If you’d like to see what a 600 years-old traditional village would look like in the middle of a high-tech, global metropolis, you must visit Bukchon Hanok.
Bukchon, literally the North Village, was the residential area of the nobility and high-ranking government officials during the Joseon period; it was the Beverly Hills of its day, the playground of the rich and famous. As its name suggests, it consists of numerous hanoks, traditional Korean houses.
According to polls, it is one of the favorite areas of foreign tourists. However, it became wildly popular with the locals after it was featured in the South Korean reality show ‘1 Night 2 Days’ and the TV series ‘Personal Taste.’
Because seeing the Bukchon Hanok Village is one of the best things to do in Seoul, here are all the ways to get there. No matter where you choose to stay.
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Table of Contents
- Where is Bukchon Hanok Village (계동길)?
- How to get to Bukchon Hanok Village
- The best thing to do in Bukchon Hanok Village
- Other FAQ
- Other South Korea Useful Travel Guides
Where is Bukchon Hanok Village (계동길)?
The old town is conveniently located close to many of the most important attractions in town. Squeezed in between 2 of Seoul’s main palaces (Changdeokgung and Gyeongbukgung), with Bukhansan Mountain at its northern side, and Insadong at its south.
On the map, look for 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37.
From the main road, start walking up towards the hilly streets and allow yourself to get lost and discover every little corner. From the streets above, you will get a nice view of the city and Namsan Tower.
How to get to Bukchon Hanok Village
How to get to Bukchon Hanok Village from Incheon Airport
If you choose to stay around the area, you might need to get there directly from the airport. Getting around Seoul is easy because the city has an impressive public transportation system.
However, here is the exact way to get from Incheon Airport to Bukchon Hanok Village.
Once you arrive at Incheon Airport, you will have the option to take the Airport Railroad Express (AREX), or the all-stop train.
AREX will take you to Seoul Station, and from there you will need to get to Anguk Station for Bukchon Hanok Village. From Seoul Station, you can take line number 1, change at Jogno 3 (sam)-ga Station and get to Anguk Station.
The all-stop train will offer you the option to get off at Gondeok Station and make one other change at Jogno 3 (sam)-ga Station to get to Anguk Station.
Extra tip: In order to use public transportation in Seoul and South Korea, you will need a T-Money Card. You can get one with a SIM Card, or you can book a Seoul City Pass & Transportation Card before your trip.
This is the most comfortable option since you won’t have to worry about a thing. You book your transfer online ahead of time, you pay by using your card (no issues with internationally-issued cards), and someone waits for you at the airport, and drops you off at your desired destination.
On top of that, you don’t have to worry about your luggage and having to carry it around the city.
By International Taxi
You can either take a taxi from the airport directly or book one in advance.
Inside the Arrival Hall, there are designated desks, where you can ask for a taxi, and airport staff will help you. You can choose the size of the car, how you prefer to pay, and also tell English-speaking people where is your final destination.
From our experience, we paid around 70.000 won to DMC, and 80.000 won to Myeongdong. Thus, getting to Bukchon Hanok Village should be roughly around that much.
Myeongdong to Bukchon Hanok Village
Getting from Myeongdong to Bukchon Hanok Village is easy and can be also done on foot. However, if you don’t feel like walking, here are 2 great options.
Take the blue line (number 4) from Myeongdong Station for one-stop, to Chungmuro. Change to the orange line (number 3), and ride for 3 stops until Anguk Station.
The lead time is roughly 15 minutes, and the ticket price is 1,250 KRW (with a T-Money card) or 1,350 KRW (with a ticket).
If you prefer taking the bus, it is worth knowing that there is no real option that won’t require a fair amount of walking.
See below 2 options, but for both you will have to walk to Lotte Plaza.
Hongdae to Bukchon Hanok Village
Getting from Hongdae to Bukchon Hanok Village is easy both by subway and bus. I would always prefer taking the bus over the subway because I would get to see the city during my commute.
However, getting between the two destinations by subway will be faster and more convenient.
Get on the green line (number 2) towards Euljiro 3(sam)-ga. Change to the orange line (number 3), and ride for 2 stops until Anguk Station.
You will ride for a total of 9 stops, the lead time is of 25 minutes, and you will pay 1,250 KRW (with a T-Money card) or 1,350 KRW (with a ticket).
If you are departing from the main area in Hongdae, you will need to take the subway (or another bus) and get to Ahyeon Station. It is only one stop on the green line (number 2), and from there you can hop on bus number 171 and enjoy the ride all the way to Anguk Station.
Insadong to Bukchon Hanok Village
Getting from Insadong to the Bukchon Hanok Village might be the easiest option because you will only need to cross the main boulevard dividing the two.
Depending on your location in Insadong, you can expect to walk between 5 to 20 minutes.
If you are close to the Joggak Station, walking might still be the best option, because in order to get to Anguk Station you will need to make one change at Euljiro 3(sam)-ga.
Read also: The best things to do in Seoul at night
Gangnam to Bukchon Hanok Village
The Gangnam area is located the furthermost away from the Palaces and Bukchon Hanok Village. However, getting between the two is relatively easy.
Your departing point depends a lot on where you choose to stay in Gangnam. That’s because the whole area is not small at all, and you might be around Gangnam Station, Sinsa, or Apgujeong.
If you leave from Gangnam Station, you will have to change the train to the orange line number 3 at Sinsa Station. The lead time will be around 30 minutes.
However, if you leave from Sinsa or Apgujeong Station, you will have a direct line and a lead time of only 15 minutes.
Bukchon Hanok Village to Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Bukchon Hanok Village are right next to one another, thus walking between the 2 would be a great option.
The walk would be around 20 minutes, depending on your starting point and final destination. However, as you cross the street from the Palace you will start seeing traditional houses.
If you want to take the subway, you can take the orange line from Gyeongbokgung Station across the street from the Palace. You will only have one stop to get to Anguk Station.
Also across the street from the palace, and right next to the subway station, you will find a bus stop. Almost any bus you take from there (601, 710, 1020) will leave you close to Anguk Station.
The best thing to do in Bukchon Hanok Village
Now that you know how to get to the Bukchon Hanok Village, you are probably wondering what is there to do and see around the area.
In all honesty, this is one of our favorite areas to explore, no matter the season. During spring, there are plenty of magnolias and cherry trees in bloom, giving the area a fairytale-like vibe. During autumn, here is one of the best places to come for foliage and see the city’s changing colors.
Of course, there are plenty of cool cafes and many activities held in Bukchon Hanok Village, offering you a lot of choices.
Rent a Hanbok
The Korean hanbok is a dress for semi-formal or formal attire during traditional occasions. The term literally means “Korean clothing”, but the term used today makes reference specifically to the clothing worn during the Joseon dynasty period.
After moving to Seoul, we went for a photo shoot in a hanbok, and we chose to rent premium hanboks. They do cost a little bit more, but the fabric is much better, and the clothes look much nicer. Especially if you are going to pay for a professional photo shoot, you will want to choose the best hanboks, right?
While the Palaces are the main destination for hanbok photo shoots, also the Bukchon Hanok Village area offers tons of photo opportunities.
While you can simply walk on the streets and step inside any of the hanbok rental places you encounter along the way, we strongly recommend booking a premium hanbok in advance. The best ones are sold out ahead of time, especially if you are visiting Seoul during spring or fall.
Try at least one Bukchon Hanok Village cafe
Seoul, and South Korea for that matter, is all about cafes. We would dare to say that most cafes focus more on aesthetics than the coffee itself, but there are some hidden gems that offer both.
We have gathered the best cafes and best coffee in Seoul here since Ingrid is coffee-obsessed. However, if you are only interested in the ones around the Bukchon Hanok Village area, here are our favorites:
Onion Cafe Anguk
Hosted inside a hanok, this place has great quality coffee and delicious pastry. It can get crowded, thus difficult to find a table inside.
Address: Gyedong-gil 5, Jongno-gu
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 7AM-10PM, Sat & Sun 9AM -10PM
Greenmile Coffee Bukchon (그린마일커피, 북촌한옥마을)
Ingrid has had this place on her list of places to visit ever since her short 3-day trip to Seoul back in the winter of 2019. The reason why Greemile Coffee is so popular is the rooftop overviewing of the hanok houses. It is worth knowing the place is relatively small, so try to come as soon as they open.
Address: 64 Bukchon-ro, Gahoe-dong, Jongno-gu
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 9 AM – 7 PM, weekends 10 AM – 7 PM
Blue Bottle Coffee Samcheong Cafe
The Blue Bottle Coffee Cafe is popular not only in South Korea, but the one in Bukchon Hanok Village is extremely nice. However, we got there after lunch and it was almost impossible to find a place at a table.
Address: 76 Bukchon-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9 AM – 8 PM
Cha-teul (차마시는뜰) tea museum
If you are not into coffee, but you prefer a cup of delicious tea, then you should not miss the Cha-teul (차마시는뜰) tea museum with a rooftop terrace – search for it on Naver and you won’t be sorry.
Even though this is a great place, in a very popular area, we’ve never seen it packed with people. They also have on display lots of old and traditional pots for serving tea.
Buy some local handmade souvenirs
The narrow streets hide many small shops with handmade things such as perfume, candles, and scented oils, but also clothing or jewelry.
If you want to bring back home some more authentic gifts, and not the common things you find in Insadong or Namdaemun Market, these small shops will offer you lots of choices.
Go on a Walking tour
A 4-hour walking tour that will take you to the Secret Garden in Changdeokgung Palace, and along the streets of the old town. You will stop and admire places with historical backgrounds, and learn about the life people lived here in the past.
Visit the Palaces of Seoul
As mentioned before, the old town area is sandwiched between 2 of the most important palaces in Seoul. If you choose to rent a hanbok, you will most likely visit at least one of the palaces.
Royal Dynasty City Exploration Game
This is a city exploration game available on your phone that will take you through one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seoul and see beautiful traditional Korean architecture.
You can make your own schedule and let yourself be guided along the streets of Seoul at your own pace.
Stay in a traditional hanok house
As expected, you can choose to have the full experience and stay in a hanok house. While you can find other such guesthouses around Seoul or South Korea, there are plenty of options to choose from in the Bukchon Hanok Village.
On top of that, by choosing to stay here, you will be close to the most important attractions in town.
Here are a few guesthouses which caught our attention:
Makgeolli Spa & Jjimjilbang experience
Rakkojae Hanok Hotel is set in the heart of the Bukchon Hanok Village and offers a unique package.
Set aside 3 hours for this ultimate relaxation experience, with traditional Korean ingredients good for the skin: Makgeolli (a traditional Korean drink made out of fermented rice), ginseng, and more.
You get a welcome tea and traditional sweets, a Jjimjilbang experience (45 minutes), and a Makgeolli spa experience (75 minutes).
You will want to book in advance because they only offer the experience to 2 people every day.
Write your name in Korean calligraphy
Are you learning Hangul, the Korean alphabet? Even if you are not, you might want to learn how to paint your name in Korean calligraphy. It is done with a brush, on an antique hanji – traditional Korean handmade paper made out of the pulp of mulberry.
Take a Korean cooking class
Korean food is delicious! You will fall in love with the rich taste of each and every dish – trust me! And why only eat it when you can learn to cook it, meet locals, and other tourists passionate about Korea and its fascinating culture?
Learn to cook some of the most popular local dishes, and also get to taste a 10-course dinner at a local’s home.
Create your own traditional Korean accessories with the guidance of a local whose work has been featured in some of the most popular K-Dramas.
Bukchon Hanok Village Entrance Fee
There is no entrance fee for visiting the Bukchon Hanok Village. However, you will want to be considerate and don’t make too much noise, because this is a residential area.
Bukchon Hanok Village Opening Hours
Once again, this is a mainly residential area, thus there are no operating hours, you can visit whenever you want to.
However, all the shops, cafes, and restaurants you find in the area operate according to normal schedules.