If you’re visiting Suncheon, don’t miss a lovely trip out to Naganeupseong Folk Village! Here’s what to expect and how to visit.
Guys, I’ve finally done it. I knocked off the last big thing I’ve been wanting to do on my Suncheon travel list. I’ve been meaning to go for AGES, but I was waiting for it to be green again and then I was busy traveling to other cities.
It’s about to get real humid in a week or two, so I knew this was my last shot at going without completely melting into a miserable pile of sweaty mush. Stacey’s friend, Dane, was visiting her, so we all went Saturday afternoon.
It’s a super charming area, and they actually have rental and guest house options if you want to make a weekend of it to get some fresh air and countryside vibes. Here’s all you need to know about visiting!
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Other Areas in Suncheon
About Naganeupseong Folk Village
History of Naganeupseong
The area of Naganseupseong dates all the way back to the Baekjae period (BC 18 – 660 AD) where there’s evidence of village life. However, it grew into what it’s known for today during the Joseon dynasty (1392 AD – 1897 AD), which is considered the most influential era on Korean customs.
During the early Joseon days, it became a fortress village after constant attacks from Japanese pirates. Fortress villages basically served as the main center of a county. It’s where government, military, and commercial-type buildings were located.
At its peak, there were about 337 households ad 950 people living in Naganeupseong. In 1397, the actual fortress walls were first built.
Of the 96 similar villages that once existed and were destroyed under Japanese colonial rule, only a few still survive today, and Naganeupseong is the best preserved. Today there are still about 90 houses and nearly 300 people still call it home.
While giwajip (기와집) or the tiled-roof hanoks of Bukchon or Jeonju are more popular today, back in the day they were considered too expensive for the average Korean. Only the upper classes and seonbi (선비) or scholar class lived in them. (Source)
Naganeupseong’s hanoks are called chogaijip (초가집) for their roofs made of rice straw. While they were once incredibly common, today they’re pretty rare compared to giwajips. A typical family will have a main house with 3 rooms, an outhouse, a shed for equipment, and a manure storage. Apparently many of the families still living here live similarly to those in the Joseon dynasty!
A Walking Guide to Naganeupseong
I should note, they have a recommended walking course. We didn’t pay attention to it until pretty much right now as I’m looking at the map to retrace my steps. Oops! I don’t feel like we missed anything going the way we did. It was pretty much just the same walking path in reverse.
When you get off the bus, it’s right in front of the entrance to Naganeupseong. Outside the ticket area is a little Dolmen park if you want to check that out while one of your friends is surely using the nearby toilet.
Once you get your ticket and enter, you’ll enter through Nakpung-nu Pavilion (낙풍누) at the East Gate. We took a left and wandered around the different houses. The area we walked through actually has a lot of different workshops like paper art, blacksmith, and straw crafts. Since we were there towards closing, I didn’t see any of them open.
We basically followed the road until we came to a sign that said Lotus Pond (연지) and went there. It’s near the fortress wall, so after we spent time enjoying the pond (*cough* taking a bunch of photos *cough*), we climbed up for a higher vantage point.
This took us to the Ssangcheong-nu Pavilion (쌍청누) at the South Gate. The pavilion will give you really pretty views of the straw roofs and of the rice fields behind.
If you continue along the wall, you’ll see a slightly forested area with a set of stairs. This is still part of the wall, and it’s definitely the best view of the whole area! Usually, when I see photos of Naganeupseong, I see them this viewpoint. Obviously, we stopped to catch our breath, try to stop sweating, take in the views, and take a million photos.
Continue on to the West Gate. This gate is a big break in the wall instead of a pavilion, so we climbed down and walked back through the houses until we got to the Nangminggwan Folk Exhibition Hall.It’s basically a small museum about the folk village. It’s all in Korean, but you can get the idea with the different exhibits.
From there we went by the Nakmin-nu Pavilion (낙민누) and up towards the area where the old government office was. The small resident’s area is called Naeah (내아) and the main area is called Dongheon (동헌).
As is usual with Korean places, there were little statues (is that the right word?) demonstrating a day in the life of a magistrate figuring out how to punish some more schmuck kneeling on the ground.
Next to Dongheon is a fun play yard with a bunch of traditional Korean games if you want to stop and try them out. There’s one called tuho, where you try to throw a stick into a pot. It’s a lot harder than it looks!
We walked back through the village to enjoy the houses a bit more, and then popped back out at the East Gate.
If you’re planning on eating lunch or dinner, there are a few restaurants and coffee shops nearby. The buses aren’t that frequent, so if you’re unlucky, you might have about 40 minutes to kill before you get there!
How to Visit Naganeupseong
- Korean Name: 낙안읍성
- Address: 전라남도 순천시 낙안면 충민길 30 (낙안면)
- English Address: 30, Chungmin-gil, Nagan-myeon, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do
- Cost: 4,000 KRW
- Open: 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (shorter times in the winter)
Best Time to Visit Nagan Folk Village
Honestly, besides the middle of summer, you’ll probably enjoy Nagan Folk Village all year round! Even in the winter, there’s a sort of charming beauty with the straw roofs and bare branches. If you’re lucky, you might get to see the village covered in snow.
How to Get to the Folk Village
If you’re coming from Seoul, you can take either a bus from the Express Bus Terminal or a train from Seoul or Yongsan Station. The KTX takes about 2 1/2 hours, the slower trains take 4 1/2, and the bus takes nearly 5 or more depending on traffic.
From the Suncheon Bus Terminal:
Head to the local bus stop from Suncheon Bus Terminal. If you’re facing the road from the corner with Dunkin Donuts, walk to the left and turn the corner. You want the stop on the same side of the road as you. Take Bus 63, 68, 61, 0r 16. They take about 50-70 minutes depending. If you’re unsure look for “나간읍성” on the bus schedules.
From the Suncheon Train Station:
The Suncheon Train Station is a little trickier just because it has 3 different local bus stops. If you take Bus 68 or 16, then you want to take them from the Local Bus Stop #1 on the map below. Use the stop on the same side as the train station. This bus will take about 50 minutes for #68 and 80 minutes for #16.
If you take bus 63 or 61, you want to walk a bit to your right and cross over to Local Bus Stop #2 (순처역시측). Bus 63 takes about 50 minutes and Bus 61 takes about 70.
I’m going to end this post with this photo because I actually really like the lighting :p. There are a bunch of these carvings all around the village, not all of them are quite as.. boob-ful as this lady.