Haneul Park in the Autumn
At the beginning of the summer I headed to Haneul Park (하늘공원) with some friends. It was our first time and no one really knew what to expect. We had wanted to find a nice grassy spot for a picnic to welcome in the warm weather, but that idea was botched slightly by all of the rope fences. Haneul Park, which we’d taken to mean lots of grassy area to enjoy, was a high overlook with rope fences keeping people off of the “grass”. It wasn’t actually grass at all really though, it was buckwheat which would produce beautiful tan stalks in the fall and not really much in the way of scenery in the early summer. In the end we found some nice stone seats and enjoyed our potluck meal.
Come autumn I wondered what Sky Park looked like now that the buckwheat had the whole summer to grow and found a good evening to head up. The view was much more awe inspiring than in the spring with all of the buckwheat waving in the wind high above the city with the sun setting. It was either awe inspiring or just took me back to Ohio which looks very similar with tall wheat and corn stalks waving back and forth in the autumn which made me a pleasant quiet reflective moment.
Haneul Park is located in the highest place within World Cup Park. Vast grasslands were created by placing eulalia and cogongrass in the northern part of the park and sunflowers and buckwheat in its southern part. A natural ecosystem was finally established through releasing 30 thousand butterflies across the park. Once a landfill that had hit capacity, this area won’t give you any reminders of that time a short seventeen years ago. Now, among the grass waving in the wind and the lookout points around the area you can also spot five wind turbines, which generate the power to operate the lighting and the power necessary for the information center on the mountain. The methane gas produced from the mountain is also recycled into fuel for the stadium and nearby neighborhood making this a great example of what can be accomplished from trash in a positive manner.
If there is a chance to go, now is definitely the time. To get there Haneul Park can be accessed via World Cup Stadium Station on Seoul Metro Line 6 (exit #1). Walk through the Stadium parking lot, cross the street and into the park. Just prior to the pond, turn right and walk toward the blue pedestrian bridge. Cross the bridge and take the zig-zag staircase up to the park. If it is too chilly to walk up the 291 steps there are also shuttle “buses” available for a small fee which seemed to be battery operated so they make it up in about the same time it’d take you to walk up the steps.
Hours change depending on the season so be sure to check. Currently they’re open until 6:00PM, but it can be 5PM, 6PM or 7PM depending on the month. Check out their website for more information.
마포구 상암동 482
482 Sangam-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Bus: 271, 6715, 7011, 7013A, 7013B, 7019, 7715
Subway: Closest subway station is Worldcup Stadium Station. Take exit 1 and look at a local map in the station.