Bukchon Hanok Village has become a hotspot for travellers to South Korea, and it’s easy to see why. This quaint residential neighbourhood between the Gyeongbokgung and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Changdeokgung palaces of the Joseon Dynasty is home to some 900 hanok, elegant traditional Korean houses. Wander its streets and get lost amid the charms of a bygone era.
Start your visit at the Bukchon Traditional Culture Centre (37, Gyedong-gil), where you can better acquaint yourself with the background of Bukchon Hanok Village before you set off on a stroll. Bukchon, which means ‘northern village’, was long an upper-class neighbourhood. As far back as the Joseon Dynasty (1392 to 1910), nobility and high-ranking officials lived in the beautiful hanok. In certain parts of the village – Gahoedong-gil, 31, Gahoe-dong, for example – you’ll find gorgeous views over the hanok rooftops with the modern city of Seoul as a backdrop in the distance. Gahoe-dong has a great traditional liquor brewery, too, where you can learn about a unique method of brewing.
In addition to the residential dwellings, you’ll also find a number of beautiful galleries, museums, artisan shops, and traditional restaurants and cafes along the neighbourhood’s labyrinthine and winding alleyways. If you’re keen to spend a bit more time here and live among the locals, the village also boasts several traditional guesthouses.
It’s important to remember that although Bukchon Hanok Village warmly welcomes visitors to experience its atmosphere and special places, it’s still a residential neighbourhood, so it’s a good idea to keep noise levels – and other disruptive behaviour – to a minimum. To get to the Bukchon Traditional Culture Centre, take subway line 3 to Anguk Station, come out Exit 3 and walk straight for 250 metres. While in the area, make time to visit the two nearby palaces, too.