Paju City was one of the places I enjoyed the most during this trip. It was a great break from the crowds that one would encounter in other tourist sites. We went to Paju Book City and Heyri Artist Village. Paju Book City On a Sunday, the place felt like a ghost town. It was a great contrast to the yesterday’s experience at Nami. It can also be a bit scary. Then again, one can always go back to the main avenue and there’d be people setting up their stalls at the mall. This place is like a large architectural showroom. Aside from being a hub for publishers and printing press, the place also has several bookstores and book cafes as well as museums. We contented ourselves with browsing the book illustrations as most of the books on sale were in Korean. I managed to get two English books from the discounted rack. These books would keep me busy during the long wait at the airport during the flight back to Manila. Reading books is highly encouraged among young Koreans to the point that bookstores look more like a playroom – a very large one – with books and arts materials as the central activity. By bookstore, I am referring to up to three-storey charmingly themed establishments with activity areas ranging from painting and drawing, running around, free reading, and even wall (and ceiling) climbing. These bookstores serve a the showroom for publishers new releases and book lines. There are also several book cafes, galleries, and museums in the area. Even on a Sunday, there’s still a lot of places to visit. We did miss some interesting places as they are closed during weekends. We did managed to chance upon great shops and a museum for that notebook obsession. Paju Book City combines architecture, books, notebooks, cafes, and galleries with the peace of a weekend.
From Paju Book City, we took the bus to Heyri Artist Village. I was a bit underwhelmed to find that the place was a compound of galleries with an amusement park vibe. Usually, when I think of an artists village, I expect a bit of quiet and peace. It was anything but quiet. Well, inside some galleries, it was peaceful. I guess, the trip to Heyri Artists Village was okay. And as usual, we slept most of the bus ride back to Seoul.