Refreshing Your Mind
Korean language classes in the morning. A scrumptious lunch at the university cafeteria. About 2 hours of study in the library, and sometimes, a short nap. After taking a nap, strolling in the park close to Dongguk University was a must. It always helped me to refresh my mind and soul, find the much-needed inspiration to finish the essay due the following day, and keep my energy levels high. The park I am talking about is actually Namsan Hanok Village, a beautiful oasis of tranquility and peace. Whenever I felt the urge to meditate or to connect with Mother Nature, I would come here with a grande cup of ice latte or peach ice tea, ready to have a date with no other than myself.
Far from the noisy streets of Seoul, Namsan Hanok Village is the perfect spot for both students or working people who want to relax a bit after a crazy day packed with deadlines. Since my dormitory was also located near the village, sometimes, I used to take a short walk in the park before going to sleep. After the walk, sitting on a bench and watching the coy fish playing in the pond entertained me more than anything else.
Have you ever been to Namsan Hanok Village? What did you like the most? If you still haven’t gone there yet, I strongly recommend you visit this place, especially if you are interested in Korean traditional architecture. Opened to the public in 1998, Namsan Hanok Village is one of the most famous places in Seoul, around Chungmuro area. The village has a pavilion, restored hanoks, a traditional garden and a stage. Occasionally, there are workshops or performances you can watch in exchange for a very small fee. The buildings and the objects displayed inside portray the lifestyle of Korean people during Joseon era.
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(the floor), 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 Bukchon Hanok Village or Eunpyeong Hanok village as well. Korea is full of architectural masterpieces wherever you go. If I had enough money, I would definitely buy a hanok deep hidden in the heart of the mountain, and live there surrounded by nature, just like a Buddhist monk. No disturbing artificial sounds, no crowds, no pollution. Only bird chirps and fresh water from the river nearby.
What You Can Do at Namsan Hanok Village
- Taking part in a traditional tea ceremony
- Watching taekwondo demonstrations or traditional performances
- Learning calligraphy (and patience at the same time)
- Becoming an expert at folding hanji(Korean rice paper)
- Trying traditional games (like yutnori )
- Having a herbal medicine experience
- Renting hanbok(the traditional Korean clothes) and take tons of photos
- Walking around like a yangban(noble man) in the garden haha
- Having a perfect date with your loved one
Whatever option you chose, I promise it will be a memorable experience. For more detailed information related to Namsan Hanok Village, don’t forget to check this website.
One of my favorite things about this place, apart from the beauty of hanoks and the pond full of golden fish, was the fact that I was so close to the Namsan tower, located on the mountain behind the village. However, even if it seems quite close, going to the tower is another story. It could take about 1 hour or 2, if you choose to climb. If you are not ready for such an experience, I recommend you take the bus.
How to get to Namsan Hanok Village?
You can take a taxi and go the following address 28, Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul or take the subway(line no. 3 or no.4) ,and save some money for a lunch box. Get off at Chungmuro Station, and then walk for about 2-3 mins until you see the main gate of the village. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions, because the people will definitely be happy to help you find the way. If you get hungry after the tour of the village, you can stop at The Korean House nearby where you can try Korean royal dishes carefully prepared and arranged just for you.
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