Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을)

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Wondering through Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) has always been one of my must gos in Seoul, so we were really lucky to have picked a good day when it wasn't very cold. We went there after breakfast, but not before picking up a map first from the Tourist Information Centre just a block up from Anguk Station (안국역). Not only did the map tell us where everything was, it even suggested routes that we could take to explore the area. Bukchon Hanok Village is known for its 8 photo views, and I think we saw about 4-5 following a straightforward but long route.

Unlike other folk villages, Bukchon Hanok Village is not meant to be a tourist attraction because it's actually a residential neighbourhood where people actually live. However, the area has been adapted slightly to accommodate for the tourists by operating as "cultural centres, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, providing visitors an opportunity to experience, learn and immerse in Korean traditional culture" (Visit Korea).

The most famous and picturesque view of Bukchon Hanok Village is the one above, with N Seoul Tower (N서울타워) in the background. It's not easy to take a good photo without other people around, so we were quite lucky to arrive at a time before a flock of people started gathering—even if it was only for 3-5 minutes.

The hanoks were no doubt beautiful, but the most interesting building I thought was Gahoe Hankyunghun Gallery Café (가회 한경헌 갤러리 카페), which featured both historic and present-day exteriors.

Our time spent at Bukchon Hanok Village consisted of walking, taking photos and admiring the beautiful juxtaposition between traditional hanoks and the modern city landscape. (And finding cats randomly on the streets!) It was a bit of a walk if you choose to start from Anguk Station and make your way up to Samcheong-dong (삼청동), but it was good experience nonetheless.

However, a visit to Bukchon Hanok Village is not complete for a Korean drama fan without a visit to Yeorangjae (여랑재), the house featured in the drama "Personal Taste" (개인의 취향) starring Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin. In the drama, the house is actually called Sanggogaje (상고재 or 相婟齋). And although we couldn't actually go in, it was still really nice seeing the hanok in person. If you're interested, it's just on the street just next to the picturesque street above. The address is: 43 Bukchon-ro 11ga-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울 종로구 북촌로11가길 43).

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