Another area where you can see traditional houses is at Namsangol Hanok Village. It is also known as “A Village of Traditional Houses in the Namsan Valley”. It is located at the northern foot of Namsan Mountain and near the office where I rented my hanbok. I had to return my hanbok today, so after I dropped by to return it , I walked over to visit this hanok village since it is nearby anyway.
You can walk over easily from Exit 3 or 4 of the subway of Chungmuro Station to get to this village. As for me, I just walked straight ahead from the KIA Motors building and cross the road towards Exit 3 and the gas station and walk ahead in between the skyscrapers. From the entrance of the lane, you can see the entrance of the village.
Unlike Bukchon Hanok Village where there are still residents or where they use them as cafes or restaurants, this village is more like a open air museum kind of place. The traditional houses here have been restored to preserve the original atmosphere of the area and there are a wider range of houses from royalties to commoners.
There are five restored traditional Korean houses representing the different social classes were moved here. You can also find a pavilion, a pond, a garden and time capsule here. You can see various types of displays of furniture and household goods that can be found during the Joseon Dynasty. Entrance is free! The N Seoul Tower and the mountains can be seen from here.
There is a amphitheater kind of seating area once you enter the village and I had a short rest to eat my lunch (a sandwich I had bought along the way) before I start exploring. I wasn’t the only one. There was a group of elementary school children having their packed lunch there too. They were soooo cute!
There were not many people during the time I visited. This village is beautiful. Once I climbed up and stepped into another gate, I reached an open area with a shop at one end. There are some activities that you can do here like trying out the hanbok or a tea ceremony. Just get the tickets from the shop.
I love the houses here and the trees with the flowers in bloom makes it even more beautiful.
This place also makes you go back in time but the new buildings and skyscrapers that you can see from here reminds you about the present. This village is right in the center of modernization. The contrast of old and new is very much astounding.
I took my time walking around and I left the village. I walked outside and found a garden behind the village. There were more pretty flowers in bloom and a play area. There were traditional games scattered around this small area and some office workers playing with them and having fun. There were instructions written near each game but its in Korean though.
I walked further up and came across this pathway with concrete walls leading down. Since I didn’t really read much about this place before I came here, I decided to just walk down and see for myself what I can find there.
I was surprised to find a time capsule here. To me, this is so cool! Storing some things in a capsule only to be opened in the next 1000 years is amazing! 600 items were placed inside this time capsule before it was sealed tight and buried. It was sealed on 29th November 1994 and will be opened again in 24th November 2394. I can only imagine the reaction of the people of the future looking at the items left behind. The time capsule is made of stainless steel, fiberglass and silica gel among other things. There is an interactive machine there that provides more information about it.
If you really appreciate tradition and culture and like to see more traditional houses and see the contrasting classes, this is the place to visit. The houses are really beautiful and this is a nice place to walk around. It gave me a sense of calm just walking here. It is a contrast to the hectic lives just outside the gates. For a sense of tranquility from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is a place to go to and its in the middle of the city too. So, its not too far away.
What do you like to do when you travel? Do you prefer beautiful landscapes or see historical and traditional buildings? Or just like me? I like them both!
Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골한옥마을)
Address: 28, Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 중구 퇴계로34길 28 (필동2가)
Nearest Subway Station: Chungmuro Station
How to get there:
- Chungmuro Station is serviced by Line 3 or 4, go out by Exit 3 or 4 to reach the palace.
- Walk along the road between oh!zemidong (Chungmuro Media Center) and Maeil Business Newspaper Building.
- 9.00am to 9.00pm (April to October)
- 9.00am to 8.00pm (November to March)
- Closed on Tuesdays
- In case a holiday falls on Tuesday, it will be closed the next day.
Up next, N Seoul Tower & Myeongdong. Its just a stop away!