Welcome to Heyri Art Village, a community of painters, sculptors, graphic artists, writers and filmmakers who live and work tucked away in a valley of forest and hills, just a one hour drive away north of Seoul.
I stumbled upon this unique location when my father one Saturday asked to drive us out for a day trip out of Seoul. I reluctantly gave up my same old Saturday routine with friends spent in the crowded streets of Gangnam, Itaewon, or Hongdae, and sat in the car while my dad started driving alarmingly far north. He narrated our eerie surroundings to being only 6km from the border to our neighbors North Korea. I absolutely had no idea what to expect about where we were going, but it turned out, however, to be one of the most impressive locations I had seen in a very long time.
When you arrive at Heyri village, as you start your walk around its huge grounds, you find there’s actually a lot to do. Firstly, there are so many appealing restaurants and cafes, you’ll want to stay for dinner too, and spend extra on that overpriced coffee to sit down at one of the many cafes that doubles as a gallery. As the name of the village suggests, this is a spot, to be enjoyed by art lovers.
There are about 30 small & medium sized museums located in the village. Some of the artwork the museum’s exhibit, revolve around the fun and completely random themes of: toys, butterflies, magazines, traditional foods, figure paintings, films, film posters, stamps, Buddhist art, international folk instruments, and more. Then there are a total of 6 art galleries and a whopping total of 100 art shops with art work and antiques of contemporary artists.
I have designed a day trip of touring the best attractions of the village and here is your itinerary!
* This is an actual [FREE] tour that we will be facilitating! Our chosen locations to visit within the village are just recommended and optional and you will be able to customize this tour to your taste!
Includes: A day of touring the Heyri Village which will include travelling to Heyri Village together, brunch at Adamas253, The Chocolate Design Gallery, Total Art Space Book House, The Museum of Modern History of Korea, Music Space Camerata, Dinner at Farmer's Table, and travelling back to Seoul at night.
(Entrance to the village is free, however, each activity will cost & it will be completely your decision to participate.)
Meeting Point: Hapjeong Station, Exit 2 at 11:00 am.
Recommended to Bring: Comfortable shoes, camera, sunglasses, and excitement!
11:00 am - Travel to Heyri Village
From Seoul [Subway + Bus]
Departure Point: Hapjeong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 2.
Just outside the exit, locate the red bus sign.
The wait for the bus will be around 15 minutes and the bus ride there will take one hour.
12:00 am - Arrive at Heyri
Arrival Point: Get off at Heyri Gate 4 stop [헤이리 4번게이트 정류장]
Find the information kiosk at Gate 4 and pick up a map of the Heyri village grounds (5,000 won). You'll thank me later.
- Follow the map and walk down South to find our first location! Are you hungry?
12:30am - Brunch
We'll start our day off with some brunch at the chicest cafe in the village, Adamas253. The striking design and sheer size of the establishment will be hard to miss and expect steeper than average prices! If you're craving eggs benedict, something i've found hard to come across in Korea, we recommend their popular menu item: the steak and eggs benedict! Before you leave, don't forget to check out their gallery downstairs. What's great is their gallery is free of charge while most galleries have an entry fee.
2:00pm - Bring out that sweet tooth
A favorite gallery for visitors is the Chocolate Design Gallery, you can’t miss the massive building as it looks like chocolate! Here you will find in exhibitions of sculptures made of chocolate, which are usually held in the Winter months to avoid melting. The gallery features a variety of delicious chocolate drinks, try the Pure Hot Chocolate drink (6,300 won). If you’re up for it, let them spike it with a shot of brandy for 500 won more ;). Grab a seat on the upper patio for a great overlooking view of the village. Or make your own decadent truffles at their chocolate making workshop.
3:00pm - For the bookworms
A great specialty of Heyri village are its bookstores. There are about 30 bookstores specializing in art, architecture, film, music, literature, and children’s books with eastern and western classics are available. We will visit Total Art Space Book House, a gorgeous all in one bookstore, gallery, and impressive book café with books lining the walls down to the floor. Get your creative mind started for this day of culture and purchase a book to enjoy a little quality reading.
4:30pm - Culture & History
A recommended museum is a visit to the Museum of Modern History of Korea. If you’ve ever wondered what Korea must have looked, smelt, sounded like in the forties and fifties, before all the globalization, here’s your chance to see it in real life. Go back in time to see the full neighborhoods of homes and establishments of the era. With rooms featuring elaborate displays of narrated scenes of the daily life of workers, you’ll see an overwhelming amount of real antiques and artifacts from the period. Find the museum back at entrance gate 4. The entrance fee will be 7,000 won.
6:00pm - The Music Scene
For any lovers of old-school music, we will be visiting the Music Hall/café Music Space Camerata, run by the well-known TV entertainer Hwang Om-Yong. Vintage sofas, wooden tables, high ceilings, with 1930s style speakers and even a record player make up its rooms. On each table, you will find a pen with paper for song requests to the DJ. For the entrance fee of 10,000 won enjoy your complimentary drink and pastry. It's the perfect spot to continue reading that book you started without the nosie of chatter but while basking in quality music chosen by those around you.
One of the greatest characteristics, I felt, from my experience at the village was the wonderful essence of nature that was inbound to this village. For a whole day I saw and did so much without the sound of traffic, or subway announcements or the noise of crowds. The air is countryside air and to get to and from each location we will simply walk. We'll walk together on the winding stone paths against greenery and wild flowers, across streams on beautiful foot bridges, and there are no traffic lights to be found.
The village it turns out had this exactly in mind in its stages of inception. One of the chief architects behind the design of the village, Kim Jun-Sung, aspired for the artistic village to maximize the creative interests of the community, while minimizing intrusion to the surrounding environment.
“My vision of the project was to not merely focus on the expression of individual buildings but more so on organic ability to maintain the original setting.”
The evidence of his efforts are found everywhere, most obviously in the Keumsan Gallery where tree’s have been left to grow and the surrounding walls have vacant spaces where branches burst with force out of the building, collaborating with nature as an architectural design element. The area’s roots with nature have also been represented in the name of the village “Heyri” as it is the traditional farming song of the Paju province in Gyeonggi-do taken from the song title “the Sound of Heyri."
If you’re a fan of the wildly popular Korean drama series “boys over flowers,” you’ll be delighted to know and recognize one of the familiar filming spots, their school cafeteria, is found here in Heyri village. Farmer’s Table, the restaurant on the first floor of the Artinus building, has been designed with the rustic farm as a theme. You’ll see tables, walls, and floors all made of natural materials of wood and stone. If you're up for even more books and galleries, you'll find them within this building too.
With all the sights to see and establishments within the village, we will need a full day. Don’t be afraid to get lost and wander. Enjoy this day of relaxation, scenery, and art away from Seoul and let us know your experiences in the comments below!
What I found most interesting of all about this village was it's story and intentions behind their strategic decision for the location of the village. Ansoo Lee, a photographer and founding Heyri member shares,
“we chose Heyri as it is a clean place, right in nature. There are no factories in North Korea just across the border so we knew there would be clear air. We have dreams of unification one day and then Heyri will be the centre of the Korean peninsula – close to Seoul and ever closer to North Korea.”
Much more than a hot spot with art galleries, Heyri serves the greater and heavier purpose as a symbol of peace between the North and South Koreas.
Don't be afraid of the dark because the village offers some of it's most stunning views after the sun has set.
But don't stay too late, the last 2200 bus back to Hapjeong leaves at 10:20pm!
Our tour will be leaving at 9:00pm.
11:00 am Depart Seoul
12:00 am Arrive Heyri
[Free time or come with us to our recommended spots!]
12:30 am Brunch at Adamas253
2:00 pm The Chocolate Design Gallery
3:00 pm Total Art Space Book House
4:30 pm The Museum of Modern History of Korea
6:00 pm Music Space Camerata
7:00 pm Dinner at Farmer's Table
9:00 pm Meet at Gate 4, Leave for Seoul
10:00 pm Arrive at Hapjeong Station
To return to Seoul,
walk back to entrance gate 4 or 1 and take the same bus (2200) back to Hapjeong station.
How to Apply: email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our facebook event page here!
In your email please provide your name, if you'll take our recommended route & activities (you can change your mind don't worry :), and your phone number.