New Parks Featuring Trains, Battleships & More In Seoul!
There is always something to see and do in Seoul and people are forever asking me how I know what’s going on. I just keep my ear to the ground I suppose. I also have good friends who are also in the know and it often happens that I hear about one thing, they hear about another in the same area and a great day trip comes out of it.
Here are a few transportation based adventures I’ve had recently that you should know about.
Don’t forget, there is always a map at the end of posts so you know where to go! Have fun out there.
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Gyeongchun Line Forest (경춘선숲길)
The Gyeonchun Line is a track of rail line that runs from Seoul (represented by the Chinese character “gyeong”) to Chuncheon (represented by the Chinese character “chun”). The line, unlike others like the Gyeongin Line which was constructed by Japanese forces to exploit the natural resources of the area, was originally constructed by Koreans to develop industries along the line. In February, 1926, a group of Chuncheon traders organized the Gyeongchun Railroad Support Group which finally developed a fully operational line by 1939.
It was initially operated by the Gyeongchun Railway Company and then came under government control in later years. As Seoul expanded, the line adapted and evolved. The section from Seongdong Station (present day Jegi-dong Station) to Seongbuk Station was demolished and other sections had to be rerouted. Now, to get to Chuncheon, passengers can hop aboard at Cheongnyangni Station and Sangbong Station. This allowed for a 6.3 kilometer long section along the abandoned route from Cheongchun Railroad Bridge to Damteo Village to open under the Gyeongchun Line Forest regeneration project. This section, which was just opened on November 18, 2017, includes the old Hwarangdae Station, a wooden building that is designated as Registered Cultural Property No. 300. The building was originally built during the Japanese occupation and was called Taereung Station. It is near the station that you can find a couple old steam locomotives and rail cars that you can climb in and walk around. There was also an old subway car that had just arrived and wasn’t yet open. It seems the park will house quite a few transportation themed items that you can step into allowing you to step back in history. Behind the Mika are a few shipping containers which will be a sort of gallery of train photos and relics.
If you want to take a walk along the track, from Hwarangdae Station, follow it northwest and you’ll come to the Gongneung-dong Dokkaebi Traditional Market about 20 minutes along. Around here, there are cafes and restaurants that are great for stopping in for lunch or a snack. And then head through the market to the other side and you can get back on the subway. You could continue to follow the train tracks a bit further north as well, but this route is a good half day of fun. Also, if you’re out in the area and want a bit more fun, check out the abandoned amusement park known as Yongma Land. It’s not far from here and you can easily hop into a taxi to get up to it in just 15 minutes. The abandoned amusement park is NOT something I’d recommend to parents with small children, but would be fun for adults and children old enough to know to stay away from rusted metal.
Start: Hwarangdae Subway Station, exit 4. Walk straight along the line and you’ll spot the trains and original Hwarangdae Station about 5 minutes down. (This is the beginning of the line.) If you want to follow the line, head back toward the station where you came from and then just keep walking and following the tracks.
Seoul Battleship Park (서울함 공원)
This park is one of Seoul’s newest landmarks just opened on November 22, 2017, and is in the Mangwon Han River Park area. The site houses four vessels with the largest, Frigate Seoul, being a 1,900 ton genuine decommissioned naval battleship that floats in the water just off shore. There is also a convoy, a high speed boat and a submarine and all of them can be walked in, around… and even under one too. It’s interesting for adults as well as children who are interested in transportation vessels. In the park area nearby, there are also food truck vendors set up with snacks and drinks.
Inside, visitors can see sleeping cabins, a dining area, a shower room, canteen, the steering room which has lots of buttons that are lit up and fun to push and pretend you’re steering. The submarine, the Dolgorae, in the area is the first made-by-Korea submarine and sits strikingly with it’s front end and back end sticking out of a glass structure. This submarine was a secret project when it was originally built in 1983 explains the information. Everything that shouldn’t be touched or opened is securely fastened and shut, but generally, most things are open and movable and you can move around as you like.
Though it’s a bit chilly now, it’s still a great spot to get out to. The sunset views are gorgeous from the ship and the glass enclosed building also has a rooftop you can check out to see the ship from above as well as get a great view of the Han River. This is a great addition to the Mapo-gu riverside area which also has the Nanji Ecological Park, an infinity pool and the gorgeous World Cup Park System that includes Sky Park and a meta-sequoia lined lane that is great for photos. The entrance to this area also brings you through Mangwon-dong which has a ton of great eats. If you want some tips on that, check out this post 11 Eats & Treats in Mangwon-dong as well as MORE Eats & Treats in Mangwon-dong.
Days: Tuesday ~ Sunday
Hours: November – February: weekdays 10:00am ~ 5:00pm / weekends: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm; March – October: weekdays: 10:00am ~ 7:00pm / weekends: 10:00am ~ 8:00pm
Entrance Fee: Adults: W3,000; Teens (13-18): W2,000; Children (6-12): W1,000
Eland Han River Cruise
To wrap up my recent transportation adventures, what’s better than the ELand Han River Cruise? I’ve actually been wanting to get on one of the Han River cruises for some time but just never got around to it. It probably would have taken me another couple of years but the closing ceremony for the Global Seoul Mates 2017 group was on the boat, so lucky me! If you were thinking it wouldn’t be enjoyable in the winter, you would be wrong. There are open air and closed boats so you have an option. We were on a buffet one so we were inside for the food and there was a back open air end for pictures. For the price of the buffet included, it’s really a steal. If you wanted to do something nice and have food while you’re at it, this is a great deal to be had and something different to do. The shortest adventures on the ferries are 30 minutes and don’t include a buffet. I’d say go all the way and get the food while you’re at it. It’s not amazingly delicious, but it’s a good Korean buffet.
There is also an evening cruise option to see the lights of the city that starts at 7:30 and returns at 9:00pm and themed cruises if you’re into K-dramas and more that vary.The closest station to the docks would be Yeouinaru Station. Take exit 3 and walk along the riverside until you see the boats.]