The Gyeongui Line Forest Park Finally Opened in Yeonnam-dong
I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the Gyeongui Line Forest Trail Park that was just completed near Hongdae. This park stretches from Hongik Subway Station exit 3 back to Hongjecheon Stream which could lead you south to the Han River or north to a waterfall if you continued a walk in the area. The thing is, though the park opened this past summer with much gratitude from those locals like me (I’ve lived in Yeonnam-dong or a nearby dong for 7 of my 9 years in Korea) it seems most people just stay around the first block of the stretch of greenery. While I know most people head to Hongdae for the nightlife, concerts, booze and art scene, the university area is sorely missing some open green space and the thin, but long park is a great place to plant yourself on a lawn with some friends… before you really get your night fun started.
As long as I have been here, this area has been under construction. Restaurants, bars and pubs hoping they’d be able to hold out until the big debut came and went and of course now the rent in the area is sure to rise. There are some great little places in the area now though and NOT just in that first block out of the subway station, so keep on walking!
The Gyeongui Line is a stretch of railway that once connected Seoul to Sinuiju in North Korea that is more than 100 years old. While it doesn’t go as far as North Korea anymore, the Gyeongui Line has been reopened except that now it is below ground and a park sits atop it. The Yeonnam-Hongdae stretch is just 1.3 kilometers long but eventually, the Seoul city government has plans for a 6.3 kilometer long park that stretches from Yeonnam-dong to Munbae-dong in Yongsan.
While the beginning of the path out of the subway station is flanked by restaurants, bars and convenience stores, the businesses and number of people dissipates the further you walk away from the main thoroughfare. Not only that, but a stream with clean water can be found where this past summer local children and passerby could be found resting on the nearby banks cooling their feet in the water that went by. An old portion of the railway has been left intact and benches and pebble paths make the entire area appealing to the eye. Tall trees sit on the southern side and new saplings that have been planted are sure to be large and in charge in years to come. Flowers and flowering bushes have also been added to the landscape so throughout the summer there were colorful additions to the greenery this park added to the neighborhood.
Don’t miss out. The next time you’re headed to Hongdae, head out a little earlier and hit up this side of the area. You’re sure to find something you like.
Directions: Hongik Subway Station, exit 3. Just outside of the station to the right. Walk straight.