A Town Built By Artists: Heyri, South Korea (헤이리 예술마을)

Ever wondered how a town would look like if it were engineered by artists, painters, sculptors, graphic artists, filmmakers, and potters?

Heyri Art Valley, Paju is a visual treat. Heyri is like a secret, a secret so delicious, the moment you touched down back home, you’d immediately want to tell everyone. The journey to Heyri is as mystical as it is scenic. Just next to North Korea, Heyri is a tapestry of ideologies but all narrating the same belief: make art, not war. The juxtaposition of the bohemian culture and the barbed-wire fences of North Korea’s border beguiles the mind. The town was the safe haven for artists who wanted an entire space for themselves to get away from the hustle and bustle of Seoul (which is an hour away) and create art. In 1995, the idea for Heyri Art Valley was born and stands as a symbol for peace especially when it’s just beside the intimidating and infamous border.

We invite you to take a walk – it’s alright to get lost. Spend a few hours strolling through the town – yes, the town is actually quite large, I don’t think we managed to see all of what we planned to see. Choose one of the quirky cafes and sip their homemade, out-of-this-world concoctions. Take pictures. Lots of them, for you’ll be so astounded at the street art surrounding you, you can never believe it until they are documented.

How to get to Heyri Art Valley

  • Take the subway/train to Hapjeong Station
  • Exit from Line 2, Exit 1
  • Outside the exit, locate the red bus sign (it is not at a proper bus stop and usually there is a queue)
  • Take bus 2200 (red bus, runs every 15 minutes), use your T-Money (Ez-link) to pay
  • Ride is about 40-45 minutes and stop announcements are in English (yay!) so you can’t miss it (you’ll be passing Paju Premium Outlets and Lotte Premium Outlets, we suggest visiting these outlets on your way back!)
  • Going back to Seoul? Take the same bus on the opposite side of the road – it’s quite straightforward!

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