It is not the bright city of colorful lights but the beautiful small villages that make me remember when I came to Korea.
“Santorini of Korea” is the lovely name that people give to the cultural village Gamcheon in Busan city. Having stood at an elevated viewpoint, dropping the vision down below to understand why this village had such a name. Hundreds of colorful low-rise block houses flock all over the hillsides facing the sea, just like a Lego puzzle.
However, Gamcheon is just a poor village, not a luxurious tourist destination like the “brother” in Europe. It was once a slum for refugees during the Korean War. They live in temporary, shabby homes, lack of electricity and water and are not hygienic. After that, the art projects put on Gamcheon a new face, saving the village from the brink of demolition and turning it into a tourist attraction for Korean tourists .
Now, long lines of Korean tourists still flock to Gamcheon every day to discover interesting secrets hidden in small alleys. Those are fresher frescoes that suddenly show up at a certain bend: mischievous cats frolicking around the windowsills, two lizards crawling on the stairs leading up the slope or the fish swimming. ”On a stone wall. It could also be installation artworks depicting the daily lives of the villagers and their well-being. The joy is also when you separate from the noisy crowd, sip a cup of coffee in the corner of a pretty small shop and think you are in the end of the world.
“Running away” from bustling Seoul, I took a bus to the ancient village of Jeonju in the heart of the city with the same name and here, I saw a very different Korea. It was Jeonju – a peaceful dream. Completely unfamiliar with modern concrete lines, seven hundred traditional houses (called hanoks) will remind you of the old Korean way of life.
Hanok is built from wood, earth, stone and natural materials. Giwa tiled roofs are characterized by black and gray, showing the social hierarchy and ownership. The curved edge of the roof (Cheoma) can also be adjusted in length to control the amount of sunlight entering the house. The structure of the beam was completely wooden and fitted without using a nail. Hanji paper, a traditional Korean paper, impregnated with soya bean oil, is applied to the door frames, which is waterproof and breathable.
The ancient village is like a jewel that Jeonju carries in itself, where the reels of the modern rhythm of life are still untouchable. It is interesting to see that everyday Koreans who still hustle on the train now walk leisurely between the old houses and breathe the soaking atmosphere.
Traveling to Korea , going to Hanok Jeonju, maybe I do not need a map because walking on the paved road will take me to interesting views of the village. I love Jeonju in the chilly morning mist, in the sleepy yellow light late at night, or when the sunset from across the gentle hill covers the roof below.
And I will always remember the peaceful sleep in the small wooden house. The space in the room is just enough to put two, three sets of mattresses, a wooden wardrobe and some simple items. Windows and doors are grooved in a groove-type wood with a round, black bronze craft pin. Pushing the door out and you can see the quiet green garden. Modern recreational facilities are kept to a minimum so that “guests spend more time on rest, retreats and chat,” the host explained.
I hope the memories of Jeonju will always be with travelers throughout life. Just like what he said, the days in Jeonju went smoothly and whenever I thought of this place, I felt like my mind was floating in a sweet dream.
How to go to Gamcheon village (Busan city):
You take subway line 1 to Geojeong Station, exit 6, then take the Sakha 1 bus or Sakha 1-1 to Gamcheon Elementary School Bus Stop. Or take the subway line 1 to Toseong Station, exit 1, then take the Saha 1-1, Seogu 2 or Seogu 2-2 buses to Gamcheon Elementary School Bus Stop.
How to get to Hanok Jeonju village (Jeonju city, Jeollabuk province):
From the Express Bus Terminal in Seoul, you take the bus to Jeonju Express Bus Terminal, the fare is from 12,800 to 187,000 won depending on the vehicle. Travel time is about 2.5 hours. Or you can take the KTX high-speed train from Seoul Station to Jeonju, the odd fare is about 31,000 won / way.
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