If you are planning a vacation to South Korea, especially to the capital city of Seoul, Bukchon Hanok Village is a must-see for any visitor who wants to see what Seoul looked like 600 years ago.
The town transports you back to the old Joseon Dynasty era while preserving artefacts of the upper-class lifestyle at the time.
All About The History
Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional Korean village in Seoul, located north of Gyeongbokgung Palace. "Bukchon" roughly translates to "north town." It includes the neighbourhoods of Wonseo-dong, Jae-dong, Gye-dong, Gahoe-dong, and Insa-dong, has a 600-year history dating back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392&ndash1897).
Although the traditional Korean house was extant since the Joseon dynasty, the term "Hanok" was coined much later to distinguish it from the "Yangok" or the western architectural style, which was becoming prevalent in the 20th century.
Traditional Hanok was first challenged during the Korean War in 1950 and after colonialism. During this time, frequent regime changes ruined many people's homes and eroded faith in the country's future. The emergence of democracy and residential development boosted Korea's economy and resulted in a contemporary modern society as we see it today. However, like fast developing nation, South Korea too succumbed to loss of interest in preserving the old traditional house or the Hanok. As of now, only seven of the 50 Hanok villages survive.
Here is a list of attractions that you should not miss.
Bukchon Traditional Culture Center
The Bukchon Traditional Culture Center highlights the village's values, history, and social practices. Enjoy a tea ceremony and a Bukchan hanok and culture exhibition in the hall. A variety of cultural lectures are also held. The City of Seoul and the Bukchon Cultural Center are assisting in organising these seminars.
Donglim Knot Museum
The Donglim Museum opened its doors in April 2004. Apart from showing goods from the Joseon dynasty, such as norigae for belts, thread, pouches, cord, hanbok, and Korean knots or maedeup, the museum also hosts a Maedeup Workshop conducted by the museum's curator, Sim Yeong-mi. For those who are interested, there are one-day courses as well as more extended programmes.
Seoul Intangible Cultural Heritage Center
Each music genre has its own group within the Seoul Intangible Cultural Heritage Center. It was established by the government to encourage traditional values and the arts. It also assists cultural masters in teaching their students by helping them in various subjects. Several events and conferences are held when musical ensembles play traditional works. The "National Intangible Cultural Assets" craft masters lead 12 distinct craft groups.
Things To Do
Bukchon Hanok Village is an Instagram-worthy location, but many people are unaware that this small tourist destination and its surroundings have so much more to offer in terms of activities. A visit to the Bukchon Hanok Village would not be complete without wearing hanboks (traditional Korean costumes) and clicking a few photos. Pose against the historic stone walls of Bukchon Hanok Village.
Enjoy delving into Korean art at the Bukchon Hanok Village. Do not miss the murals resembling a sequence of paintings with an eclectic mix of Korean, Chinese, and Western styles found on traditional building facades in the Village.
Go For Cafe Hopping
And just when you are overwhelmed by history, stop by at any of the coffee shops dotting the village, probably for a cup of café au lait and macarons.
How To Reach
Train For travellers, the train from Seoul is the most convenient way to visit Bukchon Hanok Village. Board a metro train to reach Anguk Station on the Seoul Subway Line 3.
After passing through Exit 3, turn right. After around 200 metres, you'll notice multiple signboards offering Bukchon Village Walking Tours, indicating that you've arrived at the village. Seoul Incheon Airport is 50 km from Bukchon Village. A Bukchon Hanok Village map comes in handy. There is no entry fee.