Once a hunting place for Korean kings, Seoul Forest is now a peaceful place for outdoor recreation. Do as the locals do and bring a picnic to relax in its riverside park on a sweltering summer’s day, or come in winter to spot the deer among the snow-laden trees.
Seoul Forest is part of former Ttuk Island, which used to be completely surrounded by the Han River and Jungnang Stream. Hundreds of thousands of oak, hornbeam, cherry and about a hundred other tree species were planted to re-establish the forest as a public park in 2005. Covering nearly 300 acres (some 120 hectares) today, it will take several visits to fully experience all five of the park’s themed areas.
The biggest area is the Ttukseom Culture and Arts Park’s central plaza. Check out its fun playground, walk around the duck pond and visit the art gallery.
Families will also love the Experiential Learning Park, with its hands-on flora and fauna exhibits. Browse the greenhouse and flower beds of the Gallery Garden and find the colorful butterflies.
Next, head to the Marsh Plants Garden, a wetlands ecological field with bird observatory, eco-friendly playground and the Jeongsu botanical garden.
In the Eco Forest, or TtukSeom Ecology Forest, look for squirrels, Formosan deer and Chinese water deer. Buy a cup of special feed from the on-site vending machine to give to the animals.
The Eco Forest is connected to the Hangang Waterside Park via a long bridge over the Han River. In the Waterside Park, admire the boats in the small marina, have a go at rock climbing or use the waterfront sports and rest areas. At sunset, a fountain dances to the rhythms of uplifting music . From the Yeouido and Apgujeong rest areas along the river, take in the sparkling outlines of Seoul’s skyscrapers and N Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain.
The Seoul Forest is located in central Seongdong-gu. Access to the forest is free if you take public transportation. The park is only a short walk from Seoul Forest Station. Alternatively, head for Ttukseom Resort Station, which has a rental booth for bicycles and tandems.