Last weekend was good, as usual. On Saturday we met some friends who live in Dongtan, a quite new city south of Suwon. I will write about this some other time though ^^. On Sunday we started with a brunch at Brown Sugar, and then took a bus to go to the Han river and meet other friends.
The Han River is a 494 km long that divides Seoul in two parts: North of the River and South of the River (Gang-nam in Korean). There are many parks around the river, like Yeouido, Ttukseom, Hangang Park (Jamsil), and many others. You can easily rent bikes there and bike around the river or even cross the bridges. Or just bring a tent (or a mat, at least) and sit down and chill. Another good option is to take a ferry and relax while looking at Seoul. There are both day and night ferries, with and without meals, on a price range from W11,000 to W65,000. You can check the prices and boarding points here.
The most famous bridge is the Banpo Bridge (near Gosok terminal), which illuminates at night and provides a nice light&water show. This 20 minute show is only available from April to October, and the time varies depending on the month. Check the schedule here. There’s another bridge called Mapo (near Yeouido), which has installed automatic lights that will light up as you pass them, and will reveal some comforting messages to avoid suicide. Is this effective? Who knows…
n the Han River you can do some water sports, specially at the Ttukseom area. I’ve done SUP there and it was really fun! I am a bit concerned, however, about the safety of the water… recently I read news about some small and medium companies throwing hazardous materials into the river, so I wouldn’t recommend you to fall into the water at the Han River. (Swimming is forbidden due to its strong current, anyway). Other watersports are kayaking, windsurfing, waterski, jet-ski, or even flyboarding!
From time to time, there are events around the river, such as the Seoul Fireworks Festival (this year: October 9th, 2015). This is a huge, extravagant fireworks show where professional teams from both Korea and abroad display their power. This event seems to be sponsored by Hanwha, one of the big chaebol (companies conglomerates) of Korea. I went last year and it was really crowded, so going a bit in advance is recommended to get a good spot. The best places to see them are near the building 63 in Seoul, in Yeouido.
In the start of the springtime, Yeouido is also a popular place to go to see the Cherry Blossoms. Korea has a lot of these trees, I wonder why people usually only know about Japan & cherry blossoms, when in Korea we can see them everywhere as well. There are numerous festivals around that time of the year, but the cherry blossoms last very short after they blossom, so check on the Internet by the end of february to know when the next one starts!
Although I prefer having a cast with long and calm beaches, having a huge river in the city is also not a bad alternative. The Han River is always lively around the main parks and they are a good way to spend a weekend day if the sky is clear and the weather is good. Go do some sports, or bring a tent like us and relax! 😀