The region northwest of Gyeongju, around the provincial town of Andong, has long been one of the most conservative in Korea. Many of the Confucian elite of the Joseon era maintained hanok manor houses in the area from the 16th century, numerous examples of which survive intact.
The greatest concentration is to be found in the village of Hahoe, where a pretty ensemble of grey-tiled and thatched houses nestles beside a meander in the Nakdonggang River, against a backdrop of wooded hills.
Although classed as a ‘folk village’, Hahoe is no museum: 230 people still live here, in much the same way as their ancestors did five or more centuries ago.
We recommend you stay for a night in one of the local, family-run guest houses, which will give you ample time to explore Hahoe’s bucolic environs on foot or by bicycle, and to experience a recital of ‘byeolsingut talnori’ – the local dance drama form – costumes for which are displayed in the village’s excellent little Mask Museum.