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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Parks around Han River in Seoul, Part I: Gwangnaru Hangang Park

Gwangnaru Hangang Park (Hanja: 廣나루漢江公園) in 83-66 Seonsa Avenue/Seonsa-ro, Amsa-dong 637-6 beonji, Seoul Gangdong-gu is the easternmost park in Seoul along the Hangang River. Gwangnaru park is 12.5 kilometers in length making it the biggest of all the 12 Hangang Parks. The park is known for it’s clean water, Seoul’s only water preservation region. All boats and water sports are banned in the area. There is however an outdoor swimming pool located near the river banks.

Located between Gangdong Bridge and Jamsil Railway Bridge, Gwangnaru District neighbors Guri in Gyeonggi Province to the north as well as Seoul Gangdong-gu and Hanam to the south. Since this park is designated as the tapped water conservation area where the boat riding or other kinds of water leisure activities are prohibited, the river is clean and clear. 

It gives a fantastic view in harmony with a thick forest in the Mount Acha to the north. Especially, there are some plants designated as preservation plant such as reed, willow etc on an embankment made by piling up sand from the upper stream of Han River and a big scale of the field of reeds on the riverside. And you can see a variety of migratory birds. 

Walking through the fields of reed on the riverside, you would have wonderful experiences to see various of migratory birds. To enter is not allowed for the purpose of ecosystem preservation. In addition, there are many historic sites-the Amsa-dong Prehistoric Settlement as well as the earthen fortresses of Pungnap Toseong (Mud Rampart) in Seoul Songpa-gu. They will give you another pleasure to travel back into prehistoric past of Korea.

This park is sometimes called Gwangnaru Bike Park as it has much to offer to cycling enthusiasts. There is a special bike racing track. The track includes special courses, ramps/jumps where more advanced bmx or mtb bikers can practice their stunt moves. Like all Hangang Parks there is a bike trail which is over 5 kilometers long. There is a bike centre at Gwangnaru Park. At this centre you can sit on and try out 80 unique bikes of all kinds. Some of the bikes have crazy designs like a square wheel bike or bike that rides sideways.

An in-line skate park is also available where you can learn how to skate from some of the experts or just have some fun. The in-line skate park is free to use but you must bring along your own protection. Gwangnaru Park has a lot more to offer and can be a great place to visit at the weekends and get away from the hustle and bustle of central Seoul. The park is accessible by using either SMRT Line 5 to Station 547: Cheonho Station (Pungnap Toseong) or SMRT Line 8 to Station 810: Amsa Station and Station 811: Cheonho Station (Pungnap Toseong)-Interchange to SMRT Line 5.