Last weekend we went to Andong (which you may have already known from our previous post about it here). Andong is well known for it’s culture and tradition. It is widely regarded to be the most “Korean” place in Korea. Since we were staying overnight, we decided, what better way to truly experience such a historic place, than to do a traditional homestay!
The hanok houses of South Korea are so simplistic and beautiful. Hanoks are built with consideration for the cold Korean winters, and the very humid summers. They use what is called an ondol underfloor heating system, where the heated smoke from burning wood heats the underside of their thick masonry floors. For the hot summers, the hanok has what is called a daecheong, which is a wide front porch. Due to their construction and layouts, these houses are pretty environmentally friendly.
The house we stayed at was a few kilometers outside of Andong in a small village. Since we were away from the city, we were able to find peace and quiet to accompany the traditional residence at which we found ourselves. Once we got out of the taxi and entered the formidable entry gate, we were overcome by the beauty of this place. The grounds were perfectly manicured, and they had an ultra-friendly dog to greet us.
We met our hosts and were shown to our room, which we later found out was the largest they offered. The couple that ran this place was incredibly hospitable and terribly patient with us. We wandered their property and felt an incredible peace away from the city.
As night approached, we resigned to our room where the heated floors offered salvation from the bitter countryside cold. Since there was not modern electronics in our room, we decided to spend our evening enjoying each other’s company and resist using our phones to watch television, or stream movies online. We played games and took frequent trips to the porch where we could see the blanket of stars. Living in Seoul, we are rarely able to see more than a handful of stars, so the night sky that we remember from Oklahoma was a welcoming and comforting sight.
The next morning, we woke up with our kindly hostess knocking on our door and motioning us towards an outlying building. We bundled up and followed her to a small room where she had prepared a massive breakfast. In typical Korean style, there was banchan ranging from spicy radishes to mini vegetable pancakes. The main part of our breakfast was a homemade jjigae that was absolutely delicious. She brought us teas and coffee that amounted to one of the most spectacular morning meals either of us had every experienced. The care that went into this meal was astounding.
Leaving shortly after breakfast, we knew that we would be soon be missing the charm and simplistic nature of this quaint B&B. We had an incredible experience and hope to return in our next visit. The experience was without equal, and we highly suggest staying at one of the traditional houses if you ever find yourself in Andong, South Korea.
This homestay was a few miles west of Andong, but pretty near the famous Hahoe Folk Village. If you would like more information about this homestay house, see the below information!