Recently the Korea Allimi team and I made our way to Suwon for a day trip. Suwon is the largest city in Gyeonggi-do and about an hour outside of Seoul. Suwon was historically important during the Joseon dynasty and is the last walled city in Korea.
Hwaseong Haenggung is one of the temporary palaces and was the largest during King Jeongjo’s reign. Joseon’s kings would retreat to these temporary palaces during times of war and Jeongjo established Hwaseong Haenggung as a place to stay during his annual visits to see his father’s tomb (in present-day city Hwaseong). When King Jeongjo wasn’t there, Hwaseong Haenggung was used as the office of the local governor.
Admission to Hwaseong Haenggung is 1,500 won for adults and 700 won for children. The temporary palace is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and closes at 5:00 pm from November to February.
Hwaseong Fortress once surrounded the city of Suwon, but the present-day city has far outgrown the protective walls. The construction process of Hwaseong Fortress was meticulously recorded in a report that was published in 1801. This report was used in the restoration efforts of Hwaseong Fortress in the 1960s and the fortress was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Today you can walk the walls that surround the old part of Suwon and even try out gukgung, a traditional Korean archery experience. The archery experience is located near Yeonmudae and costs 2,000 won for ten shots. The experience lasts for about 15 minutes and is held every 30 minutes from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (5 pm during the winter schedule)
Dinner in Suwon
After our day trip, we headed to the eastern part of Suwon to a restaurant called Gondeure Hyanggi (곤드레향기) and tried out their 곤드레밥 dish. Typically with a Korean meal, you have a wide range of side dishes or banchan (반찬) ranging from kimchi, vegetables, and even marinated crab in this case. After you remove all of the rice from the container you typically pour hot water into the rice pot to make an after meal rice tea.
Other things to do in Suwon
Near Hwaseong Haenggung you can find an entire cafe street along with plenty of little restaurants and shops. There’s also a Buddhist temple nearby as well and you can fill a whole day with activities in Suwon. With its close proximity to Seoul, Suwon is a great city to visit if you’re interested in Korean history, food, or even K-dramas (several were filmed in Suwon). Where should we head next? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll see you on the next adventure.