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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Yeouido Park, Seoul Yeongdeungpo-gu: A Park in the Core Island of Yeouido-dong

Yeouido Park (Hanja: 汝矣島公園) is a large recreational area located at 68 Yeoui Parkway/YeouiGongwonno, Yeouido-dong 2-beonji, Yeouido Island, Seoul Yeongdeungpo-gu. It was once originally covered with black asphalt, and people frequented the place for bicycling and roller-skating. The construction began in 1997, and opened officially in February 1999. It is now the place where many people in the city come to rest and enjoy strolling around, play sports, and cultural events. 

The park is divided into theme-based sections: the Traditional Korean Forest, Grass Square, Culture Square, and Nature’s Ecosystem Forest. In the Traditional Korean Forest, only traditional Korean trees are planted, and it has a pond and an octagonal pavilion, with a trail walk that completes the feel of an elegant Korean garden. Grass Square has a low hill, with grass field and various trails, and nearby there are evergreens and deciduous trees to reflect the changing of the seasons. Many performances and events are held at the Cultural Square, and because there are many zelkova trees lined up nearby, it is a great place to rest. One particular part of the park that is most enjoyed is the Nature’s Ecosystem Forest – it is where you can observe nature and learn from an ecologically sensitive pond and forest, right in the middle of the city. Composed of a swamp area, waterline area, grassland area, and a forest, you can observe various kinds of life forms living in these areas. 

One of the must-see areas is the Yunjunro Street, behind the National Assembly Building. This place is famous for having the loveliest cherry blossom street in Seoul. Cherry blossom trees, 30 to 40 years old, line up for about 6km, and is very popular in the spring.

Next to the traditional Korean forest is the open space of the grassland area punctuated by only a small pond; it’s perfect for relaxation. A mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees has been planted around the edges of the grassland providing wonderful seasonal displays. In this area stands a statue of King Sejong the Great (the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty) which became a national talking point when it was erected due to its enormous size.

In Yeouido Park there are many sports equipment rental shops so there’s generally no need to bring your own kit. Basketballs, bicycles and inline skates are all available to hire and there are also wheelchairs for disabled people and battery-operated toy cars for young children.

After strolling around Yeouido Park, why not take a Han River Ferry Cruise from the nearby quay? It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery along the Hangang as it flows through Seoul. Night cruises are particularly spectacular.

Yeouido Park is accessible either by using SMRT Line 5 to Station 526: Yeouido or Seoul Metro 9 to Station 915: Yeouido (Line Interchange to SMRT Line 5) and Station 916: National Assembly Station.