Changdeokgung is the first UNESCO World Heritage site that I visited in South Korea, and my ninth overall.
As I mentioned Changeokgung was a palace constructed in 1405 by the Joseon dynasty, which ruled Korea for five centuries, starting in the 14th century. The palace was initially built to function as a secondary one, but its role eventually got more important to the royalty.
It was late in the afternoon when I arrived at the complex; I had difficulty navigating and decoding the subway map at first. It was also starting to get cold, according to Google Now the temp when I was there was 1°C but felt like -1°C due to wind chill factor. I find it hard to take pictures; either I fumble with the gloves on, or my fingers feel like freezing whenever I take them off to click the shutter.
There weren't a lot of visitors when I was there. There were a young Korean couple in costume taking selfies, and a very noisy mainlander. The couple even asked me to take their photo when I passed them by.
I explored the complex by going from one building to the other. The visit to the palace was actually my introduction to Korean history. I don't remember it was mentioned substantially when I was taking up North Asian history in UP. Of course their history is tied up with Japan's and China's, though I understand that it is an sensitive topic even until now.
I got as far as the residence of the king's concubine. There was a section called The Secret Garden, which was the area where the royalty used to relax, but I didn't get the ticket for it, so basically my exploration ended in the concubine's house.
I am planning to visit a few more historical landmarks in Seoul in the coming days so I hope that my understanding of Korea's history and culture will further deepen by then.