Narrow streets, wood and clay structures, ceramic tiled-roofs with floral printed edges, Bukchon Hanok Village is the place to go for a taste of traditional Korean culture. Transporting you back in time, the village is one of the few residential areas preserved from the Joseon Dynasty—the last and longest-running imperial dynasty in Korea.
Situated between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces, Bukchon Hanok Village was traditionally the residential area of aristocrats and powerful government officials. Today, it is still a residential area with many locals opening their homes, called hanok, as guesthouses and cultural centres, providing visitors with the opportunity to immerse themselves in traditional Korean culture.
What makes the hanok unique is the design which uses both ondol, an underfloor heating system for warmth in winter, and maru, a wide-wooden floor area for cooling in summer. Another distinct feature is the paper-lined interior known as Hanji—traditional Korean paper made from the bark of mulberry trees. The material has many properties including its great insulating capacity which keep the rooms warm at night, and its transparent nature allowing sunlight to shine through during the day. Hanji also acts as an air humidifier and purifier as it absorbs excess moisture in the air and traps floating dust particles.
Due to its uphill location, the area offers fantastic views of the city. The ancient village contrasts with the urban landscape of Seoul. Hanboks are available for hire at nearby shops for visitors wanting to take picture-perfect selfies in traditional Korean clothing. Modern galleries, restaurants, and boutiques also line the streets nearby. Since Bukchon Hanok Village is located near two famous palaces, an ideal way to spend the day is to combine a visit to the village with a visit to one or both of the palaces.
Don’t expect the hustle and bustle of the city as this is a residential area. With that being said, please be mindful of the residents who live here and keep noise to a minimal.
How to get there:
Take Line 3 by Subway to Anguk Station, and take exit 2