Exploring Korean Neighbourhoods: Samcheong-dong

Last week, I wrote about the Neighbourhood of Fashion: Apgujeong-dong. In today’s post, I will highlight the neighbourhood I grew up in, Samcheong-dong. This neighbourhood is home to many of my childhood memories, and even just writing about it makes me reminiscent of it. Growing up, I always went on an afternoon walk after school with my mom or grandparents in the streets of Samcheong-dong. If I went with my grandparents, they would always buy me a sweet treat in one of the many cafes. Although it may not seem like much, these walks are what I remember the most from my childhood.

Samcheong-dong is located high up on the hills, near Gyeongbokgung Palace. The “Sam” part of Samcheong-dong means “three”, while the “Cheong” part means “clean” or “good”. The name implies that Samcheong-dong has three good things: mountains, clean water, and community. These three characteristics are very fitting, as Samcheong-dong is known for its serene, enchanting atmosphere filled with many kind locals. This neighbourhood is also home to Bukchon Hanok Village, a popular tourist destination. Bukchon Hanok Village is a small village of traditional Korean houses called “Hanok”. Because of this, you can see lots of traditional Korean architecture when visiting Samcheong-dong. Additionally, because of its proximity to Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village, Samcheong-dong is a popular destination for traditional Hanbok tours. I previously uploaded a more detailed blog post on the Hanbok tours, but they are basically where you can experience wearing traditional Korean outfits and take pictures at traditional Korean places.

Samcheong-dong is one of the few neighbourhoods where you can experience a quaint, relaxed atmosphere in a busy city like Seoul. Keeping with the small-town vibes, most shops and cafes in the neighbourhood are dainty and unique. You’ll find very few chain stores in this area. I love jewelry shopping here, as each piece is artistically crafted and unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. Samcheong-dong also boasts many traditional and modern art galleries. You’ll find many showrooms and works of small, relatively unknown artists here. This area also has many museums, including the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History.

When visiting Samcheong-dong, one place I urge you to visit is Cha-teul. This traditional hanok-style cafe is one of my favourites in the neighbourhood. It offers many kinds of traditional tea and desserts, and the atmosphere is terrific. Sitting on the wooden floor, surrounded by trees, it is the perfect place to experience Samcheong-dong’s calmness and serenity. Another place you must visit is Samcheong-dong Sujebi. This is one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Samcheong-dong. If you are unfamiliar with sujebi, it is a traditional Korean hand-pulled noodle soup. However, the noodles are more similar to pieces of dough regarding shape. Although sujebi is always delicious, the sujebi at this restaurant is extra special. They also serve the most delightful kimchi alongside the sujebi. Do yourself a favour and visit this restaurant!

If you are looking for an escape from the busy city of Seoul, Samcheong-dong is the perfect place. Its quaint, serene, small-town vibes will welcome you with open arms. I may be biased, having so many good memories in this neighbourhood, but Samcheong-dong, to this day, remains one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Korea to me. I hope you visit this wonderful neighbourhood one day.

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One response to “Exploring Korean Neighbourhoods: Samcheong-dong”

  1. Cha-ddeul, 차 마시는 뜰, is great! I’ve only been to the Namyangju branch. It’s very serene, and I’ve visited many times. Always wanted to go to the Seoul location but then the pandemic started, and then I left Korea. I’ll try to go on my next visit. Thanks for the post on a great neighborhood!


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