전망대)

Address

15, Deoksugung-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Opening Hours

09:00-21:00 Weekdays
09:00-18:00 Weekends

Getting Here

City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 2

Check out my youtube video about Jeongdong Observatory! 🙂 

Review: Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour 2018

Few months ago, I bought a ticket to join Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour. I have always wanted to visit Changdeokgung Palace since my first trip to Seoul. Somehow, I ended up visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace for almost 10 times but not once to Changdeokgung Palace. I have also heard a lot about the beautiful secret garden (huwon) in this palace, so I was really excited when I managed to get one ticket for Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour.

Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour Audio Set

Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour 2018

I received my ticket and audio set at the registration counter about 30 mins before the tour. At 8pm sharp, we were put into a few groups according to our reservation number. I was lucky to be in the first group. Do you know what’s the advantage of being in the first group? You get to explore the palace first and take pictures with a clear background (without any crowd). At certain point of the tour, when Group B took pictures of certain areas, we (Group A) became the background for them. 🙂

What was it like to walk around the palace at night? To be honest, it can be quite scary. Some areas are really dark, some areas have very minimal light. So, be careful when you walk.

Here are some photos I took during the tour.

Injeongjeon Pavilion, Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour 2018

Injeongjeon Pavilion | Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour 2018

Changdeokgung palace at night

Changdeokgung palace at night

Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour Performances

Enjoy performances

There will be some performances such as pansori, shadow play, and traditional dance for about 30 mins. Although you might not understand everything they say (in korean), the performances were quite entertaining. Before you enter the hall to watch the performances, you will be given a cup of korean tea, some snacks and souvenirs. So, just enjoy the tea and snacks while you watch the performances.

Sourvenirs from Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour

Korean snacks + souvenirs from Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour

Overall, the tour was fun! The tour guide for my group was really friendly and experienced. She gave us many tips on where and which angle to take nice pictures. It was a cool and unique experience to explore Changdeokgung at night.

Most people came in a group of 2 and more. I was the only solo traveler in my group. However, it doesn’t matter because all you need to do is just following the guide where ever he or she takes you, and you are given an audio set where you can listen to what the guide says. If you are interested to join the tour but no one to go with you, don’t be afraid! Just sign up for the tour! You will be walking around in a group of 20, anyways. 🙂

Would I recommend this tour to my friends?
YES! I think the palace looks really beautiful at night. Check out my favourite photo from this tour (below)! ❤ Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour fee is not too expensive and you get to see what others don't usually see. In addition, you also get a cup of tea (korean tea tasting), some korean traditional snacks and souvenirs. It's totally worth it!

Changdeokgung Palace Huwon Secret Garden

The tickets get sold out quite fast. So, if you are planning to join the Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour this Autumn, be sure to purchase your ticket on Auction Ticket website starting from August 8, 14:00.

The tour starts from August 23 ~ October 28 and there will be 2 tours per day from September 20 ~ October 28.

To purchase the ticket, sign up for an account on ticket auction website (available in english, japanese and chinese).

Information about Changdeokgung Palace Moonlight Tour 2018:

Tour / Course:

◆ Changdeokgung Palace Night Tour (Duration: approx. 90 minutes)
◆ Tour Course:
① Donhwamun Gate -START-
② Geumcheongyo Bridge and Jinseonmun Gate
③ Injeongjeon Pavilion
④ Nakseonjae Hall
⑤ Sangryangjeong Pavilion
⑥ Buyongji Pond
⑦ Bullomun Gate
⑧ Aeryeonjeong Pavilion
⑨ Yeongyeongdang Hall (Traditional arts performance & tea time)
⑩ Huwon Secret Garden Forest Trail
⑪ Donhwamun Gate -END-

◆ Traditional arts performance (including shadow play) and tea tasting session and snacks: Yeongyeongdang Hall (approx. 30 minutes)

Ticket Reservation

1) Internet booking
◆ Admission fee: KRW 30,000 per person (up to 2 tickets per 1 ID)
Buy ticket on Auction Ticket Website (on PC only)
◆ Participants: 100 persons per session

 2) Telephone Purchase (Supported with English)
◆ Admission: KRW 30,000 per person (up to 2 tickets per person)
◆ How to Purchase by Telephone
1. Call 1566-1369 (without area code)
2. For automatic connection, press the “*” button to receive the English-language service.
3. Or, ask for the English-language service in person.
4. Wait for an English-speaking operator.
– Operation Hours: Weekdays, 09:00 ~ 18:00 / Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays

※ A compulsory ID (passport or foreigner’s registration card) check is required for the tour.
– Failure to bring your ID will result in automatic cancellation of the tour without a refund.
※ Entrance tickets are issued on the day of the tour after confirming the reservation number issued upon completion of advance ticketing and the reserved program.