Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bukchon Hanok Village


The Bukchon area is a must-see if you are in Seoul. This is a traditional Hanok residential neighborhood, very much still lived-in, with lovely architecture, winding alleyways, surrounded by boutique shops and cafes. It's near the Anguk MRT station, and within walking distance of the major palaces.

The streets surrounding the neighborhood, down below, are full of interesting shops. You can see that at several points, stairways lead upwards from the main street towards the residential area.

There was an interesting looking vintage second-hand shop, with clothing displays leading up to the store. I wish I had time to take a look; secondhand stores always hold such treasures if you are willing to do a little bit of digging. 

Each alleyway offered its own surprises; family-owned restaurants, cool cafes, hand-made gifts stores. 

Finally we climbed upwards towards the residential area, which has a 600-year-old history. There was a nice view from the top, where we could see the nearby neighborhoods and rooftops sprawled out before us, with mountains in the distance.

The Bukchon Village alleys had many signs that cautioned visitors to be respectful and quiet, as families still do live in the homes. Some of the houses, though, had been converted into cultural centers, handicraft workshops, tea houses, and guesthouses.

There is somewhat of a walking path through the neighborhood, and various tourist maps and signs will point out where you are. Depending on how fast you walk, and whether or not you stop, I'd say you could go through the entire route in thirty minutes to one hour.

Even on this cold and snowy day, there were plenty of people walking up and down the main alleys. This little girl was fascinated by the snow.


Overall, it was such a lovely walk, and a great way to spend an afternoon seeing a different perspective of Seoul, usually pictured as a throbbing metropolis.

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