After finishing my walk along the walls of Hwaseong Fortress I walked over to Haenggung Palace. As I was getting close to the palace I noticed a motorcade with a police escort was parked outside the main entrance and soon a group of people in suits walked out of the palace and towards the vehicles. There were Myanmar flags on the cars in the motorcade so I’m guessing the people in suits were Myanmar state officials and perhaps a couple of Korean tour guides.
The Myanmar delegation drove off in their motorcade a moment later and I entered the palace’s main gate. Haenggung Palace was built in 1789 as a temporary residence for King Jeongio whenever he was in Suwon to visit the tomb of his father. Later the palace was expanded when Jeongio relocated Korea’s capital to Suwon and if the capital not been moved back to Seoul then Haenggung Palace probably would have ended up on par with the grandeur of Korean palaces like Gyeongbokgung or Changdeokgung. The Japanese occupation of Korea resulted in the demolition of most of Haenggung Palace but in 2003 it was reopened after years of reconstruction.
In the central courtyard of the palace I found a team of workers who were setting up a wooden stages and seating in front of the building that housed the king’s throne. If I remember correctly, there was going to be some sort of theatrical performance at the palace later in the week.
I next spent an hour wandering around Haenggung Palace and taking a look inside the buildings that were open to the public. Many of the rooms had mannequins that showed how life would have looked like for members of the royal family, government officials, and their servants. Haenggung is smaller than the big palaces of Seoul so it’s easier to see everything and it doesn’t have the crowds that you normally see at palaces like Gyeongbokgung. One of my favorite exhibits was near the end of the tour route and showed the outfits that would be worn by the king, his generals, and their bodyguards when they went into battle. Once I was finished at Haenggung Palace I returned to Suwon’s train station to continue my journey through Korea.