Thursday, January 02, 2014

Seoul 2013: 북촌한옥마을 (Bukchon Hanok Village)

Happy 2014 folks! Was contemplating if I should pen down a reflective post on 2013 and my thoughts for 2014, but I decided that it would take too much brain power to jot down any coherent thoughts. Maybe later? We'll see.

Instead, this shall be a continuation post of my Korea 2013 photo travelogue. There were still plenty of places in Korea that I've yet to visit, and in my annual pilgrimage there, besides re-visiting old favourites, I like to make sure that I include a few new spots.

I'm quite pleased with how these set of photos turned out after the application of some new  Lightroom filters I've acquired. Fiddling around with Lightroom is so much fun now with all the new faded effects filters I have. I sorta like how the faded effects create a kind of nostalgic romanticised feel to the traditional hanoks below.

북촌한옥마을 (Bukchon Hanok Village) 

Bukchon is actually a residential area in Seoul, populated with many traditional Korean houses (hanoks). In the past, Bukchon was an area where the upper class noble families resided. From what I read, the current hanoks are considered reformed hanoks as the constitution of the houses were made with different materials than those of the long ago era.

As it was a residential area first and foremost, I guess what struck me was how normal everything looked. Like it's just a regular suburb area, albeit a beautiful one at that. From the residents' perspective, I just hope that it won't be too much of an inconvenience to have so many people gawk and snap photos of where you live, every single day. The area was quite quiet in the sense that there wasn't any loud hustle bustle sounds, everyone was pretty respectful of the fact that it was a residential area, yet there were plenty of people walking about sightsee-ing.

There are eight photo spots in Bukchon that was designated to give the best views of the various hanoks and small alley lanes. Look out for the sign on the floor such as the one above.

Bukchon 4th view: Gahoe-dong Alley

After a while, the beautiful landscape just sort of meld together and looked the same, I couldn't differentiate one gorgeous piece of architecture from another. I only recognised a few of the popular spots, and thus tagged it as such, the rest, were simply random sights I've taken (they might or might not be a photo spot) ha!

Here's an alley that housed a hanok homestay. We were quite intrigued with it, and even knocked on the knocker to check if anyone was home cos I wanted to enquire about the rates and stuff for a possible stay during my next trip. But alas, there wasn't any response. I took the picture to remind myself to check it out online first before I make my next trip there.

Juxtaposition between a modern house and a traditional house side by side

Bukchon 6th view: Gahoe-dong Alley

Bukchon 7th view: 31 Gahoe-dong

Prior to the trip, I was trying to see how to gauge the distance between all the photo spots to see whether I could squeeze it all in, or to pick a few if time is a restriction. I couldn't exactly find any image that has an overview, so I sorta came up with my own image.

The below image depicts the location of each of the eight photo spots accordingly. I straight out omitted photo spots 1 and 2 based on their proximity to the rest of the photo spots as it was already late afternoon when I visited and I was afraid we would get lost along the way. I think I stayed mostly within the area of photo spots 3-7. But if you have the whole day, I would totally recommend taking the time to explore each lil crook and cranny of the area as it really was beautiful.

If I have the opportunity again, I would love to be back to just spend a day walking around and soaking in the atmosphere by myself. If only.

To visit: 북촌한옥마을(Bukchon Hanok Village)
More info: 
Get there: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 2. Go straight for about 300m. There's a Tourist Information Center where you can get a map of Bukchon.

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