Don’t get me wrong, Seoul is great with all of its’ cafés, PC bangs, and general nonstop bustle of city life. But, at some point, I began to miss the calm and quiet that can only be found in nature. I wanted something less physically demanding than hiking at one of the national parks but many of the so called “parks” within Seoul were little more than a few park benches and some trees. So when my friend said she found something called the “Seoul Forest,” I thought I’d join her in exploring the area.
The name “Seoul Forest” is a bit of an overstatement; this place would be better described as a large park. Actually, the forest is split up into 5 main sections (aka parks): the Cultural Art Park, Ecological Forest, Nature Experiencing Study Field, Wetlands Ecological Field, and Hangang River Waterside Park.
The really odd part about the forest is that each section is physically separated by busy roads. There are either bridges or crosswalks to get you from one part of the forest to the other but I’ve never been to a park that has an interstate running through the middle of it.
Cultural Art Park
Seoul Forest Plaza
Apparently this area is typically partly underwater but I must have been there during a dry spell.
Other than squirrels, which you’ll run into frequently in the forest, there’s a number of other wildlife critters living here. Some of these creatures include birds, cats, and even deer (more on that later).
Hill Of Wind
At the very end of the Ecological Forest is a large, fenced-in area that holds deer. I think there are times when you can enter the deer enclosure and tour around the area but it was only at specific times and I’m pretty sure you had to pay a fee.
Most of the deer didn’t really care that we were there; they were either napping or sunbathing. A few of them lazily looked over at us as we passed but only one of the deer approached us.
They had this unique pattern of spots on their backs.
There was a little vending machine where you could buy some food for them but of course neither my friend nor I had any change on us. But this one deer did enjoy eating leaves.
Nature Experiencing Center
Seoul Forest Bridge
From underneath the bridge, you can just begin to see the Hangang river that lies on the other side of the interstate.
This area was kind of weird. Both the Gallery Garden and old Insect Garden (see below)looked very run down, as if they were ruins. I can see how the Gallery Garden is supposed to be a very natural looking area but the Insect Garden was literally an abandoned building.
Old Insect Garden
New Insect Garden
Right next to the abandoned building was the much newer and nicer Insect Building that houses insects and other little critters. But I just don’t understand what the point was of having this creepy building still standing.
Student and Traveler Tips
This park is free which is great for the money conscious traveler (or if you’ve gone out to get Korean BBQ one too many times last week- it happens!).
There’s plenty of paths and trails to follow in the forest so you can easily plan to spend an hour here or more. If I ever go back here again, I would bring a little picnic to have lunch out here on a nice day.
273, Ttukseom-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul