Seochon Village Seoul | Hanok Village | Where To Go, Eat & Stay
To the west of Gyeongbokgung Palace lies the ‘retro’ village, Seochon. A village which is home to the famous Tongin Market, many restaurants and picturesque cafes. Read on more to find out all there is to do in Seochon Village Seoul.
What To Know When Seochon Korea
- Walking Tour: want to learn more about the history of the village from a local expert? Take a 3 hour walking tour of the area which will bring you to all the hot spots. More info here.
- What to wear: check what to pack and wear in South Korea here.
- Foreigner discounts: sites like Klook and Trazy offer lots of special discounted entrance tickets, only for foreigners.
- Public transport pass: buy a T-money card to get around Seoul, this can be used on the subway, bus and in taxis. More info here.
- Itineraries: make sure to include Seochon Hanok Village in your Seoul itinerary.
- Other Areas: other great areas to visit in Seoul include Bukchon and Myeongdong.
About Seochon Village
Seochon literally translates to West Village as it is located in the west of the historic center of Seoul, which was called Hanyang during the Joseon Dynasty. It lies just to the left of Gyeongbokgung Palace and is a popular area to experience a traditional Korean hanok stay.
In contrast with Bukchon village which lies on the right of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seochon was home to the less powerful court officials and scholars. They lived in smaller traditional Korean hanok houses, but were still withing walking distance of the major palaces. The most famous Korean historic figure that was born in Seochon is King Sejong. He is the most known Korean Joseon king as he created the Korean alphabet and made other major improvements to the foreign policies, Korean military and much more.
Towards the end of the Joseon Dynasty and during the Japanese occupation, Seochon village became an attractive area for foreigners to settle. In 1898, the American missionary Josephine Eaton Peel Campbell founded Baewha Women’s University in the area.
When walking around Seochon village, it feels like going back in time. Many of the buildings are still the same as back in 1970. This is because President Park Chung-hee created a law to prevent new constructions and renovations around the Blue House as a safety measure against assassinations on the Korean presidents. This law was only lifted towards the end of the 20th century
Now Seochon hanok village is home to many small galleries, coffee shops and boutiques which give the area a ‘retro’ vibe. Hanok stays tend to be cheaper in this area than in Bukchon village.
Things To Do In Seochon Village
Seochon Seoul which lies on subway 3 (Gyeongbokgung Station) has lots to offer, from major galleries and museums, to tiny restaurants and cafes. Listed below are all the best things to do in Seochon Village.
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace is a must visit when in Seoul. It is the first and main palace of the Joseon Dynasty and is famous for its beautiful architecture. The palace was built in 1395 and has currently 2 major national museums located on the grounds. The National Palace Museum and the National Folk Museum which are both free to enter. When visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, make sure to catch the 10 AM or 2 PM changing of the guards ceremony.
2. Tongin Market
Tongin Market was established in 1941 and is famous among foreigners because of its lunch box cafe. In 2011, the market started using a special coin paying system which allows visitors to try different types of Korean dishes at a very low price. Most of the food at the market cost 1-2 coins (each coin is 500 krw), so for only 5000 krw you can have a full lunch box. On the second floor of the market there is the Tongin Market lunch box cafe, where visitors can sit down, get water and eat their yummy lunch. If you are interested in Korean food and want to learn to make your own, consider taking a market tour and cooking class. More info here.
3. National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum lies on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace and is dedicated to the life of royals during the Joseon Dynasty. Over 20 000 royal relics from the five different palaces are on display in the museum and information signs are both in English and Korean. There are 10 different rooms which each focus on a different aspect of royal life.
4. Daeo Bookstore
Daeo is the oldest bookstore in Seoul and was founded back in 1951. The interior and exterior of the traditional hasn’t changed since the bookstore opened and it was declared as municipal heritage by Seoul city in 2014. Recently a small cafe was added to the bookstore to help with the cost of the upkeep and restoration of the bookstore.
5. Boan Yeogwan
This 80 year old building used to be home to many artists in Seoul during the 20th century. Boan Yeongwan used to be an inn where many aspiring poets and writers stayed. In 2007 the space was turned into a gallery but the facade of the building was kept the same. The building renamed as Boan 1942 now has an exhibition space, cafe, book store and a couple of rooms with a view of the palace.
6. Cheongwadae Sarangchae
This exhibition hall is focused towards Korean culture and the history of the previous Korean presidents as it is located just in front of the Blue House. The signs are both in Korean and English. The first floor of the museum has constantly changing temporary exhibitions while the permanent exhibition on the history of the Korean presidents is located in the Cheongwadae hall.
Where To Stay In Seochon Village
- Hanok 24 Guesthouse – This stunning hanok guesthouse lies in the heart of Seochon and is one of most top rated hanok stays in Seoul. The hanok has traditional style bedrooms with modern bathrooms and kitchen, perfect for those looking to have a traditional experience with comfort.
- Supia Guesthouse – Another modern hanok stay with a superb breakfast. The host, Daisy, is absolutely wonderful and very welcoming to all guests.
- NagNe Boutique – This charming guesthouse is a must stay as it is very comfortable and affordable. Staying in a hanok can be quite pricey, but this place is cheaper than most other accommodations.
- Hide & Seek Guesthouse – Not a hanok but a nice guesthouse with brunch cafe. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. Great place to stay for couples of families.
- Hanok Guesthouse Nuha – One of the highest rated hanok stays in Seoul. The owners of the hanok prepare a traditional style Korean breakfast each morning for all guests.
What To Eat In Seochon, Korea?
Tongin market is not the only place to have amazing food in Seochon. The area is filled with restaurants and coffee shops. Below is a selection of our favourite places to eat.
1. Tosokchon Samgyetang
This is by far one of the most authentic and best restaurants in the area. The huge hanok is home to one of the best samgyetang in Seoul. This is a type of chicken ginseng soup which is served with a selection of side dishes and a shot of ginseng liquor.
2. Tongin Sweet
Who doesn’t love egg tarts? At Tongin Sweet they only sell egg tarts and drinks. There is a small sitting area inside and outside. The cafe has been featured on multiple tv shows.
Frequently Asked Questions
Seochon Village is a historic neighborhood located in the heart of Seoul, South Korea. It is known for its traditional Korean architecture, narrow alleyways, and historic landmarks.
There are many attractions to explore in Seochon Village, including Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Insadong. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of cafes, restaurants, and traditional Korean shops.
Seochon Village is located in the Jongno-gu district of Seoul, and can be easily accessed by subway, bus, or taxi. The closest subway stations are Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3) and Anguk Station (Line 3). Visitors can also take a bus to the Gyeongbokgung Palace stop or the Seochon Village stop.
I have been here and absolutely loved it unfortunately i didn’t visit the market nor the bookstore. Maybe another visit is due 💛