Best Things to Do in Hangang Park
When in Seoul, do as the Seoulites do. Head on over to Hangang Park – the city’s very own oasis – for the perfect lazy summer day. The Han River, which divides the city into two regions: Gangbuk (the northern half) and Gangnam (the southern half), has a total of 11 parks charmingly scattered along the riverbank. Whisk off to a mini-vacation right in the middle of a bustling city and escape into the serene environs that Hangang Park has to offer. A unique experience similar to that of Central Park in Manhattan, this kind of nature in an urban city is a rare sight. So don’t be dissuaded by the throngs of people spread out on the grass, playing board games and throwing frisbees – it’s an experience you don’t want to miss.
To get the local scoop, scroll down for some of the best things to do in Hangang Park during your visit.
What better way to spend a warm afternoon than to enjoy an outdoor picnic? Indulge yourself like a true local and order some Chimaek (Chicken and Maekju), which is practically synonymous with Hangang Park. Crispy fried chicken and an ice-cold beer in the cool summer breeze– need we say more? Whether you want it delivered right to your picnic blanket or pick it up at the park entrance, ordering Chimaek at the park is a lot easier than you might think.
Here are the chicken places for some popular picnic destinations
And who knew that eating instant ramen by the river could taste even better? Convenience stores have all the ingredients to help you make the perfect cup of noodles.
How to make ramen at the convenience store (may slightly differ depending on the machine):
Best Things to Do in Hangang Park
It’s not every day that you come across a river smack dab in the middle of the city. Hangang River’s ideal location makes it easy to get to and provides countless water activities for all to enjoy – and we don’t just mean the ubiquitous boat tours around the river. Whether you prefer paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, or a relaxing yacht ride, Hangang River offers plenty of outdoor adventures to suit your every need. So if you’re feeling outdoorsy, take a day trip out to the parks at Ttukseom, Jamsil, Jamwon, Yeouido or Mangwon. We highly recommend the Sunset Kayak and the Tubester – seriously worth trying out!
Sunset Kayak at Ttukseom:
Leisurely paddle around while soaking in the sunset’s hypnotic glow. The Sunset Kayak is a two-hour course that starts around 7 p.m., providing an amazing view of the golden sunset. As this is a group activity supervised by an instructor, beginners can enjoy this activity as much as seasoned kayakers can. Pro tip: bring some snacks, beer, wine and a Bluetooth speaker to fully indulge in this experience.
Tubester at Banpo:
If you don’t feel like paddling around in a kayak, we recommend you try the Tubester. The Tubester is a noiseless boat that floats across the Han River. It has a parasol on top and seats a maximum of 6 people., with one person in charge of the steering wheel. If you take the Tubester out in the evening, you can also enjoy the sunset on the water.
Best Things to Do in Hangang Park
Once the weather starts to warm up, people flock over to Hangang Park for Seoul’s famous night market. Bustling at night and gone by sunrise, the Seoul Bam Dokkaebi Night Market (‘Bam Dokkaebi’ means a goblin that roams around at night – part of an old folklore) takes place every weekend and is located at the Yeouido and Banpo Hangang Park waterfront. With about 45 incredible food vendors selling a wide selection of finger lickin’ bites from Tteokbokki to Cuban sandwiches, make your way towards this festival for a few hours of good fun.
In addition to all the delicious treats this market has to offer; you can also buy cute handmade accessories and get your groove on in front of lively buskers. Take a picnic blanket so you can sit down and enjoy a beer with a late-night snack! This annual food truck festival is held from the spring to the fall.
Running & Cycling
With well-paved tracks along the riverbank, you will always find people running and cycling along the Han River, whether it is during the sweltering summer heat or the freezing temperatures of winter. Here are some recommended courses:
Yeouido Park is the ideal place for runners and bikers. About 2.5km long, you will catch yourself gazing up at the sparkling lights of the Yeouido high-rise buildings if you choose to run through this tranquil path at night. If you’re looking for a less crowded course, we recommend taking the one that passes the 63 Building and heads in the direction of the Saetgang Ecological Park.
Mangwon (South End of the Sungsan Bridge):
The South End Sungsan Bridge course is considered to be one of the best paths among avid runners and cyclers alike. With the Hongjecheon Stream flowing into the Hangang River, start at the Mangwon District and slow down once you get to the serene Hongjecheon Stream to fully appreciate this course. Offering an idyllic view of Seoul’s city skyline, this path during the night will certainly not disappoint. Take note that there are no restrooms on this course.
Located under the Banpo Bridge, the Jamsu Bridge path provides the perfect summer breeze. This track is so close to the river that it feels as though you’re floating on top of the water. We recommend that you check this course out in the evening because of the Rainbow Fountain show. The pedestrian walkways and the bicycle paths are separated, making it the perfect place for all to enjoy.
The 5 km course that runs from the Banpo district to the end of the Hannam Bridge is ideal for those who wish to enjoy a light and scenic run. With the perfect view of Mt. Nam and the eclectic Hannam-dong neighborhood, if you feel like this course is a bit short, make your way across the Hannam Bridge and run from Hannam-dong all the way up to Mt. Nam.
* How to rent a bicycle
There are bicycle rentals at every park along the Han River (except for the one at Seonyudo). After renting a bike, you can take it for a spin and return it to any of the other rental places located along the river. Bicycle rentals are generally available from 9 a.m. until around sunset. It costs 3,000 won per hour. (Higher quality bikes or Tandem bikes cost 6,000 won per hour.)
*(Pro tip: make sure to keep your receipt; the return process is painful without it.)
There’s always someone at the bicycle rental center to help you measure the seat according to your height; and don’t be afraid to test ride it before renting it out.
You haven’t witnessed the full beauty of the Han River until you’ve been there at night. The twinkling city lights bouncing off the river’s gleam provide a picturesque view of our charming city. If you’re trying to save a buck or two but still want to catch a glimpse of Seoul’s impressive nightscape, Hangang Park is the perfect place to do just that.
Head over to one of the 31 bridges spread across the Han River and let the city skyline overwhelm your senses. Although impossible to judge which provides the best view, we have meticulously selected 3 that are absolutely worth visiting.
The night view from Seongsan Bridge has to be one of the most beautiful in the city. The scenery from Seongsan Bridge has appeared in various dramas and movies and is currently being sought after by many photographers. If you happen to pass by while the sun is setting, take a deep breath and soak in the soft orange glow.
In addition to Seongsan Bridge, Seongsu Bridge is one of the 5 most renowned night scenes in Seoul. Enjoy the amazing sunset with the N Seoul Tower in the distance – the perfect panoramic view of this concrete jungle. Take a stroll in the nearby Seoul Forest as well
Grab a seat near the Banpo Bridge and enjoy the light sprinkle of water from the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain show – a symphony of water and music dancing along the river. The Rainbow Fountain is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest bridge fountain.
And at sunset, you can’t help but notice the colorful Some Sevit (Sevitseom). The glitzy lights are even more beautiful when reflected off the Hangang River. Go treat yourself to some me-time and head on down to the waterfront with a cold beer.