Let us begin by announcing our Instagram Challenge winner from our recent trip to Bukcheon Hanok Village… drum roll please… Ryan! Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for your favorite shot of this beautiful neighborhood. We are planning to have future challenges as well, so stay tuned! As promised, here’s our post and photos from our exploration of the area.
Traditional Korean architecture is wonderful to see in ultra modern Seoul. With countless buildings begging you to crane your neck to see their upper details, hanok houses offer a squat glimpse at what Korea’s buildings used to look like. In areas like Bukchon you can still find clusters of these houses that have become quite famous and VERY expensive. Although it might seem strange that one of the priciest neighborhoods in Seoul is almost devoid of luxury high rises like in Gangnam, Jamsil, and nearby Jongno, the charm and traditional feel of this royal neighborhood justifies its affluence.
Located mere blocks from the palaces once inhabited by kings and royal families, the hanok neighborhoods of Bukchon mesh perfectly with the cultural ambiance of this fantastic neighborhood. These winding alleys are lined by tiled roofs and stone walls that retain the design and impression Korea must have had upon visiting diplomats and traders in previous eras. These houses are beautiful and understated in an incredible way that justifies its proximity to Gyeongbukgung, Changdeokgung, and Korea’s Presidential Palace Cheongwadae or “Blue House.”
We walked for hours in this charming district of Seoul, exploring random alleys and side streets that sometimes lead to private residential drives, and sometimes revealed deserted photo opportunities missed by the hordes of spectators. If you want to see how the other half lives in a more relaxed and traditional way, this area is filled with gorgeous views that juxtapose the antique with a modern background including Namsan Tower (N. Seoul Tower) and the towering buildings of Dongdaemun, Insa-dong, and Jongno a few blocks away. This is one of our most visited areas of Seoul for a reason, and a visit will surely explain why.
After walking this area, head north to Samcheong-dong for trendy restaurants and coffee shops, or southwest to Insa-dong for art galleries, traditional gifts, and interesting street performances. To get to Bukchon Hanok Village, go to Anguk Stn. on Line 3. Exit 2 will put you onto a direct path into these neighborhoods. There is a small cluster of hanok houses on the right (east) hand side of the street, but cross to the left and walk Bukchon-ro 11-gil for the best views.