At Jeonju Hanuk Village, Korea, there are more than 700 of these well-preserved hanoks – a lot of which have since been converted into shops and guesthouses. The ambience is great in the evening as you take a stroll and admire the architecture that provides a slice of Korea’s cultural history. There are also lovely cafes, ice-cream shops and snack stalls that make your walking tour a lovely experience.
Hanok is an architectural term referring to traditional Korean houses. The hanok actually consists of a complex of several buildings huddled together around a courtyard, with a wall surrounding the complex. More than just looking very historical and beautiful, the hanok houses were built centuries ago with wisdom, science and geomancy (environmental science).
Hanoks are environmentally-friendly – made of natural and biodegradable materials: primarily wood, clay, stone, mud and paper. The hanok harnesses natural energy resources such as the sun’s heat. The architectural aspects were considered carefully, in order to be in harmony and balance with surrounding environmental factors.
The depth of the eaves acts as shade from the summer sun. This depth also acts as a blockade in winter, slowing the escape of much-needed warmth from the sun. The most distinct trait of the hanok has to be its dual flooring. During winter, ondol stone flooring gets heated by a fire in a heating system, thereby heating the rooms evenly. In summer, maru – raised wood flooring, is porous and provides coolness.
Hanok doors and windows are made of hanji – traditional Korean paper. Hanji is tough and fibrous and is as translucent as tissue paper, making a great natural filter for clean air and a perfect amount of humidity.
There are several places in Korea where you can experience staying overnight in a hanok guesthouse. Although I didn’t get to experience this for myself, a quick search on Google should return you some options!