Samcheongdong 삼청동 and Bukchon Hanok 북촌한옥마을: A contrast of old and new Seoul

Hello I’m finally going to finish up the last of my Seoul posts! It’s been like… 3 months since my trip but I’m SO BAD at finishing things… my Taiwan posts are still unfinished, and that trip was 4 years ago! Anyhow, I’m endeavoring to finally finish up Seoul’s posts… most of these posts have been a bit delayed because I didn’t take so many pictures, and I think that somehow demotivates me from writing about them. But here I go.


After my Gyeongbokgung tour, I headed out the east gate and took a quick 5-min walk towards Samcheongdong. It’s a pretty nice area in Seoul, lots of galleries and cafes and what I would describe as hipster high end; the Singaporean context of it would be somewhere like Ann Siang Hill or Dempsey Hill. Definitely less packed than places like Myeongdong and Insadong, and the shops are smaller and more quaint and indie than those of Ewha and Hongdae.

I didn’t pop into any of the galleries, but there are lots of them along the streets. The shops were definitely great! I love tiny little shops so much more than large boutique stores or big brand names, they usually have really unique items. But unfortunately, as cute quaint shops go, many of them weren’t exactly cheap either! I did end up buying things from a shop called Kim’s Boutique, which I would run across again a few days later in Itaewon as well (and I bought stuff both times!).

I stopped by a cute little shop for lunch. The pork chops are probably more like Japanese food (Katsu) than Korean, but it was such a cozy little corner with a nice ajuma, and it was so hot outside I was genuinely sad to leave!

And I also did swing by the Seoul Education Museum, which is up by the Jeongdak library (on top of a hill, I didn’t go in but the outside was a pretty lovely garden setting).  Not particularly exciting with just a bunch of old school paraphanelia  in exhibition cases and quite small really… I was in and out in about 10 minutes! Did love the old school illustrations of their mascots though~


Seoul Bukchon Hanok Slope
Bukchon Hanok

I then headed to Bukchon Hanok just next to Samcheongdong, one of the areas in Seoul where they have preserved an entire district’s worth of old-style Korean houses called hanoks. What makes Bukchon Hanok (meaning Northern Village) unique is that it is still a residential area today, unlike Namsangol Hanok which is more of a life-size museum. While you do get tourists ambling along the rather hilly roads, it’s still a pretty quiet district overall.

I would love to stay in one of these quaint little houses (check out this post of my Hanok stay in Bukchon Hanok some years later!) these houses use to be part of the grounds of palaces like Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, and while reflective of typical Joseon dynasty architecture, I like that there’s somehow more variety in the Hanoks then in the palaces. For those who want to experience old school living first hand, there are hanok guesthouses! Too bad I didn’t know about it before I went over, or I would have definitely have liked to book a night’s stay.

There are also many little museums within the Bukchon, from traditional ones like the Donglim Knot Museum to really odd ones like the Museum of Chicken Art. (I know, like really? Chickens?!) though check their opening hours before you go. Pick up a tourist map or head on over to the Bukchon official website here to find out about the museums. Many of them include workshops as well, which sounds like fun if you’re looking for a real immersive experience.

Getting to Samcheongdong and Bukchon Hanok

Samcheongdong and Bukchon Hanok are located between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. The closest subway station is Anguk Station (Subway Line 3, Exit 3)

Around the area:

  • West: I walked over to Samecheongdong and Bukchon Hanok after my Gyeongbokgung tour (closed on Tuesdays)
  • East: Changdeokgung, the other palace I visited is on the other side of the Bukchon Hanok, it’s possible to do both palaces in the same day, but note that Changdeokgung is closed on Mondays.
  • South: the artsy area Insadong is where I headed after I was done with Samcheongdong and Bukchon Hanok. Anguk station is between the Bukchon area and Insadong.
  • Also nearby if you’re tired of palaces: Jogyesa (A buddhist temple in the middle of the city next to Insadong)
  • Gwanghwamun Square lies in front of the main Gwanghwamun gate of Gyeongbokgung. A giant statue of King Sejong the great, his admiral and a fountain line this open plaza

Read more of my posts on Seoul, or check out other parts of South Korea to visit.

6 thoughts on “Samcheongdong 삼청동 and Bukchon Hanok 북촌한옥마을: A contrast of old and new Seoul”

  1. Hi Jac,

    Came across your post when looking for information on Seoul.

    Do you think it’s possible to walk from Changdeokgung to Samcheongdong? I will be carrying a baby throughout, hence not sure if we should take a cab instead. Having said that, not sure cab driver would accept us, if the distance is not far. Can you help enlighten me on this?

    Thanks alot!

    1. Hi Jenna,

      yes it’s possible to walk from Changdeokgung to Samcheongdong – Samcheongdong is actually between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, though it’s a bit nearer to Gyeongbokgung. I found that in certain spots Seoul can be pretty hilly, especially in the Bukchon Hanok area which is between Changdeokgung and Samcheongdong, so you might want to be prepared for that if you’re walking with a baby! Hope that helps a bit…

  2. Hi Jac,

    How long did you spend at Gyeongbokgung? I’m planning to do the same thing as well From Gyeongbokgung-Samcheongdong-Bukchong Hanok -Insadong- N Seoul Tower.

    By the way, how did you actually found your way around from Gyeongbokgung to Samcheongdong and then to Bukchon? I saw the website for Bukchon and there seem to be so many areas to visit… which areas did you go to?


    1. Hi Aster,

      I reached there about 10am where there was the changing of the guard, then did the 11am English tour for about an hour. From there I walked to Samcheongdong for lunch.

      I had time to pop by the Seoul Folk Museum as well, and then at that exit and there are street signs leading to Samcheongdong, it’s quite easy to find don’t worry!

      In the Bukchon Hanok I just walked! wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just walked and walked and found myself lost in the streets!

  3. Hi! can i ask if you did Gwanghwamum, Gyeongbokgung Palace, SamCheongDong, Bukchon Hanok Village & Insadong all in 1 day? By the way do the shops still open @ insadong if i reach in the evening @ 6 + pm?? Thanks!!!

    1. Hi WW,

      Yes I did most of that actually! Got to Gyeongbokgong (11am english tour) in the morning, then I walked over to Samcheongdong and Bukchon Hanok in the afternoon. Walked back down to Insadong to shop and rest and finished in late afternoon before heading to N Seoul Tower for sunset. I think the shops should still be open? I did Gwanghwamun on another day actually, though I could have probably completed it on the same day if I had reached Gyeongbokgung earlier in the morning.

Tell me what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top