Monday, April 4, 2011

Chongwadae, The Blue House, or The Office of the President

After lunch at the Sarangche, the Worldwide Bloggers were brought to join a tour of Chongwadae, the Korean equivalent of the White House. First, just like going into an airport, we waited in a long line to get through security. Finally we were able to enter the Chungchugwan, the press center, where we watched a short movie (subtitled in English, Japanese and Chinese) introducing Chongwadae.

Then we were brought outside to start the tour. The first stop was Nokjiwon. This is a garden where various events are held throughout the year. The tree in the middle is quite famous and is known as the Umbrella Tree. It is thought to have been built around 1850. Behind the tree is a building known as Sangchunjae. This building is where the president hosts dinners for foreign dignitaries.

Finally we arrived at the most anticipated part of the tour. A view of Chongwadae, the Blue House itself. The second floor of this building holds the president's office. The first floor is the First Lady's office. There are also other reception halls and dining halls in this building as well. It is known as the Blue House, of course, because of the tiled roof which, including the main building and the annexes has over 150,000 blue tiles. The building was designed using the same style as Korea's traditional palaces to create a balance of modernity and tradition.

Here is a group of the Worldwide Bloggers that made it for the tour. We're a diverse group with many different views on Korea.

The last stop on the tour was the Yongbingwan, a building used for large receptions for presidential guests.

While I wish we had been allowed to enter some of the buildings in the compound, I'm really happy that I finally got to see The Blue House up close. It's been at the top of my lists of things to do in Korea for a while now and thanks to the Korea Blog I was finally able to get there. I'm really interested to see how the Korea Blog turns out and how they incorporate us Worldwide Bloggers into the blog.


  1. So you didn't get to go into the Guest Residence either. When I went, it was off-limits because a foreign delegation was staying there, but supposedly the interior is part of the tour otherwise.

    Did they say why you couldn't go in?

  2. I guess it was just a garden tour. We had about 1,000 ajummas on our tour with us, it would have been a disaster, lol. I didn't know they had tours of the insides of any of the buildings. How did you get on that tour???

  3. I took the tour where you sign up (or have a Korean friend sign up). You have to bring your passport and a bus leaves from beside Gyeongbokgung. It runs every day, multiple times. Look here:

  4. Nope, that looks like the same tour. Maybe they lied to you... haha, or maybe it's just changed since you did the tour. Or maybe they didn't want the 200 ajummas in my group getting too close to the furniture. One or the other.

  5. Hello, 조안나님!
    I can tell you exactly why did not you go to the inside of blue house. My name is SungBae who is a police officer. I had worked the blue house for 4 years, and I already guided people who signed up the blue house tour. The reason is a security. It depends on person has a security qualification who can go inside. Even though I worked the blue house, I could not go to inside. Here is a answer. If you want to go to inside, you should find a person who works in blue house.^^ Sorry, my english is bad.

  6. Thank you! That's very interesting!