As it turns out, the site I had been looking on was outdated and the shuttle bus left at 10:30. I had JUST missed it. But the tourist information centre let me know which of the normal buses I could catch to get there, and since it was the end of the line on the bus route I didn’t have to worry that I was going to miss my stop.
The bus trip down to the folk village was about 30mins and I had brought my laptop along so I used the time to write up some of the LJ posts I was behind on. I managed to get three days worth of posts done yesterday in that time plus the evening, so it was a pretty good catch-up.
As promised, the Folk Village was at the end of the route and after I hopped off the bus I walked through the massive carpark to the entrance to the village.
Even the 7-11 in the parking lot was into the theme.
Entry to the village was W15,000 (about $15) or W20,000 if you also wanted entry to the amusement park but I really wasn’t there for amusement park rides so I just grabbed general admission. There were banners out the front advertising some of the dramas that had been filmed here, obviously to cater to the people who were here solely for that reason.
Admittedly, it was one of the reasons I had gone. Most people who know me know that 해를 품은 달 (The Moon That Embraces the Sun) is one of my favourite--if not actually my absolute favourite--Korean drama of all time. The first part of the village was the restaurant and café area, so while it was set up to look like a traditional historical village they were all the souvenir shops and cafes. The main village area was beyond another gate, and it had a MTEtS map by the gate to show all the relevant locations for fans of the drama.
I took the photo because this was highly relevant to my interests.
I took a long way around to Prince Yang Myung’s residence, not wanting to rush STRAIGHT THERE like the incorrigible fan girl that I am, but I soon headed there because I couldn’t resist it, ahhh. Then I had to laugh a bit because they had a cardboard cutout of him inside the grounds that you could take photos with.
It was good to come out early to the village because it meant a lot of families hadn’t arrived yet and it was still relatively devoid of people, meaning I could take a lot of photos without people in the shots. As the day went on, more and more people came so it began a lot harder to do that.
Most of the filming locations had signs by them showing what parts of certain dramas had been filmed there, and I got to see places like the residences of the half-prince and the family of Wol from MTEtS, the ddokbeokki shop from the end of Rooftop Prince, several locations from Arang and the Magistrate, and a set dedicated to the King and the Clown.
We later saw a tightrope walker perform on that setup, he was pretty impressive, but nowhere near as pretty as Gong-gil haha.
I don’t really know what else I can say aside from I walked around a LOT. In the centre square there was a schedule showing when performances would be on, and I had some time to go before the 2pm performance, so I spent that time exploring the whole village (or at least the historical part of it). I took a whole TON of photos, you can find them here in this Tinypic folder and if you want me to elaborate on them let me know which one and I’ll do my best to remember!
I ate rice taffy and delicious roasted pork which eased my hunger since I hadn’t eaten much for breakfast. I was just grinning the entire time I was there, especially every time I recognized a location I’d seen in a drama, it was just so nice to feel like you were walking through a piece of history and almost all the signs had English on them too, so I got to soak in all the information. I adore Korean history and I really need to sit down and absorb as much information as I can on it, honestly, because it fascinates me so much and while I know bits and pieces I need to be able to piece it all together.
Then it was back to the village square to see the performers! It was a pungmul performance with sangmo (ribbon hat) dancers, which I’ve always adored because they make it look so easy and I really can’t imagine it would be. It was loads of fun to watch!!
They did the traditional farmer’s dance, and a balancing act and the sangmo dancers got their own moment in the spotlight. There was also a man who did tricks with a spinning plate, he pulled two members out of the audience to help at parts too and it was all a lot of fun. I adore these sorts of performances, so I was grinning like an idiot the entire time.
The tightrope walked performed almost directly afterwards so I watched him for a while, but soon wandered off to finish walking around the parts of the village I hadn’t explored yet. Eventually the chill really began to settle into my hands and I took refuge in the traditional tea house which was barely more than a little shack, but it was out of the wind and by a fire, with hot tea, so that was a bit of a godsend.
I enjoyed a persimmon nectar tea, it was very sweet and super delicious. It was piping hot too, so I thawed out my hands on the mug while I got to enjoy it. I was also given a little dish of dried, sugared ginger flakes which were really nice as well. I spent a good half hour in that tea house, just enjoying the rustic ambience of the place and inwardly so utterly giddy about just… BEING here, in such a wonderfully accurate representation of a part of history that intrigues me so much.
When I wandered out, I realised it was pretty much right on 4pm which was when the reenactment of a traditional wedding ceremony was on at the nobleman’s mansion so I hurried over and got to catch that as well.
By the time the ceremony was over, it was really starting to get to a biting sort of cold. I decided that, with still almost two hours of travel time ahead of me, it was about time to head home. I walked slowly back through the village and took in as much of it as I could, I also walked into the souvenir shops but didn’t really buy much; they had a lot of crap aimed at tourists but it was all cheap rubbish I wasn’t really into, or random kpop idol stuff targeting the people coming in on the Hallyu wave. I bought a nice set of chopsticks and spoons and that was it, there wasn’t a nice… idk, postcard set of the village or anything, which was a shame.
There was a bus waiting in the parking lot so I hopped on and then it was back to Hongdae. By the time I got home it was close to 7pm and the guys at the hostel were getting ready to go out, but I was worn out from walking outside in the cold for close to 6 hours so I decided not to go out with them.
And that was pretty much the end of the day. I am really glad I ventured out to the village, despite the fact that I was reluctant because of the travel-time. I really, really enjoyed it, and I was just so happy just being there and sort of soaking in the surroundings. I’ll definitely go again later on in the year when the weather is nicer, even if it’ll be busy then.
Today is my last day… last night I got really depressed about it too, because the guys here keep going ‘stay longerrrr, why do you have to go baaaack’ and it makes me feel terrible because I really don’t know why I don’t just try and do something here. Sigh.
Oh well, let’s try and enjoy it regardless :’)