One of my favorite places in Seoul is no other than Bukchon Hanok Village. An ethereal place. A glimpse of the past. Since I’m interested in Korean traditional architecture, regularly visiting Bukchon Village helped me to understand the philosophy behind traditional houses even better. Now I want to live in a hanok for the rest of my life. Hanok buildings are not only visually pleasant, but also “kind” to nature and people, because they are built from wood and stone, with no harmful substances. I went to Bukchon for the first time with my classmates, in order to gather material for a project we had to work on, and it was a fantastic experience. Compared to the modern areas of Seoul, where everyone is in a hurry, in Bukchon it seems like time had more patience with people.
Built during Joseon
Located on the top of a hill in Seoul, Bukchon Hanok Village is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Korea. Close to Gyeonbok Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, the village has a long history, being built during the Joseon dynasty, about 600 years ago. The area is an actual neighborhood, many of its residents living in hanok type homes. Also, many of the buildings operate now as cafes, restaurants, guest houses of even cultural centers. I strongly recommend you visit this wonderful place because you will have the opportunity to experience Korean culture sprinkled with modernity.
What is a Hanok?
As I mentioned earlier, Bukchon Village is full of hanok type homes. But what is hanok? And what is so special about it? Well, if you watched Korean historical dramas, you will definitely remember the key features of a traditional Korean house: wooden structure, roof tiles and ondol, which is a heated rock system used during winter season. Eco-friendly and energy- efficient, these homes are typically built facing a river or a stream, with mountains in the back. Most of the hanoks were built during the Joseon Dynasty and many of them are still well preserved and very popular among tourists. If you are interested in finding out more about Korean traditional architectural style, don’t miss the chance to visit Jeonju Hanok Village or Eunpyeong Hanok village as well. For more information, you can check this website.
How to get there?
Going to Bukchon Village shouldn’t be a problem, since public transportation in Seoul is inexpensive and very convenient. If you prefer taking the subway, then you should get off at Anguk station(line no.3, exit 2). Also, if you are close to Gyeongbok Palace, you can even walk to Bukchon Village, since it’s quite close. It won’t take too much. However, if you value comfort and speed, more than anything else, just take a taxi and you’ll get there in no time. Bukchon Hanok Village is free to enter, no need to pay any fee, however try to keep quiet while walking the alleys and don’t disturb the residents.
What can you do in Bukchon?
If you go to Bukchon, don’t miss the chance to try on some traditional Korean garments. Pick your favorite hanbok and take tons of artsy pictures. It will be a moment to remember. For more details, you can check out this page.
Since many hanok style buildings have been turned into guesthouses, foreign visitors have the unique chance to experience Korean culture while getting in touch with locals as well. Nowadays it’s a piece of cake to find yourself the best place to stay in Bukchon, since everything is just one click away . Two of the most well-known guesthouses are Bukchonmaru Hanok Guesthouse and Bukchon Sarangchae Hanok Guesthouse.
If you are interested in Korean traditional crafts, you can participate in workshops where you can learn how to work with hanji( paper made of rice) or how to make traditional ornamental knots such as norigae, used as an accessory for hanbok.
Have a nice cup of coffee or tea.
Bukchon alleys are full of cozy cafes and tea houses where you can recharge your batteries after a stressful day. Gently sipping a latte while listening to some peaceful music, sitting by yourself, far from the city jungle, is, sometimes, all you need to feel refreshed. Am I right?
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