In April this year, I had the chance to fly to Seoul, Korea for a 5 days team-building trip with my company. We had everything arranged for us, from transportation to accommodation and itinerary. Thankfully we were given one free day. I was elated to breakaway and seek my little adventure exploring Seoul on my own.
I did a brief research and made up my mind to spend some time hanging out at Hangang Park. This park is built along the symbolic Han River which stretches 514km long and it is one of the parks that is dedicated to its people for sports and relaxation.
To give you an idea how long Han River is, it has 27 bridges built across the river.
As I exit from the subway station, smell of hot savoury food lingered in my nose reminded me that I have not had my lunch yet so I bought tteokbokki (korean spicy rice cake) and some Korean street food.
Armed with my lunch, I was ready to begin my afternoon in the park. I settled down on a patch of grass munching on my lunch while enjoying the cool wind on my face, people watching and overlooking Han River. It was one of the moments I embraced wholeheartedly.
The spot I had chosen was a ‘premium’ seat. Right under a leafless tree with a bird nest right above! Half the time I was looking up above, hoping and praying that the birds will not pee or shit on me or my food. (Well, thankfully nothing happened!)
Having my tummy filled, I started walking around, photographing what locals do in the park but before that, how could I not have a picture with Han River? Did I mention that the wind was so chilling that my nose became runny.
I watched Running Man, a Korean variety show where the hosts have to row across this river.. it must not have been an easy task and this connects to Yong San area.
Listened to waves crashing against the rocks on the river bank is one of the most beautiful music Nature creates.
There were many water activities happening in Han River, such as river cruising, riding a speedboat, jet-skiing to even boat sailing.
I wandered around, being ‘invisible’ and just observe how locals enjoy their weekend. Couples spent quality time together, completely oblivious of their surrounding, people capturing moments of their love ones and friends/ family having picnics and there were plenty who opt to pitch tents in the park.
Locals also get together for sports activities such as baseball, soccer, cycling and kite flying.
There is a bicycle kiosk in the park where you will be able to rent bikes at a fee. Too bad I could not stay for a long else I would really love to explore on a bike.
Just before I was ready to leave the park, I watched a performance put up by China National Tourism, perhaps in an attempt to attract more Koreans to China and learn more about Chinese culture.. They even have booths set up probably ready to take on any enquiries from interested parties.
I am glad I popped by to Hangang Park for it allow me to see how locals spent their weekends and I was able to enjoy a sense of peace and freedom.
How to get there:
There are a few ways to get there but the easiest way is to take subway (line 5). Alight at Yeouido station and exit at 2 or 3.
Have you been to Hangang Park? Which other parks have you visited and how similar/different are they?