Paju Arts and Relaxation Weekend

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Sometimes you just need to get away? Our Paju Arts and Relaxation Weekend itinerary might be just what you need.

Paju Heyri Art Village Trip Itinerary Summary

Additional Weekend Itineraries Which May Interest You

Saturday

We woke up early on Saturday to play with our dogs and give them plenty of love before heading out at 8:15 am for a Paju adventure. We chose Paju, South Korea for our weekend trip because it’s an easy drive from Pyeongtaek, South Korea with very little traffic, the autumn trees will be beautiful and there will be few people since Paju is still rather rural despite being next to Seoul.

We decided to drive to Paju instead of taking public transit since 1) we prefer to limit our time in public spaces and 2) public transit would take 3 hours. We don’t plan to do much other than hang out with a friend who just returned to Korea and do some “healing”.

In modern South Korean culture, “healing” holidays have become a way of life. A healing trip is where you go to a peaceful place and practice a certain amount of stillness. Often you go with friends and family to spend time together embracing relationship and rest. A healing holiday usually involves a lot of doing nothing and eating everything. The goal is to come home rested rather then more stimulated. This is how our healing holiday went.

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8:15 am: Depart for Paju in the car. Tolls = 5,300 won for tolls (2,600 won for our Kia Morning)

We drive a Liquid Petroleum Gas Kia Morning which means our costs for travel by car remain quite low. For example, LPG is roughly half the cost of regular gas so we can fill up for 26,000 won. Kia Mornings also get 50% discounts on all road tolls and some reduced or free parking fees. That means that driving costs the same or less (for two people traveling together) as public transportation when we drive our LPG Kia Morning. Since we like to spend all our life savings on food and coffee (I would rather eat avocado toast until I die than have a house) this comes in handy in our lives.

8:50 am: Maesong Rest Stop for a snack = 5,000 won

Maesong Rest Area

Maesong Rest Area0

031-296-1501

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 화성시 매송면 서해안고속도로 315

A perfect family rest stop with a big play area, video games, splash pad, and snack bars.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Korean rest stops rock. We rarely get very far on the road before stopping off to grab a snack, get gas, or generally stretch our legs at a rest stop. Due to COVID right now, we don’t hang out at them like we used to. Instead, we grab what we need with masks on and hit the road. On this trip though, we were starving and stopped for a little fried chicken cup and leg stretch. The lady who sold us our chicken was super excited to tell us how great it was to have more foreigners living in South Korea and she wished she could speak English to communicate better. Always nice to hear we are wanted.

10:30 am: Paju Bus Terminal 고양종함터미널 to pick-up a friend and a Starbucks = 4,200 won

A friend from Incheon was joining us for the day, so we stopped off at the Paju Bus Terminal to pick her up and grab a coffee at Starbucks. The bus from Incheon to Paju takes about 1.15 minutes and requires no bus changes. The stopover was easy and maybe about 15 minutes added to our trip. No big deal and it allowed us to grab a coffee at Starbucks for the road.

10:45 am: Arrive at the hotel to park the car for the day

We arrived at our hotel very early and dropped off our car so we wouldn’t have to think about it. We weren’t checking in until later, but we preferred to walk and wander. We don’t want to have to think about going back to get our car and drive it to another place. Hotels and motels almost always let you leave your car and/or luggage if you arrive early. We have never once had anyone have an issue with it. It’s possible someone could get angry in Seoul where space is limited, but we haven’t experienced it. In fact, we started doing this because the hotel and motel owners offered. We just let them know your car was in the garage and we would be back for late check-in, then we grabbed what we needed and set off to walk the 10 minutes to Heyri Village.

Heyri Village exists for artists and creative minds. Many of the buildings are not open to the public as they are artist workspaces. However, there are also many activities and events for families and couples (Some things are closed for COVID season, but low-risk popular activities are still open.) We chose Heyri Village for Saturday because we want to avoid big crowds, enjoy the fall leaves, and we are art lovers. This village gives us all we need for the day with almost no actual contact with humans. Also, it’s been years since we had been back and we wanted to see how this little slice of artsy life survived 2020 thus far.

11:00 am: Heyri Village Ticket Booth

Ticket And Coupon Center

Ticket And Coupon Center0

Buy tickets and ticket packages to do different activities with in the village. They do not have the information in English so have Papago or another translate app ready.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

We stopped off at the ticket booth to see what attractions we wanted to see and all agreed we didn’t want to actually do anything. Plus, there were too many things for us to choose from. It felt like work. We are here for “healing” and making decisions sounded too hard. We just keep going.

11:45 am: Subi Japanese Restaurant = 35,000 won (3 people)

Subi

Subi 4

031-944-7772

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 파주시 탄현면 헤이리마을길 59-29

Pleasant Japanese food with the Heyri Art Village.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

After wandering for a while we were completely starved since we had only shared a snack and coffee for breakfast. Heyri Village restaurants focus on pizza or pasta but we weren’t feeling it, so we found a lovely little Japanese spot and decided to give it a try. What a success. The food didn’t taste just like Japan and we didn’t expect it to taste like Japan. Instead, it was a very delicious version of Japanese food that leans more toward Japanese flavors with a dash of Korean. We loved the Okonomiyaki, gyoza, and croquet. The ramen was average but still warm and wonderful on a chilly day. Absolutely felt like “healing” food. We will absolutely eat here again when we come back.

1:00 pm: Korean Modern History Museum = 7,000 won per adult

Modern History Museum

Modern History Museum5

Amazingly detailed museum that shows and doesn’t tell so it’s great for those who don’t speak Korean. Truly wonderful and delightful experience that brings you into history.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

I had no intention of doing anything productive or educational but my plans were derailed by this incredibly cool museum that brings Korean history to life. This museum is all about showing rather than telling, which is perfect when there is a language barrier. You don’t need to know any Korean to fall in love with this place. I actually want to go back in the future and spend more time just looking at stuff.

We spent about an hour cruising through the museum and trying to take it all in (it felt impossible to see everything). Be sure to pay attention to the floor because that is how you can tell where you are and where you need to go. The museum feels like a maze and you could get a little lost if you aren’t careful. I was not careful. I had to follow the feet on the floor to figure out how to exit (출구).

2:00 pm: Farmer’s Coffee = 11,000 won (2 coffees)

Farmer’s Table Cafe

Farmer’s Table Cafe2

Hangul Address

경기 파주시 탄현면 헤이리마을길 59-77

A stunning, spacious cafe with comfortable seating and spacious back patio space.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

The museum left us feeling thirsty and ready for another coffee. We chose Farmer’s which was almost next door to the museum. It looked lovely from the outside and the inside turned out to be beautiful and spacious as well. Unfortunately, they were not great at making coffee and burned the blazes out of the milk. Additionally, the “bakery” options were a disappointment. To add insult to injury, Farmer’s was massive but only offered one place to charge phones. I can’t say we will go there again, but we appreciated the chance to have a rest. We recommend choosing another place like 9 Block instead.

2:30 pm: Shop at the street craft market = 9,000 won

Heyri Village hosts a rather large craft market on Saturdays. We aren’t sure if this will happen all winter, however – when we were there – all kinds of craftspeople had tables out. The mood was festive and inviting.

3:00 pm: Korean Dessert Cafe = 18,000 won (3 people)

Hanok Cafe Heyri Art Village

Hanok Cafe Heyri Art Village4

0507-1430-2880

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 파주시 탄현면 헤이리마을길 59-58

Traditional Korean desserts and Russian desserts using Korean ingredients. The entrance can be hard to find as its hidden away behind other buildings.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

After some shopping, it was time to take a rest again. I’d had my eye on some delicious looking traditional rice cakes on Instagram. However, we were confused because we had walked past where it was supposed to be on the map and never saw the hanok.

Turns out we missed it because the cafe is hidden behind a bunch of other modern buildings. Thankfully we found it because the Hanok Cafe offered unique Korean desserts that made us happy and the whole mood of the place made our busy brains relax. The best “healing” happens in a hanok. The hanok design brings a certain sense of peace, cultural connection, and sense of place.

We tried their sweet potato bread (sweet potato wrapped in rice cake), mugwort cake, and rice cakes with honey. The sweet potato bread was the big winner and the mugwort cake and rice cakes also delighted us. Cultural note: if you are looking for a western dessert experience this is not a stop for you. This dessert is for those who are ok with unique textures and flavors.

3:30 pm: More walking around and exploring.

We did a bunch more looking at stuff. I’m guessing most people would take this time to visiting another museum or make something. Not our thing. We like to wander around.

4:45 pm: Insquare Cafe Restaurant = 18,5000 won

Insquare Restaurant Cafe

Insquare Restaurant Cafe4

Hangul Address

경기도 파주시 탄현면 헤이리마을길 21-6

One of the more unique Italian restaurants in Heyri Village. They offer salads, pasta, gnocchi, and lasagna.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Finally, dinner time arrived. We had been waiting all day to go try a noodle restaurant about a 30-minute walk outside of Heyri Village. Since that sounded hard without some food in our bellies, we pre-game dinner by splitting a plate of mushroom cream gnocchi. A true stroke of genius. The shared meal was a soup, creamy delight. After we finished up our snack we headed off to find real dinner.

5:30 pm: Walk to Dinner

We love walking, so even though the restaurant was up a hill and not near the hotel, we decided it was worth it. The walk itself was relaxing and beautiful in the fall weather. Plenty of other people were out for a stroll and it gave us all time to have a lovely chat. The lovely fall air and leaves created a wonderfully crunchy, cool walk.

6:00 pm: Paju Bbyeo Kalguksu = 23,000 won (2 people)

Gyohajyaeso

Gyohajyaeso5

0507-1444-8994

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 파주시 탄현면 평화로 725

Very delicious noodles with a big portion of bone-in-meat. Huge portions. Only three things on the menu. There can be a wait on weekends.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

We found this restaurant on Instagram as well. I took one look at photos and knew I must have these noodles. Harry and Lisa had the same reaction. Turned out that we weren’t the only ones dreaming of these noodles. The restaurant actually rented out the empty space next door and turned it into a waiting room. We signed into the waiting list via a tablet in the waiting room where we scanned a QR code from our Kakao talk account. The reservations system estimated a 45-minute wait but it ended up only being 20 minutes.

The – meal – was – so – worth – it! All of us love Korean food. This was top quality bbyeo kalguksu and the meat mandu topped off the magic. I wish this was closer to us. I would be eating there all of the time. This meal was the perfect a light and hearty way to end the day. We basically rolled back down the hill but also felt awesome. The perfect dinner for a day of “healing” since it tastes like a culinary hug.

7:30 pm: Walk back to the hotel

We tried to use Kakao taxi but there weren’t any taxis to speak of so we just walked home. Turned out to be the smart thing to do after such a big meal.

8:00 pm: Maru Hotel = 70,000 won

Maru Hotel

Maru Hotel5

031-945-1155

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 파주시 탄현면 필승로 448

In Paju, near heyri village, giant wooden tubs, and a massage chair in your room if you choose. Rooms for small families and couples. Well loved with strong reviews. Popular with Korean bloggers. Restaurants and delivery available nearby.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

We dropped Lisa off for her trip back to Paju and then checked into our hotel. I booked Maru Hotel using the Korean hotel booking app 여기어때 which also has a website called www.goodchoice.kr. If you can’t speak Korean, I would recommend accessing the 여기어때 website on your computer using chrome with the google translate extension plugged in. The deals are excellent.

Originally I had planned to introduce a unique type of hotel called a 무인텔 but I was sidetracked by Maru Hotel’s promise of a room with its own massage chair and wooden soaking tub. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect hotel for a healing weekend I don’t know what does. OMG, we loved our stay and it was only 70,000 for the night. I can’t tell you how magical it was to come back from walking over 9 miles and spend the evening in the massage and soaking in a giant tub of flaming hot water. It felt like a private spa. Maru Hotel even had a free instant espresso machine in the lobby. Consequently, we will be back at this spot for sure.

TOTAL SPENT: 93,000 won per person for the day plus a stay

The day felt full and relaxing. We at and drank whatever we felt like as we cruised through town. Certainly not a budget trip, but a very relaxing day.