Nanji Ecological Park: Finding Solitude in Seoul
A couple summers back, Jae-oo and I headed to the Gangseo Marsh Ecological Park and enjoyed the sights in the rather quiet surroundings on the banks of the Han River. At the time, I didn’t even realize we had our own ecological park right down the street near the Nanji Hangang Park. I had ridden my bike along the Han River and passed the park numerous times but hadn’t taken a gander. Recently, we did.
It’s just far enough away from Nanji Han Park and the pool and other more popular places to picnic that there weren’t numerous people meandering around. The tall green stalks waving in the wind also made the paths seem dubious but like we were on an adventure few take.
(This page contains affiliate links. That means if you click on them and purchase something, I will get a percentage of the transaction to keep up this blog and maybe if there’s a little extra to buy a bottle of red wine to go with dinner. Thanks for the support!)
A few summers ago when I had ridden my bike down through this area, I noted how desolate and rather disgusting it was. While the riverside projects to clean up the banks and make the parks more desirable had started, they hadn’t seemed to have gotten to this area. The bike paths were questionable and trash was strewn here and there. All of that added up to me wanting to just ride on and NOT stop anywhere. Now, however, the paths have been cleaned up, the trash collected and the wooden planked paths that go over the water that had planks missing and looked as if it wouldn’t hold weight, are now pieced back together and look and felt strong and in place. The Nanji Ecological Park (난지생태습지원) sits on the grounds of what used to be a massive landfill. Once known as “an island of trash”, it was Seoul’s official dump site from 1978 until 1992 when the Ecological Landfill Recovery Project was started. Just like the World Cup Parks which sit on what used to be massive landfills and are now generating energy from the trash being transformed, this park has been given new life. From the bike path, starts a dirt path that leads this way and that through the tall stalks. Eventually, the dirt path takes a step onto a wooden planked path as the water starts to come in. The wooden paths lead out all the way to overlook the river and probably one of the more picture perfect and cool things is a perfect circle path that leads around an area that shows the tall stalks, water with fish and then reaches the Han before coming back around again. It’s a cool place to get a shot, enjoy the quiet and nature and take a breath of fresh air that those numerous plants are producing.
In the summer, the green is just so lush and overwhelming but I’ve seen some photos of this park in the autumn when the stalks are tall and brown waving in the wind which look pretty appealing too. Few people seem to make it this far on the bike path and those that do don’t seem to stop so the solitude that one is able to find here is also extremely appealing. This park is NOT close to a subway station which is likely why few people visit but if you want to take a walk or rent a bike and head over, it’s a great place to take a walk around in a big circle! There’s also a nearby Ecological Park Learning Center which hosts different classes for children to learn more about these nature surroundings.
We’re always on the look-out for quiet places in the city and this is definitely one of those spots.
Nanji Ecological Park (난지생태습지원)
Sangam-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울 마포구 상암동
By Subway: World Cup Stadium Station, exit 1. Head toward Pyeonghwa Park (Peace Park) then to Sky Park and follow the path that is around the foot of the mountain there heading west. You’ll come to a walking bridge to pass over the highway after the meta-sequoia lined road at the foot of Sky Park. Head toward Nanji Hangang Park and then go west and keep going and you’ll run into the ecological park.