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30 April 2013

Buckhon Village, Seoul, Korea

Buckhon Village, Seoul, Korea

Bukchon Village is situated between 2 palaces. Gyeongbok Palace to the west and Changdeok Palace to the east and it is a short walk for either of these two Palaces. It is also a short walk from the Folk Museum.
The easiest way to get to Bukchon is to take subway line 3 to Anguk Station and take Exit 3.

Buckhon Village, Seoul, Korea

Buckhon Village, Seoul, Korea

This village is known to have the most privately owned traditional Korean wooden homes or hanok in Seoul. This would be a good place to visit if you want to see the traditional houses of Korea. Most of these houses have people living in them so we were told not to make too much noise while we were visiting this village.
Bukchon Village is a lovely place to walk around. It's not as big as I expected but it is best to have a walking map of Bukchon (free from Tourist Information Office). This map tells you exactly where to walk and where to take the best photos. This map even shows you example of the 8 views of Bukchon so you can take photos like what you see in the travel brochures. I followed the free walking maps and managed to find all the 8 photo spots. One “spot” even have tourist guides standing there to assist you. They speak English, Japanese and Chinese.

Example of Bukchon Views from walking map

Example of Bukchon Views from walking map

I happen to visited the Changdeok Palace in the morning and then visited the Bukchon Village after lunch. If you didn’t managed to get a free map, and if you happen to come from Changdeok Palace, walk towards Hyundai building, turn right just after the Hyundai building and walk until you get to a high school gate, then turn left. Even with the map, I had a bit of trouble locating the Bukchon Village. I had to ask a few policemen along the way. Yes, there are policemen around these areas (I believe, not because it is dangerous but the police are there to help the tourists as they do speak a bit of English).

Seoul Alley Tour, Korea

Seoul Alley Tour, Korea

If you don't wish to walk you can sit in a comfortable "bike". These youngsters would love to use their leg power to take you around for a fee.

 

Buckhon Village, Seoul, Korea

Buckhon Village, Seoul, Korea

You will find that this area is famous for their small houses on a very steep hill and the alleys have been beautifully restored. They have lovely small courtyards, decorative outer walls and dark tiled roofs. Apparently these areas used to be a rundown lower middle class area. Korea went through a stage of “destroy-anything-old” to creates a new modern Seoul. Thus most of the grand mansions were destroyed. I was told that there are only two homes worth mentioning in the area. One belonged to former President Yun--a 99-unit home in traditional Korean style. The other is at the summit of Bukchon--a genuine Victorian home. Unfortunately, both homes are privately owned and not open to the public. I didn’t even get a chance to see the outside of these houses as I could not find them on the map.

One of the local delicacies stalls in Bikchon Village

One of the local delicacies stalls in Bikchon Village

There are some smaller privately owned houses that are open to the public, however you have to pay an entrance fee. I went pass one where the sign was written in English. A Korean lady was standing outside and informed me that I could get a guided tour in English of these traditional Hanuk houses. The entrance fee is 10,000 won per person. I decline the invitation.

The Old & the New in Bukchon Village, Seoul, Korea

The Old & the New in Bukchon Village, Seoul, Korea

This village has a lot of hills, so be prepared to walk up and down a lot. As there are many nooks and crannies, you can spend hours in this picturesque neighborhood. You can see lovely views from the tops of these hills. There are lots of little shops, small museums, and craft displays .My friend went into one of the traditional hanok village building and paid to learn stamp rubbing and had some tea.

Main shopping street of Samcheong-dong, Seoul, Korea

Main shopping street of Samcheong-dong, Seoul, Korea

At the bottom of these hills lies the main shopping street of Samcheong-dong. If you're looking for local designs and quirky presents, Samcheong-dong is the place to go. There are also lovely and quaint cafes and stalls selling local delicacies.
If you have time, at Samcheong road, across the road from the tourist information office at Insadong, you can take a no 11 bus to get to Samcheong Park. If it is the flowering season, you can see lovely flowers there.

If you enjoy reading this article, you may like reading about

1) Bukchon-Traditional-Korean-Village, Korea
2) Ssamziegil Shops at Insadong, Korea .
3) National Museum, Korea .
4) Shopping at Dongdaemun, Korea
5) Gwangjang Market, Korea
6) Korea University, Korea

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