Bukchon Hanok Village 북촌한옥마을 is located in between the two royal palaces, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. The neighbourhood is home of hundreds of hanoks (traditional Korean houses) which used to be the residential area for the high-ranking government officials and the nobles in the past.
In the modern Seoul today, government has replaced a lot of old buildings and structures, but fortunately Bukchon Hanok Village is still well-preserved. And until today, the village is increasingly important as a centre for culture and the arts.
The village is 10 minutes walk from Anguk subway station. I came across the tourist map on my way there. The neighbourhood is as shown on the map (the area within the red dotted line). The most famous part of the village is Gahoedong-gil (Alley), located at 31 Gahoe-dong.
It is very relaxing to stroll along the neighbourhood. The roofs and walls, even the front gates of the houses are still in traditional Korean-style. It somehow lets my imagination flies back to Joseon era. Whatever I see in Joseon-era Korean dramas are The fact that these traditional-structured houses still exist in the middle of modernised Seoul, has captivated me.
Different from Namsangol Hanok Village, the Bukchon areas are not a tourist attraction. It is actually a residential area. On weekends, the area can be very crowded and there are complaints from the residents. Therefore the visitors have to keep their noise level and keep the area clean. Photo-taking are not allowed inside the houses.
Some of the houses are functioned as a hanok gallery, craft workshop and or even hanok restaurant where visitors can experience and learn about Korean traditional arts and culture such as tea ceremony, making paper doll, etc. I’ve been to bracelet making workshop here with my school twice and it’s such a memorable experience.
For visitors who are looking for a traditional korean hanok home experience, there are a few hanok guesthouse around the neighbourhood. The whole experience is about sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor (tatami). It is a full immersion in an old way of life in a traditional korean house with a courtyard in the middle and traditional jars and decorations.
Places like Bukchon Hanok Village, where I can learn and experience a country’s traditional culture and art always be one of my most favourite places. And I will go back there again to learn the paper-doll making this time!
How to get there:
– Take subway to Anguk (line 3, orange line) and take exit #2. Walk about 300m from the exit then you will reach the neighbourhood.