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.
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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.
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.
Looking to stay in Bukchon area? There are numerous Hanok Guesthouses open for a traditional stay while you visit Seoul.
Some 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!
What 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. Enroute, 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.