Enchantment floats through the narrow alleys of Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional Seoul district with some 600 years of history. Most of the architecture is of the traditional Hanok style and is unchanged since the 15th century, with sloped tiled roofs and partially wooden-framed walls. It's situated between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces and consists of five historic neighbourhoods.
Bukchon Hanok's charm comes from its origins. This is not a cultural village built for tourism, but an ancient residential quarter for Seoul's nobility. Each of the five neighbourhoods evokes the old hanok atmosphere and there is hardly a building out of place. Gaehoe-dong is the neighbourhood with the greatest number of Hanok buildings.
While the area remains residential it has changed rapidly over the last decade, notably due to a three-fold increase in tourists. Many craft workshops and galleries now line the streets, along with typical Hanok restaurants.
Many visitors wander through Bukchon Hanok Village when visiting the two adjacent royal palaces. Anguk is the closest subway station, a well signposted ten-minute walk from the start of the Hanok buildings. Visitors are reminded to respect the locals as this is a residential village and not a tailor-made tourist attraction; in particular, don't photograph the interior of houses and keep noise levels to a minimum.
Feng Shui is essential to Bukchon Hanok and many locals attribute the area's longevity to how it expertly follows the theory of “divination based on topography.”