Korean Music Festivals: Summer of 2016

After spring comes summer and all I can think about is outdoor festivals, music and a cold sudsy beer in my hand. Summer. Music. Outdoor fun. Ya feel me? Here are some of the big summer music festivals to look out for in Korea. Get your tickets now for early bird specials!Every Single Day 2011 @ Busan Rock Festival

Beautiful Mint Life

May 14, 2016 ~ May 15, 2016; Olympic Park, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Tickets: One Day W85,000; Two days W135,000

beautiful mint life 2016Beautiful Mint life started by Mint Paper back in 2010 brings together Roy Kim, No Reply, Peterpan Complex, Hello Gayoung, Cheeze, Peppertones, Playmode, GlenCheck, Daybreak, Electron Sheep, Papercut Project and more for some spring fun in Olympic Park. Meant to be a beautiful and peaceful event, it welcomes picnickers, music lovers and just all around happy-go-lucky people to Songpa for a spring event on the grass.

Website

 

Greenplugged

May 21, 2016 ~ May 22, 2016; Nanji Hangang Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Tickets: W88,000 per day* (tickets are cheaper if purchased in advance)

Greenplugged Seoul 2016This festival sits just meters away from the Han River. While the water rushes by in the background, the grass beckons those in attendance to have a seat, eat a picnic and enjoy a fun day outside in the spring breeze. Acts include Monotones, Galaxy Express, Nell, NoBrain, Crying Nut and many many more. Just up the road from Hongdae, it’s easy to get to and is sure to be a good time in the grass.

Website

 

HBC May Music Festival

May 27, 2016 ~ May 29, 2016; Haebongcheon, Seoul

HBC Fest 2015This local fest has gotten bigger and bigger and in its eleventh year will surely continue to impress. The list of artists to play is substantial. From bands to solo acts, acoustic sets, reggae and more, this fest has it all. Not only are the gigs worth the trip, but the venues are welcoming sights too. From local favorites like Phillies and Hidden Cellar to Bedrock and Hair of the Dog, there will be good eats and craft beer to satiate the taste buds, too.

Website

 

Seoul Jazz Festival

May 28, 2016 ~ May 29, 2016; Olympic Park, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Tickets: W188,000

Seoul Jazz Festival 2016Damien Rice, Pat Metheny, DJ Mark Ronson, Corinne Bailey, Vintage Trouble, Jason Derulo, Kings of Convenience, Jamie Cullum and many more will grace the stage for the 10th Seoul Jazz Festival. The mix is a little of this and a little of that under the title of Jazz, but the event sure draws a crowd. Don’t miss out on some big names coming to Seoul soon.

Website

 

UMF Korea

June 10, 2016 ~ June 12, 2016

UMF Korea 2016UMF doesn’t really need an introduction. The festival that takes place in venues all around the world will make a stop in Seoul and you won’t want to miss it. This year the line-up includes deadmau5, Rabbit in the Moon, Knife Party, Avicii, Afrojack and just so so many more awesome acts. Get your tickets early to get those early bird specials and don’t miss out on the fun this summer!

Website

 

Rainbow Island

June 18, 2016 ~ June 19, 2016

Tickets: W88,000* (Early bird special currently W55,000)

Rainbow Island 2016Fun in the sun and camping on an island made that much better with live music. What could be better? The line-up includes Idiotape, Disco Experience, Toyo and more to be announced. If an island getaway complete with a music festival and camping doesn’t sound like fun to you, I don’t know what else to say to make it sound enticing.

Website

 

Jisan Valley Rock Music & Arts Festival

July 22, 2016 ~ July 24, 2016; Jisan Resort; Icheon, Gyeonggido

Tickets: 3 days W260,000

Ansan Valley Rock FestivalThis festival is one of the biggest events of the summer and people around the country look forward to heading to Jisan to nestle into the mountains for a good time. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disclosure, Stereophonics, Travis, Tegan and Sara, Blossoms, Dead Buttons, Flight Facilities, Monotones and more to be announced.

Website

 

Pentaport Rock Festival

August 12, 2016 ~ August 14, 2016; Songdo Pentaport Park, Incheon

Tickets: W220,000* (early bird special on now W176,000)

Pentaport 2015If you’re into rock and electronic music, this festival has been a favorite of many since 2006. The name comes out of the combination of the five main themes of the fest: music, passion, eco-friendly, DIY and friendship. Suede, Two Door Cinema Club, Panic! at the Disco, Weezer, The Koxx, Daybreak, Peppertones, Run River North, Maan, Romantic Punch with many more to be announced.

Website

 

Busan Rock Festival

August 26, 2016 ~ August 28, 2016

August On The Go: Busan Rock FestivalNot only can this festival rock your socks off, but at the same time, the larger Busan Sea Festival which this rock festival is under the umbrella of, is taking place. Thirty festivals in one! The rock fest has gotten bigger and bigger each year and showcases Busan’s own homegrown musicians as well as other rock and metal acts from across the country and abroad. Info hasn’t been announced for this one yet but wrapping up the summer of music down in Busan is a must!

Website

Fun! Fun! Here We Come!

Ansan Draws a Small Crowd for Cherry Blossom Blooms

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossomsI mentioned that I was considering heading to Yeouido or Namsan to see some of the cherry blossoms in their last hurrah and some of my Korean mom friends prompted me to instead go to Ansan. I’ve hiked Ansan numerous times as it’s just down the street from my house but apparently I missed it every spring because I did NOT know that the base is COVERED with cherry blossoms on the side nearest to me.

Monday Ansan met me with beautiful blooms in their blushing white hues getting ready to drop but hanging on for just a few more days.

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, KoreaNear Hongje Stream (Hongjecheon 홍제천) a waterfall is the first sight to few and that is just the beginning of the great sights to behold on Ansan Mountain. On the hillside just behind the waterfall sits all of these beautiful cherry blossom trees and the crowds were not nearly as large as you’d expect for a grove this beautiful.

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms School children picking up the petals as they dropped, couples on romantic dates and older Korean women dressed to the nines in their hiking gear sat enjoying picnics beneath the trees. There were also tulips and other flowers just peering out on the curated hillside that was just redone a couple years ago with plots of herbs, a concert area and benches. Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, KoreaContinuing up the mountain, Ansan has even more to offer in terms of views. The cherry blossom trees make way to more paths that take hikers through metasequoia trees and pines. You can hike all the way up to the peak for a spectacular view of the city but there’s also a path midway up the mountain that loops the entire way around and offers some of the best. Straight up and down wouldn’t take much more than an hour or hour and a half if you book it, but the loop would take a couple of meandering hours. Trails lead off of the loop to overlooks with built in picnic tables or platforms with hammocks strung up for anyone to enjoy. There is a lot hidden in the summer when the leaves are lush and I recommend taking a wander to enjoy the mountain thoroughly.

Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms

From this mountain, you can also take a walk down to see Bongwonsa Temple, Seodaemun Independence Park and prison or the waterfall that spills into Hongje Stream. There’s plenty to enjoy on the mountain from the peak to the paths and everything in between.
Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, pink flowers Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, pink flowers Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, yellow flowersIt’s never too late to get out and enjoy the views though from spring to winter, the mountain is beautiful and worth the trip. Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, view of city from mountaintop Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, yellow flowers Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, view of city from mountaintop Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms Ansan Mountain, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea, cherry blossoms

Address:

서울특별시 서대문구 봉원동

Bongwon-dong Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Amenities: parking, bathrooms, picnic tables, hammocks, exercise equipment

Pyeonghwa Park Is Abloom with Cherry Blossoms

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowersLike I’ve been saying again and again the past couple of weeks, there are flowers just everywhere right now. You just can’t miss them unless you’re purposefully staying hidden in the shadows looking away from the dazzling spring sunshine and the bright hues of the petals bursting forth.

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowersBy why would you do that? Why would you want to stay away from the lush white, pink and yellow flowers that are sending alluring aromas through the light breezes? These cherry blossom lined bike paths and walkways sit in Pyeonghwa Park (평화공원) or Peace Park one of the five parks of the World Cup Parks system. If you follow my blog, you know it’s our go-to parks system as it’s right down the street from us and with five parks to choose from with everything from mountains to climb, bike paths to bike, streams to look at fish and the Han River too, there really isn’t anywhere else we need to go for some fresh air and some dazzling views.
Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, baby and HallieWe can even make new friends beneath the white petalled beauties because 1. babies are cute and draw lots of attention but also 2. we’re all trying to get photos of same backgrounds so why not strike up a conversation. The cherry blossoms are in their last hurrah of spring this week so everyone is trying to find the gorgeous trees before they’re all done blooming.

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, baby and Hallie Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowersThe pictures really say all that needs to be said. The petals are already beginning to drop so enjoy them while you can. This is the last week to see them as before long they’ll be on the ground and leaves will take their place and then summer will be here!

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, baby and Hallie Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers

Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers Pyeonghwa Park, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, spring flowers

Address:

서울 마포구 성산동 487-359

487-359 Seongsan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Directions:

Subway: Worldcup Station, exit 1. Walk straight to the main street and turn right. Walk straight along the large road and Sky Park will come up first across the street. If you want to go to Nanji Stream Park, hop onto the Mapo local bus 08 at the bus stop under the bridge just outside of the stadium and get off a few stops down the road.

Bus: 7011, 7016, 470, 670, Mapo local bus 08

Worldcup Park map

1. Noeul, Sunset, Park

2. Haneul, Sky, Park

3. Nanjicheon, Nanji Stream, Park

4. Nanji Hangang, Nanji Han River, Park

5. Pyeonghwa, Peace, Park

Hours:

Haneul Park & Noeul Park
Jan: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Feb, Oct: 9:00am – 7:30pm
Mar, Sep: 9:00am – 8:00pm
Apr, May: 9:00am – 8:30pm
Jun, Jul, Aug: 9:00am – 9:00pm
Nov, Dec: 9:00am – 6:30am

Pyeonghwa Park & Nanjicheon Park
Open 24 hrs. a day, year-round

Admission: Free

Amenities:

Parking, wheelchair rental, restrooms, sports facilities, jogging/biking paths

Spotting Blooms On Ujangsan

Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park

You probably pass by them without realizing it. They sit along roads and byways and if you’re walking with your nose in a phone, book or some other gadget or gizmo, you’re bound to Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain parkwalk right on by the hills that sit this way and that in almost every neighborhood with paths that lead up to scenic view points, exercise equipment and benches. These hills provide respite to the weary soul looking to get away from the busy streets and if you walk right on by, you’re missing out on quiet locations to catch a breath and well, just breathe some of that fresh air that trees are pumping out. Twice a week I head to Gangseo-gu and have noticed a few times this hill that sits just beyond some bigger buildings and apartments. Finally this week I had some extra time in my schedule and I skedaddled up there. Of course, I asked a helpful looking older Korean woman if I was heading in a good direction and she told me I was headed just the right way and had a great idea to spend 30 minutes on the hill because that’s all I’d need to get up and down with plenty of time to spare.

Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain parkThe name Ujang originates from the ritual for rain that the governor held in Yancheon during periods of drought. The mountain doesn’t seem to be lacking in water as the plants were lush and all of flowers were blooming. From the road, the cherry blossom trees tower and beckon visitors to come in. Unfortunately, these cherry blossom trees are huge and once beneath the canopy the flowers are too high up to really enjoy save a few smaller trees here and there. What I was surprised with though were the beautiful pink flowers that were all over the place. Their bushes weren’t nearly as lush, as they’re quite covered by the canopy above, but they were all over the place adding a pink flare to the surroundings.
Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park

Some of the cherry blossoms were better appreciated at the peak along with a monument with benches and the requisite exercise equipment. I appreciate a good wander and these hills that are everywhere are always a good place to get a quick wander in before a meeting, appointment or work. Don’t look at your shoes while you walk but instead look up and see if those bushes along the street are actually connected to a hill that you can step into to get away.

You never know what you’ll find above.

Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park Ujangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain parkUjangsan, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea, mountain park

Ujang Park (우장산근린공원)

서울특별시 강서구 화곡로 302 강서구청

Gangseo-gu Hwagok-ro 302 Gangseo-gu Office

Transportation

Subway Line 5 Ujangsan Station(walk 10 min.)
Bus 604, 5622, 6629, 6655. Get off at Gayang-gu Office Bus Stop. (walk 10 min.)

Nanji Stream Park Has Cherry Blossoms Too!

Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry Blossoms

There are the more popular places to see cherry blossoms like Namsan Mountain and Yeouido but there are cherry blossoms all over the city and the country of Korea for that matter.

From one cherry blossom flowering in a yard just there to the lined courtyards of universities. These beautiful blooms abound and you don’t have to go far to find a lovely little plot if you’re keeping your eyes to the skies to see where they are.Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry Blossoms Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry BlossomsWe headed to our go-to World Cup Park yesterday and found this lovely plot of flowering trees in Nanji Stream Park. The babies played beneath them not at all interested in the flowers above and more interested in the dirt beneath, but that was fine. Outside time is the best time as far as we’re concerned.Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry Blossoms Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry Blossoms Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry Blossoms

This week is THE week to get out and about and enjoy the flowers because trust me, as quick as they’re here, they are gone again and usually due to an overnight rain. Take your camera, or just some friends or family, and enjoy the scenes.

The spring is welcoming us all to go outside and don’t forget to say, “thank you for gracing us with your beauty,” while you’re out there.

Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry Blossoms Nanji Stream Park, World Cup Park, Seoul, Korea, Cherry Blossoms

Address:

서울 마포구 성산동 487-359

487-359 Seongsan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Directions:

Subway: Worldcup Station, exit 1. Walk straight to the main street and turn right. Walk straight along the large road and Sky Park will come up first across the street. If you want to go to Nanji Stream Park, hop onto the Mapo local bus 08 at the bus stop under the bridge just outside of the stadium and get off a few stops down the road.

Bus: 7011, 7016, 470, 670, Mapo local bus 08

Worldcup Park map

1. Noeul, Sunset, Park

2. Haneul, Sky, Park

3. Nanjicheon, Nanji Stream, Park

4. Nanji Hangang, Nanji Han River, Park

5. Pyeonghwa, Peace, Park

Hours:

Haneul Park & Noeul Park
Jan: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Feb, Oct: 9:00am – 7:30pm
Mar, Sep: 9:00am – 8:00pm
Apr, May: 9:00am – 8:30pm
Jun, Jul, Aug: 9:00am – 9:00pm
Nov, Dec: 9:00am – 6:30am

Pyeonghwa Park & Nanjicheon Park
Open 24 hrs. a day, year-round

Admission: Free

Amenities:

Parking, wheelchair rental, restrooms, sports facilities, jogging/biking paths

Off The Beaten Path in World Cup Park To See Spring Flowers

Seoul World Cup Park, Korea yellow flowersSeoul World Cup Park, Korea yellow flowersWhile headed out to teach in the area I spotted a long line of forsythia’s blooming as I crossed Gayang Bridge and I decided I had to see where they were. The colors were vibrant even from the bridge. Sitting in the World Cup Parks system behind Nanji Stream Park but not quite to Nanji Hangang Park, I put my car in drive and headed out this week to find the dazzlers.

I was really stunned at how long the lane of flowering bushes and trees was and more shocked at the lack of people enjoying the scenery.

Often in Seoul once the flowers bloom people flock to the major sites like Yeouido and Namsan and I too used to be one of those people (and sometimes I still am). While these are of course flocked to for good reason, they aren’t the only places to see beautiful blooms and I was reminded of that this week. And while this spot is completely picture perfect to me likely because it seems to be rather off the beaten path, it could just as easily not be picture perfect to other people that want the ease of walking out of a subway station and spotting cherry blossoms easily. This is NOT going to be one of those easy stops to make. The closest subway stop is World Cup Station, but that would require a fairly quick 30-45 minute walk at a brisk pace or a bus ride and then a walk through the park.Seoul World Cup Park, Korea yellow flowers Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossoms Seoul World Cup Park, Korea yellow flowers Seoul World Cup Park, Korea yellow flowers

We were walking along, of course snapping tons of photos, and enjoying the spring air and sunshine and along the way only about 5 people walking passed as by and 5 people on bikes. I’ve said it before, but the World Cup Park system is truly a must see and multiple times because there’s just too much to enjoy. The World Cup Parks are actually five parks in one and most people head to the area in the autumn to visit Sky Park but there are blooms in the autumn in Nanji Stream Park as well and now I’ve found this amazing spot for spring flowers.

Cafe Mama's sandwich set Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossoms Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossomsWe packed up our baby and picked up our fav sandwiches from Cafe Mama’s and had the best little picnic with the flowers nearby. This is off the beaten path sitting on the backside of Sunset Park but is worth the trip. This path is headed to the west but the eastern path is lined with meta-sequoia trees which we will definitely be back to see this summer.Seoul World Cup Park, Korea yellow flowers Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossoms Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossoms Seoul World Cup Park, Korea yellow flowers Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossoms Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossoms

Seoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossomsSeoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossomsSeoul World Cup Park, Korea cherry blossoms

Address:

서울 마포구 성산동 487-359

487-359 Seongsan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Directions:

Subway: Worldcup Station, exit 1. Walk straight to the main street and turn right. Walk straight along the large road and Sky Park will come up first across the street. If you want to go to Nanji Stream Park, hop onto the Mapo local bus 08 at the bus stop under the bridge just outside of the stadium and get off a few stops down the road.

Bus: 7011, 7016, 470, 670, Mapo local bus 08

Worldcup Park map

1. Noeul, Sunset, Park

2. Haneul, Sky, Park

3. Nanjicheon, Nanji Stream, Park

4. Nanji Hangang, Nanji Han River, Park

5. Pyeonghwa, Peace, Park

Hours:

Haneul Park & Noeul Park
Jan: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Feb, Oct: 9:00am – 7:30pm
Mar, Sep: 9:00am – 8:00pm
Apr, May: 9:00am – 8:30pm
Jun, Jul, Aug: 9:00am – 9:00pm
Nov, Dec: 9:00am – 6:30am

Pyeonghwa Park & Nanjicheon Park
Open 24 hrs. a day, year-round

Admission: Free

Amenities:

Parking, wheelchair rental, restrooms, sports facilities, jogging/biking paths

Bamboo… Theme Park?

Anytime “theme park” is in the title of a place in Korea I’m being led to a small part of me sighs with the anticipation of a let-down to come.

I’m just not a traveler into the manicured views and childish fads. I prefer nature, old architecture and culturally relevant stops personally. On a recent trip to Geoje for a business meeting, my host took me to the Bamboo Theme Park or the Maengjongjuk Theme Park (맹종죽테마파크). I was pleasantly surprised when we came upon the natural 90,000 square meter bamboo forest on the side of a hill.Geoje, Korea: Bamboo Theme Park

Geoje, Korea: Bamboo Theme Park

Of course there were quirky little things along the way like any good Geoje, Korea: Bamboo Theme Parktheme park would have but there were mostly tall looming bamboo stalks everywhere we looked. The paths led immediately into the forest and then to some benches that were positioned so that when sat on the back and head leaned back to stare up into the abyss of bamboo leaves above. The smallest bit of blue sky peeping through the leaves adds to the meditative nature of the surroundings. After a good rest, the paths, which are posted with signs so that were there numerous people, which there is doubtful to be, everyone would be walking in one direction so that the peaceful nature is kept in cue. To walk through the forest only takes about 45 minutes, but it could take longer if you’re hoping to relax and de-stress in the calm surroundings.

Continuing on there’s also a zip lining/ropes course activity which we didn’t partake in but would certainly be fun and I was told it is kid-safe too. Bamboo lines parts of the paths to be walked on in socks or barefoot for a natural foot massage and at the peak gorgeous views of the surrounding area can be enjoyed.Geoje, Korea: Bamboo Theme Park Geoje, Korea: Bamboo Theme Park

Address: 

경상남도 거제시 하청면 실전리 880

880 Siljun-ri Hachung-Myun, Geoje 656-823

Transportation: Buses 30 , 30-1 , 31 , 31-1 , 32 , 33 , 35 , 35-1 all stop nearby

Admission: W2,000 per person

Hours: Monday through Sunday 9:00am ~ 6:00pm

Phone: 055-637-0067

Website: http://www.maengjongjuk.co.kr/shop/index.php

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Geojepark/

Yellow Spring Flowers in World Cup Park

It was a yellow day at the park yesterday. The sansuyu flowers, or Japanese Dogwood, have started blossoming and speckling the trees with dazzling yellow hues that shine in the spring sunshine. These buds were beckoning us to stop by at the Nanji Stream Park a part of the World Cup Parks system.

Walking Away From The Bukchon Hanok Alley

There has been a lot written about how the Bukchon Village of yore is NOT like the popular touristy village of today and yet many are under the assumption that it hasn’t advanced with the times at all. I think people see what they want to see.

While there are certainly some decrepit looking Hanok houses, some all spanking brand new and some that have aged with splendor like a handsome Sean Connery, they’re all in the eye of the beholder.

Some Hanok owners would rather have an updated bathroom and heating that works year round without issue. Some Hanok owners are happy to turn their homes into money-makers by opening cafes or galleries as people from near and far flock to the area to enjoy the perceived historical ambiance.

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, Korea Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, Korea

The other day I decided to walk around closer to the Cheongdeokgung Palace side of the Hanok Village to see what was going on there before heading into the more touristy Gahoe-dong strip. Because I give tours in the area, of course the trendy strip is always on the list of places to stop, but I was hoping to find some other parts that are less popular but no less beautiful. Also with the influx of huge groups of tourists coming off buses parked in the main area, the only place to get good pictures without a ton of people in the background are some of the smaller overlooked alleys these days.Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, Korea

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, KoreaBukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, KoreaSome of the homes have been updated and some have not, but there were very few people meandering around enjoying the scenes and that’s too bad. Why flock to the area for one strip of homes? There are hundreds of Hanok houses in the area. Get out and enjoy them!

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, KoreaWhat is fun though is seeing the influx of young Koreans taking on Hanboks and walking the streets. This cool new fad of renting Hanboks and wearing the traditional garb around the “historical” neighborhood adds a colorful and cultural spice to the area that is quickly losing it’s air of historical relevance. Numerous shops offering services in multiple languages abound and some quite beautiful Hanboks sit inside waiting for one and all. Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, Korea Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, KoreaBukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, KoreaEnroute, I also stumbled upon this small mural alley that had some great work and not a soul passed by as I enjoyed the scenes. Never stop wandering and wondering. There’s always more to explore, even in the most popular of locations.

Painting With Babies

At this point with the little one we’ve realized that almost anything will undoubtedly now be a messy endeavor which has caused me to step out of a very clean box I put myself in awhile back.

It can be anything really; eating, sitting, sleeping, reading. It doesn’t matter. There’s pee, drool, poo, crumbs, food from breakfast, lunch or/and dinner inevitably stashed away in some fold, crease or in the hair… it never ends. Because everything is already messy, when faced with the prospect of doing an art project I was both excited and daunted. Luckily, a friend who teaches art to little ones made her way over and really boosted our confidence to jump right in. We called up a friend with a wee one herself and had a day of paint. It went so well, we discussed making this a monthly thing.Art: Painting Experience with babies

What we did:

We went with painting exploration using non-toxic acrylic paint. The goal was less on production and more feel and fun with our 16 month olds.

What we used:

Non-toxic acrylic paint. While our babes are past the stage of putting anything and everything in their mouths, they are still in the stage of tasting anything that looks edible. Anything that is colored red like strawberries and orange like tangerines looks pretty darn good to our little one.

A large plastic sheet for the bottom to protect the floor. We decided to do this indoors because early March is still chilly but we were ready to get some colors flowing. Even with the washable paint that we had, we wanted to keep the mess minimal as obviously not only would we be cleaning the house afterward but also the babies and if the babies were first, they’d probably become messy again when we cleaned up the floor. If the floor was first, the babies would probably get their colorful hand prints on something like the sofa.

A large canvas that was large enough for both babies to sit on, stand on and move around on while exploring the colorful pallet we provided them with. This canvas is also great because we can cut it in half and keep it as our babe’s first art piece. One for each child.

Plastic toys. We wanted to give the kiddos some other options for playing with the paint. While the paint was colorful and appealing to the sight and feel, having some other things to use to make patterns or to push the paint through can add to the fun and overall experience. We’ve also noticed with our little one that having things she recognizes along with the things she won’t helps her become comfortable with a new experience faster.

Extra adults. Since I got pretty colorful, I couldn’t be asked to take pictures or do much else other than paint. An extra adult or two prepared to catch runaway babies and to open bathroom doors for a bath immediately after the painty fun isn’t necessary but super helpful. For us, the moms played and painted and the dads got to give the bath and clean up the babes. Fun for everyone!Art: Painting Experience with babies Art: Painting Experience with babies Art: Painting Experience with babies

Reactions:

One baby, the boy in the photos, was ready to jump right in there and get messy, gooey and painty. He squished the paint between his fingers and put it on the canvas. He moved it around, sat in it and walked on it. He mixed colors together and poured water to see what would happen. He seemed happy to flip flop and perform every other movement you could think of. At times it was like we were on a slip-n-slide. Just as quickly as he was into it, he was out of it and wanted to have a dance party on the floor that wasn’t covered in plastic. I was cleaning up little painted footprints for about five minutes when all said and done (good thing it’s washable paint, right?).

Art: Painting Experience with babies Art: Painting Experience with babies

The other baby, our little girl in the photos, was not so keen on getting messy it seemed. Art: Painting Experience with babiesShe did NOT want to be put on the canvas and certainly did NOT want to have her fingers or feet put in the paint either. She sat on my lap for the first 10 minutes while I played with the paint and put it on her. It took some coaxing and seeing the other baby definitely helped. I put her fingers in it and her toes and had to get pretty painty myself in order for her to get comfortable enough to sit on her own. Still though, her experience was a bit more precise and purposeful. She tends to like figuring out how things work. Taking things apart and putting them back together. She liked the paintbrush more than using her fingers and once she figured out how to open the paint herself, she opened and closed and opened and closed and squeezed that quite a bit. She wanted to keep playing once she became mesmerized with the colorful objects available to her.

Art: Painting Experience with babies

Conclusions:

We thought this was a great introduction to paint for our babies. I had done paint in plastic bags so that our baby could squish it around but not be nearly as messy when she was an infant and did some footprints a few months ago, but this was her first experience with paint in her hands and with a brush too where she was the one in control. She could have at it and do what she wished. Sixteen months was a great time to do it as well. They definitely tried to put a paintbrush or two in their mouths but after realizing the taste wasn’t delicious, that was done. Art: Painting Experience with babies

A baby’s personality is very easy to see when doing something like this and how they like to do things speaks volumes. While the little boy was happy to make a splash and then dash, our little girl needed a lot longer to get involved and then only wanted to do things in a very specific manner. I think having them together helped the experience for both of them. Because he was so much more interested from the get-go that helped her feel better about finally squishing things around and since she kept playing he eventually came back to see what had changed.

The art experience was a success and I think we’ll be getting these two together fairly often to see how they attempt future projects together or just side by side.