Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 November: South Korea: Bukchon Village

What is 'Sanggojae' (상고재)?  It is the house used in the Korean drama Personal Taste (also known as Perfect Match in the Philippines).

Based on my online research, the original name of the house is known as 'Yeorangjae' (여랑재).  It is found in the middle of Bukchon Hanok area. 

The name, 'Bukchon,' which literally translates to 'northern village,' came about as the neighborhoods that the village covers lie to the north of the two significant Seoul landmarks, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno. Today, many of these hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, providing an opportunity to experience, learn and immerse in Korean traditional culture. [Reference]

Here are other houses found in Bukchon Hanok Village.

You can get a more detailed map on how to go to the village by getting to the nearest Tourist Information Center a block away from Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 2.

Option 1: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 2.
Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.
For more detailed direction, read:

Option 2: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 1
Thanks to Cat for sharing the flat image of Bukchon map.  Below is the enhanced image, with directions coming from Anguk Exit 1 and additional landmarks.  Passing the streets as seen in Goblin series (on Yulgok-ro).  Heading to Bukchon for famous Hanok Village and Sanggojae. 

Click here for readable version

Places to see
Food and Restaurants
Where to Sleep
Day 1
Take out from McDo
Lunch on Tour
Day 2
Paris Baguette
Lunch at Seongeup
Yeha Guesthouse, Jeju
Day 3
Joongang Cathedral
Flight to Gimpo Airport
Four Seasons House
Coffee Prince Restaurant
Green Residence, Myeongdong, Seoul
Day 4
Coffine Gurunaru
Green Residence, Myeongdong, Seoul
Day 5
Angel in Us Coffee
Green Residence, Myeongdong, Seoul

Updated on May 2018

Sharing a snippet from an article Breathing new life into Seoul's traditional housing, "I don't see hanok ever becoming mainstream, but I think interest will continue to increase, particularly as young people who grew up in apartments take an interest.  I believe as much of the original houses should be preserved as possible, but I also think they need to be updated to meet the needs of contemporary lifestyles. Gentrification (process of renovating and improving) is a problem, of course, but it often means turning hanok into cafes or bars. At least the hanok remain." [cr: koreatimes / Jon Dunbar / Robert Fouser]

In my first try to Bukchon on 2010, I did not pursue to go to the famous street after the drugstore because the street is too quiet and feels like secluded. Still incomparable to 2011 photos above, there were no or less tourists during my visit on a rainy early morning adventure.

Until now (May 2018), you probably have seen or read it in the articles online, regarding the Bukchon Village where locals are no longer happy with the volume of tourists coming to their area.

What are the locals concerns, and what should we be mindful about?

  • Noise - Don't forget that its not just about air or water pollution, there's also noise pollution that may have been stressing the locals.  Show some respect, keep it low and keep it quiet.
  • Smoke - Never smoke in public places, not all people are fond of that.  Plus, mind the health of others, you can cause asthma attack to others. 
  • Littering - Always bring your own trash bag.  You may not see trash bins on the alleys, and it is not an option for us to just leave food wrappers or drinking cups anywhere on the street.  Know how to love our environment.
  • Respect for private property - Know how to read, if there are signs showing "private property", never go inside their garden or houses.
  • Look for proper toilet area - It is a residential area so there are no public toilet.  Tourists should not relieve themselves in the alleys.  Keep it clean. - There are some spots for restaurants, cafes,  make sure to buy something in return if you happen to need to use their toilet. 
  • Dry cleaners, public bath, salons that used to be for the convenience of the locals - happened now to be souvenirs shops for tourists.  

As travelers, not just in Bukchon, in anywhere we go, we should be giving importance and respect to "sustainable tourism", coexistence between livable communities and local experience.  

Residents of traditional homes up in arms against disrespectful tourists
Bukchon residents protest excessive tourism
Tourists Drive Locals out of Showcase Traditional Village

Updated on June 2018

Eight-point plan for the ‘Lifestyle Improvement Plan for Bukchon Hanok Village Residents’ in full effect by July, 2018.

  • Designation and operation of limited touring hours *(Bukchon-ro 11-gil area open from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday, ultimately restricting access during early morning and late night hours, while all tourist operations are to be closed on Sundays.)
  • Guide accompaniment for all tourist groups
  • Investigation into the designating of tour bus restricted parking zones
  • Expansion of waste collection and employment of an additional cleaning workforce
  • Promotion of the increase of public restroom facilities
  • Installation of restriction guidelines board for visiting tourists
  • Enforcement of training for tourist guides
  • Enforcement of training for a resident-led management workforce.