Friday, 11 October 2013

Seoul Forest

Angela and I remain hungry as ever for interesting sights to see around Seoul, and one recent excursion in the city took us to Seoul Forest, a pleasant recreational space on Ttuk Island. Over the years the forest has transformed through various different guises ranging from a royal hunting ground for bygone kings, to a military inspection facility, a water-treatment facility, a golf course, a horse racing track and a sports ground. Now it exists as five interconnected parks, each with a different theme, including an ecological park, a wetlands field, a cultural art park, and so on. According to Korea's official tourist site: "Seoul Forest is rapidly developing into the premium city-park of Korea, like Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York."

The park was formerly the site of Ttukseom Racecourse, commemorated by these statues that greet you near the main entrance.
Local families relax among sculptures in the Cultural Arts Park.

Angela stands next to the mirror lake.
As you'd expect the forest has plenty of fun facilities for children.

In the Nature-Experience Study Field, there are various botanical gardens, as well as an insect house. Being a lifelong bug lover, I was eager to check this place out, regardless of Angela's aversion to mini-beasts!
We started off in the butterfly house.

For whatever reason there were also turtles in the insect house.
Further along, this girl offered us a purple caterpillar.
It turned out there were several crates full of them, and visitors were allowed to pick them up.
The caterpillar whisperer at work.
Angela wasn't sure what to do with them.
Moving on from the caterpillars, we saw a bunch of other bugs, such as this praying mantis...
...and a tarantula.
Back outside, we saw some of the park's numerous deer.

We soon left the park via a bridge that gave some fantastic views of the River Han.

Heading east along the river.
At Ttukseom Resort we chilled out on the grass and drank beers by the river.

Seoul Forest is a pleasant and worthwhile park to explore if you're after a relaxing stroll in the city, and you can easily get there via Seoul Forest Station on the Bundang Line.

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