Monday, June 8, 2009

Korean Folk Village

It is probably every expat's right-of-passage here in Korea, which is to go to the Korean Folk Village. Either you get pulled into going because your school has planned a field trip or you make a stop because it is high on your list of places to go see.

Actually I have had several opportunities to go but it always seemed I had a reason to back out. Yet I always really wanted to go, and so it was that last week JH suggested that we go to the Korean Folk Village. And that is just what we did last Saturday.

First Stop: McD's Breakfast
I was hungry and strangely craving McDonald's breakfast, which you can find out here. I am the kind of person who rarely eats at McDonald's or any of those chain places. Mostly because I know the food makes you fat but also sometimes my body rejects it.

Anyways we went to one in Anyang before heading to the village. It was great to fill up on hash browns and "pancakes".

(I know this food is evil...but...)
Enter the Village:
Since we took JH's car I can't really relate how one would get there by foot. I am guessing train hopping and then taking a bus.

It was a bright and sunny day, which seemed perfect for visiting the village.

As you walk up to the entrance you see souvenir shops on the side and a large entrance gate in front of you.

Buying entrance tickets can seem a bit complicated but basically you are buying yourself entry into certain sections of the village. JH wanted the "full package" so he could go on some rides but I wasn't in the mood and felt more like taking the "museum package". I suggested we could go on rides when we go to Seoul Land someday.
After going pass the gate you see yourself entering a large courtyard with buildings surrounding the open space. Most of these places were souvenir shops, restaurants and speciality stores.

Korean Drama Filming Site Exhibition:
Where to go? We checked the map and made our destination point the Dae Jang Geum museum. This folk village has been the site of where many Korean dramas were filmed. I still haven't finished watching this drama but I was still excited to know this area was where it was filmed.

To get there we crossed the "Park Bridge".

Haha the "Y" gave me bunny ears..

Along the way looking for the exhibit I saw this cute bathroom direction sign.
Bingo! I knew we found it due to the large billboard with the drama actors on it. But what exactly was this "exhibit"?
Turns out is just a series of rooms where they have videos playing the drama and models set up wearing the original costumes. Not exactly what I was expecting (actual sets...maybe that is the village itself?). Still I had a good time.

Stuff found inside the exhibit...


Photo-op chair...

Leaving the exhibits there was an arcade room and I really liked the design on the door.
Going Inside: Folk Houses and Crafts
On our way to going deeper inside the village to make our way towards the museum we came across a photo shop. One could dress up in hanbok and get their picture taken. We considered it but boy was it expensive!

On the other side of the photo shop was a space where you could hang spirit papers. Kind of like the same thing in Japan where you tie a piece of paper to the branch of a tree. We wanted to do this too but there were a lot of families taking up the space.
When you enter the village area you are greeted by traditional poles or `jangseung'. Goofy looking things which I think greet the person with a warm hearted "hello".

An exhibition of different types of roofing. (Anthropologists eat your heart out!)

Walking along we spotted a real cow or ox (?). I walked up to it and said hello in Korean. It just stared back at me. I have this impression that animals in Korea can only speak Korean (if they could speak) and animals back home only speak English. Hmmm except for those migratory birds I guess? The cow / ox did not talk back. But if it could I bet it would say "F-U for inventing the wheel."
Outside some of the houses were hanging herbs and food.

Throughout the village are employees meant to reenact folk village life. Let me tell you these people did an excellent job. They looked tired, sun beaten and basically as if they lived like folk people.

About 20 employees practice their handicraft skills and process in pottery, winnows, willow tubs, round willow baskets, cookery, round bamboo baskets, bamboo buckets, bamboo flat wooden spoons, tinware, scooped wooden dishes, wooden shoes with clogs, straw sandals, Korean paper, brassware, masks, knotting and embroidery, musical instruments, leather brushes, pyrograph, farming tools, paper crafts, and furniture.

Kids practiced their skills at using a traditional grindstone to grind up some soybeans.

It was a living museum experience, except for the part where kids would get too close to this guy who was wielding a sharp knife. But I enjoyed seeing the handicrafts close up, it reminded me of when I studied traditional Korean art. My teacher liked to remind us that to them the objects weren't really "art" objects, instead something created for function sake.

A well with water....

Ladies spinning silk threads from silk cocoons.

One part I really enjoyed was seeing the gardens. Here we have a shot of an herb garden.

We stopped for a rest and took some funny pictures.

I was getting kind of tired (my body tires easily) so we decided to head in the direction of the historical museum. To do so we had to cross the "Stepping - Stones".
And pass the river.

Korean Folk Museum:

This museum was kind of like going to the Natural History Museum in New York. Because you walk past display case after display case full of recreations of history with a little sign next to it with information.

I enjoyed the museum and liked this one part where there were artifacts meant for book making.
Sights on our Way Out:
Leaving the museum we knew it was time to head out and get on with our day. On the way we stopped for some ice-cream at a little shop. I liked the colorful banners and silly graphics.

This was near the "Swing site" which I would have loved to take a ride on but found it challenging with ice-cream in hand.

There were some birds in a cage, but their birdhouse was pretty big and they seemed to be happy with it.

There was a kids play area near the amusement park rides. For a small fee you could get your hands on a bubble wand and go at it.

Do you see the rainbow?
Leaving the folk village I felt as if I was leaving a slice of heaven behind. Despite that my body wasn't entirely with me I had a great time. I would highly recommend attending the Folk Village because there is so much to see and do. Supposedly you too can take part in the crafts and see performances. I expect to go back again.

Dinner was had in my town at an Indian restaurant.

And so that ends this Saturday in life. ^^


  1. Nice photos. The second season of "The Amazing Race Asia" ran through there and the teams had to either play traditional Korean games or carry firewood using traditional Korean means. There were two legs of the second season that ran through South Korea.

    The first season of the race had a female Korean racer that smoked the field and the third season featured two brothers from Seoul. It's a good teaching tool as the racers must use English and it opens up the world to the students in terms of seeing how valuable knowing a second language can be. It airs on AXN every now and then, so you can record it with Korean subtitles. You can find it at torrent sites like which allows you to search through numerous sites like BT Junkie and piratebay in one convenient location.

  2. Hey, the word "simpleton" is defined as "a person lacking intelligence or common sense." Is this how you meant to use it? Because a traditional/artisan lifestyle as you described seems to be composed entirely of "common sensibility". Just a thought.

  3. One of my biggest disappointments is that I never really got to visit one while I was in Korea. That and the DMZ were my two main destinations, and I saw neither.

  4. Dear F. Joy,

    I have followed your blog since before you left Cali and you have helped me so much.

    And I had to comment. You just seem so much happier lately than in the past. Take that for how it is truly meant.

    If I ever see you out and about, I will say hello.

    Best regards.

  5. Joy,

    Perhaps, as you seem to have been out in the countryside, that cow did not recognize your "hello" because it was a Vietnamese mail-order cow??

    Or not. ;-)

    Nice pictures!

  6. While I know this isn't your fault - it's posted on the official website, after all - it's slightly misleading to call it "the Korean Folk Village", as there are several located in various parts of Korea.

    Also, what's with the "anthropologists eat your heart out!" line? I'm an anthropologist and your photo gave me no reason to eat my heart out. ;)

  7. Thanks for letting me know it isn't the only folk village here. I wasn't sure. Sorry to make my title misleading ><

  8. No worries. Having the official website list it as such doesn't exactly help things, either. If you ever get the chance I would highly recommend visiting the folk village just outside Suncheon.

  9. I second the recommendation of the Nagan Folk Village west of Suncheon.


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