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28 May, 2019

[TRAVEL] Ihwa Mural Village: Popular Instagram Spot in Seoul, Korea

Welcome to the colorful neighbourhood of Ihwa-dong! 

It's my first time visiting Seoul and I choose cherry blossom season because I just experienced autumn in Japan last November (so I didn't want to return so soon) and my first cherry blossom trip to Taiwan was lovely so I thought now the perfect option would be Korea. 

Plus, everything adorned with the soft pink petals would be so picture-perfect!! 

Throughout this 8D7N vacation, I realise Seoul has countless number of Instagram-worthy spots along almost every street, in each neighbourhood, like literally. But if I were to name one of the best spots for photo taking, it is no other than the popular mountainside Ihwa Mural Village (이화동벽화마을), located at the top of Naksan Park.

Let's check out this cool mural village!

How to get there: 
Take 10 minutes walk from Exit 2 of Hyehwa Station, Seoul Subway Line 4 (Blue line).
*Remember to download NAVER app for easy navigation.

It requires a bit of hiking (and alot of stair climbing) in order to reach this funky, colorful neighbourhood. Every nook and corner in Ihwa-dong is beautifully adorned with artistic elements such as mural wall paintings, 3D art pieces and tastefully-decorated cafes. 

You'll see a map of Ihwa-dong once you reach the area, showing all the shops available there as well as 20+ "popular mural spots" for photo opportunities. Due to overwhelming fleets of staircases around this area, I find it a little tricky to locate all the Instagram spots. But luckily the weather in spring is cooling and comfortable for long distance walking. 


Did I forget to mention that you can enjoy the glorious city view here too? The scene reminds me of the famous Gamcheon Culture Village (부산 감천문화마을) in Busan which I have been longing to visit!

Remember to angle your camera so the man touches the top of N Seoul Tower :P


Ihwa Mural Village is not just a tourist spot; there are residential homes in this neighbourhood so being respectful is important. Remember, making excessive noise, littering or walking into prohibited entrances are major turnoffs.

Well, generally the Koreans I meet here are super friendly and they allow me to take photos of almost everything I see (including merchandises in the shops although I didn't buy anything from them).

I love how the cafes here are beautifully decorated too. If you have time to spare, feel free to hop by any of the locally owned shops here and grab some drinks and desserts.


I have spotted few fashion shops and hanbok rental shops here too. You may want to check out the latest Korean designs although this area may not be the best place to shop for affordable fashion pieces.

The hand-written postcard is super adorable! I couldn't remember which exactly is the souvenir shop selling this series of Korean food-themed postcard. But they are all so cute and I couldn't resist myself from getting one too.

My favourite shot among all! It feels like being in the Disney movie "Up" 



Travelling Tips: Visit Ihwa Mural Village only during daytime (not before sunrise or after sunset).

Look at the fancy quotes printed on the wall! Every journey begins with just a single step, that's how I make my first footstep in Korea. What's that second step? Probably more adventures around other parts of Korea!

There are plenty more murals which I did not take any pictures of, because of the time constraint. But again, if you have time to spare, then it's always good to explore more. Who knows you may find even more hidden gems around this area? 

Favourite bunnies! ❤ Fell in love with bunnies ever since I started using Between app long time ago.
And hence this is a must-have picture when I see so many cutie pies on the wall.

Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall

I am surprised to see the fortress wall right behind this mural village. Then I realise it is just a portion of the Seoul Fortress Wall that goes through the park. Of course, it is a beautiful and historical location to take some pictures at but if you are up for a challenge to walk along this 18.6km trail and reach the peak, go ahead and enjoy the walk and its breathtaking view along the way! 

Here comes the perk of visiting Seoul during the peak of cherry blossom season! From the top of the hill at Naksan Park, you will be able to see a walkway lined with pink blooms and other trees in red, yellow and green foliages. What a picturesque scenery, right? 

Taking a closer look at this pathway, the surreal view has muted my senses. So incredibly calm and beautiful 

VERDICT

Among all the hot tourist spots, I personally think that Ihwa-dong Mural Village is definitely worth a visit especially for shutterbugs. Overall, it is a great experience of immersing myself into the beauty of nature as well as the uniqueness of heritage and culture of Seoul. 

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