{seoul throwback #1} bukchon hanok village

9:05 AM sians 1 Comments

i'm starting a seoul #throwback travelogue series depicting the beautiful capital city of south korea, capturing my travel adventures and hopefully inspire your own itinerary when you are planning your own lil getaway. 

i'll be keeping 'em as simple and sweet with more photos and some recommendations. occasionally, some of the food entries will be slipped in between this series so keep checking :)

a good place to kick start the series with would be to trace back to the roots of south korea - the traditional bukchon hanok village {북촌한옥마을} which can be found in the midst of the bustling city of seoul. taking the subway line o3 to stop at anguk station and taking exit number 3, it is a mere ten minute walk to arrive at gye-dong, jongno-gu.

a quick history - surrounded by gyeongbok palace, cheongdeok palace and jongmyo shrine, 'bukchon' which literally translates to northern village and 'hanok' which are the names of the traditional houses date back to the joseon dynasty that marks the chenggyeocheon (stream) and jogno. originally the quarter of the king and the nobles, it remains a thriving residential area, which has become so symbolic in terms of architecture and history makes it a very popular and recommended attraction for tourists.

my first stop was the bukchon traditional cultural center - an informational pit stop to learn about the architecture significance and the way the hanok structure is constructed. a quick and interesting beginning with a quick preview of what is to come for the rest of my morning. there is also a petite gift shop close to the entrance of the cultural center selling pretty and homemade souvenirs that is pricey but still worth checking out.

ideally, walking out of the cultural center towards 4-gil, bukchon-ro will lead you to a tourist information center if you proceed to your left which is THE place to get the "tourist map of bukchon" to adjust your bearings and possibly plan out your walk-around for the day. it was the perfect day for sight seeing in the village - it was warm but not scorchingly hot.

however, the true story involved me going on a little detour without a map because i took a wrong turn. i came across a couple of very cute, petite cafes and shops that i could not resist walking into to see what they had to offer. some were selling adorable handicrafts that you could tell were one of a kind. beautiful architecture of the old traditional building with curved tiled roofs, levels and wooden interior marks the expertise and attention to details that went into each home which emulates the similar designs yet possesses a personality of its own.


a couple of lovely traditional inns, guest houses and hanok-themed restaurants were slipped in between the private residential homes in the area.

i must have arrived at the shopping street central as i spied a street of colorful yet cozy little shops that i liked because of its uniqueness and each shop's personality shines through the decor.

unbeknownst to me, my walking exploration brought me to two of the eight scenic views in bukchon after walking in circles just enjoying the scenery: o2. the arts and crafts street in wonseo-dong and also o1. changdeok palace.

after a few hours of walking, my grumbling tummy suggested that i needed a bite to eat and to cool off from the village exploring. i came across a small shop selling korean dumplings, mandoo! what i unaware was i found a treasure of a restaurant - it is a part of the a popular mandoo franchise called bukchon son mandoo {북촌손만두} for the ideal traditional korean meal at a traditional korean shack where the cooks freshly prepare the mandoo just before they steam them.

i opted for the bukchon dumpling soup from their menu {북촌만둣국} priced at 5,000원 that meant a generous portion of six steamed dumplings {찐만두, (고기, 김치)}, three the normal ones with pork and minced vegetable while the other three with kimchi, swimming in  a clear, light broth with sliced rice cakes topped with shredded egg and seaweed. and like every other meal i've had in korea, a side of kimchi is a must. while that is true, the counter where you are seated offers you a selection of sides as well as soy sauce and chilli flakes, optional for your eating pleasures.

the broth was very light in flavor, which allowed the mandoo to shine. quite honestly, it could have used a bit more seasoning. the fact that the mandoo was freshly made and cooked just right attributed to the many good things happening for the dumplings - the dumpling wrappers were thin and soft but sturdy enough to securely encase the fresh mixture of meat with minced vegetables/kimchi. the tartness of the kimchi with the slight fiery heat gave a contrast with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. the rice cakes was soft and chewy in a good way. this meal was exactly the perfect meal to complement the rest of the day.

chilled water was readily available and i drank a cup or two before leaving on the second leg of my "hike" and this time not until i've first visited the tourist information kiosk to collect my map and inquired the best route to arrive to my next destination - samcheong-dong but not before covering most of the beauty that bukchon hanok village had to offer.

found my direction! gahoe bukchon hanok village {가회북촌한옥마을} was were i was heading next for bukchon view o4. the hill, no.31 gahoe-dong.

the 4th view depicts the whole area of no 31 of gahoe-dong in one glance from the top where many tiled roofs of the buildings can be seen from here. i felt like a ninja for a moment or two, imagining myself running atop the roofs across the village. hehe

the descent down the downhill alley in gahoe-dong was bukchon's view o5.

the route eventually guided me to one of my most favorite spots/views in the entire village: bukchon view o6. uphill alley, gahoe-dong.


nestled in the midst of the bustling city of seoul within the dense concrete forest of skyscrapers, this spot captures the heart of the traditional heritage amid the modern progression. well-preserved, respected, remembered and not forgotten. what makes this particular spot so special to me is the symbolic meaning behind the shot that spelt the respect and regards for its cultural roots while chasing for the modern dream.

vew o7. was quickly introduced after a couple of steps into no.31 gahoe-dong where more traditional hanoks leave their mark.

i think i might have gotten lost while searching for the view o8. which is the stone stairs alley towards samcheongdong-gil from hwagae 1-gil but i'll save it for my next blog entry: a short #throwback travelogue #2 on samcheongdong-gil. :)

my visit to bukchon hanok village ended up being a very lovely and memorable, blast-from-the-past experience, at first i thought i might have no appreciation for. more than just the architecture, i loved the rich history the village captures and walking along the quiet and peaceful alley, i was feeling relaxed, away from the rush of the busy city within the capital city of seoul..


Anonymous said...

Great piece! Bukchon has become my new favorite place in Seoul.