Guide to Winter Festivals (December-February)

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryWinter in Korea means plenty of festive gatherings, from Christmas to New Year’s Eve parties. As December comes to an end and the year draws to a close, people gather at sunrise festival Venues across Korea to welcome in the first sunrise of the New Year. January and February are perfect for reveling in the chilly weather by visiting snow and ice festivals. Each region has its own unique winter culture and specialty products, for endless opportunities to enjoy an active winter in Korea.

Active Festivals to Keep Warm

Pyeongchang Trout Festival
•Period: December 22, 2018-January 27, 2019
•Venue: Areas of Odaecheon Stream
3562, Gyeonggang-ro, Jinbu-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
•Pyeongchang Trout Festival annually takes place in Pyeongchang-gun, the largest trout producer in Korea. Trout cultivated in the clear waters of Pyeongchang are popular for their rich and chewy texture. At the festival, visitors can enjoy ice fishing along with other fun activities such as barehanded fishing and sledding. The festival venue is also close to Alpensia Ski Resort and Yongpyong Ski Resort, where PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games took place.

Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival
•Period: December 14, 2018-February 17, 2019
•‌Venue: Areas of Gapyeongcheon Stream
60, Jaraseom-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
•‌The Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival is famous for ice fishing for trout, and your catch can be eaten right away, raw or grilled! Other activities include ice sledding, riding bumper cars on snow, traditional experiences, and more. It is easy to reach Gapyeong simply by taking the ITX Cheongchun train from Yongsan Station. There are also popular attractions nearby such as Namiseom Island, The Garden of Morning Calm, and Petite France.

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
•Period: January 5–27, 2019
•Venue: Areas of Hwacheoncheon Stream
‌ ‌137, Sancheoneo-gil, Hwacheon-eup, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do
•‌The Sancheoneo Ice Festival is held in the pristine natural environment around Hwacheoncheon Stream, the natural habitat of mountain trout and otters. One of the most popular programs at the festival is ice fishing, where people cut a hole through thick ice and try their luck at catching trout. Visitors can also brave the icy water and try catching fish barehanded. Helpful staff are available to ensure that even first-timers get a catch. Freshly caught fish can be consumed either raw or grilled on site.

Inje Icefish Festival
•Period: January 19-January 27, 20189
•Venue: Areas of Bingeoho Lake
555-2, Bupyeong-ri, Nam-myeon, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do
•‌At Inje Icefish Festival, visitors can enjoy ice fishing and other exciting programs such as ice sledding, a large icefish sled, and snow slides. All the icefish caught by participants can be served as hoe (sliced raw fish) or deep-fried for a warm treat.

Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival
•Period: January 18-February 3, 2019
•Venue: Areas of Taebaeksan National Park and Hwangji Pond, Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do
162, Cheonjedan-gil, Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do
•‌Taebaeksan Snow Festival offers guests an array of events and activities that are sure to amuse and entertain everyone. In addition to performances and exquisite snow sculptures, visitors can participate in snow sledding with the beautiful Taebaeksan Mountain covered with snow as their backdrop.

Jeju Fire Festival
•Period: March 7-10, 2019
•Venue: Areas of Saebyeol Oreum
San 59-8, Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si
•‌The Jeju Fire Festival is held annually to wish for a healthy and prosperous new year. Long ago, Jeju farmers would set fire to their fields to kill harmful bugs and encourage new grass for their cattle. This tradition is reenacted by setting an entire side of the mountain (“oreum”) on fire. Visitors can also experience the traditional lifestyle and practices of Korea’s farmers, including a traditional wedding ceremony at the festival.

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Experience Jeju at a Leisurely Pace

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryIOne of the main reasons people go on vacation is to get rid of stress. The stress-relieving powers of simple things such as enjoying a good meal or buying some new shoes are amplified when on vacation! Everything tastes better and looks better, even your home. Jeju Island is the perfect place to relax, with a natural environment, delicious local foods, and unique shopping opportunities. Set out now for your very own stress-relieving trip to Jeju-do!
There are a number of smaller islands around Jeju, including Udo and Marado Islands. These days, Gapado Island, the fourth largest island, has become a popular day-trip destination. The island resembles a swimming ray when seen from above. The island is most visited during spring, when the fields of green barley are waving in the sea breeze.

Setting off for Gapado Island
The ferry to Gapado Island departs from Unjinhang Harbor in Hamo-ri, Seogwipo-si off the southwest coast. The ferry from Unjinhang Harbor operates from 09:00 to 16:00, although the last ferry back from Gapado Island is at 16:20. Tickets are purchased as a round-trip set, so if you leave after 15:00, you’ll have to spend the night on the island and return the next morning. Tickets must be purchased at least 40 minutes before departure, in order for all passengers to be recorded. On-site ticket purchase is available but you may have to wait a few hours until the next ferry if you visit during the peak season. It’s recommended to reserve tickets in advance, either online or over the phone. Foreigners must submit their passport for verification when purchasing or picking up their ticket on-site.

Fun on Gapado Island
The best way to see all the island has to offer in a short amount of time is by renting a bicycle. The bike rental is located right at the harbor, so you can’t miss it! There are both regular and tandem bicycles for rent, at a rate of 5,000 won and 10,000 won respectively. Payment is only accepted in cash, so be sure to plan ahead if you want to rent one.
There is a circular road around the coast of the island that offers beautiful sights of the sea, but don’t forget the interior of the island. One place you must see is Somang Observation Deck. Located at the highest point of the island, both Marado Island to the south and Hallasan Mountain to the north can be seen from the observation deck. The railings of the deck are decorated with many ribbons with wishes and hopes, somang in Korean, written on them, giving the location its name.
Another attraction on the island is Pang Gallery, dedicated to the unique painting style of women in the Mithila region of the Indian subcontinent. The art is created with natural dyes and pigments, using fingers and twigs as brushes. The paintings generally focus on nature, daily life, or Hindu gods and goddesses.

Eat your stress away

Special treat of the island
There are a number of local specialties on Gapado Island, foremost of which is green barley ice cream! This soft serve ice cream is popular among all ages, and the pale green color makes for beautiful photos. The ice cream can be ordered in a cup or cone, both of which are served with a small ppeongtwigi (rice puff) snack.
Other snacks on the island include green barley makgeolli (rice wine) and green barley misutgaru (roasted grain drink). All these treats can be found at the convenience stores and snack bars around the harbor. We recommend buying snacks to enjoy while you wait for the ferry to return.

Pier 22
Being an island, it’s obvious that some of the best foods you’ll find in Jeju are seafood dishes! If you’re looking for a dish favored by locals, try the red-banded lobster jjim (steamed lobster) from Pier 22 near Geumneungeutteum Beach. Red-banded lobsters are a unique species of lobster with a hard, sharp shell, found only the in southern sea around Korea. Because of the hard shell, the restaurant gives each diner a small wooden hammer to crack the shell! The sweet lobster meat tastes great dipped in ranch dressing.

Umu Pudding
Umu Pudding is a special dessert found only on Jeju Island! The name umu comes from the Korean word for red algae, umutgasari. When it is boiled, it releases a gelatin substance, known as agar. The red algae used at Umu Pudding is harvested by haenyeo, female divers of Jeju. You can choose from three flavors, the standard custard, matcha-flavored, or chocolate pudding. The shop also sells products with an Umu character design that make for great souvenirs. Before leaving, be sure to get a few pictures of the sweet interior!

Black pork
The most famous food from Jeju is heukdwaeji, otherwise known as black pork! Jeju’s local black pigs have played an important part in the history, culture, and livelihood of the island. Grilled black pork tastes best after being dipped in meljeot (salted anchovy) for about 20 seconds. To eat like a Korean, wrap the meat and some pamuchim(spicy spring onions) in a lettuce or perilla leaf.

Pork noodles
You can eat guksu (noodles) anywhere in Korea, but gogi guksu (pork noodles) is a specialty of Jeju! Each bowl is filled with noodles and pork slices for a filling meal. The pork adds to the powerful flavor of the broth. The dish is served plain but chili pepper powder can be added to taste. Even if you add a lot to make it super spicy, the broth maintains its flavor.

Beltfish & mackerel dishes
Before leaving Jeju, you have to try galchi (beltfish) or godeungeo (mackerel). These two fish can be served a variety of ways, although the most common are stewed and fried; spicy stewed beltfish is the most popular. The taste of stewed beltfish will vary slightly by restaurant, but they are all marked by their strong seasoning. The spicy yet slightly sweet flavor is addicting! Most restaurants in Jeju use a local silver beltfish, which has an even stronger taste. Radish and potatoes are also stewed with the beltfish for a full meal.

Retail therapy

Sumokwon Night Market
Sumokwon Night Market is the latest trending location for nightlife in Jeju! Located near Halla Arboretum, the market draws in as many tourists as the popular night markets in Seoul. The entire area is decorated in cute photo zones and features both local specialty products and handmade items. Purchase some of the foods available from the food trucks, such as giant turkey drumsticks, black pork ribs, or fresh pineapple juice, to quench any late-night cravings!

Jeju Local Products Exhibition & Sales Market
Jeju has developed a unique culture due to being so far separated from the Korean peninsula. Thanks to this, there are plenty of local products that will please anyone who receives one as a gift! The best place to visit for these special souvenir items is the Jeju Local Products Exhibition & Sales Market. The market has over 2,200 items created by 138 individual shops! You’re sure to find something for everyone here; just be sure you don’t forget a gift for yourself!

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10 Summer Beach Destinations

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryIf you’re planning on vacationing in Korea this summer, be sure to check out at least one of the following beach destinations! Korea is surrounded on three sides by water, giving it plenty of beaches in a variety of shapes and sizes that offer a welcomed escape from everyday life. Since most beaches in Korea officially open in June or July and close towards the end of August, visitors have only a few months to splash around in the water and soak up the rays. But don’t worry if you miss out on the official summer beach season, as there are plenty of sightseeing activities that you can enjoy all year round!

Guryongpo Beach in Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-doat ongpohang
Guryongpo Beach is about 24 kilometers away from Pohang and 1.5 kilometers from Guryongpo-eup. Thanks to the gentle slope of the ocean floor and the clean seawater, Guryongpo Beach is a favorite vacation spot for swimming enthusiasts. The beach is also popular among fishermen, many of whom troll their lines in Yeongilman Bay.

Sokcho Beach in Sokcho-si, Gangwon-dokcho Beach
Sokcho Beach is well known for the picturesque pine trees that stand proudly along its white sandy coast. One of the perks of this particular beach is that there are many tourist attractions in the surrounding area, including Yeongnangho Lake and Seoraksan Mountain, one of Korea’s most famous mountains.
Given the beach’s range of facilities and nearby accommodations, Sokcho Beach is a convenient place for a weekend trip. Visitors can even rent a fishing rod and go fishing at nearby Jodo Island, or walk towards the pier to get some fresh hoe (sliced raw fish) at one of the local fish markets.
One of the biggest draws of Sokcho Beach is that it is located near Sokcho Express Bus Terminal, making it easy to find for even first-time visitors. Festivals held at Sokcho Beach include the Sunrise Festival on January 1 of every year, and other events that take place during the beach swimming period between July and August for all visitors to enjoy.

Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung-si, Gangwon-doyeongpo Beach
Gyeongpo Beach is the largest beach on the east coast, and is only about a kilometer away from Gyeongpodae Pavilion, famous for its sunrise view. Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Gyeongpo Beach is its fine powdery sand, which is perfect for barefoot walks along the beach. There is also a beautiful pine tree forest nearby for leisure walks. Beach activities such as banana boating, Jet Skiing, and waterskiing are popular as well. In addition, Gyeongpo Summer Music Festival is held every evening between the end of July and early August, featuring performances from famous bands and hip-hop groups for a beachside party atmosphere.

Naksan Beach in Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do
With a sandy beach stretching over 1,810 meters, Naksan Beach is one of the top beaches in Gangwon-do, drawing in countless visitors each year. The beach runs along clean waters, bordered by rows of pine trees. In addition to its natural beauty, Naksan Beach also has a variety of water activities such as riding on a banana boat or Jet Ski for those looking for more adventure.
The beach is also a top pick for those who are interested in Korea’s traditional culture, as it is close to Naksansa Temple and Uisangdae Pavilion, which was built to commemorate Great Monk Uisang. As an added bonus, the pavilion is also one of the best places in the area to view the sunrise.

Daecheon Beach in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Daecheon Beach is the largest beach on the west coast, and is known for its shallow and calm waters. The sand on the upper shores of Daecheon Beach is especially soft and easy to wash off because it is composed of finely eroded shells. Closer to the shoreline, the sand is hard packed. These two varieties of sand allow visitors to enjoy both leisure walks and sand scrubs. Daecheon Beach is also home to the annual Boryeong Mud Festival. In the winter, the beach draws large crowds again as locals and tourists flock to the shores for the annual Sunset Festival.

Eurwangni Beach in Jung-gu, Incheon
Eurwangni Beach, located near Seoul and Incheon International Airport, is a popular beach, both for its gorgeous views and clean white sand. The beach’s shallow water also provides the perfect place for children to go swimming. Amenities nearby include a number of lavish resorts and restaurants that serve fresh seafood. Having dinner outside on the terrace of one of these restaurants is the perfect way to watch the final rays of sunlight as they disappear over the horizon! Beachgoers can also rent a fishing boat or a fishing rod to fish off the side of the pier. A variety of beach festivals take place at Eurwangi every summer.

Muchangpo Beach in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Muchangpo Beach is particularly famous for what is known as the “Moses Miracle,” a natural phenomenon in which extreme tides reveal the seafloor for only a few short hours two or three days a month (around the 15th and 30th days of the lunar calendar). The exposed sea floor makes a path about 1.5 kilometers long that reaches all the way from the beach to Seokdaedo Island. The Muchangpo Mystic Sea Road Festival celebrates this occurrence every year in August or September, with the exact timing varying each year. The beach is also known for its scenic coastal drive, clusters of pine trees, and beautiful sunsets.

Haeundae Beach in Haeundae-gu, Busan
The slope of Haeundae Beach is shallow and there is little change in tide, making this beach perfect for swimming. The beach is famous for its views of the sunrise and moonrise as seen from Haewoljeong Pavilion atop Dalmajigogae Hill. Haeundae’s Dalmaji-gil Road, which is located between Haeundae Beach and Songjeong Beach, is another recommended spot for a romantic view of the moonlight glistening off the water’s surface.
Haeundae Beach is also extremely well known for its many cultural events and festivals that are held throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy Haeundae Sand Festival in summer; Busan International Film Festival in fall; and the New Year Festival and Polar Bear Swimming Contest in winter.

Hyeopjae Beach in Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Hyeopjae Beach is one of the best beaches on Jeju Island for swimmers, since the waters are shallow with no sudden drops. Tiny shells in the sand give the beach a silver sheen and make for a firm feel that is perfect for walks along the water’s edge. Once you get into the water, you’ll be pleased to discover that the water is so clean that you can clearly see your toes!
Hallim Park, a major tourist attraction, is only 5 minutes away on foot, and is well worth a visit. The park is landscaped with an abundance of subtropical plants and topiaries, and serves as a cool escape from the summer heat. A pleasant beach with plenty of space, Hyeopjae is all the more beautiful for its view of black basalt rocks to one side and Biyangdo Island standing out in the distance.

Jungmun Saekdal Beach in Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Jungmun Saekdal Beach within Jeju Jungmun Resort is a unique beach comprised of a gradient of black, white, red, and gray sand, as well as the famous black volcanic stone of Jeju Island. To the right of the sandy beach is a natural cave that was created by coastal erosion. Rare plants flourish near the cave, offering a convenient spot for some eco-focused sightseeing. The waves and tides can be rather rough along Jungmun, so while conditions are great for wind surfing, Jet Skiing and other water leisure activities, non-swimmers and young children are advised to stick close to the shoreline under the careful watch of lifeguards.
Jungmun Resort is also home to an aquarium, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, Cheonjeyeon Waterfall, and a luster of traditional houses typical on Jeju Island. Various events are held along the beach and within the resort complex throughout the year.

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Insadong Street

untitled-7Located in the heart of Seoul, Insa-dong Street is one of the most memorable attractions in Seoul and represents the focal point of Korean traditional culture and crafts. Stores in Insa-dong specialize in a wide variety of goods that can only be purchased or appreciated in Korea: hanbok (traditional clothing), hanji (traditional paper), traditional teas, pottery, and folk crafts.
There is one main road in Insa-dong with alleys on each side. Within these alleys are galleries and traditional restaurants, teahouses, and cafes. The galleries are the heartbeat of Insa-dong. There are about 100 galleries in the area and you can see every example of traditional Korean fine art from paintings to sculptures. The most famous galleries are Hakgojae Gallery, which functions as the center of folk art, Gana Art Gallery, which promotes many promising artists, and Gana Art Center.
The teahouses and restaurants are the perfect complement to the galleries. At first they might be hard to find, but if you take the time to stroll around the twisting alleyways, the window shopping in itself can be very entertaining. The shops in Insa-dong are very popular among all age groups, because each one is unique.

The Deep Roots of Insa-dong Street

Insa-dong Street stretches over 700 meters between the Anguk-dong Rotary and Tapgol Park (Jongno 2-ga). During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the street was dominated by Dohwawon, a place of study for painters. The area is still a center for the arts, and painters, craftsmen, and art lovers continue to set up shop along the narrow alleys, making it a unique place full of folk crafts, pottery, and paintings. The street offers rich opportunities for visitors to experience Korean traditional culture and arts. Various art events and festivals are regularly held along the street.

From Expensive Ceramics to Daily Use Items

Approximately 40% of Korean crafts are exchanged in Insa-dong. Some products even trace back to the Three Kingdom Period (57 B.C.-668 A.D.) The most popular items are Korean ceramics ranging in price from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars.
Other items sold in Insa-dong include earthenware, calligraphy materials, antique furniture, hanji, hanbok, teas, souvenirs, and cute accessories. Nearby shops include cafés, restaurants, ateliers, and galleries specializing in a diversity of items.
Every Saturday from 14:00 to 22:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00, the main street is blocked off from traffic and it becomes a cultural space. Insa-dong is especially popular among foreign tourists. This is where they can experience and see traditional Korean culture firsthand, and also purchase pieces of fine art. Insa-dong is also close to other tourist attractions such as Cheonggyecheon Stream and Gyeongbokgung (the royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty).

• Inquiries
1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
For more info: +82-2-732-2235~40 (Korean, English, Japanese)

Source: Korea Tourism Organization (English.visitkorea.or.kr)

 

 

 

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Hwaseong Fortress [UNESCO World Heritage]

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Hwaseong Fortress is an impressive structure from the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and the official fortress of Suwon-si, Gyeonggido.
The fortress (constructed from 1794 to 1796) was built as a show of the King’s filial piety towards his father Jangheonseja and to build a new pioneer city with its own economic power.
The fortress wall stretches for a total of 5.52km and has a great variety of military facilities that’s hard to find anywhere else. Four gates face each of the cardinal directions—Janganmun (north), Paldalmun (south), Changnyongmun (east), and Hwaseomun (west)—and the seven-arch style Sumun gates straddle the point where the nearby stream reaches the palace. Above the Sumun gates is a pavilion called Hwahongmun.
Untitled-40.jpgHwaseong Fortress was constructed under the guidance of Yu Hyeong-Won (1622-1673) and Jeong Yak-Yong (1762-1836), and is believed to have been constructed very scientifically. The fortress wall was built using Seokjae and Jeondol (bricks) and the holes between the bricks are just big enough to fire guns, arrows, or long spears through in case of an attack.
During construction of the fortress Jeong Yak-Yong invented ‘Geojunggi,’ which uses a ‘hwalcha’ (lever) to lift up heavy stones, greatly reducing construction time.
The Suwon Hwaseong Fortress went through many turbulent times and damage, and in the battle of June 25th, many of the facilities became so damaged that they were deemed irreparable.
Even though the fortress restoration initiative (1975-1979) restored many of the sites to their former glory, Paldalmun to Dongnamgakru (an area 491 meters in length) has still not been renovated.
The fortress was designated as Historical Monument No. 3 in January 1963, and in December 1997, it was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
A variety of performances and evens are held everyday and Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival takes place every autumn.

• Website: http://english.swcf.or.kr (English)
Source: Korea Tourism Organization (english.visitkorea.or.kr)

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Four Points by Sheraton Seoul, Namsan

Untitled-35.jpgLocated in Seoul’s lively Yongsan-gu area, north of the Han River, Four Points by Sheraton Seoul, Namsan offers convenient access to business areas, tourist attractions and public transportation. It is directly connected to Seoul Station, one of the city’s major railway stations, via an underground passage. Also, Incheon International Airport is just 60 minutes away via the Airport Express train.
Four Points by Sheraton Seoul, Namsan occupies floors 19 to 30 of a mixed-use development tower. The hotel offers 342 sleek and comfortable guestrooms, each featuring spectacular panoramic views of downtown Seoul. All the guestrooms are equipped with the signature Four Comfort Bed™, fast and free WiFi and complementary bottled water.
The Eatery, the hotel’s inviting all-day dining restaurant, presents an extensive menu of local and international cuisines—ideal for business lunches, family get-togethers, and romantic dinners. For social gatherings, The Bar offers an extensive selection of drinks, snacks and craft beers from the brand’s signature Best Brews™ Program, which features an authentic local brew along with a selection of international beer. The hotel offers 54 square meters of function space and two private dining rooms, and a business center provides support services for corporate meetings and social events.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Four Points is Starwood’s fastest growing brand, with 42 hotels in operation and more than 50 hotels in the pipeline. In addition to Four Points by Sheraton Seoul, Namsan, the brand was on track to open eight properties in key destinations across the Asia-Pacific by the end of 2015, including Bali and Makassar, Indonesia; Chengdu, Penghu, and Hefei in China and Vadodara in India.

• Four Points by Sheraton Seoul, Namsan
37-85 Dongja-dong, Youngsan-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Tel: (82-2)6070-7000 Website: http://www.fourpoints.com/seoulnamsan

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Seoul Forest

Seoul Forest is the metropolitan government’s answer to Central Park in New York City. Based on its plan to create a forest in the Ttukseom area, the metropolitan government worked for one year to open the vast, artificially formed forest to the public in June 2005.
The forest covers some 1.15 million m2 of land, with a total of 420,000 trees of 104 different species were transplanted here to emphasize the ecofriendly image of the forest. The trees are about 20 meters tall and 30 to 40 centimeters in diameter. Oak, hornbeam and cherry trees are most common here, most of which are of Korean origin.

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The forest consists of five areas under different themes. The first themed land is called “TtukSeom Culture and Art Park,” which includes a plaza, outdoor stage, an artificial pond, an atelier and a gateball court. The second one is “TtukSeom Ecology Forest, a grand ecological forest which is home to such wild species as the Formosan deer, Chinese water deer, squirrels and fallow deer (they were released into the forest when it opened) (a guided tour is available).
The area is connected to Hangang Waterside Park via a 472-meter -long bridge. “Wetlands Ecological Field”, the third area, features a bird observatory, an eco-friendly playground and Jeongsu botanical garden. The fourth area, “Hands-on Nature Learning Center,” is a place where visitors can gain hands-on knowledge and see examples of various plants. This area also features Gallery Garden, a greenhouse and a flower garden made from the water purifying facilities which had long been used here. The fifth area is Hangang Waterside Park which includes a cycle trail and a boat terminal.

Location: 273, Ttukseom-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul

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