'Just a ton of stuff to do' in Seoul

by Kelly Garcia
Korea Ye! (koreaye.com)

Seoul Forest is one of my favorite parks  in Seoul.  While the name may be a misnomer (There are trees there but a forest? Hmmm…), there is just a ton of stuff to do there.

You wanna ride a bike?  For 3,000 won you can rent one.  Or bring your own.  There are plenty of paths to ride on.

You want to look at bugs?  Sure thing.  Head to the fantastic insect house, my kids' favorite part of the park.  It’s got some bugs in there, frogs, fish, a tortoises, crabs, butterflies, and more.  The place is great.  Way better than the COEX Aquarium, in my opinion, because A) it’s free and B) not NEARLY as crowded. There are also some neat plants.

You wanna feed some animals?  Done.  There’s a little small animal area where you can feed rabbits and guinea pigs.  If you think about it, bring some of those baby carrots for the animals and prepare to be the most beloved grown-up around.

Wanna feed a bigger animal?  Sure!  There’s deer feeding just down the way from the small animal park.  Follow the babbling brook, go under the overpass and you’re at the deer area.  You can buy food there for about 1000won and at certain times of day they will allow you to walk into the deer enclosure.  The kids LOVED this.

Check out the tongue on that thing!

You’re tired now, right?  If you need a quick pick-me-up there’s a convenience store around the corner…Go back to the overpass and hang a left and keep going a little while. You’ll see it at the building where the bridge ends.  (By a big open lawn perfect for picnicking).  They’ve got the ubiquitous ramen cups, bags of chips and a little cafe with coffee and egg sandwiches which look better than they actually are. (Weird sweet sauce in there.)

Okay, it doesn’t look that delicious…

* Tip! … If you wanna order the coffee / egg sandwiches, signal the cashier at the convenience store and order there first, otherwise you will be waiting in a very long line for nothing. Yes, I found out the hard way.

Let’s continue to the playground.

The playground!
I’ve been to a lot of playgrounds in my day, but let me just say, this one is primo.  No, it’s not super shiny, glossy, new, but it has two awesome things…

This. An amazing climbable sculpture.  (Seriously, if I had any kind of photography skills I’d love Seoul Forest.  Picture-taking opportunities abound at every turn.)

And this slide.  My kids could just not get enough of it!  I mean seriously, don’t you love that rope climb up?

Oh, you think we are done??  No people,  there’s more…

If you are an art-lover or photographer, feast your eyes on the sculpture park.

I’ll bet it looks great now that it’s spring.

Oh, and I almost forgot the splash park!  It wasn’t working the times we’ve been because of the cold, but I can’t wait for this!  Anyway, I’m pretty sure there’s a whole bunch more to Seoul Forest that I haven’t seen yet, but hey, gotta leave you guys to your own discoveries.  Have a great time!

 #1) If you have a bike or scooter, bring it.  It’s a big park with lots of area to cover, so can come in handy if you are with kids and want to go from point A to point B with a minimum of whining.

#2)  If you get there before noon, you should be able to find a parking spot.  Can get crowded later in the day though.

The Parks of Seoul website is excellent for Seoul Forest information and park info around Seoul.

Park is open 24 a day (but parking lot 9am-10pm).  Eco Forest 7am-8pm summer / 8am-6pm winter.  Insect House CLOSED MONDAYS other days 10am-5pm.  Splash Park open in the summertime 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5 pm(open 1 hour each time.)

685, Seongsu1-ga 1-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
서울 성동구 성수1가1동 685번지 일대

By car, Seoul Forest is about a 15 minute drive from Yongsan going toward Hannam Village in light traffic.  You could even take a walk or ride a bike along the riverwalk to there.  (My friend’s 5yo did it, don’t know if my kids could hang with that kind of ride though!)

*From  Yongsan commissary gate — Turn right and veer left up the hill toward Banpo Bridge.  Stay in the right lanes like you are going UNDER the bridge, but DON’T go under the bridge.  Stay to the right lane and the road will “T”.  Make a left at the “t”.  You’ll be on the road following the river.  It will take you past Oksu, over some water and under a tunnel all the way to Seoul Forest parking lot at Gate 15.

*Leaving Seoul Forest — Honestly I haven’t figured this out yet.  I can’t figure it out on the GPS, but this is what I did last time (I know there is a shorter way, I’ll post it when I have it!):  If you leave the parking lot Gate 15, hang a right and another immediate right towards the river. Take the overpass and it will dump you on the main highway along the river.  Immediately it will split.  I took the first split to the right and stayed in the left at the next split.  It looped me around like I was going away from Yongsan, but very shortly there is a bridge with a sign for COEX.  Take that bridge and exit right at the “Ginpo” exit and you’ll pop out on the highway going back toward Yongsan.  Take it all the way to Banpo Bridge exiting left at Banpodaego exit.  Turn right at the top of the exit and you’ll go back over the river again toward the commissary gate.

Parking is available for 600won/10min.  There’s some kind of machine people stand in line to pay at on the way out of the park, but I’ve never had a problem just paying at the gate as I drive out.

By Subway, Line 2 to Ttukseom Station Exit 8

Payment:  FREE!

Korea Ye! website

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