Yeontral Park: Pleasant green space in Seoul

by Jordan Beynon
Groove Korea (groovekorea.com)

‘Yeontral Park’ is the name used amongst many young Koreans to describe the Gyeongui Line Forest Park located in the neighborhood of Yeonnamdong. Coined as a play on words and in homage to Central Park in New York, it may not be as vast or as famous as its American cousin, but it is a pleasant green space among the large concrete jungle that is Seoul. As well as being a pleasant place to take a stroll, this neighborhood is in the middle of a boom of new businesses including craft stores, countless coffee shops and unique new restaurants.

Located straight out of Exit 3 at Hongik University station, it’s easy to reach and often missed by many expats who take the standard exit 9 route into Hongdae with a b-line for the playground area, where for a long time many foreigners have congregated to socialize. But this park area just on the border of Hongdae offers a new side and a much more relaxed environment to hangout with friends.

As you walk down the park the first port of call should be the bottle shop ‘Beer Super’ on your left hand side. With two wooden barrels outside a brown exterior you can’t miss it, and you’ll find a great range of imported beers from all around the world. Here you can enjoy of one the many perks of Seoul which is drinking in public! If alcohol isn’t for you don’t be perturbed as there are many other types of drinks available further down the park.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat around the park look no further than Jil’Hal Bros. Quite well known within the expat community this small yellow and red hole in the wall offers the best chicken and lamb over rice in Seoul. Really easy to find, just keep walking down the park and take a left at the GS25 and you’ll see it just in front of you on the right. The park is a great place to enjoy food, beers and great company during the evenings or a place to settle down with a picnic for a lazy Sunday brunch.

The park is a 1.3km long green belt of urban forest, with the rusted remains of the old railway tracks sprouting up as you meander down the well kept grass area and flowing stream. Flanked with many restaurants and cafes, this neighborhood is also home to a large community of hostels which gives a real holiday vibe. Halfway down the park you’ll see a GS25 on your right, if you take that road and then a left onto the road running parallel to the park you will find a street lined with an array of ground floor stores offering an eclectic range of goods and services.

At the top of the park is the head of the stream and a small seating area, if you take a right up a small side street you’ll see small buildings covered in newly painted graffiti, hidden amongst the colourful buildings is a real diamond in the rough, only opening last week Dalsang coffee shop offers a great range of hand dripped coffees, with a great peaceful roof terrace on a sunny spring day…a real Seoul Secret!

Check out Yeontral Park now while the cool spring weather is still here.

I’ve been an English instructor at one of many academies in Seoul for the past three years and am still not very efficient in Korean. I moved across Seoul from East to West, and to my surprise I discovered new neighborhoods which had lots of quaint and quirky cafes and restaurants, as well as great green parks. It seemed only Koreans were making the most of it, which made me feel like this is an area not being seen or appreciated by foreigners. It felt like there were so many sides of Seoul all too easily missed by non-korean speaking foreigners. This seemed such an injustice of Seoul showing its full potential, so after some online research in English it seemed to be most sites offered information on the most well known tourist spots and attractions. This sparked an idea; why not create a blog where people can easily find clear information on locations, attractions and directions to these ‘Secret’ areas. So the concept of ‘Seoul Secrets’ was born!

Seoul Secrets has been up and running for just over 2 months now and has already featured nine areas. Using a range of social media platforms, it has slowly been growing in popularity. There are only so many ‘Secret’ areas of our own we can feature. So what we need is for people with an interest in finding quirky new areas, or even old traditional spots to submit ideas. All suggestions will be credited of course. To help contribute suggestions either write on our Facebook page wall or comment one of our blog posts.

Some people have said that if they share their ‘Secret’ spot then its no longer a secret, but sharing a secret amongst a group of people living within the same great city is Secret splitting. This will only be of benefit to everyone living in or just visiting Seoul. This is why Seoul Secrets uses the plural pronoun ‘we’ to emphasize that this is a community blog concept; that everyone has a part to play in making our time in Seoul as memorable as possible.

Seoul Secrets is for no personal gain or financial reward and just wants to benefit the foreign community in Korea to explore and have fun! Lets share the secrets!

Check Seoul Secrets out at www.seoulsecrets.net

Or https://www.facebook.com/seoulsecrets

groovekorea.com

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