Seoul Day 4: Gyeongbokgung Palace | Gate Guards Costume

After watching the changing of gate guard ceremony at Gwanghwamun Gate, we went inside the palace gates and noticed the intricate design on the ceiling and gate walls. Inside the palace gate, we noticed an establishment with signage of different types of gate guard costume.

At first I thought this was some sort of a museum dedicated to further explain the ceremony that we’ve just witnessed outside the gate but actually it was a costume service where you can for free!

The gate guard costume experience service only opens a few minutes after the guard changing ceremony. Usually operating hours of the service is during 10:10, 13:10, 14:15 and 15:15.

For the basic rules:

  1. You can avail the costume on a first come, first serve basis. So make sure to queue properly on the designated waiting area.
  2. The service is free of charge but only available for 5 minutes and should only be worn on the gate ground premises. You cannot bring it inside the building palace
  3. Personnel will ask you to sign on their logbook while still in the queue. Shoes should be removed as well before entering the changing premise. (I guess this is an Asian thing!)
  4. There’s no need to remove present clothing as they will just put it on top of your clothes. Since this is available on a short period only – a long changing ceremony is not really needed. The costume looked bulky on me cause I didn’t removed my trench coat.
  5. Personnel will also assist you with your chosen type of costume as they of course more familiar on how to wear it quick and properly.
  6. You can leave your bulky belongings on the designated area (there’s an open locker room inside the changing area) and enjoy your 5 minutes gate guard experience.

There are a lot of guard participants but they only pick a few guard costumes to try on their list:

  1. Sumunjang: Chief Gate Guard of the Royal Palace. They are the commanding in chief of the palace guard.
  2. Gapsa: Armed Guardsman. Their main duty is to guard the palace gate.
  3. Jeongbyeong: Regular Guard. They are the private soldier of the Joseon’s army.
  4. Daejol: Subordinate Soldier. Their main duty is to guard the palace gate.

I’ve tried the Sumunjang costume (red and yellow) while Cris tried the Jeongbyeong costume (dark blue) . We didn’t removed our present clothing and coats so the costume looked kinda bulky to us. The costume comes with a complete set – you can be actually be mistaken as the real guard. Maybe that’s one of the reason I guess why they don’t allow you to roam around the palace grounds.

We took some photo just near the Gwanghwamun Gate and after a few minutes of giggles and amusement, we head back to the costume office and returned our costumes and continued our Gyeongbukgong tour.


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