Home to over 900 traditional Korean houses (Hanoks), Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) is a popular tourist location to travelers who want to get a closer look at Korea’s history. These houses date all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty. As the times have changed, more modern style houses were being introduced into Korean society and hanoks were becoming houses for families who couldn’t afford the modern houses.
Many hanoks were slowly torn down for tall buildings and shops that are surrounding the village. However, the government decided to stop tearing down these historic houses and they veered towards protecting them. The ones that you see today are the remaining left hanoks. To be more specific, they’re the ones left in the Jongno area. Many of these traditional houses now operate as restaurants, guesthouses, and tea houses. It provides travelers an immersive experience in Korean traditional culture.
The word “Bukchon” means north village and was given to this place to be a landmark in northern Seoul. These hanok style houses were once homes to nobles due to the intricate design of the architecture. The long curved roof and special wood flooring, called ondol (온돌) was meant to help keep the homes warm during the harsh winter. You’ll be able to experience the interior design if you go to a restaurant or tea house.
It is a pretty big place so you might get lost in the alleyways. Take Line 3 and get off Anguk (안국) station. Get out Exit 2 and walk straight for approximately 5 minutes. There will be an intersection and you need to cross to the other side of the street and then keep heading north for about another 5 minutes. You’ll see a sign telling you the direction of Bukchon Hanok Village by then. If by chance you lose your way, just follow the crowd of people. Most likely they’re heading to the same location.
But there’s a little caution before you visit the village. The houses in the village are actual residences so visitors are advised to stay silent while walking around. You’ll be able to experience walking through old style Korean architecture. When you climb the main hill, you’ll see Seoul along with Namsan Tower.