As you probably already know, I have a soft spot for quirky attractions and this one made the top of my must-go list this July when I traveled to Seoul for work. Despite the immense inertia (a result of not wanting to leave my lovely bnb, and the heavy rain that poured that day) , I somehow manged to will myself to go there. I did not regret, and you will not too.

something a little different

Just a couple of mostly analogue photos of this lovely village. For more photos you can refer to the entire digital album here.

How to go: Ewha Mural Village is located in Ihwa-dong, between Daehangno and Naksan Park. It is not located near Ehwa woman's University, don't get the 2 mixed up!!! Take metro line 4 to Hyehwa station and exit via Exit 2. Walk across Daehangno towards Naksan Park. The 'beginning' of the village starts from the park road connected to the car park area leading east wards (you'll see the installation of the man and dog above first). Looking back towards Daehangno from near Naksan Park, it should look like this. If you're lost, this and  this might be helpful. 

Accomodation: Stay at the arty and quaint 126bnb mansion, a cafe, bnb and boutique all in 1! It's strategic location at palpan-dong, a mere 2 minutes walk from the trendy Sam cheong dong (full of amazing independent designer boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and historically rich Bukchon hanok village will put you in a great position to explore Seoul. A couple of photos of the area here, of the bnb here and here. The owner Su, and her colleague Tomomi are amazing people and will make you feel extremely at home during your stay there. A word of caution however- the bnb is located on the 2nd floor with no elevator, so it might not be idea for those with heavy luggages. 

Review: I find it incredibly beautiful and intimate when something very everyday, very ordinary is given a new lease of life. Ihwa Mural Village is one such example.

The Hong Kong travel magazine very aptly describes it as a place 'where the artistic spirit dwells'.
The mural village, driven by efforts of the local government, was birthed when group of artists were tasked with the job to decorate the village with murals to  to inject new life and energy into the once sleepy neighbourhood.

my dream kind of doorstep

pinks and reds

fancy a poppy at your doorstep, or maybe two?

a little art in a little ordinary

Aside from colourful murals hidden at unexpected corners of the village, there are now also a couple of unique cafes that have set up shop in the village, making it an attractive place to visit even for Seoulites. Recommended time to visit is afternoon-early evening. In the morning the cafes won't be open, but it will be less crowded. For your reference, my visit was on a weekday morning, whilst it was pouring. 

plushie sitting on a cafe windowsill

Aside from having to brave the pouring rain (to which my 1-person umbrella seemed rather useless against), I had a really fun time exploring the place. The fun part is trying to figure out where the next mural would be- should I go down this flight of stairs, or turn left into that alley there? 

If you're tired, have some tea at one of the cafes, or grab a drink from the local store and (attempt to) make conversation with the ajuhmma manning the store. 

get a drink here, and maybe some small talk?

customary self-portrait while trying to avoid the rain

Cafes and cute mural paintings aside, the real draw to me though, is that this is a real neighbourhood. Despite it being such a 'made-up' or 'created' kind of space, there are real residents, real families living there- It's what gives the village a lot of soul and authenticity, making it very intimate and special. 

neighbourhood chat amongst the ahjummas

going about their everyday lives. 

After spending time at the village, you might want to have a meal or catch a play at the Daehangno (or University street) neighbourhood on your way back to Hyehwa station. It's a mini congregation of  restaurants, cafes, street food and loads of theaters and art centers. Lunch is incredibly tasty and starts from only 4500 won for a set meal consisting of rice, main dish and soup.