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Cheongwadae, Home to the Presidency
Many wish to visit Cheongwadae (청와대), the president’s house. Unfortunately, it’s not as easily accessible as other tourist sites in the city as you have to book your place at least a week prior to your visit, which is not always possible if you are just staying for a few days in the country. Here’s a quick preview for those who haven’t had the opportunity to go.

The visit starts off with a short video introduction in English subtitles where the president welcomes you and briefly presents Cheongwadae as well as his political vision of Korea.

You’ve just arrived in Cheongwadae. Welcome!
The first building you’ll see is the press center, where the president gives interviews and receives the press. Next to it is the presidential green house, housing amongst other things exotic plants and trees (sorry, rules are quite enforced; no pictures are allowed to be taken, only in designated areas). One thing that strikes you as soon as you enter the grounds is how spotless everything is. You certainly won’t find any litter here! Even the tour guide with his impeccable uniform has an almost military appearance.

You’ll then make your way towards Nokjiwon (녹지원), the delightful presidential garden, where each president has planted a tree. A majestic 300 years old pine tree sits in the middle of the garden, like a jewel on a crown. From the back of the garden is Sangchunjae (상춘재, a house used in the spring), the only traditional-type building in Cheongwadae, used to receive guests. It is said that come nighttime, the president and his wife like to take a leisurely stroll in this garden.

You will then come to the site where the presidential residence once stood during the Japanese occupation, which was destroyed in 1993 by president Kim Yeong-sam in order to, according to Cheongwadae’s website, «erase a major symbol of the Japanese colonial occupation and restore the spirit of the Korean people”. The site has today been restored to its original state.

Next is the famous blue house, strategically placed on the foot of Mt. Bugaksan, acting as a symbol of the president’s power. The blue house, built in 1991, houses the offices of the president; where the president comes to work everyday. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to enter the building. A lot of people confuse the blue house with the actual president’s house, which is not accessible during the tour.

The famous Blue House

       Yeongbingwan, the guest house
The last building of the tour is Yeongbingwan(영빈관), the guesthouse. This is where the president’s guests stay during their visit. On the ground floor is a reception hall. A formal reception will only be organized for you there if you are the Prime Minister or the Head of State. Any less than that…tough luck, sorry!

→ For more information on Cheongwadae, click here!

A Random Fact
The carpet inside the reception hall of Yeongbingwan is made of one piece, making it the biggest carpet piece in Korea.
High Security Area!
Security is not an issue taken lightly at Cheongwadae.
Before the tour, you have to go through a metal detector and a body search. Pictures are only allowed in designated areas. Our tour guide gave us the authorization to take a picture of the blue house only when we were at a respectable distance from it and in such a position that it was largely hidden behind a shrub located on the foreground! (see picture above.). What an amusing anecdote! Our guide himself confessed he visited the blue house only once.
Useful Information:
As of January 2012, requests are no longer accepted via mail or email. Your application must be submitted at least 3 weeks in advance. To apply for the Cheong Wa Dae tour, please go to the Tour Application section on the Cheong Wa Dae Tours website: The application will be cancelled if the information on your passport and application do not match.

Mathieu Deprez.

Date 01/21/2008

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