Monday, May 30, 2011

The Korean Folk Village

On a Sunday afternoon with not much planned and the sun shining we headed out in search of the Korean Folk Village. All we had to do was get to Suwon station where a free shuttle planted us right at it's doorstep. I wasn't really sure what to expect but it did come on a recommendation fom a friend. We paid our way in (15,000 won) and then just started wandering. There is plenty to do and see there. We were in the mood for a lazy afternoon so we kept a nice slow pace the whole time. Our first stop was a statue garden which seemed really out of place in a traditonal Korean Folk Village. The garden was beautiful but just seemed pretty contradictory. Most statues were done by international artists and were really modern pieces of art.

Moving on from there we walked through different traditionally built houses, all showcasing different aspects of Korean life and culture. Some had musical performances going on accompanied by traditional Korean dancing. There was a tea house where we stopped for a cup of very over priced and not so nice tasting murky jujube tea. There was an area that was used as a wedding hall and an actual ceremony was staged between a beautiful and very old Korean couple which we got to watch. We got to check out one building showing how the ondol (under the floor) heating systems worked when it was initially invented.

 I think my favorite part of the day was colouring cloth with natural dyes. I bought 2 little handkerchief clothes (1,000 won each) and dipped them into different bowls and made my own patterns. The ajummas running this activity got a kick out of my enthusiasm because most of the people doing this were under the age of ten :) I loved my souvenirs.

Dipping the clothes in natural yellow and red dyes.

The ladies running the show.

The finished product.

There was a mask museum and tons of stalls to buy things from and even a little kids amusement park. There was an area to play traditional Korean games and lots of space to just kick back under a tree to relax or do as the Koreans do so well- and picnic.  There were lots of different food options to pick from, along with great snack stuff too. There were animals to check out, and farmed crops to see.  There were handicrafts everywhere, some just to look at, some to participate in and some to buy. I wasn't really expecting much of the folk village but it exceeded my expectations. It was a nice way to discover some of Korea's history and it was nice to just spend the day outside soaking it all in. Here is a small selection of some of the things we did and saw, and also the website address for anyone looking to go.

Tradition ondol floor heating sytem.

Jujube tea.

Tea time to rest our feet.

The Beautiful Bride.
The Handsome Groom
(on the right).

Refueling time in one of the food areas.

Traditional Gaming.

All smiles at the end of the day!

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