Hanok Homestay Program

(Updated with a few extra pictures by Jamie!   ….and corrected some spelling errors >.<)

This weekend I had the opportunity–thanks to Hyunwoo Sun!–to participate in a Hanok Homestay program by HomestayKorea.com.  Here is rundown of the program via their brochure because I’m too lazy to re-write everything yesterday that WordPress deleted on me!  Anyways, haha:

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live in a traditional Korean house (“hanok”), now is your chance to find out. Participants in this exciting new ‘hanok stay’ program will learn how to make traditional Korean food, enjoy the chance to try on “hanbok” (traditional Korean apparel) and be treated to a guided tour of Bukchon Hanok Village. Each participant will also stay overnight with a host family in their traditional Korean-style residence, where they’ll learn even more about the local culture while also enjoying warm Korean hospitality and experiencing the unique lifestyle of hanok residents. Don’t miss this chance for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind cultural experience.

Tour itinerary (2 days and 1 night / Up to 20 participants)
Date: Every Saturday (From May, 2010 to November, 2010)

14:00 ~ 16:00
○ Walking tour of Bukchon Hanok Village (English and Japanese narration)
@ Bukchon Hanok Village
16:00 ~ 19:00
○ Lessons on how to make Korean traditional dishes (kimchi, bulgogi etc.) – Chance to try on a hanbok; free entry to the Tteok (Rice Cake) Museum
@ Institute of Traditional Korean Food
19:00 ~ 22:00
○ Hanok stay (1 Night)
– Activities will vary depending on the host family but may include demonstrations of Korea’s traditional tea ceremony and/or calligraphy lessons
@ a Homestay House
09:00 ~ 10:00
○ Breakfast:
Western-style (toast, coffee, milk and cereal) or Korean-style (soup, rice, side dishes)
@ a Homestay House

Cost: 65,500 WON (VAT included)

□ Advisory
○ Owing to the age and traditional design of some hanoks, room and shower facilities may not meet
Western residential standards.

I met M.J.–she is who you should contact if you want to participate in this homestay. See the VERY bottom of this post– and the other participants at Anguk station (orange line, exit 2) before starting the tour of the Bukchon Hanok Village.

(Note: The photos in this blog post were accidentally deleted. I have tried to add them but, but 5 years later it was difficult to remember which photos belonged to which houses, so please forgive me if there are photos in the wrong places. I tried my best!)

This is Kwon Mu-Seok.  He makes bows.  He told us that shooting an arrow is good for the health because it lowers your blood pressure.

This is the door to the biggest guest house, it’s called 락고재 Rakkojae.  This is the guest house where Daniele Henney’s character in “My name is Kim SamSoon” lived! *squee*  It was sooo beautiful.  I wish I could live there!!!  If you want to live here check out their website: rkj.co.kr I warn you, it’s pretty pricey at 180,000won per night

Kimchi pots

The alley’s in this area are sooo beautiful

New meets old

Next stop, the house of a carpenter.

Out guide is explaining how hanok houses are like legos (I think me means lincoln logs?) You can easily move a hanok house because you can take it apart and rebuild it somewhere else.


So many tools!

interesting tree

Our guide explained that this window is like a moon and she is the angel and then he made us take pictures of her here. Poor girl. haha.

The streets of Seoul can be seen lined with these colorful lanterns. They’ve been up for a bout a month celebrating Buddha’s birthday which is Friday May 21.

Famous hanok alley in Seoul!!! So beautiful in person!!

Such a pretty view.

The house from 개인의 취향 (Personal Taste)! This is were Gae In lived! Soo, you know what that means?? Lee Min Ho was here!! *fangirl freak out moment*

From the drama: Look! it’s Lee Min Ho! ^^ hehe.

Next stop, education museum.  It had school uniforms, a classroom, displays, and yearbooks.


Old school uniforms

More old uniforms. Japanese occupation era (i thinkkkk)

modern uniforms

I always wanted to wear a uniform. I remember in 4th grade they had us do fake voting every week or so to learn about voting for things.  I clearly remember one of the fake votes was about getting uniforms for the school.  I wanted that vote to me real so bad.  Waking up every morning knowing EXACTLY what you’re going to wear and not having to worry about wearing something that makes you look cool would have made my life so much easier.

There was much more to this museum, like a classroom, loads of pictures and displays, however my camera did not like the low lighting and none of my pictures came out nice.

Next stop, Institute of Traditional Korean Food.

First we got a tour of the ddeok (rice cake) museum.  All of the food is plastic.  Koreans like plastic food.  A lot of restaurants will have display cases showing the different meals using plastic food.

So much ddeok!

Fancy ddeok

Ingredients to make kimchi

Next we went up to the 10th floor classroom.  We all got into hanbok and aprons and learned how to make bulgogi and kimchi!!

Kimchi pots outside the classroom

Very nice view! The weather was wonderful

Out teacher! She was very cute and funny

We got split up into three groups.  This is my groups pile of kimchi wraps.  Kimchi was a lot easier to make than I thought it was going to me.  The hardest part was wrapping the stuffed cabbage leaves with the outside cabbage leaf so that the stuffing didn’t fall out from in between the leaves.  Maybe I’ll make a post about the process later.  I don’t have the directions paper that they gave us anymore 😦

We made bulgogi as well, which we got to eat!

Finished bulgogi

Group picture!!! Everyone was sooo nice! It was a really great group!

Soyoung! She was my groups helper while we cooked. She’s my age and lives near Yonsei. She has a foreigner living at her house that also goes to Yonsei. She was soooo kind, we exchanged numbers and hope to meet up soon! (See mom…I’m not as thin as you thought!)

The participants plus the awesome people from Homestaykorea.com!

They gave us a little bag of goodies before we left!
고추장 gochujang

Gochujang is a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment. Traditionally, it has been naturally fermented over years in large earthen pots outdoors, more often on an elevated stone platform, called jangdokdae (장독대) in the backyard. According to the Jungbo Sallim geongje (증보산림경제, 1765), gochujang was made by adding powdered red chili peppers and glutinous rice powder to soybean paste, and aging this paste under the sun. This recipe is similar to the recipe used today to make gochujang. Gochujang is used in bibimbap and tteokbokki. Gochujang makes dishes spicier, but also somewhat more sweet. (From wikipedia)

쌈장 ssamjang

Ssamjang is a thick, spicy paste used with food wrapped in a leaf in Korean cuisine. The sauce is made of doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions, and optionally brown sugar. One typically puts a leaf of sangchu (Red leaf lettuce) or perilla on an open hand, then places in the middle of the leaf, a bite-sized blob of rice, a blob of ssamjang, and a piece of meat (such as galbi or samgyeopsal) or kimchi, then wraps the leaf around the contents, puts the whole wrapped ball of food in one’s mouth, and eats it. (from wikipedia)

They also gave us our kimchi that we made!  I just tried mine….I don’t have a knife scissors to cut it, so I just ripped a piece off (messy!). I think it’s some of the spiciest kimchi I’ve had yet.  I’ll eat it though, somehow hahaha.

We also got a Certificate of Completion!  ^^

After finishing up at the school we went to go meet up with the homestay families.  We all got split up, about two people to a house.  I was paired with two of the Chinese girls.  They were really nice, I’m glad that I was paired with them.  The ownder of the hanok we would be staying in told us to call her 김선생님 Kim seonsaengnim (Teacher Kim).  She teaches gayageum (keep reading I’ll explain) and Korean traditional dance.  She was really nice.  Yes, it was a little awkward, mostly because she didn’t speak English.  The three of us girls made a good team.  One of us always new what she was talking about, so it worked out really nice.

Because is does Korean traditional dance she had really beautiful hanbok that we were allowed to try on!

The two other girl’s from our group staying at the same house as me

HAHAHA >.< It doesn’t suite me


Nope. Does not suite me! But it is veryyyyyyy beautiful! I was very thankful that we got the chance to try on some of the dresses!

Yea, this one still looks weird. Sigh

Here are some videos about traditional Korean dances.  In the videos you can see similar dresses (hanbok) to those that we wore in the above pictures.

After we finished wearing the hanbok the doorbell rang and in ran two middle school girls.  When they saw us they immediately calmed down and went to sit away from us.  The oldest one, JiWon, is a student of Teacher Kim.  That day was teacher’s day, so she came with her mom and her best friend, GaEun, to give a cake to Teacher Kim.  We all sat on the floor around the table and eat the really pretty cake.  It looked like a HUGE yodel with white frosting instead of the chocolate shell and topped with strawberries.  YUM!

After cake we chatted with the girls.  I showed them my videos from AKARAKA on my camera and they said they were jealous that I was going to Dream Concert on Saturday.  They were really funny.  They were playing games with each other, mostly different variations of rock, paper, scissors which is VERY popular here.  Everyone does rock, paper, scissors for everything!  And they do it so fast!! I can’t keep up!!! So many variations of the game too, it’s crazy.

JiWonwas nice enough to play Arirang on the gayageum for us.  Here’s a video:

After they left we watched 지금은 소녀시대 (Right Now it’s Girls’ Generation) with Teacher Kim. Haha.  We felt bad, but she knew that we would enjoy it because we had said earlier that we were Girls’ Generation fans.
Traditionally this would all be open, but this hanok has a glass roof over the middle so you can still go out there when it rains without getting wet.  it’s still open at the end though, so you need to close the doors at night so bugs don’t get in!

That girl on the poster is JiWon!!!!!!!

Breakfast! The soup is seaweed soup and the purple stuff is rice! I actually like the purple rice because it has beans in it.

I’m really glad that I got the chance to participate in this event.  I meet some really awesome people–like Steve a.k.a Qiranger on Youtube!–and made memories that I will never forget.  I highly recommend this program to foreigners.  If you would like to participate in this program contact M.J. Ko at  Tele: 02-777-7413  E-mail: mjko AT homestaykorea DOT com

-Pack water. I was dying of thirst by the time we got to the school.
-Pack light.  You have to carry all of your luggage the entire time.  I suggest a backpack.
-Know some Korean.  It’ll be easier to communicate with your homestay family if you speak basic Korean.
-Bring your camera.  You’re going to want to take pictures of everything.  You don’t want to ever forget this experience!!!


15 thoughts on “Hanok Homestay Program

  1. sleepwalkingintokyo says:

    Hi. I found your blog through Klara’s blog! Your Hanok homestay review is great! I wanna experience this too when I go to Seoul next time…Actually I just came back from there a few weeks ago 🙂

    I did explored this place when I was there last Summer but didn’t noticed the guest house which was featured in “My name is Kim SamSoon” . Oh. and the house in “Personal taste”…I have to go check out this one too next time :p

    btw. This is my post on Hanok village.

  2. Jeff says:

    Wow, that sounds like it was quite the experience. It’s cool that the timing of your homestay allowed you to sit in on a little 스승의 날 visit.

  3. Gabby says:

    Hi Natasha

    Great blog!!!!

    i’ll actually be going to Seoul in about 2 weeks and have been desperately searching for the hanok house entrance that they showed in ‘Personal Taste’ and was so happy when i came across your blog.

    would you, by any chance, be able to give me rough directions to the house? or even just direct me to the alley?:)



  4. Logan says:

    I just finished looking at your blog, and must say that it was really awesome. The program that you stayed in seems really cool, even if it was a little expensive.

    I haven’t used that website before, just http://www.hanokstay.kr and http://yoos-home.blogspot.com, which I guess offer a similar style hanok guesthouse, but for a lower rate and also cultural experience programs, too 🙂

  5. Janeyo says:

    I stumbled upon your blog and was looking through this post and correct me if I’m wrong but..Is that the house the idol group SHINee stayed at in hello baby?! Because it looks EXACTLY the same @-@

  6. Little Olive says:

    Hello. If you don’t mind I want to ask for permission to link your website from ours. We are planning to organize a tour to Seoul and staying at Hanok Village is going to be one the tour highlights. So we thought your experience would be a good reference for our program participants. Thank you.

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