Following on from my crazy day on Saturday, I figured I’d take full advantage of Sunday too. Along with some girls from Sydney and Melbourne we set off bright and early to the Ihwa Mural Village. From what I could gather the economy of the village was quite poor and many residents were moving further into the city. A group of artists went into the city and painted murals all around to try and boost tourism and ultimately the economy of the village. It’s done wonders to the village and also is fantastic to look at!
To get to the village head to Hyehwa station and get out of Exit 2, walk along the main road until you see a ‘Dunkin Donuts’. Then turn left, after walking for a bit longer you should come to a sign that points out the rest of the way. Fair warning the walk up through the village is quite steep, so make sure you wear proper shoes! Also remember that people actually live here! So try to keep your voices down and be respectful.
The people in the area are incredibly friendly and are more than happy to point out places if you get lost. The two ‘main’ (or iconic) murals are the step murals. There’s one of koi fish and another of flowers. Try to get to the village early to avoid the crowds, by about 12 ish everyone will be battling for a photo spot.
Me and the girls focused on heading upwards, and we eventually hit the city wall. There’s an absolutely stunning view over Seoul and the surrounding mountains. We probably spent about an hour or so taking photos and looking around. Once you get right up the top there’s a landing area that you can sit down and maybe even have a picnic.
We then headed back down through the village. The village also has all these wonderful stalls dotted around (and a museum!). We found a great fish cake stall, and also a handmade crafts store. The store, called the ‘Leather and Quilting shop’ has a wonderful array of small gifts you can buy, the craftsperson who owns the store (Kim Young Aei) also makes charm bracelets (which are about $3 with a couple of charms). The store was actually featured on a couple of Korean dramas!
Definitely check out the village if you have a chance! It’s a bit of an effort to actually get there, but the village itself is a stunning experience. I only spent about 2-3 hours there, but could honestly have spent the whole day!