What is a Hanok?
“Home is where the heart is”
Koreans’ way of thinking may be something more like “The heart is where the home is”. Seoul is a sprawling metropolis, including those living in satellite cities numbering 20 million, most of who live in apartments.
We can think of this heart is where the home is, because each and every major holiday Koreans will escape, en masse, to their spiritual hometowns, homes aren’t necessary somewhere to live, but somewhere to thrive.
These days we often find our homes full of clutter, things, and material possessions. The traditional Korean home, the “hanok” is not like this at all.
From not only the direction the hanok faces, but to the shape of it, and whether or not there are mountains behind and a source of water in front, each and every part of a hanok is intentional.
Hanok are not separated from nature, but are a part of it, a living, growing thing. Expect to see a hanok to be made with huge stones, ochre, beautiful pieces of wood, and windows made of paper.
In the past, because of Confucianism, the rooms of a hanok were divided with males and females sleeping in different parts of the house.
Each room of a hanok is made from “hanji” or Korean paper, which has been waterproofed by rubbing oils on it, the paper is advantageous over glass because it is both breathable, allowing air flow, and at the same time better able to hold heat, meaning that it is warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer.
Thanks to the advent of “ondol” a method of heating the floors in the winter, unique to Korea, Koreans sleep on the floor where it is warmest when it is cold, and coolest on those hot summer nights.
Our hanok Byeolhadang is a traditional hanok located on the former grounds of Unhyeon Palace. You may feel the spirits of times gone by here. Our hanok is not only for Koreans but for those from all around the world, to introduce Korean tradition and culture to one and all. By staying with us, you too can experience this type of living.
Bukchon Hanok Village, is a collection of hanok that have been preserved over the decades. With some clearly holding onto their last days, some magnificently restored in the traditional manner in which it was originally constructed, to hanok that have western influences and no expenses spared.
This area may not be on anyone’s “Seoul Top 10 List” but with the sheer amount of Japanese tourist that visit here by the busload, it is clear this area is worthy of a visit, or two.
Come on any given day and you will undoubtedly see couples taking photos with the surround hanok-scape, newlyweds taking their wedding photos, and quite often television shows or ads being filmed here, too.
People know this area as “the street museum in the urban sprawl” and nothing could be truer, as this area is right between the UNESCO World Heritage listed sites of Changdeok Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine, as well as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbok Palace, and huge skyscrapers can be seen all around.
Unhyeon Palace, although not one of the five royal palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, was the former residence of Heungseon Daewongun, Emperor Gojong’s father and one time prince regent.
Gojong, who assumed the age at the young age of 12, lived at this palace and even had his wedding ceremony to his bride Queen Min here.
Unhyeon Palace was once far larger than it is now. After the Korean War large portions of it were sold off, Duksung Women’s University occupies a significantly large portion of the former grounds of Unhyeon Palace.
Some of the buildings that still remain include;
Noandang: The residence and work area for Heungseon Daewongun.
Norakdang: The largest building of Unhyeon Palace, it was the women’s residence and the site of Gojong and Min’s wedding.
Irodang: This was built later than the other buildings and was another women’s residence.
Sujiksa: The servants’ quarters.
Hanok Guesthouse Rooms
The first room is known as the "Room of Success", can accommodate 2 people comfortably. It is furnished in a minimalistic style, something that is expected from a traditional Korean hanok. This room has its own bathroom, including a toilet and shower.
The west facing window means it gets plenty of light right until sunset.
The door opens directly into the courtyard.
This room is the perfect room for couples or two close friends.
The “Room of Wealth”, the smallest of the three guest rooms is said to hold good spirits. It is also attached to the “Lucky Gate”. It can fit two small people or children, but is perfect for one person with plenty of room. The door opens onto the courtyard.
The "Room of Love" is the largest room, it is perfect as its location between the guesthouse and main house gives it a different feel from the other rooms. It has two large wardrobes and a open-space directly in front, that joins to the bathroom. It avoids direct light and is therefore cooler in the summer. It also has a bathroom with shower facilities.
All of the rooms are private and have access to the common courtyard, bathrooms and the “Lucky Gate”. They are all safe & secure, and are fitted with ondol heating for the winter, and individual air conditioners for the summer.