When in South Korea: Bukchon Hanok Village

Nothing can be more traditional than the Bukchon Hanok Village showcasing Korean houses dating back from Joseon dynasty, preserved and kept for more than 600 years.



A traditional Korean house is called hanok, a type of house that is positioned based on its natural surrounding. Back in the day, a typical hanok was usually built in between a mountain and a river. Based on baesanimsu principle, a house must always face the water while the mountain has to be the background.

This traditional village is in the heart of Seoul. Bukchon, an area that consists of several neighborhoods, is actually located near the Gyeongbokgung palace and Changdeok palace. During the Joseon dynasty, this village served as the residence of the commoners, especially the servants, nobles and their families.

As of today, these houses were transformed into restaurants, coffee shops, souvenir shops, and cultural centers to further boost tourism. There is no entrance fee to the village.
Meanwhile, a few houses offer interesting cultural activities such as the hanbok experience. Hanbok is the term used for the traditional Korean dress using colorful fabric and simple yet elegant designs.
Renting a hanbok is very common in Seoul. Aside from the palaces, you would most probably catch a lot of people wearing hanbok here as tourists enjoy the authentic Korean atmosphere of the village.

Some got turned into guest houses where you can actually stay at. The price starts at KRW 92,000 (PHP 4,000) per night -- a rate that may be pricey for a backpacker in Seoul but can definitely offer a unique experience.  

How to get there: The nearest subway is the Anguk station (line 3, orange line). You may either take exit 1 or 2. From the exit, just walk straight and in 500 meters, you will reach the village. The houses can be found on either side.
Be-like-a-local tip: I found a small restaurant in front of Anguk station exit 2. I think it is called Korea Kimbab – Food Café (but I’m really not sure because most of the signs are in Hangul, the Korean characters). At first, I thought the menu was written in Hangul too, but when the ahjumma noticed that I look like a foreigner, she handed me a menu in English.
The hawker-like look and feel do not say much on the good quality of the food. The bibimbap was delicious and filling. I paid KRW 5,000 (PHP 219) for the huge bowl with soup and side dishes. 




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