A few weekends ago I ventured to the Korean Folk Village in Yongin. Sam and I had been planning to visit this place for a few months now, but I dare say we waited for the perfect time of year. The early November colours were ideally suited for walking around a charming little town depicting times past.
We spent a lot of time watching the different performances happening around the village, which included a tightrope walker carefully balancing his way across with the help of a hand-painted fan, an equestrian act intermixed with acrobatics to the rhythms of PSY’s Gangnam Style (very true to the period…ey, sexy lady, oh oh oh oh, oppa Gangnam Style!), and a traditional wedding ceremony which did not include a ‘You may now kiss the bride.’
After taking in all the performances, we wandered around the hundreds of buildings that make up the village. There were pavilions, Buddhist temples, workshops, food markets, and homes for noblemen, scholars, farmers and commoners.
There were scenes depicting daily life as it was hundreds of years ago: a smith making spoons, a carpenter at work on his next masterpiece, women sweeping the leaves off the dirt path, and a gardener tending his patch. My favourite was the man selling sweet pumpkin taffy; I bought a bag to send home for the holidays…totally gobbled that. (Sorry fam, that treat won’t be in the Christmas box, but there will be other things!)
There was even a friendly cow (or would this be a bull – I see little horns). It had beautiful, thick eyelashes, but the saddest of eyes.
I also saw my first persimmon tree. They looked like oranges from a distance, but upon closer inspection they were more like orange tomatoes…yep, that’s my best description for you. Their bright colour against the bare branches and overcast sky made it look like a scene straight out of a Halloween movie.
Wooden totem poles were a common sight at the village. These are called jangseung (장승) and were traditionally placed at the edge of towns to mark the boundaries and scare away any demons that were lurking around.
There was also a giant boulder near the park’s entrance where you could write down a wish and tie it on to the ropes that ran down. You could tell that many ‘wishers’ had come before us because the little pieces of paper had also taken over the nearby tree branches.
I’d say that’s a nice little place for an autumn weekend outing!
Getting there & Admission
If you are looking to visit the Korean Folk Village, there is a free shuttle bus service that runs from the Visitors Center at Suwon Station to the village several times a day. The ride is about 30 minutes. (Just be sure you check the departure times before hand!) Admission to the village is 15,000 won for adults.