Although Busan is wonderful, I love spending a weekend in Seoul. When my nature loving friend came to Seoul for a visit, we looked for a less urban experience. We discovered Seoul Forest, a Joseon dynasty hunting ground turned into a huge nature park. The park is really five mini parks in one, and boasts deer and many other animals and plants. There are also bike paths everywhere, and the park itself is huge, so I recommend grabbing a bike, or spending all day and night leisurely walking around and enjoying the clean air.
A riverside trail.
Although we did snag a map, we decided to just wander along some of the trails in the park. This one led to a waterfall where you could throw lucky coins into the water! You were supposed to hit a certain spot on a rock in the pond, but aiming at something underwater is harder than it seems.
One of the signs on the border of the park!
숲 means forest, and although it was not as free form as our idea of a forest is, it was still pretty cool and was a great way to spend the day! The five parks in Seoul Forest are the Culture and Art Park, the Eco Forest, the Experiential Learning Park, the Marsh Plants Gardens, and the Hangang Riverside Park.
A beautiful garden!
We wound up in the Experiential Learning Park, where we were able to make friends with a million butterflies in the Butterfly Garden. There was also an Insect Garden, that boasted a lot of beetles.
Cacti in a forest? Yes!
The Insect Garden also included a botanical garden with a cacti section, that reminded me of my desert home, Nevada.
There were also birds in the Insect Garden! If you want to see more birds, try the Marsh Plant Gardens, where there is a bird observatory.
One of the best parts of Seoul Forest was the animals. And a lot of them were friendly. It was permissible to pet them, even the turtles!
There is a large deer feeding ground near the Eco Forest, and you can buy deer food to feed them. They are big, and also very soft. If you want to explore the Eco Forest more, you can find elk, chipmunks and ducks too.
Woohoo Seoul Forest!
It is completely free to explore Seoul Forest, and it's pretty much open 24/7, although the Insect Garden and other certain spots are open from 10 AM to 6 PM and closed on Mondays. To get to Seoul Forest, take the subway to Seoul Forest Station, exit three, and walk for about five minutes until you see one of the white signs. Then, you're there! Get ready to have a great day.
After graduating from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Ariel Rosen looked back on the semester she spent traveling around Europe and decided she must explore Asia. Her teaching job with ChungDahm April in Busan allows her to experience South Korea firsthand and with the bright enthusiasm of all the children she teaches. She is overjoyed to share a class with them and finds herself learning more from them and the big beach city around her everyday.
Read Ariel’s blog here: http://arieldrosen.wordpress.com/