Cheongwadae - The Korean President's Blue House

Recently I went on a tour of Cheongwadae which is the house and office of the South Korean President located in Seoul.

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The house where the president lives is called the blue house. It's named after the blue tiles on the roof. I think the name was inspired from the white house, but the house is definitely Korean in design.

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The tour starts in a room where you have to go through airport like security. There are some nice gifts on the wall that the South Korean president (currently Moon Jae In) received from foreign dignitaries. Most of the ones from the Americas are from President Donald Trump because the US and Korea have an important relationship and there hasn't been another American president since the Korean president was elected in 2017.

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After leaving the security building which is also where the press building is, we enter the estate gardens. Like any estate gardens, they are stately and beautiful. If you walk on the grass or do anything you aren't supposed to they will calmly tell you to obey or leave. Fortunately, everyone was respectful.

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To come to Cheongwadae, you must have an invitation from the president or his staff. However, commoners like myself can just book a tour in advance. I booked my tour in early May and managed to get into one in late July. It was during the rainy season but fortunately, the weather was nice.

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A lot of the buildings cannot be seen well from the path we must walk on. Others like security buildings near the main road cannot be photographed. Behind these lovely mungunghwa (Rose of Sharon) trees is a little guest house where honoured guests can enjoy tea in the garden.

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Cheongwadae is actually considered to be well located according to the principles of Geomancy (Fung Shui). According to the Wikipedia article,l "This view was backed up by an inscription on a stone wall that reads: "The Most Blessed Place on Earth", found behind the official presidential residence during the construction of a new building in 1990."

Actually, there is a mounting or two behind it and a stream and a river in front of it.

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I was glad it wasn't raining because most of the tour was indeed outdoors that day. The lawns were meticulously manicured and there were gardeners roaming around perfecting it in the way most Asian gardens are perfected.

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There was even a little stream flowing through the garden. I was happy there were native fish and not something imported like koi. Having imported Japanese fish here would just be a huge no-no and ruin the uniquely Korean atmosphere.

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Actually the grounds of Cheongwadae do have a lot of history. This is where the royal families used to hang out back in the day and the area was never open to the public. It's behind one palace and next to another with a mountain behind it and an old shrine on the other side. Some of the trees here (including that fat one in the back of the above picture) are ancient.

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Here is a rock that tells of the rock that was found. This isn't the ancient rock with the inscription, that one is probably in a museum somewhere. Only North Korea would pull off such an obvious fraud.

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Finally we get to the star of the show Cheongwadae. The tour guide said sometimes the president comes down (his office is on the second floor), or he steps out and waves. I was hoping for a wave (I don't expect him to mingle with the unwashed masses during an epidemic.), but he was nowhere to be found.

Sadly, we didn't get to go inside either. Heck, we weren't even allowed to go any closer than this point.

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Here is a view looking the other way. As you can see there is a lovely lawn and a nice view of downtown Seoul in the background.

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Here is a picture of the side of the house. Even the street lamps look nice. They all had nice South Korean flags on them. Although, the flag in front of the blue house is the president's flag (it's different).

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Here we can see a side view of the lawn. I'm not sure what those paths are for. I guess when the VVIPs arrive in helicopters, they roll out a red carpet or something.

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The view of the house from across the lawn is much nicer. I'm not sure which wing is private residences and which is the guest area or dining area. I didn't really listen to the tour or study this place that much, but if you are interested, I'm sure there is a lot of info online in Korean.

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Here is a view of the main driveway. This driveway is only open for VIP guests. Actually I took a picture from the other side when I visited Gyeongbokgung which is the place in front of the Blue House. It inspired me to finally book a tour of Cheongwadae.

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Here was my final view of the blue house as the tour was coming to its end. The tour was actually somewhat short, but we got an up-close view of the house and a pleasant walk through the gardens. The price was right (free) and we even got souvenir mugs. Children get some kind of pouch.

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This building is kinda odd and obviously has the inspiration from buildings in the American capital or Greco-Roman architecture more inline with the main Korean legislature building.

It is the reception hall. This is where the Korean president has stately balls and such or meetings with foreign dignitaries and delegations that cannot fit inside his house. The actual blue house is to the right of here and the exit for tourists is just behind where I was standing.

I hope you enjoyed your tour, I sure did. If you want more info, look here: https://tour.president.go.kr/Contact/Tours

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What epic photography through the gardens, details about the buildings, yes keeping with detail even down to the fish in the pond.

Seeped with splendor, detail, balanced life with privacy utilizing nature most definitely a wonderful visit, thanks for taking us along @abitcoinskeptic

@tipu curate

Thanks a lot.🤗

It was a nice tour. I'd like something a little more indepth, but getting invited inside is difficult.

Whenever I see a pond I always have a close look.

Gardens and buildings very unique to the region, seeing balance in design you were lucky to go in many places just don't allow visitors.

The climate is really great here, but then again I'm from Canada, so don't take my word for it.

Even though it's not natural, I think gardens are really important because plants need their places to grow, too. Like a plant zoo.

not a fan of politics but this is one beautiful house 😏

Agreed. And, the tour wasn't very political considering where I was. I'm so used to seeing temples, palaces and fortresses, this was a little different and more relevant.

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Thank you kindly!

Wooow, there are so beautiful and vibrant landscapes, you just took them perfectly!

I like to visit nice gardens. Because people cannot picnic or walk onthe grass, it looks fantastic.

In my country should put that rule... everyone walk on the grass, so sad.

Beautiful, neat and tidy as befits a president's domain my friend!
Glad that the weather was your friend on the day and sad that they wouldn't even allow you guys into the the state room.
But security being what it is all over the world, one cannot blame them.
Besides Covid could also present a danger, but be it as it may, at least you guys enjoyed the trip!

I was a little disappointed we couldn't go in, but you are right about security and now disease concerns.
There is a museum down the street with a lot of photos and a replica of his desk area. One time he did one of his speeches from there and no one noticed the difference.

Ah! If only you could have gotten a photo of that desk area lol.
Maybe you can get a special clearance afte4r this Covid thing to go in there, but I don't think that it is likely.
Did you visit that museum for some shots?

Actually there are a few replicas of his desk around various museums. That museum is unique because you can see his house from the roof. I have a picture of myself at one of them but it's located much further from Seoul. I didn't feel like posting it on Hive since I have no desire to become president of Korea. I think I will have to buy a better camera lens if I want to take indoor photos. My phone is better for this.

So? You have no desire to become the president of Korea?
Do you mean that if you post the picture that people might start to think that you are the president?
It could be a good idea to give you some political clout when you go shopping hahaha.

I see lately that phones take great indoor photos and you are right to stick with it. I borrowed a friends phone to take a photo of a beautiful old ox wagon and it turned out that I took a selfie and not the wagon lol.
Too many small buttons and cameras on those phones, as how can one have a camera that is at the front and another one that is at the back? Who takes photos behind their backs?

Now I know why it's called the "Blue" house. I always hear about it in Korean dramas and series. It looks magnificent! I was supposed to visit Korea last July but my trip got cancelled due to the pandemic. I will definitely be adding this to my itinerary.

A lot of the dramas either just refer to it or show the inside. They also call it by the Korean name, Cheongwadae and Blue House is just its English name.

I recommend you visit on the same day you do a Gyeongbokgung Palace tour since the bus leaves from there anyway. Just make sure you reserve in advance. Luckily there are spots available for foreigners which are much easier to get.

I loved every picture in the blog, glad you are back. And that this trip is one i got to go on aswell. The blue house is my favorite but this had also could have been a treetuesday blog. The nature and gardens are well ytaken care off
Have a great weekend

Haha thanks. I'm not really back though. Still only publishing one blog every couple of weeks. I'm just so busy with other things that are more important.

The blue house is surrounded by a nice lawn and gardens. The president deserves the best. There were 3 trees I really liked in the garden.

I hope you have a nice weekend, too!

I hope your own garden is flourishing too and you love only 3 the area of the blue house is massive! And I love that you said it’s great that it’s so quiet and people aren’t allowed on the lawn

Ok take care of real life and stay safe