Did you know that the Hangang park is not only “the one” park? It actually contains 12 beautiful green parks that spread over a 40-km2-large area along the Han river. And there are so many great things-to-do.
Overview of the parks
From the 1980’s the Korean government has started changing a large area along the Hangang river into green parks. Today Hangang with its 12 parks has become one of the best spots to spend a day in Seoul. It’s not only because of their great environment and pretty scenery, but also because of the good facilities that are offered in the parks.
All parks are open every day 24/7 with free admission and can be easily reached by public transportation, bicycle, walking and cars.
Fun activities you only can do in Hangang parks
Of course, “normal” activities that you can do in a “normal” park, such as going for a walk, jogging, hanging around, picnic, inline skating, etc. can also be done in Hangang park. But there are many things, that you only can do here.
Go camping in the middle of a metropolis – that sounds somehow weird, doesn’t it? But for Seoul’s citizens, especially younger generation, it’s totally trendy. At nice weather, many people come to the parks, rent a tent and hangout. They usually spend the whole day here, chatting, eating, watching videos or reading books.
Despite the spread of Covid-19, camping in Hangang park is still allowed but with bigger distance (2m) between the tents.
Every kid is happy, when they can go camping. But in Hangang parks they will definitely go wild, because there are so many playgrounds here. Find a camping spot near to one of them and you will have time for yourself.
Enjoying beautiful flower fields and eco lands
Many different kinds of trees and flowers are neatly plant on both river banks. All year around you can see beautiful flowers of the season there.
Yeouido cherry blossom festival in spring maybe one of the most well-known flower events along the river banks.
Usually, when go camping, you have to prepare and carry food with them. But it’s not the case at Hangang park. You can have (fun) food at many convenient stores in the parks, eat ramen from the ramen machine or order food to be delivered to the park. It’s so cool, isn’t it? The most popular food to order is 치맥 (chimek) – Chicken and Beer. You should definitely try it out.
Besides, cafés, restaurants, even BBQ restaurants are available on many floating islands, so that visitors can enjoying food on the water.
Biking / Cycling
The cyclist roads in the parks are made of asphalt and concrete. They have relatively low elevation and are separated from pedestrian path as well, so that you can really enjoy the tour in higher speed if you like. Cycling is one of Korean’s favorite sports. They love to bike in any weather with loud music, which can be annoying sometimes.
If you don’t have a bike, you can easily rent one from Seoul bike (booking via app, available 24/7) or directly from one of the bike rentals along the river. They can also help to repair your bike in case anything happens. Railbike for couples are available for rent as well.
MTB lovers will find a perfect playground at the MTB area of Nanji Hangang park
In order to encourage people to do exercises, many workout devices are installed in the parks. You will easily find them during your visit. Many of them are located under the bridges in the shade, so that it’s not too hot. Older Korean folks and children love to jump on them.
During the summer time, you can enjoy the outdoor swimming pools in Gwangnaru, Jamsil, Ttukseom, Jamwon, Nanji and Yeouido Park. Especially kids love it. Unfortunately, all swimming pools were closed last year (2020) because of the pandemic.
Passing by Hangang in the summer I saw someone swimming across the river, but it is officially prohibited.
Other water activities
It is said that Seoul people treat their river as an ocean. And it’s true. At most of the parks, water sports lovers can try many different kinds, such as water skiing, motorboats, sailing, pleasure boats and even flyboard.
If you are a person who enjoys fishing, you will love the Hangang parks. Fishes are huge and catching them is indeed allowed, except for the prohibited spots. You don’t need any specific license to do it but have to bring your own equipment or rent it from somewhere.
One of my favorite spots of the Hangang Park is the artificial climbing wall at Ttukseom Hangang Park. Rock climber can come and work out on a 14m high wall from April-November for free of charge.
Ferry cruise and water taxi
As in many other cities that have rivers going through, a ferry cruise tour on the Hangang river is a great way to enjoy the scenery. The Hangang ferry cruise is operated by E-land cruise and departs from Yeouido Hangang Park. It offers not only a nice tour for sightseeing, but also dinning cruises with fireworks during the weekend.
In the other hand, water taxi on the water can carry up to 8 people to 11 different ferry points along the river. Sometimes it will be faster than taking car.
The 12 parks lay between about 20 Hangang bridges. No matter whether over or under the bridges you can take stunning pictures.
At Banpo bridge you can also see the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain from April to October. It is world’s longest bridge fountain (as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records) with 380 water jets and multicolored lights.
In case you have a drone, you are able to enjoy and fly it in the drone area of Gwangnaru Park.
Many special events are held in the parks during the year, such as flower festivals, night markets, outdoor movies at weekends, sport competitions, music festivals, etc.
One of the most impressing events is the fireworks festival, which usually takes place once a year in the autumn in the waterfront of Yeouido park. If you’re in Seoul at that time, don’t forget to check its schedule.