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|One of the many artsy stuff at Heyri Art Village|
I spent my first two years in Korea living in Paju, the Northernmost city of South Korea. Not a lot of tourists go to Paju unless otherwise they have DMZ on their itinerary. But what we don’t know about Paju is that there are a lot of places it can offer to the travelers aside from the usual DMZ. One of these places is this village called Heyri Art Valley(헤이리 예술마을). I’ve been wanting to go to this village ever since, but I recently just got the chance to go there. When I arrived at the gate of the village, one word came to my mind, “FUN”. The colorful surroundings, the unique design of the buildings and the whole concept of this village are so perfect for those who want to combine art and fun in one journey.
As I explored the village, I realized that it’s not just a place, it’s actually a whole city. Ok fine, I exaggerated it a bit, but yeah, it’s so huge that one whole day may not enough to just walk around the village. As I surveyed it, there are actually 8 gates (or maybe more) to enter the place. Just imagine how vast a village with an 8 gates, very big indeed.
Maybe you are now asking, what can you see at this village? Well, for me, if not for the concept of art which you can by the way see in every corner of this place, it’s just an ordinary complex, or I guess the right term is a “compound”. As what I’ve said, the art aspect makes this place very interesting. I mean, how could you not appreciate a village of art. Walk in the street, checkout the buildings and even sit in the lobby, this place is just all about art, nothing more.
|Chilling at the one of the lobbies|
What’s inside the compound? It’s just actually a haven of galleries, exhibitions halls, museums, theaters, Artshop, restaurants, cafes, shops and whatnot. In short, everything you can think related to art is best represented in this place. I was astounded by the numbers of museums in the area. Anywhere you go, there’s a museum about everything. There’s a toy museum where you can bring out the kid in you and appreciate the toys, there’s Alive museum where you can take photos with the displays that look like real. There’s a museum about knife, about time, about mirror, and.. ugh… about everything. And guess what, there’s an erotic museum too. Uhmmm.. you like that?
|One of the many museums at Heyri Art Village|
Galleries are everywhere too. If you want to see the works of the greatest artists in Korea, maybe you can find their exhibits in this village. But you don’t actually need to go to every museum, galleries and exhibits to appreciate the art. Just walk around and you can experience fun with art everywhere in the area.
|At random street in the village|
The buildings are awesome too. They come in different shapes and designs which make it even more interesting. You can see building designs from weird, to nice to sophisticated one. Truly, architecture is an art.
|Unique design of buildings|
The only downside of this village is you have to pay for the entrances on every museum, galleries, etc. Ticket prices range from 6,000 won to 10,000 won. But if you don’t want to pay, then you can just walk around and explore the place.There are restaurants, food stalls and themed cafes in the area, so you need not to worry about where to eat and what to eat.
|One of the many themed cafes in the village|
Would I go back there?
Probably not. I think this place is good for a one time visit. Aside from it’s expensive having to pay every single museum you want to enter, it’s pretty difficult to go to the area. The village is located at 70-21, Heyrimaeul-gil, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 파주시 탄현면 헤이리마을길 70-21), but if you will go there via Subway, you can get off at Hapjeong Station, go to Exit 2 and take Bus number 2200 and then get off at Heyri Bus Stop. If you come from Paju or from neighboring city in the Northern Part of South Korea, the most convenient way to go there is via Geumcheon Station. When you exit the station, you need to cross the road and take bus number 900 and get off at Heyri bus Stop.
Next time you feel like going around appreciating art, why not go to Heyri Art Valley? It’s a one stop art appreciation area that opens 24 hours for everyone who wants to visit. However, museums and galleries may only operate during daytime. The village is closed every Monday and entrance is absolutely free.