Although the Koreans work very hard on weekdays, they like to take a rest and unwind themselves by going to the parks with their families and friends at weekends – riding bikes, picnicking, playing games, or just taking a walk to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I did the same when I studied Korean in Seoul and found it very refreshing and enjoyable. In fact, just seeing people having a good time with their families and friends already made me feel happy. In this post, we will talk about 3 of the good parks in Seoul where you can go to relax and unwind. We will cover other parks in the upcoming post.
Hangang Park (한강공원)
The Hangang Park is located next to the Hangang River, and covers a large area in which you can find many different facilities like soccer field, volleyball court, basketball court, tennis court, bicycle lanes, swimming pool, inline skating rinks, and aquatic leisure sports (e.g., water ski, yacht, water sleigh, water motorcycle) for you to engage in different activities.
The Hangang Park is divided into 12 districts, namely, Gwangnaru, Jamsil, Ttukseom, Jamwon, Banpo, Ichon, Yeouido, Yanghwa, Mangwon, Seonyudo, Nanji, and Gangseojig, and each district has its unique characteristics. For example, Yeouido, Jamsil, and Ttukseom districts are very popular because of the ferry cruise services on the Hangang River; the Yeouido district where all the major TV studios are located is a popular shooting venue for Korean TV dramas; the Ttukseom district is called the windsurfing and water-skiing mecca; and the Gwangnaru district is equipped with a bicycle racing stadium, rail bikes, bike paths and a bike center, and is a must-go place if you like riding bicycles. You can have a stroll in the Yeouido Hangang Park by watching this video.
World Cup Park (월드컵공원)
The World Cup Park was previously a landfill site with vast amount of waste and refuse reaching 100m in height and was then transformed into an ecological park. In May 2002, the park was named as the “World Cup Park” to commemorate the 2002 FIFA World Cup that took place in South Korea and Japan. It is composed of the following 5 smaller parks:
Pyeonghwa (Peace) Park (평화의공원) – it is closest to the Seoul World Cup Stadium and is built around a theme of peace. There are a pond filled with aquatic plants, bike paths towards the Hangang Park for a bike tour, and spacious lawns for you to rest.
Haneul (Sky) Park (하늘공원) – it has the highest elevation and is considered the closest to the sky among the 5 smaller parks. At the lookout points, you can enjoy spectacular views of Seoul’s tourist attractions like the N Seoul Tower and the 63 Square, the Hangang River, and the eulalia fields. Five wind-powered generators provide power to the Park and the Park’s maintenance office. In addition, 30,000 butterflies of different species were introduced in 2000 to stabilize the ecosystem.
The Haneul Park is full of eulalia, and in October every year, the Seoul Eulalia Festival (억새축제) is held here when the silver grass is in bloom. The Haneul Park is usually closed at night to help protect the wildlife, but during the Eulalia Festival, it opens until 10 p.m. for people to enjoy the beautiful night views. There are also events and cultural performances held during the Eulalia Festival. You can have a glimpse of the Seoul Eulalia Festival and the beautiful eulalia at night by watching this video.
Noeul (Sunset) Park (노을공원) – The Noeul Park is famous for its beautiful sunset. You can find art sculptures and the Noeul Square which is decorated with shrubs and flowers here. You can watch the sunset in the Noeul Park by clicking this link.
Nanji Hangang Park (난지한강공원) – It is a water-friendly park on the banks of the Hangang River. There are a camping ground, soccer field, basketball court, grass field, cruise ship port, and an area for nature studies here.
Nanjicheon Park (난지천공원) – It is located on the flatland along the Nanjicheon Stream. There are many small aquatic plants and around 50,000 trees providing a clean and fresh environment. It is also a good recreational spots with bike paths, walking trails, grass fields and playground.
Olympic Park (올림픽공원)
The Olympic Park was built for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and is a multi-purpose park where you can find facilities for culture, art, history and sports. The Olympic Park is divided into the following zones:
Cultural Art Park – Here you can enjoy a variety of cultural experiences and performances. There are also the Olympic Museum, the Seoul Olympics Museum of Art (one of the world’s top 5 sculpture museums) and the Music Fountain.
Leisure Sports Park – It consists of the Sports Square with walking trails, jogging paths, an acupressure path, and inline skating area, and the Peace Square with a wide variety of activities and sports lessons.
Environmental Ec0-Park – A lot of efforts have been made to rejuvenate the ecosystem in this Park. Now you can find spot-billed ducks, white herons, cuckoos, pheasants, Korean squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, woodpeckers and raccoons here.
History Experience Park – You can learn Korean history at the Mongchontoseong Fortress (which is a historic remain from the early Baekje period) and the Baekje Museum.
You can take a short walk in the Olympic Park by watching this video.
In the next blog post, we will continue to talk about some other good parks in Seoul for you to relax and unwind yourselves. So, watch this space! 🙂
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Seoul Best 100, Seoul Metropolitan Government, December 2016
Seoul: A Fun Vacation for the Whole Family, Seoul Metropolitan Government, December 2016
Seoul: The Special Charms of Seoul, Seoul Metropolitan Government, December 2016