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Friday, 3 April 2015

Travel | Seoul, Korea 2014 - BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE

In the midst of Seoul's concrete jungle, there nests some 900 traditional Korean wooden houses (known locally as hanoks) bringing us back to the Joseon dynasty. Needless to say, this is a must-go destination for tourists, and even locals, to get a glimpse of the historical and cultural side of Korea. Encircled by Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung and Jongmyo Shrine, this picturesque neighbourhood with its quaint little houses is definitely a sight for sore eyes :)

If you can't tell, that's me value-adding to the neighbourhood *wink*

As usual, my friends and I set off bright and early. Getting there is relatively easy: the nearest train station is Anguk Station (Line 3, Exit 3) and from there, it's a short walk to the village. There are walking tours offered (advanced booking/reservation is recommended) but to save money, we decided to do it on our own. After all, it's just walking a predetermined route #gungho.

And so begins our walking journey.
On a hot and humid day. 
No less.

Look for the Cultural Center near the station for this map. The yellow line indicates the path to be taken!

The very first hanok on the trail~

The first part of the journey was a straight road (somewhat sloping upwards) flanked by many cute little store fronts and hanoks. Sadly, most of the shops weren't opened yet because we were there so early. Like 9.30am early.

A day of walking begins!

Saw this awesome graffiti art tucked away in a corner. Spot the Ironman? Daebak!
This is the Boruem Well in Seokjeong. Fun fact: Boruem means "half a month" in Korea and the well is so named because it only has clean water for half a month. The other half of the month, the water becomes murky. 

Some hanoks are refurbished as cafes, like this one. Sadly it was not opened yet. 

In Bukchon Hanok Village, there are these 8 photo spots, known collectively as "Bukchon 8 views", that showcases the beauty of the old-world village and its surrounding area, as well as the juxtaposition of the tradition and the modern. 

We got lost at the beginning of the journey so we did not manage to cover all the photospots. Out of the 8, we probably went to 5 of them. 

View No. 3: Museum Alley at 11 Gahoe-dong

One of the doors in the alley - not sure what it was used for but boy is the door really small!

  View No. 4: Tiled rooftops at 31 Gahoe-dong

Not the same exact tiled roof view you get here, but given my height, the best I could do...

 This isn't exactly the spot but it's a close up of the tiles too!

So far, I've not taken my sunnies off - THE SUN WAS BLAZING HOT.

  View No. 5: Upwards view of  31 Gahoe-dong
Hurray for a shot relatively empty of people!  (except...)

View No. 6: Downwards view of 31 Gahoe-dong

..them people poured in when we conquered the sloping alleyway.

View No. 8: Samcheong-dong Stone Step Path

Disclaimer: not exactly sure if this is view no. 8 because the stone steps were all tiled. But in any case, the steps are made from stone. It was a long walk down the stairs.

Look how pretty the steps are! 

That's the 5 photo spots we visited. If you follow the walking route, you'll be able to hit all 8 so don't worry about missing some!

Some other photos I took along the way:

Gahoe Museum - one of the recommended museums in BHV. Closed on Mondays. (We were there on a Monday)
Restoration works going on!
How the inside of a hanok looks like.

This looked pretty rad with the accompanying trees.

Saw this very Americanized Asian food concept store. 

Wanted to visit the Owl Museum nearby but it was closed that day.
Freshly made hotteok from this apparently famous store! Inset photo: Piping hot brown sugar syrup + black sesame seeds! They have a savory version too  - with meat and veg. 

That's about my morning in Bukchon Hanok Village.
Next post will be on my afternoon at Korea National Folk Museum and Gyeongbokgung!
Do stay tuned :)

Gonna leave you guys with this punny store I saw:

What's your poison? 

Till next time.
Christine xoxo

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