Monday, November 26, 2012

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Korean Folk Village, Yongin, Gyeonggi-do - Day 4 in South Korea

We had an early start for the day, it rained very hard yesterday and we only explored around Jukjeon in the afternoon.

After we had breakfast, our host's father took us via his taxi to Suwon to see Suwon Hwaseong (Suwon Fortress).

Hwaseong Fortress was built during the 18th century by King Jeonjo of the Joseon Dynasty in honor of his father. The fortress surrounds the center of Suwon and has been  registered as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO last 1997. I am not Korean history savvy, and unfortunately, did not have time to research about it so I only know very limited about what the Fortress symbolizes.

Website: ehs.suwon.ne.kr
Operating Hours: Summer season 09:00-18:00; Winter season 09:00-17:00
Admission: Individual – Adults 1,000 won / Youth 700 won / Children 500 won
Directions: Suwon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1)

Suwon Hwaseong
Dongjangdae - Eastern Command Post
The fortress has four main gates: South Gate (팔달문/Paldalmun), East Gate (창룡문/Changryongmun), West Gate (화서문/Hwaseomun) and North Gate (장안문/Janganmun). It would be a  day trip to go around all these gates all of the structures of the fortress.

We started off at the North Gate which is the largest of the existing main gates.

Suwon Hwaseong blog
Dongbukgongshimdon - Northeastern Watchtower
In the past, Hwaseong was designed to protect the king's temporary palace and the whole village from the enemies. Even though the main purpose of the fortress was for security of the royalties, I was still awed with the very delicate and precise architecture of all of the structures in the area.

Suwon Hwaseong fortress
Janganmun - North Gate
It was actually quite confusing where to go next as the area was very large however we just followed some Japanese tourists.

Suwon Hwaseong gate
Amazing design - however, in the past,  these were used for signals by the warriors for enemy attacks
Walking further, our feet took us to the Northern Secret Gate and to the North East Pavilion wherein there is  a pavilion that overlooks a beautiful pond named Yongyeon. I did not miss to take a picture of the scenery presented before my eyes. I was just amazed on how pretty it was! I could definitely imagine some Korean royalty strolling around the place.

korea travel blogger

Suwon Hwaseong pond scenic
Yeongyeon Pond
Nearby the pavilion and the pond stands Hwahongmun, which I believe is also a pavilion. A stream is also following underneath it. Me and my friend stayed here for awhile to appreciate the view.

Suwon Hwaseong lake

Suwon Hwaseong
Some children's artwork near Hwahongmun
We were also in time to see the Team MUYE24KI's performance. They demonstrated the 24 martial art moves and you can see them every Tuesday - Saturdays. There were lots of people, specifically students who were on a field trip when we arrived so it was very very crowded.

suwon martial arts

martial arts korea

We have also arrived at Hwaseong Haenggung accidentally. Hwaseong Haenggung is the largest palace of the Joseon Dynasty. It was a temporary palace for King Jeongjo during his royal pilgrimage to his father's tomb. There are lots of Haenggung or palaces around Hwaseong but this is the largest and most notable as this is the largest Haenggung in Korea.

The entrance to the palace
Suwon Hwaseong dae jang geum
This place was also a drama location for DaeJangGeum

Afterwards, we decided to go to Paldalmun already and our stomachs were already rumbling and we wanted to look for a decent place to eat.

The way to Paldalmun was quite interesting. There were lots of restaurants and cool hotels with awesome exteriors.

street art seoul

korea street art

It was certainly a fun walk however, when we got to Paldalmun, it was going under renovation! Nobody told us that :( It was quite disappointing as I was looking forward to see it.

Anyway, good thing there is a huge marketplace surrounding Paldalmun so the trip there did not go to waste. There were lot of cheap finds and lots of shops were on sale as well. My friend went on a splurge on buying cosmetics.

Suwon Hwaseong

Paldalmun market is quite famous around Suwon for cheap clothes, cosmetics and other merchandises. I have seen lots of items on my Christmas wishlist!

Suwon Hwaseong

nature republic
Big discounts at Nature Republic
After our quick shopping (window shopping for me), we decided to head to Korean Folk Village (한국 민속촌/Hanguk Minsokchon) We went back to the Janganmun by foot! I did not know yet that the bus we saw around Paldalmun would take us to Suwon station. Anyway, it was still good time as we were able to explore the town and the people were very nice. I was starting to like Suwon already.

The tourist information center of Suwon
We arrived at Suwon Station ten minutes before 2:30 PM. Just beside the station, you will find the Tourist Information Center wherein you could inquire about different tourist spots in Suwon and also you could get a free bus shuttle ride to the Korean Folk Village. The first bus ride in the afternoon was 2:30 PM so we were just on time for that. The ride took almost forty minutes.

Korean Folk Village

Website: www.koreanfolk.co.kr/folk/english/index.htm
Operating Hours: 09:00 AM, closing time depends on the month you will be visiting
Admission: Individual – Adults 15,000 won / Youth 12,000 won / Children 10,00 won
Directions: Suwon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1) - take the Free Shuttle or Bus 10-5 or 37

Korean Folk Village performance
Schedule of folk performances
There were perfomances held inside the folk village and schedule is posted near the entrance. However, we were very hungry this time so we decided to skip watching the traditional wedding and just had a late lunch instead. The folk village closes by 6PM for October so we did not really have much time.

Korean Folk Village autumn

The only decent eatery inside - of course expect that the food are expensive
Korean Folk Village

I was very hungry that time because we have arrived quite late at the Folk Village. Me and my friend got some Bibimbap and Sundubu.

korean dishes

The egg was quite... small
Yummy Sundubu! I finished this all by myself!
Inside the Folk Village, you would be able to see the different customs and lifestyle of the past Korean generations.

Korean Folk Village autumn

Korean Folk Village
Traditional Korean pots
Korean Folk Village

Cotton weaving

The folk village has been used to shoot Daejanggeum as well

I did not expect that the area was quite large. This could have been a drama set for some historical drama (which I found later was true.) The whole area looks like a traditional Korean neighborhood, I think around 20-30 houses are there that presents different Korean traditional aspects of living such as architecture, housing, family, livelihood, and past time.

Korean Folk Village autumn seoul

You can also try a hand with traditional Korean games - there are few available around the area.

Korean Folk Village
Tohu - Korean traditional game

I was told that this folk village was built for tourists so you can't say the experience was really authentic (yup - no Korean actually lived on the houses). Anyway, we were planning to go another folk village at Andong in Gyeongju.

korea travel blog
this was how they "cut" heads off long time ago
Traditional Korean device for punishment
One thing that I really liked about the Folk Village in Yongin was that there were lots of trees. And yes, because it was autumn, it presented more areas for photo ops!

korea autumn

I totally recommend checking out this area for people who are into nature photography. The scenery was just breath taking! I think I did not do enough justice with these pictures! You have to see the view with your own eyes.

Korean autumn tree

The Folk Village has their own amusement park for kids as well. This has a separate admission fee, so of course we did not dare go inside given that the folk village was already closing as well when we arrived here.

We went back to Suwon using the employees' bus! hahaha. We did not know that the last bus for tourist stopped by 5PM and we got out around 6PM. Anyway, no one noticed or reprimanded us for that so I guess it was okay.

seoul autumn

Given the opportunity, I would go back again to Suwon Hwaseong and the Folk Village (because we were not able to catch any folk performance when we went). If it did not rain the other day, we could have spent one whole day on both places. Anyway it was still a very fantastic experience overall nonetheless and I could not wait to go back here! I recommend going here during autumn but spring would be nice too. We were very tired when we got home and I was really satisfied because it was a very productive day for us. We will be going to Everland the next day, hoping for good weather.

Day 1: Gangwon-do
Chuncheon and Nami Island

Day 2: Gangwon-do
Mt.Seorak (Seoraksan)

Day 3: Gyeonggi-do
Yongin and Food Tour

Day 4: Gyeonggi-do
Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, Korean Folk Village

Day 5: Gyeonggi-do

Day 6: Gyeongju
Food Tour

Day 7: Gyeongju
Seokguram Grotto

Bulguksa Temple

Cheomseongdae and Anapji Pond

Day 8: Busan
Railway Train in Korea

Day 9: Busan
Igidae Coast

Busan Fireworks Festival

Day 10: Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Flying with Jeju Air

Day 11: Jeju (E)
Food Tour- Altang

Dragon Rock

Jusangjeolli Cliff

Teddy Bear Museum

The Seaes Resort

Day 12: Jeju (W)
Sunrise Peak


Trick Art

Folk Village

Sangamburi Crater, Mt.Halla

Manjanggul Cave, Maze Park


Day 13: Seoul
Flying with T'way Airlines

Couchsurfing in Korea

Day 14: Seoul
Palaces and Bukchon Village

Day 15&16: Seoul
Myeongdong and Ewha University

N Seoul Tower

Booking Flights
via T'way Airlines

Travel Report for South Korea
16 days travel itinerary and tips


  1. Hi. Can you help me to give me way on how to went back from KFV to suwon station beside using shuttle bus?
    Because usually the website or blog only give way to go not the way to went back.
    Hope you can help. Thanks.

  2. Hi! Loving the pictures! What was the exact date you visited Korea (or Korean Folk Village)? We'll be going there on October 7-17 and would really want to catch (even the slightest) foliage there...


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