Firstly, I would like to thank Trazy.com for inviting me to the walking Seochon Village tour. Trazy.com is a travel service that offers a variety of tour guides and events in South Korea. Please check out their website for more details or simply click on their ad banner at the end of this post to get more information on amazing travel and tour deals!
About a month ago, I was invited by Trazy Tours to go on a walking tour in the North of Seoul. The theme was about Korea’s Art from the Past to Present and its beginnings in Seoul. We all met at Gyeongbokgung Station and were met by our tour guides.
Sejong Village (also known as Seochon Village) is a small area located in the North of Seoul and lies to the Western side of the famous Gyeongbokgung Palace. The area is very old and has been the heart of the Korea’s cultural and artistic scene for hundreds of years. Many famous painters, scholars, writers and poets have resided in the area.
The area is very old, and has maintained its charm throughout the years. Most of the narrow streets are lined with traditional Korean architecture style known as hanok. Today, many of the artists’ homes are now heritage museums where you can visit and discover more about their history and work. There are also contemporary galleries and museums which you can visit in the area. The area is right next to the famous Samcheondong area.
We first started off walking through the modern parts of the area and past the famous Gyenongbokgung Palace, before reaching the Hanok Village. Even on a Sunday the place was bustling with street food vendors, and long lines of customers waiting outside famous traditional restaurants and bakeries. We also got to see one of Korea’s oldest second hand book stores, which is now a cafe with a bookstore front.
We went down a few alleys within the neighbourhood, but were sure to be very quiet as they were actually homes with residents inside.
We then ventured down one of oldest markets which was bustling with people. The market sells mainly fresh produce and also has a lot of traditional Korean street food. You can sit at the stall or under the main pagoda at the entrance. You can also find the famous super spicy dokkbokki (rice cake) here, which is different from the regular ddokbboki sold everywhere.
In this market, you can purchase tokens at the entrance and then you get a tray. As you go along the food market you can add different food and side dishes.
The Pak No Soo Art Museum
Pak No Soo was a famous artist who purchased this unique house in 1973. The house is unique as it combines both Western and Eastern architectural styles. The house was built in 1937 and the artist lived there for 40 years. His house is now a museum where you can view some of his art works. At the back of the house, you can climb the small stairway that overlooks the city of Seoul.
After the museums, we ventured up to the Suseongdong Valley, which lies below Ingwangsan Mountain. This site originally housed apartment buildings which were demolished. The park was created to resemble a famous artist’s landscape which served as a backdrop for famous dynasty novels. The valley is also supposed to resemble a ascending dragon and a sitting tiger.
The mountain is popular with hikers on the weekends.
The home of Yi Sang Beom
Yi Sang Beom was a famous writer and novelist during the early 20th century. His real name was Kim Hae-Gyeong and worked as an architect for a Japanese general while Korea was under Japanese rule. He wrote his first novel in the house and completed many paintings. He also worked for a local newspaper and did a regular series of cartoons.
The home is now a national gallery and open to the public for free. The house is in the traditional Korean style, with a courtyards and adjoining rooms throughout the structure. The home was considered to be appropriate for the wealthy at the time. You can see some of his work and his studio where he wrote and painted.
Yi Sang’s house was the final stop. After that we headed our separate ways and went home. The tour was very informative and gave new insight about Korea’s art history and its development throughout the century. The art scene in Korea today is rather dynamic and really interesting, especially in country that continues to change and grow at a rapid pace.
The tour was fun, and I definitely recommend it as something to do.
To find out more about discounted walking tours and things to do around Korea visit www.trazy.com or simply click on their ad banner below.