As spring approaches, I get more queries on travel destinations off the beaten path in South Korea. One place that came to my mind was Naganeupseong Folk Village (낙안읍성, pronounced as nagan-eup-song) located near Suncheon 순천 / Yeosu 여수. I have been to this place during winter and spring respectively, and I must say it looks different in both seasons — You’ll know what I mean when you see how the yellow rapeseed flowers in spring transform the fortress town into somewhere profoundly foreign and intriguingly beautiful.
Naganeupseong is considered one of the best-preserved town fortress in South Korea. This little piece of heaven was lucky enough to be left almost untouched during the Japanese occupation. It was said to be inhabited since the beginning of first millennia and witnessed the wax and wane of Goryo and Joseon Dynasty.
Bric-à-brac of daily life (and yesteryears) could be observed here in the village. The town fortress was selected as an administrative core city back in the Joseon Dynasty. Visitors will get to see public and private facilities packed in one town fortress: government offices, private houses and ritual sites. In fact, there are about 288 people in 90 households living in the village today. I would say it is a living museum, where visitors could catch a glimpse of Korea centuries ago, or even enjoy a night or two staying in the fortress town. (Yes, there are families providing homestay/guesthouse service here!) Artifacts are carefully preserved and visitors are given an opportunity to immerse in the beauty of intangible cultural heritage such as farmer’s music (Nongak), Pansori epic chant, Jangu, Gayageum and seasonal customs and rites. So have fun and enjoy the blooming spring at Naganeupseong!
1. Take KTX/ Mugunghwa from Seoul to Suncheon Station. That will cost you for about KRW 43,000 for KTX, approx. 3 hours journey.
2. Walk out from Suncheon Train Station 순천역, and proceed to the bus stop just right in front of the main gate of Suncheon Train Station. The Bus stop is called 순천역 정류장 [suncheon yok jong lieu jang] in Korean.
3. Take bus no. 68 and alight 40 stops later at the Naganeupseong Station. (Approx. 43 minutes ride).