“Wolamjae ,” a place with tranquility

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1.      Wolamjae ,” a place with tranquility


While planning the trip with my parents to Gyeongju, instead of staying in usual pension or condo, I wanted a unique style. 

one night stay experience at ‘Hanok;’ - an old traditional Korean house where I can have hands-on experience of well-being. That’s how I ended up staying in ‘Gyeongju Gotaek(an ancient Korean traditional old house.)’ Gotaek available for sleepover experience in Gyeongju are ‘Su-o-jae’, ‘Dong-nak-dang’ and ‘Wolamjae ’. I liked the “Wolamjae ” most, as it is a standalone house that seems more comfortable. 


<Quoted from Gyeongju Gotaek website >

‘Wolamjae ’ is a house built to reward General Kim Ho for his virtuous life. He rendered distinguished services for the country during the Imjin war -Japanese invasion of Korea. It is a very historic Gotaek which lasted for roughly more than 400 years.


That explains why even every single doorknob and column keeps the peaceful and natural beauty of traces of time.


Also the air was so fresh and clean as Mt. Namsan is nearby.

During summer, you can put all the doors of Toet-maru(a wooden veranda of Gotaek) up and connect this area openly with Daecheong-maru(a traditional hall floor of Gotaek.)

In a hot summer day!! Enjoying the breeze, I feel like I would fall asleep while reading a book. Furthermore, eating watermelon here would make me feel like being in heaven.


However, as for now, the scenery from Toet-maru(a wooden veranda of Gotaek) is a bit desolate as it is winter, but I can imagine that during spring, the scenery would be breathtaking with beautiful flower. And in summer, green trees will grow and unnamed wild flowers will blossom.


The overall size of the Gotaek or the front yard is not that big but it has such a natural and graceful beauty in every corner of it.  

I felt so comfortable and relaxing that I even felt like being in a world which is different from outside world having the main door in between. :D

Now, should we take a look inside the house?

‘Wolamjae ’ has typical southern house structure which is divided into four blocks and Daecheong-maru(a traditional hall floor of Gotaek) in the center of the house.

‘Woram Room 3’ in the structure picture of ‘Wolamjae ’, it is an Ondol room(Korean style bedding and floor heating) which has under-floor heated system with firewood. As we were supposed to arrive late at night, the manager of the house even made the bed for us on the warm floor. We were very much impressed and touched by his thoughtful consideration.


Also, even I am quite sensitive about sleeping environment, I could sleep deeply and peacefully as the bedclothes were so soft and clean and the Ondol floor was still warm till the morning.  

And these rooms are called ‘Woram Room 1’ and ‘Woram Room 2.’

(These rooms are separated by a door between the two rooms; it becomes one room when the door is open and two rooms when the door is closed)

As three sides out of four sides of the room are windows, all the windows are double or triple layered.

We could see the wisdom of our ancestors though this as they tried to protect the strong winter wind through the windows.


There are refrigerator, microwave and different types of tea in the closet in Daecheong-maru(a traditional hall floor of Gotaek.)

Even though cooking is not allowed to prevent fire, coffee pot and toaster are available that you can prepare some toast and coffee. I think you can also have a quick breakfast with an instant rice and cup noodle.

Flush toilet and bathroom is separated from the house but it is very close which makes it convenient.

It could be a little bit uncomfortable only in winter as you have to wear all your clothes when you are going for shower. It was not that cold when taking the shower, but in the short moment of coming back to the house or going to the toilet during the night, you will feel freezing wind.


After spending a night on the hot floor, I was thinking ‘How could the floor still be warm or even hot until the morning?’ So I went to the backyard to check it out,

I found out that the firewood were already nicely organized and stacked up.

There was also a sound heard all night that I was wondering whether it was raining. However, as expected, it was the sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the wind from the dense bamboo grove.

When I was a child, I heard this sound when I spend a night in a country house. It sounded refreshing during the day but it was somehow scary at night that I couldn’t sleep well. However, I am far older than 30 now! In this age, it sounds not only warm but comfortable like a lullaby. Maybe it was the bamboo grove which brought me into a deep sleep.

And there was one more thing that made me wonder all night. It was the so called ‘Agung-i(Korean traditional furnace).’

I was wondering ‘why is the floor still hot even when there’s nobody making a fire in the furnace? I heard it is Ondol room.. was it wrong?’

With all these questions, I opened the door in the backyard and all I could find were ashes, not even a hint of embers among the ashes!!

Later, I asked from the manager of the house and he said even though all we see are ashes without ember, the heat lasts until the next day. Once fire is made, the room is kept warm for two to three days. While hearing this, I was thinking that there is nothing better than Korean Ondol.


Frankly, even after making reservation, I was thinking ‘It would be very uncomfortable’, ‘Wouldn’t it be too cold?’ and I had all these worries and fear even until I entered the door.

However, now that I actually have spent a night here, I wish I could stay one more day. I wished I could hear the sound of bamboo leaves once more and see the scenery over the fence from Daecheong-maru (a traditional hall floor of Gotaek.)  

One night in a 400-year-old Gotaek (an ancient Korean traditional old house) which has a peaceful beauty and keeps the traces of time located in Gyeongju, the capital of the Silla Kingdom for a thousand years!

Having no television around was not uncomfortable at all. Rather I could hear the sound of bird and wind more clearly. Also, even though an equipped cooking space was not available, but because of that, the scent of the trees and wind were more vivid.


A place where you can forget the troubled world and talk about the good old memories with good people, that’s what Hanok(an old traditional Korean house) is!

One night in ‘Wolamjae ’ was like a precious present to me. I am looking forward to open that door again and stay there.

I already miss the sound of bamboo leaves, scent of the trees and warm sunshine in Toet-maru(a wooden veranda of Gotaek.)


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