Suwon was a pleasant surprise. After nearly 10 nights in Seoul, we decided to do a day trip to one of the surrounding cities. Although we covered everything in a day (6 hours), Suwon was surprisingly fun, and actually had quite a lot to offer, proving to be a nice break from city life and shopping!
We took the KTX train from Seoul station to Suwon station (50 minutes) and about 100m from the exit of the station is an extremely helpful tourist information centre. The man we spoke with spoke fluent English and even had a joke with us about our Australia accent! From there we caught the bus into the heart of Suwon which is surrounded by some impressive City Walls. There are a few markets at the southern gate, but we chose to walk through the centre and head to the Hwaseong palace.
Having seen approximately 4.3 million temples, palaces and pagodas over the past few months we gave this one a miss and walked to the top of the hill behind it to catch a glimpse of the city, and the pretty impressive and still standing city walls. We caught the Dragon Trolley, which is a cheap (3000Won for 2 people) and easy way to see the length and breadth of the City Walls (Hwseong Fortress). It drops you at the western most point of the old city walls. Here you get great views of the wall and the surrounding city as well as the option to take an archery lesson.
Archery in Korea is one of their National Sports, and a favourite past-time. So Nathan couldnt miss an oppurtunity to hit a few targets and flex his sporting fingers.We both loved the archery! For 2000Won you get a 10 minute introductory lesson into archery and get to shoot 10 arrows. All the teachers here were super helpful, even though English wasn’t their forte.
Once finished we walked into town (through Art Street – not very exciting, only one or 2 murals) to Yeonpo Galbi, a local Galbi restaurant (recommended by both Lonely Planet and bloggers) and tasted some awesome Korean BBQ. Suwon is known for their galbi (beef ribs) and here you get heaps of meet and sides to fill an empty stomach. After having a late lunch, it was time to take the bus back to Suwon station for a quick spot of shopping and take the 6pm train back to Seoul.
OUR FAVOURITE BITS
- Learning archery from the pros.
- Wondering around the city walls, it’s very pretty and some nice vantage points to see the city.
- Taking a quick Archery lesson – 2000Won (approx $2.50 AUS). Super Fun.
- Catch the express train from Seoul Station (Double the price of taking the subway, but super quick and convenient – and only a few stops).
- Only taking a day trip – you could do overnight, but no need for more.
- Take a miss on the “Art Street”, not very impressive, and a little lame.