A Special Interaction in Jeju Folk Village

 

Jeju Folk Village is a popular destination for foreign tourists looking for a crash course on Jeju heritage before heading back home, and kids on a field trip. It is a massive living museum, indeed an ideal attraction for cultural learners and history buffs. What makes it special is that it’s specially designed to be immersive and interactive; there are many things you can do aside from just sightseeing and taking photos.

It’s really a huge place and I felt like I was on a race against the clock to see everything. Aside from the famous architectural exhibition of houses and the beautiful gardens, here are some of the fun things I found at Jeju Folk Village. Stay tuned for the most special encounter I had here.

 

A souvenir shop right at the entrance with many creative and unique products!

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Ridiculously gorgeous cows that would make you rethink your diet.

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Is someone being naughty? Give them a good slap on the buns with this Joseon-era flogging device. Even though it’s now lightheartedly used as a wholesome penalty in games and variety shows—it was apparently a severe form of punishment in Joseon times.

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A replication of an old-fashioned Korean house where you can make a visit inside. I found arcade game machines with credits and was able to play games! The nostalgia is real.

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Where to eat: Traditional Marketplace Restaurant, with hospitable ajummas.

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A secret spot that few people went to. Sorry, you’ll have to find this yourself because I don’t know its name and it’s not on the map/brochure. I just remember the set of steps that leads here is inconspicuous and doesn’t really reveal what’s up there. The path is quite long, which is probably why most people easily overlook it.

However, when you get to the top, there’s a sole wooden gazebo amid a field of pampas grass and trees. The sun was setting behind it.

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Now, the most special part for me—my special interaction in Jeju Folk Village.

I came across a woodcraft workshop with a lone ajussi adorable in his brown apron, hunched over quietly carving a masterpiece out of a little piece of wood. He didn’t look up at me much when I was examining the place from outside.

If you’re like me, store people who are overly enthusiastic and clingy repel you even though you really want to buy something. The introvert inside me would sometimes take over and just freak out. That’s why I appreciate that he just sat there while I decided to go in. Also, by the entrance, a sign on the side of his table says “Come in and have fun looking.” And I felt bad that no one’s there.

His woodcrafts are amazing. Aside from the decorative figurines of people and animals, there are a lot of useful items such as cups and pen holders. I was especially taking my time looking at the several necklaces hanged on one side. He looked up and warmly pointed out the totem necklaces that I can paint on my own. I liked the idea of a little art session, so I picked one and he handed me the color pens.

Color-it-yourself wooden necklace for only 4,000 KRW!

This totem necklace is a popular symbol across Jeju. They’re called Dol Hareubang, which translates to stone grandfather. You’ll find many of these sacred stone statues around Jeju, serving as the island’s guardians that fight off bad spirits. Isn’t that sweet? The whole island is protected by tough grandpas.

I finished painting the small wooden hareubang and showed it to him proudly like an attention-seeking daughter, and attention he did give. I pointed my name, which I wrote in Hangul. He smiled meekly and said, “Wow, beautiful.” Then I fell in love. Ajussi is very precious!

My name is 레이.

If you ever go to Jeju Folk Village, please find him and go inside! His workshop is somewhere in the Mountain Village. Painting the necklaces is so fun, and they’re also an ideal gift to bring to your friends and family back home. They’re not only an accessory but also a lucky charm.

If you’re into ceramic and stoneware, there’s also a pottery shop also overseen by an ajussi. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to look around. Please visit them!

 

Outside Jeju Folk Village, there’s Pyoseon Beach whose colors were so dramatically stunning as the sun softened in the afternoon.

And then, a hot footbath and coffee to pamper the legs after a long stroll at Jeju Folk Village: Doltogori Foot Bath Cafe.

Lastly, just an adorable neighborhood dog.

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