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Ondol Adds Warmth to Korean Winter
Date 12-27-2019 10:05
Ondol Adds Warmth to Korean Winter

If a wood fireplace is what people in the West first think of on a chilly night, the Korean equivalent would be ondol. Ondol is a traditional under-the-floor heating system that involves making a fire in an agungi (hearth) outside home so that the heat from the flames would travel all the way along the heat channels laid underneath the floor in the room. Koreans are used to lying down on these heated hot floors, listening to their grandmothers’ old stories and snacking on sweet potatoes. Here are some of the lodging facilities in Korea that offer the ondol experience.

Traditional Ondol Rooms: Gongju Hanok Village

Gongju Hanok Village, a faithful reenactment of a traditional Korean village, features mansions and houses of varying sizes. It is a sprawling open-air complex sitting on an area of 30,000 square meters and taking visitors right back in time. The village has 16 individual guestrooms and six group rooms. Each room features an ondol-heated floor. When you visit in winter, you may even be able to hear the cackling sound of the firewood burning in the hearth outside your room. Few things are more calming than watching firewood burning and cackling at night. The windows covered with changhoji (traditional Korean paper) and the antique-style wooden furniture add plain and rustic charm to these rooms. Lying on the ondol floor, you will feel incredibly relaxed and drowsy.
The lodging facility in Gongju also offers various activities for experiencing Korean traditional customs. The dasik (tea cakes) class, in which participants make traditional-style finger food for tea by mixing chestnut, the local specialties of Gongju, and brown rice powders with rice syrup or honey, and the tea ceremony class, are especially popular. You can even rent Baekje-era costumes and tour the village in them.

Tel. +82-41-840-8900, www.gongju.go.kr/hanok/
Address : 12, Gwangwangdanji-gil, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do

Reenact Scenes from Your Favorite K-Drama: Hagindang, Jeonju

Mr. Sunshine, a hit K-drama series that aired in 2018, featured Hagindang as one of its main backdrops. Hagindang is the name of a stately traditional-style mansion that boasts prominence among nearly 700 hanok (traditional Korean house) buildings in Jeonju Hanok Village. It is the oldest building in the area and also the only one protected as a cultural heritage. This guesthouse, built in 1908, features enough modern amenities to maximize guests’ comfort. It also offers ondol rooms.
Hagindang is open only to guests staying overnight and guests participating in its activities. Reservations are required. Once you enter the main gate, you will be welcomed by a charming Korean garden, beyond which is situated the main building. The main building boasts an airy and especially tall daecheong (central large wooden-floored hall) structure. The original owner demanded such a design so that he and guests could perform music there. The main building has three rooms that offer enough space for four to six guests at a time. The floors are heated by ondol. The antique furniture, folding screens, old paintings and other such decorative objects add unique aesthetics to these rooms. In the backyard is the annex building recommended for couples or pairs. The sarangchae (men's quarters) building next to the main gate is perfect for a family of four. Activities on offer include learning to draw the dancheong (traditional decorative coloring on wooden structure) pattern, tea ceremony, and properly wearing hanbok (traditional Korean clothes).

Tel. +82-63-284-9929, http://www.hagindang.modoo.at
Address : 45, Hyanggyo-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do