In Gyeongbokgung Palace, I felt like I was trapezing through the hallways and colorful buildings, the history coming alive to represent the present and the future of Korea as a nation. The adrenaline rush was a not so subtle reminder to keep exploring and observing the crooks and crannies that had built a nation through the centuries. I was exulted. Compared to other palaces, there is a blossoming sense of pride in Korea’s attraction sites. They come from the clean floors, well-groomed trees and flowers, properly maintained walls and interiors and a quiet sombreness reflecting the pride of a country rich with history and heritage. I have not seen any other countries with this sense of self-regard (or it could be my bias).
Gyeongbokgung Palace is relatively easy to get to. Just alight at the train station, Gyeongbokgung Palace, located on Line 3. Take Exit 5 and you will be directly outside the palace grounds, near the ticketing booth. Admission fees is 3,000 korean won per adult. I recommend getting the Integrated Palace ticket which is at 10,000 korean won but gives you entry to Four Palaces (Changdeokgung Palace (including Huwon, Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace) and Jongmyo Shrine. The palace opens at 9am daily – get there early! Otherwise, your photos will be swarming with other tourists.
This site does an excellent job explaining the history and function of each building. As for what goes on outside the palace, the map below illustrates what you can do/eat after or before the visit.