Tucked away in the centre of Seoul is one piece of living history- Bukchon hanok village. This 600-year-old neighbourhood, situated north of Cheonggye Stream and between Gyeongbok and Changdeok palaces, once contained several dozen villas housing Seoul’s higher-status officials. In the 1930s, these large villas were subdivided into smaller lots to build smaller hanok (traditional Korean houses), and today Bukchon contains a significant percentage of the 12 000 hanok remaining within Seoul.
In modern times, the village attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Many of the hanok have been converted into cultural centres, teahouses and guesthouses, to allow Korean and foreign visitors alike a bit of a window into traditional Korean life. Interestingly, many of the houses are still lived in, which means it is important to not speak too loudly when walking around, and to not try to peer too closely into windows! I spent a sunny February day wandering around the narrow alleys of Bukchon. It was a wonderfully unique part of Seoul and full of unique little features to capture on camera. There are also quite a few stores offering souvenirs and other items. Nearby Samcheong-dong alleyway offers hot lattes, burgers, or bowl of kimchijjigae if one needs a break from sightseeing.
If you’re interested in visiting Bukchon, take exit 2 at Anguk station, and walk straight ahead for about 300 metres. There’s tonnes to see and do, and because of Bukchon’s central location, it’s easy enough to also visit Gyeongbok Palace, Cheonggye stream, Insa-dong, and other nearby attractions in the same day.