* This post is written by Bobby, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
Hwaseong Fortress, also known as Suwon Fortress is a beautiful place to spend the day.
To begin the wall of the fortress has been almost completely connected so that it is possible to walk all the way around in a complete circle. At the present time there is one small section that has not been finished but was fairly easy to navigate through the Suwon market to continue on the wall.
Throughout the walk around the fortress wall there are numerous buildings. I was so surprised at how open so of these buildings were. Usually at these types of places the buildings are all off limits but not here. So of these buildings are completely open and you can walk all though them.
This fortress is so unique in many different ways. It is really cool to see how the city of Suwon has built up around the palace and walls of this fortress.
As you walk along the wall there are some really beautiful sites. Another pleasant surprise was at one of the bells. Located at the top of the mountain there is a large bell which you are able to ring for only 1,000 won. Once you pay, you can then ring the bel three times. They have some information there as to the meanings of each of the three rings. This was my first time ever in Korea to see a place where you can actually ring the bell!!
In the center of the fortress is a palace. The palace is not as grand as the ones in Seoul but it does have some pretty special qualities. It only costs 1,500 won to enter. I have been in so many palaces that I almost didn’t go but figured I should at least give it a try. I am so glad I did.
This palace was like most palaces in regards to look and design. However the points that made this one stand out were; first, they had many people wearing traditional clothes and performing. It was really cool. Second, they had small areas where you can do different types of traditional arts and crafts. At this section they have a small information booth which sells tokens. These tokens can then be used at the various different stands that they have in the palace. There were things such as making pottery, fans, traditional candy, Korean paper, and even dressing up in traditional clothes and having your picture taken on a throne. Lastly, this palace had so many unique hidden areas. Every turn took me into a new place and I saw things about palace life that I had never seen in any of the other palaces I had been.
I walked all the way around the fortress’ wall and toured the palace. In all it took me about 3.5 hours. I feel that I got a good sense of the fortress but I could have spent more time. If you come here I would recommend a minimum of 3 hours. There was a lot of walking and most of it is out in the open so be sure to bring sunscreen and lots of water if it is in the summer.
Another option is to take the dragon train. It runs through some of the fortress and makes it easy to see a lot without having to walk all the way. Great option for families with children or older seniors.
All of the activities around the fortress were priced really cheap. This would be a great day trip without the need to spend much money.
From Suwon Station, go into the underground shopping mall and take exit number 3 (not Suwon station exit 3, this is different). Walk out of the exit and turn 180. Walk towards the main bus stop for Suwon Station. From here you can take so many different busses.