Suwon Korean Folk Village

For this adventure, Landon and I joined Austin’s co-worker Sauma on a trip down to the traditional Korean Folk Village south of Seoul. I was not aware how far away it was until we were down in Suwon, 2 hours after we met to start our journey. It involved taking the metro to another metro train that converted into a regular train and traveled very slowly. We got off in Suwon and Sauma introduced me to these rolls that look like sushi but are not actually sushi for lunch. They are seaweed wrapped with rice in them (just like sushi) but also included are a stick of egg, tuna, fresh herbs, carrots, and kimchi. It is all rolled up and cut into slices and there you have it. The best part is that it is fairly filling, nutritious, and costs $2-3 each.

From the Suwon station we waited for the free shuttle bus to the village. It was a charter looking bus that was all nicely decorated and festive for our little journey. The bus driver glared at me for having a stroller, but whatever, it sat on the seat in front of us. It took a half hour on the bus to actually get there.

From what I gathered while there, the folk village is set out to represent what Korea looked like in the 1700s and 1800s before the industrial age. They showed the traditional plain wooden houses with raised wooden floors with under floor heating (for the rich people). The poorer farmers lived in little huts or strings of huts, each hut having some sort of purpose like a room in a home. They kept them smaller to preserve heat in the winter. To me, it would seem easier to just make a bigger fire in one place than heat a bunch of small rooms, but hey, maybe the fires burned stuff down if they got too big?

Excited about the cow!

These fabric swaths were just hanging in the middle of a side walkway- begging Landon to run through them!

Big drum up at the Buddhist temple, which was up the hillside from the rest of the village
Decorative wall at nobleman’s house

On the move as always
Silk coming out of cocoons

As a part of the village, they had some animals that Landon really liked, like a cow. They also had a mill that they used to grind stuff by hitching an animal and having them walk around. They also displayed different industries, like basket making and my personal favorite, silk spinning and weaving. They had workers dressed in traditional dress participating in these things. This lady was sitting there gathering silk thread from the pupae of moths that were trying to form cocoons. I had never seen that before!

There were bigger houses and complexes for the rich, and even a Buddhist temple which was the only building group with the colorful painting on the building that we had seen at the palaces earlier on.

Magic lady getting silk to come out!

After wandering around the buildings for awhile, the shows started. The first show was a farmers’ dance. A group of guys in costumes came parading into a performing arena beating various drums and cymbals. My favorite part was their hats. The drum band leaders had big poofs at the end of a stick on top of their hats so when they moved their heads, the little stick would wave around. Then a troupe of dancer guy types had sticks on their hats too, except there were ribbons tied to the ends and with them they made all sorts of patterns, all while marching around beating a little drum. They even did runs and leaps and twirls all while keeping a cadence. Landon got bored after awhile and started trying to steal kids’ bikes (the bikes with a seat and a handle for parents to push them are really popular here, and Landon wants one terribly!).

After the dance, there was a 70-something year old tight rope walker. No ropes, no nets, just this old guy on a tight rope. He bounced across it on his bottom, hopped across it on one foot, jumped up and down on it, he was a pretty talented guy. The most fun part is that he used a giant fan to help himself balance. There was also a horse show that we saw the back of because we were too late getting seats. They had the horses run around an impossibly small little arena and did all sorts of tricks. The best trick was the pyramid on top of moving horses. The last show was a traditional wedding, which looked like it would be fun to watch, but Landon decided it would be much more fun to run around at this time, and it was right before we had to leave to get on the shuttle back to the train station, so I let him run instead. Lots of bright colors were involved though, and made me want to learn more about it.

Groom in the wedding ceremony
Pyramid on top of moving horses- very exciting!
A noble surveying his village

In all, I’m not sure it was worth it for the time it took us to get there and come back. It ended up being an 8 hour day away from home with a toddler, which is a hard thing to subject yourself to without 2 parents. Sauma was an amazing helper and I really enjoyed just talking with someone else who spoke English who was also female. 

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