CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GARCIA
This post was originally published on Korea Ye on February 11, 2013. The 2016 Namsangol Hanok festivities run February 7th-10th.
So we were looking for something to do over the holiday. Something fun. Something with a little Korean flava and celebratory Lunar New Year’s hoopla. Oh, and that the kids could enjoy.
Google told me the Namsangol Hanok Village met all the criteria. Located at the base of Namsan Mountain, it’s a collection of traditional Korean houses (hanoks). You can go there all year round to see and experience traditional Korean activities like archery and taekwando. But for Seollal (lunar New Year) they had a whole slew of holiday festivities planned. Perfect! We bundled up, hopped in a cab and headed on over.
It was SO cool. You should totally go there today!
Take a look at the street food leading up to the entrance There was a ton of it and it was all delicious. I know ’cause we sampled some from almost every stand. Already, we were in for a good afternoon.
Bean-paste filled fish.
These pancakes with the melted cinnamon sugar in them — I don’t know what they’re called but…umm…ummm…good.
Okay, well maybe those insects cooking in the back aren’t delicious. And yet again, maybe they are. I still haven’t had the guts to try them! Someday…someday.
Be careful on this street as your child may be whisked away into someone’s impromptu photo shoot.
Lured in by the beating of drums, we finally made it inside the folk village. It was bustling with people and activity. As we entered a lion-dog dance performance was going on. Yes! Precisely what I want to see on lunar New Years. I was a happy girl! Unfortunately, we got there at the tail end and I was lifting my kids in the air to watch so no pictures of that.
But there were all kinds of other neat-o things going on:
You could take pictures of yourself in hanbok! (Or all the kids walking around in their hanbok. So cute!)
Make friends with the friendly staff.
Play with those old-timey hoops like you see in movies set in the 30’s.
Listen to the beautiful singing.
Or the adrenaline pumping drum performances. (My kids loved that!)
You can even participate in several hands-on activities like mask-making, kite-making, and top-making. Just make sure to buy tickets first at one of the information booths. (The ones I saw were to the left of the performance stage and at the courtyard entrance on the far side of the performance stage.) Not all of the activities are going on all of the time, so check this website or one of the schedules posted around the park. ***Website links to 2013 activity schedule. Can’t find one for 2014. Will update as soon as I find current info.***
We chose to make kites for our activity. This guy was our kite-making teacher. As he explained the (somewhat complicated) process in Korean, I wondered if I would figure it out. Thank goodness he used our kite as the demo and gave us lots of help. So nice!
See, here he is helping my boy paste the sticks down.
After you make your kite, you can decorate it with stamps and markers. The whole process took us 20-30 minutes, so make sure you are dressed warmly!
After flying our kites for a couple minutes, we went into the courtyard on the far side of the stage. They had some soup to buy in there, but you needed a ticket for it and when we got there booth was closed. (Another tourist told me soup tasting was at 1:30 and 3:30.)
In the courtyard there also a rice pounding activity–if you need to get your pent-up aggression out.
I wish we could have seen more of this village, because it looked like such a cool place to explore. The entrance is free and they have hour-long tours in English, so we’ll have to make it back here someday.
But we were getting cold. It was time to go.
A place to write your wishes and tie them to this string.
We refueled with more street food on the way out and hopped in a cab, taking home two kites and some fun Seollal memories with us.
- Bundle up! There are some buildings to go in, but the performances and activities are all outside.
- The performances start at 2pm and finish around 3:30. When we were there, we saw the lion-dog dance, singers, drumming, and dancers. Maybe getting there at 1pm or 1:30 would be best.
- Bring some wet wipes for the street food and gluing/coloring activities.
- Remember to buy your tickets at the information tents before starting the activities. If the line is too long, look for another tent, we found one by the stage with no line.
Hours: Dates for 2014 celebration are January 30th-Feb 2nd. 11am-5pm
(The village is open throughout the year though, 9am-8pm Nov-March. April-October 9am-9pm. Closed Tuesdays.)
Schedule of lunar New Year events in English ***This schedule takes you to the 2013 schedule. I’d imagine it’s the same, but will update it as soon as I can find the information.***
Namsangol Hanok Village: website
Address: 84-1 Pildong 2-ga Junngu, Seoul, South Korea.
By cab, Show the cab driver this:
남산골 한옥마을 (“Namsangol Hanok Maul”)
We took a cab and had no problem finding one to take us home, despite the crowds….Namsangol Hanok Village is just down the road from the Namsan Cable car station.
By subway, Line 3 or 4 to Chungmuro Station. Take exit #4 and walk about 5 minutes.
By car, I didn’t see any parking. Try at your own risk!
Payment: Entrance is free. Craft activities 3,000-5,000 won. Street food about 2-3,000 won.