Known as Korea's historical capital and often referred to as the 'museum without walls', Gyeongju is frequented by locals and international tourist alike. A more immersive way to experience traditional korean culture and lifestyle while visiting Gyeongju is with a hanok stay.
A hanok is a traditional korean house constructed with natural materials. These houses are characterised by mud walls, hanji paper doors, and wooden roofs pieced together with clever joining and no nails. These houses are considered to have health benefits due to their ability to 'breathe'. Ondol (heated flooring) makes the houses comfortable in Winter and the open design allows for ample ventilation in Summer. Visitors should be aware that traditionally hanoks don't feature elevated beds but rather sleeping mats on the floor.
Most hanok houses have been updated slightly for the comfort and convenience of guests and include a tv, western bathroom and electrical outlets. Each hanok will differ in age, price, and activities offered. Some houses offer experiences like pottery making, tea preparation, traditional games, or trying on Korea's national garb 'hanbok'.
Sodamjeong caters for both Korean and English-speaking guests and is a very economical option for a Gyeongju hanok stay. A single ondol room (9m squared) will set you back around 70,000원. The rooms and ground are Sodamjeong are quiet small but staff are welcoming and personable even leaving a personalized welcome note for guests. Visitors have unlimited access to the hanok kitchen and complimentary breakfast items like eggs, bread, jam, and juice. The location at Sodamjeong is one of its strongest attributes, a short walk from Gyeongju bus terminal and nearby attractions.
In a prime location walking distance to Gyochon Hanok Village and Cheomseongdae, Hwangnamguan Hanok Village is a premium hanok experience. Guests can reserve single ondol rooms (16m) or a family suite (40m) with additional living spaces. For added comfort to foreign guests some rooms also feature western style beds. The grounds include traditional games, hanbok, and craft workshops. The adjoining hanok style cafe offers clear views of the kings tombs, a nice place to rest after day a day of walking around Gyeongju's many historical sites.
While a Hanok stay is a great way to experience Gyeongju Korea has many other cities famous for their traditional Hanok villaages. Hanok stays are offered all over the country in Seoul, Gongju, Jeonju, and Andong.