There are so many fantastic walking and cycling trails in Seoul. Hongjecheon stands out due to it’s ease – you can easily walk or cycle here with children – and also the number of unique stops along the way.
You can start and finish wherever you wish, but this tour begins at Sangmyung University (or at least the bus stop at the bottom of the hill to Sangmyung University) and ends at the Han River. You could take it the opposite direction, or jump in anywhere in between.
Palseongsaeng Chinese Restaurant
On the corner of the street leading up to Sangmyung University is this fantastic restaurant. If you start or end your journey here around a mealtime, don’t miss it! This is the best Chinese food I’ve had in Korea. It’s a little expensive, but the setting and atmosphere transport you to another place and time. All the food was good! You can get your usual jjajangmyun but also more authentic Chinese dishes, and the lunch set menu provides a nice variety of flavours.
Hongjimun Gate and Fortress
The fortress and gate dates back to 1712 and the Joseon Dynasty. There’s nothing particularly exciting about the gate, but I do enjoy imagining what Seoul might have been like during that time when this was the wall around the city. That means we live beyond the old city limits! The area is also a starting point to get up into Bukhansan. Bukhansan Jarak-gil is a relatively easy walking trail. Once you’re up the stairs, it’s a comfortable boardwalk up in the trees.
The star of Okcheonam Hermitag is the image of the Seated Bodhisattva, carved into white stone. According to the signage outside the hermitage, the carving dates back to the 12th or 13th century, during the Goryeo period. The site was also originally built at the source of a natural spring that was said to heal the sick.
There are so many signs pointing to Peobangto Shijang, I assumed it must be a must-see attraction. In reality, there’s not much there. Hongjecheon Stream does become very pretty around this area, and the quaint streets around Pobangteo Market are worth a stroll if you have the time. The dongatsu restaurant is particularly good and there’s a decent Vietnamese restaurant around the corner too. Also, we live at the end of this street, so come and visit us if you want to get in touch 🙂
Gaemi Maeul Street Art
If you can handle the steep climb up the hill, Gaemi Maeul (or ‘ant village’), is well worth a visit! The name comes from the residents who apparently live and work like ants. If you’re an art enthusiast or photographer then definitely explore this mural-covered neighbourhood!
Bird Watching and Turtle Spotting
All along the Hongje stream, you can spot ducks (and ducklings if you’re lucky!), regal looking snowy herons, fish of all sizes, and turtles! Every day on the way to and from school we love watching all the wildlife along the stream.
Seemingly not as famous, but in my opinion much more impressive than Pobangteo Market, is Inwang Market. Stop off here for all your fresh fruit and vegetable needs! There’s also a market style food court in the middle with the regular gimbap, noodles and rice dishes.
Light Art Installation Tunnel
Just past the Inwang Market, you can go down through a tunnel with a light art installation. Good fun for adults and kids alike!
The beautiful and peaceful waterfall flows during the warmer months and brings a sense of calm in the middle of busy Seoul. If you cross stepping stone bridge across the stream, you can make your way up to Ansan park and hike Ansan mountain if you wish.
Ansan Cherry Blossom Walkway is spectacular during spring, but the whole area and the Ansan Jarak-gil walking trail is the perfect antidote to city life any time of year.
Shingihan Playground is about 10 minutes off the track from Honjecheon. Giant slides, zip lines, huge sandpits, climbing frames and water play – this playground has it all!
Seodaemun Museum of Natural History
Seodaemun Museum of Natural History isn’t the best museum I’ve ever been to, but for 3,000won per adult and less for kids, it’s well worth it!! Dinosaur bones, fossils, countless interactive exhibitions about the Earth and space, it certainly entertained and educated our kids for several hours.