Seoul, Korea is an incredible city. It is vibrant and alive around the clock. However, despite the urban jungle that sprawls into the countryside and seemingly from one coast to the next, city planers have developed a masterpiece along the Han. Created in 2005, Seoul Forest was a 235 billion won development project that created five separate parks on a single site. The parks focus on several different themes and make up over 17 million square feet of beauty.
Since I spend most of my days inside and away from the sun, I have a huge affinity for wide, open spaces. Any chance I get, I try to get outdoors, even if the weather isn’t that nice. With the growing number of high-rise buildings in the Seoul Metro area, one can feel trapped and confined. That’s what makes Seoul Forest such a welcomed breath of fresh air. With its five parks, a visit could entail art, music, games, and nature.
Roughly about 1 kilometer from Ttukseom Station on Line 2, you’ll find the park’s main entrance. Stepping through the free gates, you’ll be greeted by a smiling volunteer that will be happy to give you a map of the forest. As you unfold the gift, you’ll start to see why these parks are so special, for they have everything, including much needed services (restrooms) dotted throughout the grounds.
Near the main entrance is the Culture and Art Park. Dotted with sculptures and fountains, it welcomes visitors with wonderfully planted flowers and fountains. There’s even a waterside café for dining and relaxation. From there, one can make it to my personal favorite of the five: the Ecological Forest. While Korea is famous for mountains and trees, this reclaimed land has been transformed into a wondrous area. But what makes this portion of Seoul Forest truly remarkable are the 50 deer living here. During the summer, special programs are in place allowing visitors to get up close and feed these animals.
The Wetlands Ecological Field is close and offered several educational programs. It also makes great use of the natural environment. Combined with the Han Riverside Park, these two areas provided visitors with both secluded views of nature and the modern skyline of Seoul reflected in the river.
How did the forest take shape? That bit of thanks can go to the former Ttukseom water treatment facility that now has been re-purposed into the Nature Experience Center. These buildings house botanical and insect gardens – a thrill for any young boy! Those not interested in taking in the bugs can decide on their own path through the network of trails or choose one of the three already mapped out for visitors: including the Date Course!
The park is not only open year round, but around the clock, meaning you can enjoy this urban escape any time of day or during any part of the year. Whether it is in the summer, when everything is green and the fountains are flowing, in the fall when the Ginkgo leaves are changing, during winter months when it is full of snow, or in the spring, when life is starting to re-emerge. The park is there and waiting for you!
Location: Seoul-si Seongdong-gu Seongsu1-ga 1-dong 685
Phone: Korea Travel Phone +82-2-1330
Operating Hours – Open 24 hours all year round
* Ecological Forest (open all year round) Summer Season 07:00 – 20:00 / Winter Season 08:00 – 18:00
* Community center 09:00 – 18:00
* Insect Garden 10:00 – 17:00