Looking for that perfect insta pic? Want to up your model game? Just want to feel fabulous? Well I have a great place for you! If you happen to be in South Korea’s capital on holiday, then the Ihwa Mural Village is a short 10-minute trip away from some of the major parts of town.
The village is what was called a moon village, or “daldongnae” – named so due to the high altitude allowing for viewing on the moon and stars. Home to the lower working class, these run down towns were going to be demolished and renovated into more skyscrapers until the government launched the Ihwa-dong Naksan Project to make the villages more attractive. The end result is the Ihwa Mural Village today, showcasing hundreds of paintings from little to large.
You’ve probably seen heaps of girls on Instagram with a picture of them standing in front of angel wings graffitied on a wall. Well the original is in this village, along with dozens of other pieces of art. Some of the streets are literally painted with these fantastic canvases, just waiting for you to come model in front of!
If you look online, then you will find maps with recommended routes to follow so that you don’t miss the best ones (or just look below!) Unfortunately, sometimes they have been destroyed; like when I was there the beautiful murals painted over stairs were gone. This is due to the controversy the sudden rise in tourism brought on the village. Some residents request certain artwork be removed due to the noise and littering tourists bring. So please, for the future enjoyment of other tourists, if you come here please be respectful of the locals.
Some guidelines to remember; do not yell or scream loudly, do not litter, do not take pictures in front of people’s doorways, politely greet locals when you see them, and try and buy something from a local shop to support the village.
When I went it was winter, which meant minus five degrees Celsius. So if you’re after those crisp insta worthy snaps, then wear a large warm coat you can quickly take off for a minute to display your fashion. It’s better than looking like a fat Eskimo!
You’re bound to see plenty of Japanese tourists. But if you’re traveling alone or want someone to take a group picture for you, then I suggest asking a young Korean tourist. They are usually the best, know what you want, and take several pictures from different angles without asking. They’re the true pros.
Ihwa Mural Village doesn’t have any major restaurants or eateries; however, you’ll be able to find several quaint little cafes that offer inexpensive hot drinks, salads, and sweets. Walking up and down the sometimes narrow streets of the moon village can be tiring, making these cafes great for a pit stop. I recommend ice cream from Milk Gongbang, coffee at Lidart, and sandwiches at either Fresh Table or Speakeasy, if you like Cuban food.
Check out my Instagram for more pictures!