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S. Korea’s royal palaces resume events, group tours

/ 05:27 PM May 19, 2020

Changdeok Palace Moonlight Tour (Yonhap)

SEOUL — The Cultural Heritage Administration announced Tuesday that it would start holding tours and events at the country’s royal palaces, which have been suspended since Feb. 27 due to the risk of spreading COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the changing of the royal guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung will be the first event to resume.

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Saenggwabang within Gyeongbokgung, where tourists can experience a traditional tea ceremony and enjoy dessert, will be open from May 27 to June 29.

The popular night tours of Gyeongbokgung will be available from May 27 until June 8. There will be no night tours on Tuesdays. The Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour will resume May 28 and go on until June 21. This tour of Changdeokgung will not be available on Mondays or Tuesdays.

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Concerts will be held at Gyeongbokgung every weekend from May 30 to July 12.

More events, including concerts at Changgyeonggung and a chance to taste food from Gyeongbokgung’s royal kitchen, will restart in June.

To observe the social distancing guidelines, Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour participants will enjoy the performance while walking through the palace site instead of gathering in one place. The government added that all visitors’ temperatures would be checked and they were required to wear masks at all times.

The CHA decided to limit the number of visitors at some events. For instance, Gyeongbokgung used to accept up to 6,000 people for its special night visits before the virus broke out but will now only allow 4,500 people.

According to the CHA, people who want to take part in night tours at Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung, as well as Gyeongbokgung’s royal kitchen food tasting event, will have to make online reservations in advance. Tickets for the night tour can be purchased from Friday at 2 p.m. at Auction Ticket (http://ticket.auction.co.kr). Tickets for night tours of Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung cost 30,000 won ($24.51) and 50,000 won, respectively.

No detailed information has been released about tickets for the royal kitchen food tasting event.

Meanwhile, the CHA added, on May 7 it resumed the sacrificial rites at one of the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, with only a small number of participants. The ceremony did not take place in March or April.

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