국립고궁박물관 (National Palace Museum Of Korea)
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Seoul's Must-Visit National Palace
Gyeongbokgung is listed first on most lists of Seoul attractions, and with good reason. It's an impressive, sprawling complex of nicely restored buildings. The colorful painting on the undersides of the pagoda roofs are particularly cool. We arrived around 9:30 am on a Monday, which meant we caught a practice session of the ceremonial guards before they did the actual changing of the guard ceremony at 10. Both were worth watching for the bright silk costumes and the odd, somewhat discordant martial music the band played. The place feels crowded right after the ceremony breaks up and everyone enters the complex at once, but wander around a while and people spread out to let you appreciate it in peace. Check out the national folklore museum at the back of the complex, too. It's included in the admission to the palace.
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