Sunny Seonyudo Island In The Middle of The Han River
Just south of the popular art and live music district known as Hongdae sits Seonyudo Island. Crossing the bridge from Hapjeong Station to Dangsan Station I’ve seen this little island in the middle of the Han river for a few years now and finally got off the bus to actually walk among the green that I’ve eyed from the bus windows.
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Seonyudo, meaning “an island where Taoist hermits play”, should not to be confused with the island of the same name in Jeolla Province. This island was once covered with cliffs that Confucian scholars would stroll among while writing poetry.
The cliffs no longer exist thanks to the Japanese occupation and their subsequent removal of them, but there is still plenty to see and numerous reasons to make a trip here if you’re in the area.
In 1978, the island was turned into a sewage treatment plant and it wasn’t until 23 years later with the Hangang Renaissance Project that it was reformed into the first recycling park in Korea. The project aimed to bring the river back to the people through restoration and creativity reforming the urban space that now surrounded the river banks. The goal was certainly met on this island where the cement blocks, paths, and pipes have been transformed in such a way to be apart of the green that once again has been allowed to take over the island.
Designed as an eco-conscious park there are greenhouses, lotus plants, bugs and birds galore. There are paths that go up and paths that go down, plenty of views of the surrounding city and plenty of places to play a good game of hide and seek. One of my future goals, get a good group of at least 15 people and do this. It’s the perfect size. Not too big, but not too small, and boundaries built in.
In the summer, families, couples and people just out for a wander head to the island either by bus, on foot or via car to take in the area that is a bit of a respite from the city. Honking cars can’t be heard here and there are numerous enclaves where you can set up a blanket with a picnic and sort of feel lost in the middle of the city.
This has become one of my favorite places to go each summer that I’ve lived in Korea. From morning until night, there’s usually few people and plenty of space and lots of fun to be found here.
Getting to Seonyudo Park is easy, especially if you’re already in the vibrant Hongdae District. If you’ll be visiting Seoul and want to stay in this cool area near the fun and night out action, check out the Hongdae Designers Hotel or The Win Art House for a great stay near a ton of great places.
영등포구 양화동 95
95 Yanghwa-dong Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Bus: 60, 60-3, 70, 70-2, 70-3, 88, 88-1, 602, 603, 604, 605, 642, 661, 670, 760, N26, N62, 5616, 5712, 5714, 6514, 6623, 6631, 6632, 6712, 6716, 7612
→ Take subway line 2 to Dangsan Station (exit #1), then take a bus (605, 6623, 6631, 6632, 6633) and get off at Hanshin Apts. Cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
→ Or, take subway line 9 to Seonyudo Station (exit #1) and walk until the large intersection. Take a right and walk towards the river. Eventually you’ll see the ramp spanning the freeway to Rainbow Bridge.
→ Or, take subway line 2 to Hapjeong Station (exit #8) and take a 20-minute walk across the Yangwha Bridge and enjoy nice views of the city while inhaling lots of vehicle exhaust. Or get a bus going south. There are a few that stop in the middle of the bridge and let you off to get to the park entrance. It’s free. Open 06:00-24:00.
Hours: Everyday: 6:00am – Midnight