Yangjae Citizens' Forest
Location: 99 Maeheon-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul
If you want to walk in nature with the scent of trees, visit Yangjae Citizens’ Forest. This place is the first park in Korea that has applied the concept of a forest onto a park. It has a dense forest which is normally hard to find in a city which provides a large resting place for citizens. There also are various types of trees in the park. In autumn, you can see a spectacular view of maple trees and in spring, cherry blossom trees stand by the roads along Yeouicheon and Yangjaecheon. The park opened in November 1986 as a plan to improve the environment around the Yangjae Tollgate. It was also opened to prepare for the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics. The park is easy to access as it is next to the ‘Yangjae Citizens’ Forest Station’, a subway station on the Shinbundang Line.
Hanyangdoseong, Seoul City Wall
Location: Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
Open Hours: Spring & Fall 07:00–18:00, Summer 07:00–19:00, Winter 09:00–17:00
This place offers a trekking course that is not too difficult to go through but is also high enough to capture the scenery of Seoul including Gyeongbokgung and Namsan. Hanyangdoseong refers to a fortress and a gate surrounding Seoul. King Taejo, the founder of Joseon, ordered construction of the fortress to defend the capital city, Hanyang. The ‘Bugaksan Course’, one of the four sections of Hanyangdoseong-gil, is famous for its scenic beauty and environment. The course starts from Changuimun Gate, passes through Sukjeongmun, Malbawi Information Center, Waryong Park and ends at Hyehwamun Gate. Alongside the path, you can walk along the fortress city walls with wonderful scenery next to it. Hanyangdoseong-gil also offers a cultural commentary program from March to July, and from September to November twice a day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. From Malbawi Information Center and Sukjeongmun Gate, you can walk 2.2 kilometers from each point to the opposite end with a tour guide and enjoy the cultural commentary for free without any prior reservations.
Location: 95 Haneulgongwon-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Open Hours: No entry at nighttime until 05:00 (varies by month, check out their website before you go: http://bitly.kr/19l3OH)
Haneul Park is on top of a small hill, which takes about 20 minutes by foot to reach. The park offers a round-trip train, known as the ‘Toad Train’ which you can ride for 3,000 won. When you reach the top of the park, you can take in Seoul’s beautiful view and observe various seasonal plants, such as the flame plant and the pink muhly grass. In autumn, many people visit this place to enjoy the Flame Plant Festival. Haneul Park was opened on May 1, 2002 to change Nanji Garbage Dump, contaminated with the city’s living waste, into a natural ecosystem to commemorate the 17th World Cup in 2002. What especially sets Haneul Park apart from other parks in Seoul is how it produces natural energy, used as an energy source for its own facilities. The 30-meter-tall power tower along with five giant wind turbines produces 100 kilowatts of electricity per a day.