Cultural Xplorer

Exploring Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul

Bukchon Hanok Village is one of the last three remaining traditional villages in all of South Korea.

The village combines both the ancient and the modern in an area surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace to the west, Changdeokgung Palace to the east, and Mt. Baekak to the northwest.

Exploring Bukchon Hanok Village

After stepping off of the subway, I made my way over to the Bukchon Jae-dong Tourist Information Center to pick up a free tourist map of the neighborhood so I could navigate my way around it.

I was informed by the officials that the best route to take would be through the east side of the village up Gyedong-gi alley, through a miniature neighborhood featuring traditional Hanok houses. From there, I was told to make my way across Gahoe-ro street to the east side of the village and through the neighborhood until I made my way Samcheondong-gil alley.

Many of the houses on the west side of the Village had been beautifully restored and quite a large number of the shops and restaurants on the main street catered to tourism.

People ducked in and out of the alleyways with cameras in hand trying to find spaces that were not mobbed with tourists so that they could capture the perfect shot of the traditional houses.

The west side seemed a bit too crowded and touristy for me, so I decided to leave the neighborhood and make my way across Gahoe-ro street to the east side of the village.

On the east side of the village, I decided to climb up a steep hilly road to escape the masses, and when I did I found solitude.I was able to explore some of the hidden alleyways and get a feel for the village without dealing with the multitudes.

(Tip: wander around the alleyways where there are no people to get the true ‘Hanok’ experience).

I concluded my walk on the eastern outskirts of Bukchon Village overlooking the shops and cafes in Samcheong-dong.

Overall, I found Bukchon Village to be a nice place to see some traditional-style Korean homes right in the city of Seoul. If you are looking to see another traditional Korean village, I recommend taking a day trip down to the larger Jeonju Hanok Village in the city of Jeonju, about three hours outside of the city (see how to get from Seoul to Jeonju here).

Take a virtual journey through Bukchon Hanok Village in this video…

Practical Information

Directions | Take Subway Line 3 to Anguk Station and get out at Exit 2. Walk straight and turn right at the Myungin Museum.


Have you been to Bukchon Hanok Village before?