Seoul: Day 3 Korean Folk Village – Horseback Martial Art Show
Travel Period : 30 May – 5 June 2017 (Tues – Mon)
7 DAYS 6 NIGHTS IN SEOUL/JEJU ISLAND
GETTING TO KOREAN FOLK VILLAGE
We moved to the Myeongdong area early in the morning and it took sometime to settle down in our new accommodation. By the time, we went to take the bus after a short walk, it was quite late.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the right transport information this time. Not only did the bus took almost 1hr 30 mins to reach, it did not go straight to the Korean Folk Village (we thought it would) but stopped at a bus stop quite a distance away. In fact, it took us another 20 to 30 minutes to walk inside. I was quite unhappy as my plan was to see the morning cultural shows but I didn’t realised it was so far away from the main city area. This would disrupt our plan to visit Gyeongbokgung or Insadong in the afternoon, which we had missed the previous days.
By the time we walked here, I was almost ready to head back because it seemed never-ending. We could see the entrance with buses parked but it still looked far.
It took another 12 minutes of walking before we reached the front entrance (yes, it’s so far….)
The Folk Village was so big that there was a huge compound dedicated to three restaurants and restrooms. Yes, we had not even enter the main “sight-seeing” areas yet.
The first thing we did was to look for a lunch place as we were all famished and tired after the long bus journey and walk.
We compared the three restaurants we saw and went back to the first one, “Gilmokgib Restaurant”. The only suitable thing I saw was “Beef Brisket with Rice” for me. Vin had wanted to try some pork dish and order grilled mackerel for Dar but they were not available! Thus, we ended up ordering “Beef Brisket with rice” for all of us, adding on a seafood pancake for Dar. Fortunately, I found the Beef Soup quite delicious and like the “Ginseng Chicken Soup” we ate yesterday night, the rice is found inside the soup with the beef.
TOUR OF THE FOLK VILLAGE
Before entering, there was a huge stone for people to tie their wishes to. We didn’t do it though since we didn’t believe in this.
The first thing we came upon was the Craft Workshops. I found it interesting that there were real craftsmen sitting inside, dressed in ancient attire and making the goods by hand. We stopped and observe the people making paper fans for a while.
Vin then decided to remark casually to Dar. “The robots look so real.” (somewhat along that, I forgot the exact words). I chuckled while Dar kept staring intently.
When we walked away, he suddenly remarked, “Even their heads turned so realistically…” I burst out laughing. “You mean you thought they were really robots?!” We had a good laugh and kept teasing him. Didn’t know he was so easy to dupe.
While walking along this path, we felt as if we got transported back into ancient Korean times.
Common Folks’ House
Reaching the common folks’ houses, we stepped inside one of them. The compound was huge with everything exactly like ancient times. We could see what they use to cook, how they slept, what the toilet was like etc. We enjoy these kind of learning with our children. They get to see and understand some history/cultural stuff of the country they are visiting. For example, we had also visited the Taiwanese aborigines’ houses in Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village and Vietnamese houses in Museum of Ethnology.
Dar especially love architecture like us and he said, it was fun looking at the different houses here.
Soon, we reached a majestic looking front door. It must surely belong to a rich nobleman.
We stepped inside and for sure, it looked like the Baek In-Je’s house we visited yesterday in Bukchon Hanok area. The floors were elevated and there were many rooms and a large courtyard.
After this, we had enough of houses and reached the main performance area. There was a board showing “characters” who were roaming the village. They were actors hired to act as “ancient Koreans” to give the Korean Folk Village a more authentic feel. In fact, we saw the “beggar” walking around, looking very pathetic. A pity we didn’t see any others though. I would have like to see a swordsman or a pretty Korean lady.
At the performance area, we bought some ice-cream and waited for the “tight-rope walking” performance to start. Although we didn’t understand the language, he made us laugh and wowed a few times with his funny antics.
8-yr-old Dar wrote: When the show began, I was eating a delicious ice-cream and watching the show at the same time. I loved the tightrope walker! He could easily walk on the tightrope back and forth!
As it was quite draggy and we were running out of time, we proceeded to the Governor’s office, which is a place where they trial criminals and conduct area administration.
I told Dar to sit in the chair and pretend to be the governor. This was what he wrote in his travel journal:
8-yr-old Dar wrote: After the show, we walked to the court office. Over there, I pretended to be “punished” and acted like the “magistrate” while my grandparents took photos inside placards. It was quite funny!
HIGHLIGHT: HORSEBACK MARTIAL ARTS SHOW
8-yr-old Dar wrote: Soon, we went to watch the horseback riding show. I was impressed by the horseback riders’ ability to hit the targets accurately with swords, spears and arrows.
This was the show I came to Korean Folk Village for. I heard about it but nothing compares to watching it live! It was an amazing show and unlike anything we had seen before! (Watched a horse-show before in Taiwan’s Cingjing Green Green Grassland)
The riders did lots of acrobatic stunts before they performed some of them on galloping horses. The co-ordination and balance was so natural and not once did they make a mistake. I held my breath as the whip cracked around the girl’s face, to strike the flower off her mouth. One slight mistake and she would be wounded badly. Scary!
It was really entertaining as they performed feats on the horse and even incorporated several funny actions into the show. This was truly the highlight of the day for us.
<<SNIPPETS OF THE HORSEBACK MARTIAL ARTS SHOW>>
*I did a short snippets clip so as not to spoil your experience. Go watch the full performance live. It’s really interesting!
[ SUMMARY ]
Total Time We Spent There: Around 3hrs 25mins
EQUESTRIAN FEATS PERFORMANCE: 5/5
Great: We enjoyed the atmosphere of visiting a traditional “village” and seeing some of the stuff used or done in historical times. The Martial Arts on Horseback performance was amazing, something you don’t see everyday. It made the long journey to the Korean Folk Village worth it.
Con: By public transport such as buses, it would take too long to reach Korean Folk Village from the main city area. Alternatively, one could use the subway and switch to a shuttle bus or take a taxi. It is too far from any food places so one absolutely has to choose from the food sold in the village, which have limited choices. Not enough information was given about the buses to take and we took the wrong one, which didn’t lead to the village during a weekday.
[ INFO ]
Korean Folk Village Official Website for More Information
Add: #90 Minsokchon-ro, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do.
Ticket Prices: *18,000 Won for Adult and *13,000 Won For Children
*We Used Discount Coupon from http://vkc.or.kr/en/special-offers/discount-coupons/ and only 10,000 Won per person