In the morning I returned to Gyeongbokgung Palace to see the changing of the guard ceremony. I wasn’t sure where was the best place to stand and the crowd was building rapidly so I grabbed an open spot and stood around until the ceremony started.
A short while later the ceremony began. The guards in the ceremony were actors who were dressed up to look like royal guards from Joseon Dynasty. These protectors of Korea’s monarchs were called the Wanggung Sumunjang and they were known for their colorful uniforms. The first group of actors to come marching in represented the guards that would leaving the palace to return to their barracks.
Not too far from me was a guy who would strike a large drum to signal the start and end of different parts of the ceremony. That drum was really loud and a couple of time it startled unsuspecting tourists who were standing near it and not paying attention.
Right behind the first group of guards was a squad of musicians playing traditional Korean instruments.
A minute later a second group of guards marched in. These guys represented the soldiers who would be taking over guard duty for the next shift.
Captains from both guard squads announced to each other that the palace guards were being changed.
As the music played, the new guards marched up to the palace’s main gate and old guards marched out, followed closely by the musicians. The whole ceremony lasted about 15 minutes total and it was a nice way to start my sightseeing for the day.
After the ceremony was over some of the actors stood around at the palace gate for several minutes to let visitors get photos with them. Once they departed I went over to the ticket office and purchased my entry ticket for the palace. My second visit to Gyeongbokgung was about to begin.