There's no doubt about it - Bukchon Hanok Village
is one of Seoul's top tourist attractions
I did -- at least temporarily -- find some quiet
and solitude though inside a gallery dedicated to
elaborate designs on its outer walls than most others
In the past year, I've visited Kyoto (for the second time in my life), Hanoi, Kanazawa, Seoul and also been back to Penang for a short vacation. In each of these places, I've taken some time to stroll about an old section of the town or city that's particularly famed for its architecture and cultural heritage.
In Kyoto, it was Gion; in Hanoi, the Old Quarter; in Kanazawa a couple of its small geisha and samurai districts; in Penang, it was its UNESCO World Heritage-listed capital, George Town. And in Seoul, it was Bukchon Hanok Village.
Flanked by two royal palaces (Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung), Bukchon used to be an upscale residential area for aristocrats and court officials. These days, it's still home to many residences but also is where a number of interesting looking cafes and restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and craft shops can be found.
If truth be told, I wish the neighborhood's most picturesque were not so crowded with tourists. I also wish I could have spent more time strolling about its streets and alleys. However, I didn't bargain for Bukchon to be as hilly an area as it was and, unfortunately, my mother found some of the streets too steep for her liking.
Should I return to Seoul once more for a visit, Bukchon would top my list of places I'd like to go back to stroll about, leisurely taking in the sights. For now though, I'll just say that what I saw was often very lovely and also surprisingly expansive. And it's good to learn that, like with the Cheong Gye Cheong Stream, it's a part of Seoul that after a period of not being appreiated, has latterly come to see its existence treasured by Koreans as well as visitors to the country. :)