Sunday, November 6, 2011

Korea 2011: Cheonggyecheon Stream

Why visit: Famous stream flowing through downtown Seoul
Recommended time to spend: 1-2 hours
Nearest train stations: A lot considering that it is a long stream. Just to name a few, Dongdaemun {Line 1}, Sindang {Line 2}, Jongno-3ga {Line 3}, Dongdaemun History & Culture Park {Line 4}, Gwanghwamun {Line 5}

Cheonggyecheon is a stream {the Koreans are quick to emphasize that this is a stream, not river!} with a lovely nature path that you should visit. It is right in the middle of Seoul city lined with many beautiful sights to enjoy. You can take a guided walking tour in English, Chinese or Japanese {reserve 5 days in advance, tel: 02-397-5908}, but I reckon that this path is easy for you to navigate on your own.

If you walk along the whole stream, you would probably need about 3-4 hours (?). Cheonggyecheon starts at Cheonggye Plaza, located between Gwanghwamun {statues of King Sejong the Great, founder of Hangul language & Admiral Yi Sun Shin at the Gwanghwamun Square} and the City Hall. At Cheonggye Plaza there's beautiful fountains, waterfall, a miniature replica of Cheonggyecheon and detailed commentaries of the 22 bridges across that steam. I recommend you end your walk there around nightfall to watch the nightly symphony of light and water. Very pretty!

Along the stream there's various iconic structures and designs like Banchado {ceramic mural of a King Jungjo of a painting by Kim Hong Do}, colourful wall made of fabrics from Dongdaemun, a wishing well and The Wall of Culture {designed by 5 contemporary artist professors from renowned universities}.

Even if you don't want to walk the whole stream, Cheonggyecheon connects many tourism sites like Insadong, Sejong Centre, Seoul Plaza, Hallyu Hall, Changdeokgung, Dongdaemun etc so you can easily take a leisure stroll there to escape from the bustling Seoul streets to get to your next destination. We met up with my friend, Songyi, to go to Insadong area from Dongdaemun and walked along Cheonggyecheon. Took us about 30-40 minutes and was so relaxing. Streets in Seoul are a little narrow and bumpy so not very easy to go around with a stroller. Walking with the stroller along Cheonggyecheon was a much better experience as the path is smooth with less traffic. A lot of native Koreans like to stroll and have picnic by the streams and I can see why with the gorgeous autumn weather!

Next time if we may, I would love to have a picnic there and let our little pumpkin play by the clear sparkling stream too.

More posts on my Korean travels here.


Jessica said...

Hey! I am your newest GFC follower!

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

YOur posts have been making me so jealous lately. We need to visit!