Discovering Bukchon: Where History and Modernity Coexist

When I visited the Bukchon Hanok Village last week, I felt myself being drawn to the little (and big) details in the buildings and architecture around me. I found myself being in awe of the way such modern buildings were built right next to historical villages. The contrast between an older, more traditional look of a Hanok (a traditional Korean house) and new, modern business buildings and minimalistic stores was something I have never seen before. 

When my friend and I first arrived at the Hanok Village, we were immediately drawn to a giant, orange-y, modern building that seemed to be a building for Sulwhasoo products, a Korean luxury cosmetics brand. The building itself was extremely grand yet minimalistic and you could tell there were aspects that took inspiration from the traditional Hanok look. The pathways and plants surrounding them gave a traditional feel to the store and their products were displayed in Da Sooms, a traditional Korean jewelry box. Once we went up a few flights of stairs, there was a cafe and teahouse that made products out of traditional Korean ingredients such as Jeju green tea and rice cakes. We wanted to try the rice cake plate that had different flavors of rice cakes and sauces to dip them in, but they were sold out by the time we arrived so we tried the green tea waffles and ice cream. Shaped like a Hanok roof, the waffles were a mix of a typical waffle but with a chewy, rice cake texture and had a subtle matcha flavor to them. We were truly impressed by the way the cafe was able to merge together the modern taste and trends with a traditional Korean feel. 

After we left the cafe, we walked around the village admiring the beautiful view of Seoul tower and popping into all the small gift shops and stores in the area. I truly have never experienced such an extreme contrast of historical buildings next to modern ones, the view was something I’ve never seen before and will never forget. Bukchon Hanok Village is pretty big and I definitely will be taking another trip back to finish exploring and revisit some of my favorite stores as well as discover some new ones. I hope to next time rent a hanbok and explore Gyeongbokgung Palace! 

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