Hahoe Folk Village: A Hidden Gem
In Andong, a city about an hour from Busan, or three hours from Seoul; there is a traditional Korean village called Hahoe Folk Village (안동 하회마을), also known simply as “Hahoe Village”. It was originally established in the 16th century during the Joseon Dynasty, and to this day is a one-clan community. Today, the village is known for the traditional masks, architecture, and the tree, which is home to the village spirit.
Visiting the village twice was quite an experience, since you are able to take in everything multiple times. There are actually two parts to the village, which is divided by a river. Though there are still residents of the traditional village, there are many exciting things to do in Hahoe.
The first thing everyone should do in Hahoe Folk Village is to take in lunch or dinner. The traditional food, specifically Andong jjimdak (안동찜닭), a chicken dish with vegetables, glass noodles marinated in a spicy sauce; is something you shouldn’t miss while visiting the village. The large portions are more enough for five people.
There are guided tours around the village, where a tour guide will take you around and explain the history of Hahoe, including the village tree, which is thought to bring good luck and virtue to those who reside in the village. If you have some time, write a wish on a piece of paper, and tie it around a branch of the tree – the spirits who bring Hahoe good luck are said to make the wish come true!
For those who are visiting with children or who simply have a youthful side, there is a small playground with swings and teeter-totters with a traditional flair, and other timeless Korean games for all to enjoy. Around the village there are also shops that sell masks, accessories, toys, other decorative items such as wind chimes and even Andong soju. Be careful if you purchase the soju, it’s much stronger than the soju in the green bottle that is common around the rest of Korea!
All in all, taking the trip to Hahoe Folk Village is worth the long bus ride. Being in a city, you miss the traditional aspects of Korea that are still alive and well in Hahoe Folk Village, and traveling to Andong will give you a chance to escape the busy city life and travel back in time to the Joseon Dynasty, while taking in beautiful scenery.