Pages Navigation Menu

Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Andong – It’s Not Just About Masks

Many people have heard of Andong because of its famous Mask Festival in the fall.  One of the largest of festivals, it attracts travellers from around the world.  Skip the mask dance, which I find to be somewhat hokey and explore Hahoe Village instead.

Hahoe Village is a  relic of the Joseon Dynasty. Dating from over 600 years ago with architectural styles that are a throwback to an earlier, simpler time.  In the village, you’ll find tile-roof style homes, typical of the aristocratic members of the village. The servants homes will  be simple thatched-roofs.

Thatched roofs are common among the traditional  homes

Thatched roofs are common among the traditional homes

A long alleyway between homes, some with grass roofs, some with tile

A long alleyway between homes, likely the aristocrat on the left and his servants on the right.

A leisurely walk among the homes reveals that these are not just homes set up for show, full of kitchy souvenirs or placards describing their history. These are actual homes, still occupied by the residents, many of whom are descendants of the original Yu clan who founded the village.

My favorite part was this ancient tree in the center of the village.  Although it is probably several smaller trees that have merged trunks over the years, it is absolutely massive in its breadth. Visitors tie ribbons of prayers and wishes around the base of it.

This magnificent Ginkgo tree in the center of the village is surrounded by wishes and prayers tied to the rope

This magnificent Ginkgo tree in the center of the village is surrounded by wishes and prayers tied to the rope

Probably prohibited, but that never stopped us from climbing this ancient tree

Probably prohibited, but that never stopped us from climbing this ancient tree

We visited Andong in the spring, just before the cherry blossoms were fully bloomed. There were many that had, but a greater number were still in the merging stage. Still, the place was magical with color, texture and history.

Coolor and shape blend nature and man-made structure

Coolor and shape blend nature and man-made structure

A Tidy and colorful home and their front yard

A Tidy and colorful front yard of this home and min-bak - a room for rent.

P4090030

Yes, there are masks in Andong. And hats. Even hats that Koreans do not wear

Yes, there are masks in Andong. And hats. Even hats that Koreans do not wear

Of course, there are souvenirs, but not in the village itself. The mask, snack and totem vendors are all safely away from the village so as not to cheapen the experience. This mask vendor, however, couldn’t resist putting on a hat and attempting to wave us in to buy as we passed. Somehow, the hat just doesn’t fit; it looks somewhat…Vietnamese to me.

If you make it to Hahoe village, be sure to check out the International Mask Museum, which is located just outside the village. Masks are a worldwide tradition among humans and this small museum does a good job of encapsulating that. It’s worth the extra hour you’ll spend in it.

Getting to Andong is relatively easy. Take the intercity bus, of which there are several each day. Major highways travel through Andong as well, making a day trip in a car quite easy.

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends and the world!