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BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE: CONSCIOUS LIVING

Location: Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul South Korea

Anguk Station, Exit 2

One of the many reasons I felt the need to hop on a plane and go back home is because of the need to run away. My everyday life after graduating from college has been somewhat monotonous and the days went by a little too fast I didn’t even notice them. I now stand against the saying, “time speeds up when you’re enjoying”. Actually, when you carefully tread each moment in life, time starts to slow down. Every minute seems to be just as important as everything else.

You have to observe, not just take a glimpse at life.

But why Korea? There are two types of thinking when hearing the words Seoul South Korea: either you imagine the wide Dongdaemun Plaza and high sky buildings that scream modernity or you’re suddenly struck with the wood-made hanoks all over the city. I’m probably stuck in between both ideas whenever I hear my home’s name, but during this month long trip to Korea, I enjoyed most of my time lurking around the old houses and palaces, going to Korea would freeze time for me. Or at least I hoped so.

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When I arrived to my Airbnb apartment, the first thing I did was of course unpack the shit load of things I carried with me all the way from the Philippines. As I cleaned out, I noticed some flyers carefully placed on the shelves of my apartment. One of them was the guide to Bukchon Hanok Village including the Gahoe-dong area, which is on my to-visit list so I grabbed the flyer and headed to Anguk Station and exited at Exit 2.

Before marveling on the beauty of Bukchon, I traveled all the way to Yongsan Station to buy a memory card so it was almost noon time when I arrived in Bukchon. The high time of the sun only made the beauty of Bukchon shine brighter. It’s a neighborhood filled with tourists, though, that I sometimes feel bad for the people who actually live here.

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Bukchon used to be the residential quarters of high ranking officials during the Joseon Dynasty. I’m not sure about you but the hanoks definitely feel luxurious. Quality, for this dynasty, lie on the creativity and minuscule detail given to specific products instead of brand names like today. You will know how important a person is depending on the quality of goods offered to him. I believe you’d still have to pay a hefty price if you wish to live in a hanok today, so even if the times have changed, Bukchon’s value doesn’t waver.

Just like any other neighborhood in Korea, it was so easy to get lost in all the beautiful houses and shops that make up the village. The wood from which the houses were built speak volumes of stories, aside from being aesthetically pleasing. But because of these details, one must consciously look through, observe and take notice of every single element that makes up the neighborhood. While traveling, it is indeed easy to be engulfed by “high” feelings, which is why I chose to travel longer — so I’ll be able to travel more consciously.

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Live a little slower,

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