Bukchon Hanok Village really is one of the must-see sights when you visit Seoul. Even if you’re only planning to spend a weekend in Seoul, you should make time for this place. Located between two of the main palaces in Seoul, this was once the centre of power and the place to live and be seen in the South Korean capital.
Bukchon Hanok Village is a special area in Seoul preserved to show the traditional buildings and culture of Korea. A Hanok is a traditional Korean house and there are said to be 860 of them in Bukchon Hanok Village.
This guide will cover what to do in Bukchon Hanok Village, and also things to do in the wider Samcheong area. After all, if you’re already dressed up in beautiful Korean hanbok, you might as well enjoy some of the other sights nearby.
I’m a big fan of Bukchon Hanok Village and I don’t think that any trip to Seoul would be complete without it. One of the best things about it is that it’s completely free to wander around the area and embrace the history and culture on offer There’s also lots of small galleries and museums you can look inside, and plenty of shops to browse.
If you want to know more about how to see Seoul for less, including visiting Bukchon Hanok Village, then you will love my other articles about seeing Seoul cheaply:
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7 Awesome Things To Do in Bukchon Hanok Village
Don’t miss out on the chance to embrace Korean culture by wearing hanbok and drinking tea in a beautifully crafted hanok. Furthermore, learn more about traditional crafts by making some to take home with you. Why not go one step further and stay in a traditional hanok for the night and experience life as a Joseon-era Korean.
You can walk around here freely within the day time hours. Alternatively you can take guided walking tours to show you around and learn more about the history and culture of this area.
Here’s my list of the 7 awesome things to do in Bukchon Hanok Village:
1: Wear Korean Hanbok & Take Lots Of Pictures
Top of the list for what to do in Bukchon Hanok Village has to be wearing hanbok. Hanbok are traditional Korean clothes and can be worn by men, women, and even children. During your visit you can dress like your favourite Korean Drama star and parade around the traditional buildings like you belong there.
You can find hanbok rental shops around the area to try on and rent hanbok. Furthermore, you can book hanbok rental before you arrive to make sure you don’t miss out. Finally, if you really enjoyed wearing hanbok, you can buy hanbok to take home with you from traditional markets such as Gwangjang Market. You can find out more about that below:
2: Check Out The Arts & Crafts Museum
To encourage visitors to learn about traditional Korean culture, some of the hanok houses have been opened up as arts and crafts museums or stores. Walk in and have a look and experience the inside of a traditional house. Remember to take off your shoes when you go inside.
The Bukchon Traditional Culture Center, located near the entrance to Bukchon Hanok Village, is a great place to learn about Korean traditional arts and crafts. Visitors can attend classes and lectures on traditional calligraphy classes, tea ceremonies, pansori, and traditional Korean crafts.
Other museums and stores in Bukchon Hanok Village to learn about traditional Korean arts include The Gahoe Museum, The Hong Byeokheon Hanji Doll Workshop, The Hansangsoo Embroidery Museum, and The Donglim Knot Workshop.
3: Try Making Traditional Korean Crafts
If you have some spare time on your trip to Bukchon Hanok Village, why not make traditional Korean craft items? Certainly better than any souvenirs you could buy from the markets.
There are a number of different places that offer craft making services, including the awesome Bukchon Traditional Crafts Center. Open daily, this center offers a different experience each day. For example, try needle-crafts, making accessories, hanji (traditional Korean writing) crafting, and more. Classes are very reasonable, ranging from 5,000 – 15,000 won per person and are offered in a range of languages.
There is also the chance to try traditional gold leaf imprinting – a technique used to make many beautiful items. Design your own bookmark or greeting card and learn the secrets of this ancient technique. Bookings are required and the course costs 25,000 won per person.
4: Relax In The Beautiful Tea Houses & Cafes
Before coffee started to dominate in Korea, tea was the go-to drink for Koreans. Green tea plantations can be found across Korea and many other teas are made from other herbs and roots. A lot of these teas can be very refreshing and healthy.
You’ll find many traditional tea shops and newer cafes in the area; from the big chain coffee shops, to small and unique cafes with a cosy feel. Certainly, the best cafes can be found in the Samcheong area along the Samcheong Coffee Street – Samcheongdong-gil Road (삼청동길). I’d also recommend Blue Bottle Coffee near the entrance to Bukchon Hanok Village
As with other Far East Asian countries, drinking tea has become more of a ceremony than a simple way to get refreshed. If you’d like to learn more about the rituals and process involved, why not take part in a traditional tea ceremony in Bukchon Hanok Village?
5: Experience Delicious Korean Food
Spending hours looking at the gorgeous buildings is tiring work. Therefore, recharge your batteries and sample some delectable Korean food (or Western) at one of the many restaurants to be found in the area.
You can try it all in the Bukchon / Samcheong area, including the ubiquitous Korean BBQ, simple noodle soup, bossam (sliced pork) and even pizza and pasta. There is something for every budget
If eating delicous Korean food isn’t enough for you, you could also try making your own. You can learn how to make Korean food in a wonderful Korean cooking class. Learn how to make some dishes that you can share when you get back home.
Learn more about all the incredible traditional Korean dishes you can sample in the Bukchon Hanok Village or elsewhere in Korea with this guide to the 20 most mouth-wateringly delicious dishes:
6: Visit Some Quirky Museums
There is more to Bukchon Hanok Village and the surrounding area than traditional Korean culture. You’ll also find a few quirky museums that offer an interesting distraction from the beautiful Korean architecture.
I visited The Owl Antiques Museum just after arriving in Korea after hearing about it from a friend. Tucked away on a side street in northern Samcheong, this certainly is a hidden gem and one for those who love their museums a little bit weird and colourful.
The friendly owner has been collecting owl-related memorabilia for decades. He’ll happily chat with you in English and explain what’s in the museum. Be sure to check the opening hours as it’s only open a few days per week.
Furthermore, in the same area is the Samcheong Model Railway Museum. One for big kids and little kids alike, you can discover the magic of model railways, including some life-sized trains outside. Pop in to escape a rainy day in Seoul or for a welcome change of environment.
7: Stay Overnight In A Hanok
Finally, if you really want an authentic Korean experience, you should book a stay in a hanok. Some of the hanok have been converted into hotels or hostels and will provide you with the chance to sleep and relax as Koreans did many years ago.
Korean families traditionally slept on futons on the floor and used a system of underground heating to keep warm in winter. This system is still in place today and quite different from what you’ll get in a hotel. Don’t worry, hanok stays come with modern conveniences, so life won’t be as hard as before.
Where To Stay Near Bukchon Hanok Village
If you wanted to do a hanok stay in Bukchon Hanok Village, then here are four great options for all budgets:
Definitely the most luxurious of the 4 hanok hotels in the area, this beautiful traditional house offers all modern conveniences. Furthermore, you’ll find a stunning garden, terrace, and wonderful traditional furniture and decorations throughout.
Cheong Yeon Jae Hanok Hotel offers a traditional Korean sleeping experience in the heart of Bukchon Hanok Village. Sleep on comfortable futons that will certainly straighten your back after a busy day seeing the sights. Comes with air-con, WiFi, and western-style bathrooms.
Ideally situated in Bukchon, and just a short walk away from Gyeongbokgung Palace and Insadong, this guesthouse has real charm. Featuring simple rooms, this is certainly a great place for budget travellers to get a real Korean experience without breaking their budget. Comes with WiFi, air con, and a private bathroom.
Find out what life is really like in a Korean house with this charming guesthouse that comes equipped with a bar, terrace, and superb views of the city. You can relax here at night or stroll out to see peaceful Insadong when the tourists have gone. All rooms come with air-con, WiFi, and a city view.
How To Get To Bukchon Hanok Village:
The closest subway station to Bukchon Hanok Village is Anguk Station on Line 3 (orange). Walk out of exit 2 and you’ll find lots of signs for Bukchon Hanok Village, as well as many hanbok rental shops.
There are also buses that go there from Seoul Station and beyond. The best bus is the History Bus Number 11, which is a small green bus that takes in some of the major stops in the area.
When To Visit The Bukchon Hanok Village:
The Bukchon Hanok Village is a residential area and is technically open at any time. However, the key alleyways are closed on Sundays and it is advised that people not enter the area in the evenings or at night.
There are many signs in the area that ask you to visit between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Whenever you visit, please be respectful of the people living there.
Attractions Near Bukchon Hanok Village:
There’s no shortage of things to do in Bukchon Hanok Village and the surrounding area. For example, three of the main palaces in Seoul, including Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace.
If you want more ideas for things to do in Seoul, here are 20 fun activities you’ll love.
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