Finally went to the Gyeongbokgung palace light up which started October 24th and ends November 1st. It takes places from 7 pm to 10 pm. This is an occasional event throughout the year where parts of the palace are lit up, luring floods of tourists, couples, and of course, photographers.
I spent around 20-30 minutes trying to shoot the front gate and proceeded to the courtyard where I shot it from the other side. Little did I know that there was a limit for ticket sales, until I saw the electronic sign say “Foreigners 1”. Didn’t have to think about what that could mean and I rushed to the ticket booth. I was so lucky as there was another person behind me trying to get that last ticket. The cost to enter is only 3000 won! You can also reserve tickets, but the hotline didn’t work the last time I tried to reserve a similar event.
Palace architecture has intrigued me with their beautiful colors and shapes. These roofs are actually constructed like jigsaw puzzles and are put together without the use of nails, which is really charming. The vivid colors combined with the floodlights really make a beautiful presence in the night.
They unfortunately didn’t provide maps, but most of the palace was closed to foot traffic anyways making it impossible to get lost. When trying to take night shots of this place, it’s really challenging if you want to have brighter skies as the temples will be extremely overexposed. I had a lot of difficulty editing some of these shots and will have to update this post when I perfect some of the shots.
There were also traditional performance, including synchronized drum performances and Pansori. The energy of the drummers was really amazing. I was only able to catch the drummers finishing up and I couldn’t get the best of spots as you can tell by the guard blocking 1/4 of the frame, but you can feel the energy and power from these drummers and it was really cool to see this performance in person. Their teamwork was just awe inspiring and amazing.
Definitely go to this limited event if you love taking photographs and are into traditional Korean architecture and performances! Make sure to show up early if you want those tickets. I’ve been to the Changgyeonggung Palace (창경궁) event as well, and found the two to be very different. I recommend going to both if you get the opportunity.