Most of Seoul’s sidewalks are dwarfed by towering high rises. Fortunately, there still remain few spots in the city — dominated by red brick walls or painted graffiti. Not visible in plain sight, searching for these hidden gems, often involves climbing steep, curving alleys. While some of these might be listed as tourist hot spots, there were many we came across by walking around — without looking for anything in particular.
Ihwa Mural Village
Perhaps, the most popular mural village in Seoul, Ihwa Mural Village attracts a steady stream of local as well as foreign tourists. An offshoot, from Naksan Park, leads you into a winding path — bordered by quirky wall murals and art exhibits.
On our previous visit, last year, we couldn’t explore these narrow alleys. The map indicates few key points along a marked trail. We chose to wander around instead. Unlike Gamcheon Culture Village, in Busan, Ihwa Village looked smaller with fewer murals or exhibits. It’s interesting, to see how, these quaint villages are persistent enough to resist change. Giving into paint — is a small price — to pay.
The main route is, occasionally, interrupted by broken stone steps leading back to the Fortress Trail. It’s worth the effort, to climb steep steps and admire vantage views of the city, below. To continue with the main trail, you’d have to, once again, descend a flight of steps. The area is popular with teenagers, often dressed in school uniforms, feeding on a selfie frenzy.
En Route Mt. Achasan
Last weekend, during the long holidays, we hiked on Mt. Achasan. As we approached the entrance to one of the trails; we saw the walls of the local neighborhood painted with graffiti. Perhaps, an artist seeking practice or part of a beautification purpose?
Achasan Goguryeo Historical Road
The trail from Achasan Mountain to Gwangnaru Station passes through narrow alleys with quaint houses. Almost every white surface was covered with artworks of animals or ancient history. Although tired, we stopped for a bit to click snaps, before heading back home.
Sometimes, you just need to keep your eyes open in Seoul. During one of our marathon walks of exploration, we came across this ginormous exhibit. Not sure what it tried to say, but was quite a work of art and left little to the imagination.