Take evening stroll at Songhae Park in Daegu

Photos by ChiHon Kim
Photos by ChiHon Kim

Take evening stroll at Songhae Park in Daegu

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea
When it comes to waterfront parks, Daegu has plenty of options for visitors and locals to enjoy. In the area you’ll find plenty of parks like Suseongmot Lake Resort, Wolgwang Waterfront Park, Seongdangmot Lake and Unamji Waterfront Park.

But, if you’re looking to escape the city and recharge in nature, Songhae Park(송해공원) is the perfect ecological paradise to make that happen. Located in Okpo-eup, Dalseong-gun in Daegu, the park is a home to wildlife such as Australian water lily, water hibiscus, migrant birds, and chipmunks. It’s a great place for families with small children.

The park was developed in 2017 along with Okyeonji Pond (옥연지), so it is also called Okyeonji. The name of Songhae Park is after Korea's famous singing competition show host Song Hae, whose statue and caricatures you’re sure to spot inside the park.

In the spring, the sweeping cherry blossom trees are a major draw for crowds, but year-round there is plenty of exploring to be done at the park and its lovely pond.

Before starting an adventure, you might want to decide where to park your car. Songhae Park has four parking lots that are spread out, so where you park will allow you to get to certain parts faster. Park at the No. 3 or No. 4 parking lots, which are underneath the reservoir, for easy access to the sky bridge and stunning waterfall. These two locations are popular spots to visit and for photos.

However, if you decide to park your car at lots No. 1 or No. 2, you’ll find the food stalls. Start your visit right with a nice cup of coffee or even a snack like instant noodles. Here, you’ll also find vendors selling fresh local specialties and vegetables.

During my visit, my family and I started our journey at the No. 1 parking lot. As we approached the park entrance, the sun started to set over the water, giving us a breathtaking view. The sounds of the cascading water from the enormous waterwheel greeted us. After capturing a couple of photos of this beautiful sight, we headed to the heart-shaped light arches of the Baeksegyo Bridge.

 

Baeksegyo Bridge

Baeksegyo (백세교) literally means a 100-year-old bridge. But don’t let the name of the S-shaped beautiful bridge fool you. Though many assume this bridge is a century old, the name is actually meant to symbolize longevity and as such, crossing the bridge is supposed to mean you’ll live to be 100. Cross the bridge twice and you’ll have good health and long life, so, of course, I crossed the bridge twice!

After crossing the bridge, the Baeksejung Pavilion (백세정) offers another opport unity for a snack break. There a many vending machines selling drinks and even ice cream. Head to the second floor of the pavilion to enjoy a snack and the sprawling view. From here we enjoyed the view of the floating moon and the musical fountain with colorful lights nearby.

 

Journey through the woods

Songhae Park’s 2.2-mile-long path hugs the shoreline of the reservoir and can take you about an hour or a little more to complete. The easy to walk waterfront trail features four viewing platforms that allow you to catch your breath and take photos.

The path is relatively flat — perfect for leisurely walking after a big dinner. Across Baeksegyo Bridge, you’ll meet a path looping through the woods that includes a suspension bridge, and wooden deck. In the middle of the wooden deck, there is even a dirt path where you can walk barefoot, a great way to ground and reconnect with nature.

If you’re a birdwatcher, this is a great park for it. If you’re looking for a hilly forest, there is a network of trails that you vcan mix and match to meet your preference — from a short loop trail to a couple of miles of hiking trails.

At the end of the wooden deck, check out the impressive sky bridge and waterfall. Near the bridge, there is a lesser-known pavilion(송해정) standing on a hillside. If you have more energy to go up a hill, hit the pavilion for a bird’s eye view of the great scenery of the place. On reaching this spot, you can either return back along the same path to the parking lot or complete the circuit by walking along the path on the opposite side of the reservoir.

 

Evening stroll

The park is a still great place to visit during the daytime, but I highly recommend going at dusk or at night time as all of the walking paths, fountains, floating sculptures, waterfalls and windmills are lit up in the evening.

Since we visited on a Saturday night, there were some crowds and it was a struggle to get good photos. The Baeksegyo Bridge is one of the picturesque spots in this park and despite the weekend crowd, it was worthwhile to go at dusk. We arrived around 6 p.m., giving us the best of both the day and night views. 

We really enjoyed our visit to Songhae Park. If you plan on bringing your fur friend, know that pets are not allowed on the floating bridge area. You can, however, take Fido along the waterside trails which means there is still plenty of park to enjoy with your best friend. If you find yourself in Daegu, this park is worth the visit.

Songhae Park

ADDRESS: 대구 달성군 옥포읍 기세리 306 (KOR), NAVER MAP

HOURS: 24 hours (Open yearround)

Entrance and parking fee: Free of charge.

 

Geumgul-donggul Cave

In addition to its trekking path, Songhae Park has a small man-made cave that produced gold during the Japanese colonial period. On the other side of the viewing platforms called “damso-jeonmangdae(담소전망대)”, you can find a path that leads to Geumgul-dongggul Cave (금굴동굴).

The path is about 250 meters of steep secluded trails weaving through towering cypress trees, a field, a tiny brook, and forest. Before you enter the cave, don’t forget to grab one of the protective helmets available for safety.

Inside the cave, check out the dragon, a magic lamp and other statues. It’s a very kid-friendly spot for great photos. The cave lights turn off at 5 p.m., so keep that in mind if you’re wanting to visit. (HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)


Photo courtesy of Dalseong-gun Office

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