I am not sure how you define holidays in a foreign land, but for me, I love to explore and see/do things that I will never ever get to see/do here in Singapore. And there were times when I just like to take the chance to lie back and do something that I hadn’t done in a while. i.e. Cycling in Yilan, Taiwan when I was there in year 2012 or most recently, picnicking by Han River in Seoul!
Read on to find out more! 🙂
[Korea September/October 2014]
5th Oct 2014 – Day 10
Hangang Park 한강공원
Han River 한강 is one of the major rivers in South Korea and one that played a big part in Korean history where the river was used as a trade route to China. Today, the river is no longer used for navigations and the lower stretches are lined with public parks and restaurants, especially in Seoul.
And owing to the fact that the troupe for my Taiwan 2012 trip had such a great time when we were cycling along Dongshan River in Yilan, I thought I should experience it again in Seoul this time but never found a more appropriate day or time to fit the activity in the itinerary.
So we were out having a shopping frenzy in Hongdae but I guess shopping all day just isn’t my kind of thing so I attempted to convince the girlfriend that we needed a break and we should take a short metro train ride from Hongdae to Hangang Park 한강공원 for a hiatus. And thankfully she agreed to my suggestion and we embarked on the route to the park while seizing a bunch of street food to accompany us as we sidetrack on this little adventure.
4 October 2014 at Hangang Park near Yeouido 여의도…
- Alight at Dangsan Metro Station (Line 2/ Line 9) and take Exit 4.
- Use link bridge from metro station to cross over to Hangang Park.
- Facing Han River, talk a 10 minute walk down to your right.
It was almost dusk when we arrived at Hangang Park, the sun was starting to set while casting a beautiful warm shade of gold over the river and it was actually quite windy! It was absolutely the perfect weather for an evening stroll along the river! Here’s a couple of shots of the lovely sight!
Anyway, we noticed the park started to get really crowded to a point that there is a family or a group of friends picnicking along every inch of the walkway when we were preparing to leave after the sun had set. And we only realised that there was supposed to be their fireworks festival after we got back to the metro station and the spot, where we sat down to devour the food we grabbed along the way to Hangang Park, was actually the best area to watch the fireworks display!
What a close shave with experiencing Seoul’s fireworks festival! But it doesn’t matter if we missed the fireworks festival by just that little bit! This short escape to Hangang Park in between our shopping spree at Hongdae made us fall in love with the park so much that I declared we are going to cancel all plans on the following day and head back to Hangang Park for a picnic! YES!
5 October 2015 Hangang Park at Sinsa-dong…
- Alight at Sinsa Metro Station (Line 3) and take exit 8.
- Walk down Dosan-daero 도산대로 and take a left turn on Dosan-daero 13-gil 도산대로13길 (Garosu-gil).
- Walk till the end of Garosu-gil, continue walking straight down through Apgujeong-ro 11-gil 압구정로11길 and take underpass at the end of the street.
- Arrive at Hangang Park and the rugby pitch.
From the entrance to Hangang Park from Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil, we found ourselves at a rugby pitch with lots of open spaces around the pitch to settle down for the day! Of course, we picked a shady spot just beside a big tree! Woohoo!
We managed to squeeze in a trip to the supermarket the night before to grab a couple of ingredients to make our own sandwich for the picnic! I know we are simply too amazing! Hehe…
And we were quite intrigued by how the locals turned up at the park for a picnic without preparing anything but just a mat to sit on. That really made us look like we were too well-prepared for our picnic! Then it all came to light to us when the first of the food delivery pamphlets was dropped in front of us while we were getting carried away with our own readings.
So if there is anything you fancy from those pamphlets, you can simply stop the fella who dropped it off in front of you and make your orders with him. He will then see to the ordering and deliver it to you after his colleague arrives with the food at the park. That’s probably the picnicking culture there in Seoul I supposed. That said, you really don’t have to worry about getting hungry (or thirsty) while you are out there! Awesome right?
And that’s definitely a day out at the park, rolling around with a blanket and a good read especially when it is sunny yet a cool Autumn day! Call me insane but you have to believe how totally awesome that feels to me!
Well, you might freak out at the fact we have wasted our chance to be somewhere else than Singapore and spent an entire day spent just picnicking but I guess this is really what I meant by lying back and doing something I actually love and haven’t had the chance to do for a long while!
And if you are wondering… Yes, being in Singapore has kinda become all work for me with rare occasions that I actually get to sit back and enjoy life. Play and chillax only happens when I am on a holiday! 😉
After the Korean war, American soldiers that stayed behind started to settle down in Yongsan that resulted in the growth of numerous businesses and housing complex there. And to cope with the growth of visitors prior to international meetings, Olympic Games and so on, the government strengthened the infrastructure and revitalized commerce to attract tourists to visit Itaewon 이태원.
So as long as Itaewon is concerned, we will be talking about meeting people from a wide range of nationalities and cultures. And fair enough, you can find a good diversity shopping and entertainment experiences, and very much needless to say, cuisines from around the world too!
And even if almost all the shops had shut for the day when we arrived after our picnic at Hangang Park, we took a walk along the streets to try out luck and had a look around around Itaewon!
Guess what! We stumbled upon the International Restaurant Street unintentionally and Itaewon doesn’t seem much like a ghost town anymore and we became spoilt for choices instantly! And if my frozen brains and vague memory of our evening at Itaewon didn’t fail me, the actual street name is Itaewon-ro 27-ga-gil 이태원로 27가길.
There seems to be more than enough establishments and we actually walked along the entire length of the street, only to find ourselves in a bistro and bar serving Korean soups, stews and beer even though we were supposed to be spoilt for choices and there is really no need to eat Korean soups and stews day in and out!
But for all I know, nothing beats seeing those bubbling hot soups served onto our table after an entire day out in the park! Especially when the egg drop soup tasted pretty similar to what my mom will prepare for us at home! Comfort food! Woohoo! And in case you are looking out for the name of this bistro and bar, I regret to inform you that I seriously cannot remember or I cannot find any information online! But you probably can look out for the most local looking place along that street with wooden patio on their frontage!
And that pretty much sums up our really fun and enjoyable day spent out at Hangang Park! If I have the chance to visit Seoul again, I am so going back to Hangang Park for a picnic!
More posts from Korea September/ October 2014 travelogue series:
- Day 1 – Seomyeon Shopping District, Gwangalli Beach & Gwangan Bridge
- Day 2 – Gamcheon Culture Village, Jagalchi Market, BIFF Square, Gukje Market & Gwangbok-ro Fashion Street
- Day 3 – Shinsegae Centum City, Haedong Yonggungsa & Jong-ga Daebak Jib
- Day 4 – KTX Busan to Seoul & Myeongdong
- Day 5 – Gwangjang Market, Bukchon Hanok Village (Samcheong-dong) & Insa-dong
- Day 6 – Edae Shopping District
- Day 7 – Gangnam and Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil
- Day 8 – Ihwa Mural Village and Namdaemun
- Day 9 – Hongdae (Hongik University Street)
- Day 10 – Hangang Park
- Day 11 – Bupyeong (Incheon) and Cheonggyecheon (Seoul)
- Day 12 & 13 – Flashback and Goodbye Korea (for now)!