Namsangol Hanok Village is an unassuming traditional Korean village that is surprisingly only a short walk away from the bustling and lively Myeongdong area in Seoul. Once you arrive at this peaceful, whimsical village, you’ll soon forget about the modern city only footsteps away.
Namsangol Hanok Village is situated right in the middle of the city, on the northern side of Namsan Mountain, and yet it feels like it’s worlds away.
Five restored hanok homes of important figures from the Joseon Era, a stunning traditional Korean garden, and scenic pavilions are just some of the features of Namsangol Hanok Village that give way to an ambient cultural experience you’ll never forget.
Bukchon Hanok Village is likely the one you’ve heard of before – it’s the most popular for its beauty alone.
However, Namsangol’s beauty should not be dismissed either. Namsangol Hanok Village’s claim to fame would be that it was initially called ‘Cheonghak-dong’, the place where the Gods lived due to its heavenly scenery.
The Best Things To Do In Namsangol Hanok Village
Namsangol Hanok Village offers breathtaking beauty and ambiance, and it’s also home to other fun traditional activities and sights as well. Hosting everything from a traditional theatre (‘Seoul Namsan Gugakdang’), to an onsite cafe and even demonstrations, Namsangol Hanok Village is a fantastic day trip you should build into your itinerary.
Let’s have a look at some of the best things to do in Namsangol Hanok Village.
- Explore the Five Hanok Houses of Important Figures from the Joseon Era
- Visit on the weekends to catch a glimpse of a traditional Korean wedding ceremony
- Watch a Performance at the Seoul Namsan Gukakdang
- Taekwondo Demonstrations
- Dress up in a hanbok
- Fold traditional hanji
- Check out The Seoul Millenium Time Capsule
- Wander the gorgeous traditional garden and paths
- Visit the Cherry Blossoms during Spring
- Hop on a Guided Tour
1. Explore the Five Hanok Houses of Important Figures from the Joseon Era
The main attraction(s) of Namsangol Hanok Village is arguably the five impressively restored hanok homes that stand on display at the center.
These five hanok homes once belonged to aristocrats and government officials of the Joseon dynasty. Each hanok resided elsewhere in various neighborhoods, however, they were all taken apart and brought here to be restored to their original form.
What’s impressive is that of the five homes, four of them were rebuilt using the original materials! The last hanok, however, had a deteriorating structure and thus had to be rebuilt from scratch. In saying that, the attention to detail was so intricate that no one will be able to tell.
The exterior and interior have all been built to replicate the original form of the hanok homes, each depicting the owner’s social class and personality.
When you visit these five hanok houses, you will be able to easily the lifestyle of those living many centuries ago.
Let’s have a quick look at the figures whom you’d be visiting.
Carpenter Yi Seungeop’s House in Samgak-dong
This house was built by Yi Seungeop, a renowned carpenter who famously worked on restoring the Gyeongbokgung Palace in 1867.
General Kim Chunyeong’s House in Samcheong-dong
General Kim Chunyeong served as the General of the Five Commands during the late Joseon Era. Notice how the firewall faces the street, which was uncommon back then and gives the structure a more elegant vibe.
Min Yeonghui’s Family House in Gwanhun-dong
This house was once owned by Min Yeonghui, who also built various other housing structures for his family. From the spacious rooms and relatively large kitchen, you can easily tell that an upper-class family resided here.
Yun Taekyeong’s Jaesil in Jeji-dong
This house was built by Emperor Sunjong’s father-in-law. It was built around the time when Empress Sunjeong became Crown Princess, in the early 1900s.
Yun Family’s House in Ogin-dong
This was the most recently built structure constructed in the early 1900s. It belongs to Yun Deokyeong, the uncle of Empress Sunjeonghyo (the wife of Emperor Sunjong).
2. Visit on the weekends to catch a glimpse of a traditional Korean wedding ceremony
If you’ve ever seen a K-drama (let’s be honest, who hasn’t in this day and age!), then you would have witnessed a Korean wedding. They are ethereal, breathtaking, and exciting all at once.
One way you may be able to witness a traditional Korean wedding would be to head to Namsangol Hanok Village on the weekends and hope that there is a wedding being held there.
Many Korean couples adore the scenic beauty that Namsangol Village offers amongst the sprawling urban metropolis, and during the warmer months, especially springtime, the beauty of the village shines.
The idea of witnessing a traditional Korean wedding sounds exciting and all, but we also ask that you respectfully keep your distance and do not disturb the wedding party!
3. Watch a Performance at the Seoul Namsan Gukakdang
The Seoul Namsan Gukakdang is a traditional art-focused performance hall located within the Namsangol Hanok Village. It was established back in 2007 by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to represent all forms of traditional art in Korean culture.
It currently comprises one ground and two basement levels. The performance hall itself is located on the basement, equipped with 300 seats and sound systems that deliver authentic pansori sounds and gayageum music to every individual seated.
There are performances held here throughout the year, and if you’re interested in arts and culture, we highly recommend that you make a booking for a performance. Some of them are actually free!
4. Taekwondo Demonstrations
There are taekwondo demonstrations held here during certain times of the year that are often the highlight of people’s visits. They usually happen every weekend from May until October, with demonstrations happening at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
If you’re interested, we recommend reaching out to customer service or checking the website to see when it will be held next.
5. Dress up in a hanbok
The hanbok is the traditional Korean dress, and it’s one of the most stunning cultural dresses you’ll ever lay your eyes on. One of the most anticipated activities of visiting any hanok village is dressing up in a hanbok and perusing the grounds for some beautiful photos.
We’ve already piped on about how beautiful this village is, so it stands to reason that you’d want to dress up and look the part of an Empress from the Joseon Era!
6. Fold traditional hanji
Hanji is a traditional Korean paper and it is offered as one of the fun activities you can participate in whilst exploring Namsangol Hanok Village.
Think of hanji as origami, but on another level. It is extremely malleable and can be folded into an impressive number of shapes and sizes. Tourists will be taught how to fold hanji into everything from dolls to hearts.
7. Check out The Seoul Millennium Time Capsule
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In 1994, the Seoul Metropolitan office gathered over 600 artifacts that they felt represented Seoul life and its citizens the most and placed them in a time capsule. This was done to mark Seoul’s 600th anniversary. This time capsule was then buried 15m below ground within the Namsangol Hanok Village.
Have a look at the time capsule when you’re wandering around – but don’t hold any hopes of viewing what’s inside, because it isn’t scheduled to be opened until November 29, 2394!
8. Wander the gorgeous traditional garden and paths
Namsangol Hanok Village was purpose-built to provide the utmost relaxing ambiance for anyone who cares to walk its paths.
We highly recommend that one of the activities you do is simply pursue the walking paths of this hanok village whilst taking in the beautiful sights surrounding you. Native florals have been planted all around the village, and the pavilion within the traditional garden is the perfect place to relax and take in the surroundings.
9. Visit the Cherry Blossoms during Spring
As you all know, cherry blossoms during peak spring offer one of the most stunning sceneries you’ll ever witness. If you’ve traveled through Korea during springtime before, you’ll know that there is no shortage of places to witness the beauty of cherry blossoms there.
However, the blossoms that bloom within Namsangol Hanok Village are on another level. With the ethereal beauty of the flowers against a backdrop of traditional hanok homes and pavilions, you’ll be left breathless.
We highly recommend a visit there during peak cherry blossom season for some of the most beautiful pictures you’ll ever take. Dress up in hanbok for the ultimate photo opportunity!
10. Hop on a Guided Tour
If you’re not one to aimlessly wander by yourself, why not participate in a free guided tour?
When you enter through the entrance gate, you will come across the office of the village on the right. They offer free one-hour guided tours, with the tour guide speaking in English.
These tours occur every Thursday to Sunday at noon, and every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Ensure that the guided tours are operating by checking the website and reaching out to the customer service center if this is something you’re keen to do.
Where To Stay Near Namsangol Hanok Village
Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel
This hostel is one of the top-rated hotels in Myeongdong, and it’s clear to see why. Located only 400m away from Myeongdong Station (and thus an easily walkable distance from Namsongol Hanok Village), the fantastic location of this hostel is its main feature.
However, let’s not disregard its well-equipped common kitchen, clean and light-filled guestrooms, huge common lounging area, and the best part of all: the rooftop of your dreams.
Think fairy lights, minimalistic furniture, Namsan tower in the distance, and just all-around good vibes.
Book It Now: Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel
Hokyungdang by BUTLER LEE – Hanok Korean Traditional House
Hanok stays are a quintessential part of visiting Korea. Why not stay at a hanok whilst visiting the various hanok villages in Seoul?
Hokyungdang by BUTLER LEE is a banging traditional hanok home that is new to the scene, but we think they’ve got it all right.
Located in the middle of Seoul, only minutes from Gyeongbokgung Palace, it offers all the breathtaking traditional hanok aesthetics that you’d expect whilst keeping it comfortable with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, a well-equipped kitchen, and a private hot tub.
Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul
For a world-class, five-star hotel experience, most people won’t be able to look past the Banyan Tree Club and Spa in Seoul. This stunning hotel offers everything that you need for a comfortable stay right at your fingertips.
Amenities include a full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and a fitness center, just to name some. Privacy is ensured, with only 2-4 units located on each level, and each room boasts breathtaking sweeping views of the city.
There are plenty of lounging areas to relax in after a long day of walking and exploring.
Book It Now: Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul
How To Get To Namsangol Hanok Village
Namsangol Hanok Village is easily reachable by foot if you’re located in or around Myeongdong station.
However, you can also take line 3 or 4 on the train to Chungmuro station. Alight there, and take exits 3 or 4. From there, it is only a few minutes’ walk away.
We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the beautiful Namsangol Hanok Village. This cultural heritage site does a fantastic job at transporting back in time to the wondrous era of Emperors and Empresses.
Many other hanok villages will offer equally stunning sights, but what Namsangol Village offers on top is undisputed peace to experience a hanok village as it was originally intended.
We’ve got a ton of detailed information on other hanok villages in Seoul! So if you’re interested to have a look at other articles, check out these posts: Seochon, Eunpyeong and Ikseondong Hanok Village.