Hanok houses are a step back into a traditional Korea and visiting them is like taking a step back into time. It’s a shame that Koreans are replacing them with bland high-rise apartments. However, there are places where you can stroll through the walled mazes and see them well-preserved, such as Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul.
Table of Contents: Traditional meets modern at Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul
The history behind Bukchon Hanok Village
Once a village of aristocrats during the Joseon Dynasty, Bukchon Hanok Villages rests in the hub of Seoul, connecting to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and downtown Seoul.
Two traits of a hanok house is that it’s eco-friendly and made of all natural substances, such as wood, straw, dirt and wood pulp. This makes the house breathable and free of chemical substances. The other trait is its ondol floor heating system, where the heating in the house is emitted from a system under the floor. The floor is an important part of Korean homes, because it is where Koreans traditionally used to sleep or eat. The ondol is a favorite of Koreans and you’ll still find ondols used in places like jjimjilbangs and modern apartments.
A modern day Bukchon village
Today, the hanok houses at Bukchon are still inhabited with families. But the area is both traditional and contemporary. Some houses are converted into restaurant cafes or art galleries and workshops which teach and preserve traditional arts and crafts. The village area is also a favorite film location for popular Korean dramas.
A trip to Bukchon village, you can take an embroidery or knot-making workshop, take selfies next to your favorite Korean drama house or simply follow the streets and let them momentarily, whisk you back in time.
Experience a Hanok House Stay in Seoul
You can experience a hanok stay during your visit in Seoul and there’s several options to choose from:
Charm Hanok Guest House A popular hanok choice for travelers is Charm Hanok Guest House in Jongno. Hosts are pleasant, the house has a courtyard and is location convenient to Changdeokgung Palace and Gwangjang Market. Stone’s throw from Bukchon village. Metro: Anguk
Buckchon Sonsjunjae Hanok Guesthouse Location convenient to Gwanghwamun, Insadong, the hanok village. Metro: Anguk
Nagne House (boutique hanok stay) With Nagne, the traditional hanok house gets an overhaul in design to a more lively boutique flair. Metro: Gyeongbukgung
Gowoondang Hanok Guesthouse A simple and earnest quality hanok stay located conveniently near Gyeongbokgung Station with access to many sights.
Getting to Bukchon Hanok Village
To get the Bukchon Traditional Culture Center, get off at Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit #4, walk towards Gahoe-dong Office past the Constitutional Court.
Red #9710, Get off at Anguk Station, walk towards Gahoe-dong Office past the Constitutional Court.
Other Hanok Villages to Visit
There are several hanok villages open to the public:
Naganeupseong Folk Village (Seoul) is a living museum park, with five houses, a pavillion and performance area and a variety of shows and exhibitions set up in the village. You can take a guided tour. Admission: Free . Located: near Donguk University/Daehan Theater. Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3 & 4), Exit 3 or 4. Nearby accommodations: PJ Hotel (review)
Jeonju Hanok Village (Jeonju): 15-20 minutes by taxi from Jeonju Station or Jeonju Bus Terminal to the Jeonju Hanok Village.
Andong Hahoe Folk Village (Andong) It is a UNESCO site. From Andong Bus Terminal, take bus 46 to Hahoe Village (하회마을). I recommend visiting during the Andong Mask Festival as there will be live mask performances there),
Namsangol Hanok Village is in Suncheon and has a town palace.
Bukchon Hanok Village Seoul
Hours: Mon~Fri (9:00 ~ 18:00)Sat~Sun (9:00 ~ 17:00) Open all year round
Pick up a walking map at the Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center.
Related articles on Seoul