I love watching Korean dramas (and TV shows) and one impression of Seoul that I get from watching these shows is that the Hangang (gang=river) is the place to go to meet people, for a romantic date, just be sad (basically it’s where everyone goes for everything). With that in mind, we decided that we had to make our way to see this river!
The Hangang runs directly through Seoul, and yields great views of Seoul from twelve different parks that sit along the river. Interestingly, the river runs all the way to the 38th Parallel (the North and South Korean border) and therefore is not accessible.
Our original plan was to go to Yeoido Hangang Park (located in the center of Metropolitan Seoul) to go bike riding, but the weather was not our friend. We got rained in on the day we were going to go bike riding and plans changed. We were determined to go see the Hangang in person and asked our guesthouse hostess if there are any other parks near some of the places we were planning to go to (on a dry day). There are many hangang parks along the the Hanang, offering scenic views of Seoul, and outdoor activities. During our two week trip to South Korea, we stopped by two different hangang parks but did not have enough time to play at the park (that’ll be for next time).
Jamwon Hangang Park
LINE3 Sinsa Station Exit 5 (walk about 1000m)
LINE 3 Apgujeong Exit 1 (walk about 800m)
Click here for a map of Jamwon Hangang Park
Our guesthouse hostess lead us to Jamwon Hangang Park near Garosugil in the Gangnam area. After walking all the way down Garosugil, we simply crossed the street and continued walking down the quiet street until we reached the Jamwon Hangang Park.
Jamwon Hangang Park has an exercise area (I love that Korea has outdoor gyms at all of their parks), basketball courts, tennis courts, volley ball courts, soccer field, swimming pool, youth square, a nature exploration area, a cycling street, and water sports. Although it was not a rainy day, the weather was just mediocre. We had to walk through some muddy paths to get to the water, and the park was relatively quiet (we saw a couple families and several couples wandering around).
Being from Southern California I’m used to of seeing the big blue ocean at some world renowned beaches, and therefore when we finally reached this body of water I had to remind myself that this is no beach! The water was brown and quiet. It did get exciting when we saw some people playing on a banana boat.
There was a bike rental center near the entrance of the park, and rentals were not very expensive. I found it interesting that Koreans seemed to take sports very seriously; they always dress for the part. We saw bikers dressed in what looks like professional road bike outfits (also covered up with masks and gloves to protect them from the sun) zooming past us on the bike street.
Yeouido Hangang Park
LINE5 Yeouinaru Exit 2 or 3
Click here for a map of Jamwon Hangang Park
After our previous visit at the Jamwon Hangang Park we decided to make one more visit at another Hangang Park (the original park we had planned to go to). Located in the middle of Metropolitan Seoul. Just behind the park are tall skyscrapers home for major broadcasting TV stations (KBS, MBC, and SBS), the National Assembly Buildings, and many financial institutions. Yeouido Hangang Park is more than three times the size of the Jamwon Hangang Park, the weather was perfect, and it helps that it was a Sunday.
Although there aren’t any banana boats or wind surfing here, you will find many sports facilities (soccer fields, volleyball court, basketball courts, etc), fishing , boat docks, swimming pool, an outdoor stage, ecological park area, and a bike track.
One of my favorite features at Yeouido Hangang Park was this fountain (in the pictures on the left). Families and couples were playing in the water near the fountain, perfect for the summer. Is this the swimming pool? If only I wasn’t wearing my tennis shoes and jeans. The water actually flows all the way into the river (kind of cool).
I guess this is where families spend their weekend. Everyone seemed to have pitched their own tent out on the grass as the kids played in the sun. It actually kind of looks like a camp site. For those who did not bring a tent, the area under the bridge provided just enough shade.