Close your eyes and imagine with me: you step off the bus in Seoul. Your downtown and you can tell because the sky greets you with metal clouds that glitter in the night and reflect the world during the day. You walk 3 blocks north and duck east into an alleyway and suddenly you're transported back to the Joseon Dynasty. The rush and hecticness of the city fall away as you explore the narrow alleys and intricate details of the traditional Korean houses called "hanok". People wander around you dressed in high-waisted, A-line dresses called Hanbok's- they are bright and colorful. You are lost in another time, but fantasies don't last forever and the woman wearing the hanbok pulls out a selfie stick and you're transported back to the present.
For my first full day in Seoul I wanted to do as much exploration as possible. Thankfully the Bukchon Hanok village is situated in between the two main palaces. Word of advice Google maps does not work for street by street directions. It was able to tell me where the bus would pick me up and drop me off, however, I had to navigate the winding streets around my hostel to get there.
I walked over 9 miles in total my first day, but it was worth it because the village was originally created to house nobility and high-ranking government officials. And you can really see the majesty in these houses through the intense attention to detail. Despite years of wear and tear the attention paid was so clear.
As I wandered around the village I stumbled across this street art that took up the bottom portion of a large wall. I wasn't sure if it was history lesson from the Joseon Dynasty or some kind of protest art.
Besides taking photos and exploring the maze that makes up this village I highly suggest everyone find the Bukchon Hanok Observatory. From there you can see the roofs of all the houses and the beautiful patterns they made. Looking south you can see the roofs of these hundred year old houses and how the blend into modern city, looking north and the hanok's fade off into the base of the mountain.
Exploring the history of Seoul through this village was the perfect introduction to Seoul, a city that blends so seamlessly the past, present, and future. Make sure you subscribe below so you never miss an addition to the Archive!