The National Museum of Korea is an enormous museum that boasts numerous works of art, historical exhibits, and cultural events within its walls. Not only is the museum impressive, but there’s also plenty to do in the area surrounding the museum.
For those of you who don’t know much about Korea in general, this is a great place to start. It is located in the Yongsan-gu area of Seoul, close to the Han river, and is easily accessible by subway.
Right in front of the museum is a sprawling, beautiful pond called the “Mirror Pond.” It’s a very peaceful area to sit around and just watch the colorful koi fish swim around.
Just on the other side of the pond, you’ll notice a beautiful pavilion.
A short walk around the pond will lead you to the Pavilion with Celadon Roof Tiles or Cheongjajeong.
It’s a very nice area that stands right above the Mirror pond where you can sit, relax, and quietly talk or just take in the vibrant surrounding scenery.
No shoes allowed inside!
On the ceiling of the pavilion, lively patterns and unique designs can be seen.
Walking farther past the Cheongjajeong, you’ll end up in the Pagoda garden. This garden hosts a series of stone pagodas and various other statues alongside the beautiful terrain.
Following the path through the Pagoda Garden, you will eventually end up at Dragon Falls.
I know I have been talking a lot about how beautiful this place is, but really there is no better way to describe this area. Walking around, you can tell how much effort was put into creating this environment that literally transports you to a different point in time.
Everything that I have mentioned so far had been either in front of the museum or just to the side of it. Now, we’re finally getting to the museum itself.
This area is right at the entrance to the museum. It’s a wide open concrete area that has an overhead covering. Farther in, there is an entire section of built-in stairs. While I was there, there was a small concert and people filled in the stairs to watch.
Namsan (or Seoul) Tower is visible from the Open Plaza area of the museum at the top of the stairs.
Once you step into the museum, you find yourself standing in the gigantic circular entrance room. The architectural designs here are really and pretty unique.
I ended up walking around the first floor, seeing the prehistory & ancient history gallery and the medieval & early modern history gallery. These two exhibits worked together to provide a quick run-through of Korean history.
Check out the museum’s website to see the full list of museum exhibits.
Student and Traveler Tips:
One of my favorite things about this place is that it’s free (both inside and outside)! You only pay if you want to see special exhibits.
***The museum is closed on Mondays
I didn’t realize it at the time, but apparently museum website said that there are also audio tours available, including in English. Due to the extensiveness of the museum, I think it’d be a good idea to have some guidance.
If you plan to walk around inside and outside, expect to spend more than a couple of hours here- and wear comfortable shoes!
137 Seobinggo-ro, Seobinggo-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea