The Secret Garden may refer to different things. For one, the English children’s book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson is close to my heart and its story was brought to a wider audience when made into a film in 1993. I recently started a new hobby, adult coloring and got Johanna Basford’s coloring book of the same title. Apparently, a Korean drama that has the same name was a hit and garnered several awards in 2011. Would there be any connections with, or find similar delight in the Huwon Secret Garden?
Both curious about the name, Mia and I agreed to see Changbeokgung Palace and joined an English guided tour of its rear garden aka the Secret Garden. It was a forbidden garden when it was exclusive to the king’s use in the Joseon Dynasty period – to study, to read and to contemplate. But now (for 90 minutes), anyone has access to this 78-acre lot with twenty-eight national treasure pavilions and thousands of botanical species. Unlike the well-designed royal gardens in Europe, this one has a natural flow landscape. Many, including our tour guide, say it is best photographed in the autumn…just google it!...and I surely hope I get to take photos of its fall foliage myself next time.
February–May : 10:00-18:00
June-August : 10:00-18:30
September-October : 10:00-18:00
November-January : 10:00-17:30
Tours are offered in four languages : Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese.
Korean : 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 16:00, 16:30
English : 11:30, 15:30
Japanese : 10:30, 13:30, 16:15
Chinese : 12:30
The guided tour lasts about 90 minutes.
The cost of joining the guided tour is 5,000 won. This fee is in addition to the 3,000 won ticket price for entry into Changdeokgung Palace.
Both the palace and garden are included with the integrated ticket of palaces for 10,000 won.
HOW TO BOOK HUWON SECRET GARDEN TOUR
At Changdeokgung Palace
Guided tour tickets can be purchased at the palace on the day of the tour. There are about 50 tickets per tour. These tickets sell out quickly, especially in the high season and summer.
Reservations can be made by visiting http://eng.cdg.go.kr/reservation/reserv_01.htm
HOW TO GET THERE
Subway: Jongno 3-Ga Station (Line 1, 3 or 5; Exit 6) or Anguk Station (Line 3; Exit 3)
Blue Bus Numbers: 109, 151, 162, 171, 172, 272
Green Bus: 7025
*Ticket and transport information gathered from: http://www.theseoulguide.com/sights/palaces/changdeokgung-palace/huwon-secret-garden/