After we left Onion, we set off for Bukchon Hanok Village. I recently saw an article about how it’s South Korea’s “best kept secret” and that made me laugh because this place can be a madhouse, just a bumbling conglomerate of tourists. When we were there last year, it was…pretty crowded. Crowded enough that it was difficult to get any decent photos. I wanted to try again, by going on a weekday morning and the streets leading to the village were nearly empty. It was ghostly!
Oh, also this time around, we made it straight here without getting lost in alleys and yelling at each other, so it was already a better experience! Please enjoy some pictures from our walk around the ridiculously steep streets of Bukchon Hanok Village!
Hanok translates literally to “Korean house.” Some of them have been converted to guesthouses, so you can actually go to Korea and do what is called a “hanok stay” where you sleep on the floor and experience what it was like to live in a house like that way long ago. I know, that doesn’t sound very glamorous, but I bet it’s still wildly interesting and fun!
Oh, and the floors are heated!
I’m in love with this architecture style. When I came back last year, I changed the picture on our shared Wiki page at work to a shot I took from a balcony of the hanok below and one of my co-workers was like, “Wow…a picture of…roofs.”
I was like, “THEY ARE NOT JUST ‘ROOFS’! GOD!”
Here is a picture of Chooch and me, pretending to get along. J/K we actually were getting along for real at this juncture. Anyway, the street behind us is like the most iconic street, the one that everyone wants to photograph, and Psy even filmed part of music video here. It’s like, so Completely Korea, you know? Iconic. There are lots of other streets too, and some of the hanoks are open to the public and provide arts and crafts workshops, some are galleries, some are little boutiques. But also, a lot are actual residences (I imagine the people living there have some big ₩₩₩).
(THOSE ARE THE SYMBOLS FOR KOREAN CURRENCY, WON, YOU GUYS. LOOK HOW MUCH YOU LEARN HERE. I SHOULD HAVE A PhD IN MY FUCKING BLOG URL.)
Look how wet Chooch’s hair is! Wet with sweat! It was pretty rainy and humid for the first few days we were there, and then after that it was just humid. And Asian humidity is NO JOKE. I thought that coming from Pittsburgh, where are summers are typically hot and soupy, I would be somewhat prepared, but then we ended up having a pretty mild summer here so far so I WAS NOT PREPARED for the humidity and actually, now that I’m home, it feels CHILLY to me and I am sitting here with a blanket on my lap while I type this.
Something interesting that I noted in Seoul is the summer fashion. Here, people wear the least amount of clothes as possible when it’s hot. But in Korea, protecting the skin is a priority, so you would still see most people walking around in pants and long-sleeves. And if they were wearing shorts, then their shirt would be a billowy blouse. Or if you saw someone in a tank top (not very often) they would almost definitely have jeans on. This was appealing to me because I am so body-conscious that I was giddy to be in a place where I could stay covered and not get strange looks. And honestly, it made me feel even more comfortable.
I really think I would thrive if I lived in Korea, lol.
Also, I never did anything with my hair the whole time we were there. First, it was because my hair straightener didn’t work in our guest house because of the voltage and I considered if it was even worth buying a different straightener but the weather forecast app opened magically on my phone with a message that said, “ARE YOU DUMB?” So most days, I didn’t even dry it after showering, just let the humidity do it’s thang, lol.
Being here makes me feel like I’m walking through a historical drama.
This type of architecture has been around since the 14th century. Amazing.
I love how you can see modern Seoul in the background.
My calves would be poppin’ if I had to walk up this every day.
I wonder if they ever do any kind of walking/running challenges in this area. In Pittsburgh, we have a TON of hilly streets and there is a marathon built around that, I feel like it has something to do with “Hell” and “Hills” but I can’t think of the proper name for it right now. And actually, the alleged “steepest road in the world” is like, a mile away from my house. So there are some similarities to my home that is so interesting to think about. Because who would ever compare Pittsburgh to Seoul.
When we reached the top of this road, I looked at Chooch and panted, “Welcome back to Korea!” because our whole last visit was summarized by “TRUDGING UP HILLS.” Lol.
Chooch at the top. We never would have been able to get this shot last year! Or if we came later in the day, or on a weekend. Good lord.
Afterward, it was starting to get dangerously close to lunch time and Chooch and I need to be regularly-fed in order to maintain our angelic dispositions, so we had to start walking to Tongin Market before it got any later. Henry was legit racing the clock at this point because Chooch and I turn on the HUNGER faster than vampires at sunset.
Chooch and I stepped off the road when we saw a vending machine, because he wanted a Gatorade (which apparently tastes different in Korea) but neither of us told Henry so he kept walking and then we were pissed when he didn’t even care that he lost us, so that backfired.
Random art wall.
We got to walk past the Blue House, where the president lives! MUCH BETTER PRESIDENT THAN OURS, that’s all.
It was about a 30-minute walk to Tongin Market, but we somehow made it without getting lost and then we all stuffed our faces and were quite happy. I wrote about that while we were still in Korea, and you can read that here if you are so inclined.
We were going to get bingsu after this but then we realized that the place I chose was actually a super far walk and it was starting to rain, and by this point, my right eyeball was SCREAMING and when I checked my reflection in the Tongin Market bathroom market, my eye was as bloodshot as one of those aforementioned vampires and it was straight screaming for me to take the contact out.