After visiting Naganeubseong Folk Village (순천), or Nagan Folk Village, twice in the past year, it’s time for me to write about this charming and unique folk village in Korea. Considered the best preserved Korean fortification in the country, this is something you need to see in Jeollanam-do. Not only is it best preserved, but it’s still active! There are 100 families with just over 200 residents living in traditional thatched houses in the village. It’s really amazing. The city has grown in popularity over the past few years, but it remains a hidden gem in Korea for most travelers, so plan your trip before anyone else finds this charming village near Suncheon and Yeosu.
Plan your trip to Nagan Folk Village:
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hours: November – January: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm; February – April and October: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; May – September: 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM
admission: adults: 4,000 watts; Teenagers: 2500 watts Children: 1500 watts
How to get there
Tabuk: 30 Chungmin-gil, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do (30 Chungmin-gil, Nagan-myeon, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do)
On a tour: Getting to the area isn’t the easiest, and sometimes it’s easier to go on a tour instead so you don’t have to figure out the logistics. We took our tour with www.hanatour.com And you can too!
by train: You can take the KTX train from Seoul to Suncheon Station and from there, the folk village is only 45 minutes away by Bus No. 68 which can be found just outside the station. This route will take about 4.5 hours in total and is the fastest option.
By bus: From Seoul Central City Bus Station, you can take an intercity bus to Suncheon Bus Station and then take bus 63 right outside the bus station for 40 minutes to reach the Folk Village. This route will take about 5.5 hours in total.
where to stay
MyeongGa Hanok Pension
Just a fifteen-minute walk from the folk village, or a three-minute drive, the updated Pension Hanok is a great place to stay if you want to enjoy the traditional area, but with some updated amenities. You can Easily book your stay here at www.booking.com.
History of Naganeubseong Folk Village
The site of the village has been inhabited since the beginning of the first millennium and became a fortified village in the early 10th century during the Goryeo Dynasty. The province of Joeollanam-do was and remains a very fertile area and as such was often the target of invasion and subject to attacks, which led to the need for a fortified city. The village really began to flourish in the late 1300s during the Joseon Dynasty when there were more than 330 fortified towns across the Korean Peninsula. During the Japanese occupation, most of these fortified cities were destroyed or dismantled but somehow Naganyopsong remained.
What do you see in the village today
Nagan means ‘place of joy and comfort’ and is a place where Korean history and current life coexist in a unique harmony found in few places on the peninsula today.
Today, there are 231 homes still in their original condition with thatched roofs, mortar-free stonework, no plumbing, and living spaces that are much smaller than the average home today. What is particularly special about the village is that not only are the homes in their original condition, but there are actual residents who occupy the homes and still lead a very traditional lifestyle. In fact, on this last trip to the folk village in the fall, I noticed that they were reheating the houses. There were piles and piles of straw that had been plucked and the residents were working on restoring their roofs before winter. Each year the roof must be re-roofed and residents take on this task as well as sweeping unpaved roads and other household jobs that people don’t think about anymore today. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, and while still very residential, it offers plenty for tourists to Suncheon.
what should I do
I visited both in the summer during the monsoons and in the fall which is why the photos in this post vary quite dramatically. It is a sight to be seen in every season. Even in the rain, it was impressive. Pretty much a living museum, there are experiences and activities that you can enjoy while learning about the history in Korea and taking in the surrounding scenery. Here’s how to enjoy Naganeubseong to the fullest.
Walk along the top of the castle wall
I have already mentioned quite a few unique aspects of this popular village, but another aspect is that you can actually walk on top of the castle wall. Walk along the top and get a nice view of the thatched rooftops. The hanok in this village is called chogajib (초가집). They were more common in the past although most visitors to Korea would think that traditional tiled-roof houses were more common. In fact these were generally more expensive for upper-class or academic-class Koreans. The thatched-roof houses you’ll see here, although rare today, were historically very common. And if you walk on the wall, you can see it beautifully displayed.
Once you enter through the east gate (where everyone enters from), look to the right and you will find a ladder going up to the pavilion above the gate and from there you can walk along the wall.
Search for observatory view
Continue along the wall to find the observatory, which offers a wonderful and wonderful view of the village and the mountains beyond. This viewpoint is number 11 on the map that provides you with the must-see stops. Remember that homes are still residences, so get a map to see which ones are hosting experiences, food, etc.
Stop in a workshop
Wander around the village to find many houses hosting workshops from blacksmithing to straw handicrafts, paper art, sericulture, fabric dyeing, etc. We stopped in a few and they were very welcoming and nice. Experiments can cost a little money so take some cash.
Visit the Nanminggwan People’s Exhibition Hall
If you want to see some historical artifacts and relics, stop here. All information is in Korean, but it’s great stuff to see inside. My favorite part was the gigantic tug of war phantom. Just wait until you see what a giant traditional Korean tug of war was like. squid game You should have kept the traditional tug-of-war if you ask me.
Enjoy the views in the lotus pond
This is something you should do mostly when it’s warm and there are lotuses filling the pond. In the fall, it is not very beautiful. But if you’re there in the warmer months, you’ll love the view, I’m sure. Sit on the steps nearby and just enjoy the calm and serene surroundings of this historic village.
Look for traditional government buildings
At the northern end of the grounds, there are no thatched-roof homes anywhere else, but you will find buildings that are closer to the traditional ones you see elsewhere in the country. Tile-roofed pavilions and colorful paint decorate the Nakmin-No Wing, the village school, the old government office, and the guest house. Pass through the gates to see the figures and statues, somewhat awkward but always humorous, meant to showcase what a day in the life was like.
Play a traditional game
A traditional folk village is not complete without traditional games. Near the guesthouse are hoola-hoops, giant wooden swing and other things to play some traditional Korean games.
What do you want to eat
There is a bar of restaurants just outside the folk village but there is also a restaurant inside as well. What is the difference? Mostly what is available to eat. The two times I went we ate outside before we entered the village but after seeing what was available inside, next time I go we definitely eat inside.
Mihyang & Wonjo مطعم Restaurant
On the main road to Naganeubseong, there are a number of restaurants that all serve roughly the same thing. They focus on snails which aren’t really a favourite, but they also make a lot of delicious side dishes. Be prepared for seafood if you go this route.
Naganeubseong . Restaurants
Inside the Folk Village the options are a bit basic and easier for foreigners to eat in my experience with bibimbap, various noodle soups and vegetable dumplings, although it also has some Kukle specialties that the area seems to be popular for.
If you haven’t made it to Suncheon yet, or have and missed it, start planning now so you can see everything there is to see!
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