Do you ever just ride the bus or drive not knowing where you are going? I love doing that… if I had a car here I would do it all the time, but in Korea I am limited to the bus XD thankfully, Korea has an amazing public transport system so you can just hop on with your t-money card and go pretty much anyplace! Korea has so many places to explore~
A few weeks ago I decided (with Nara as my traveling victim) to just stay on the 153 blue bus I normally ride to Edae and see just where it went! We decided we would hop out as soon as we saw something “awesome” and that something was 홍제천 ~ a beautiful river and collection of waterfalls that was visible from the road about 20 min into our bus ride! I shook Nara awake and said “OMG WATERFALLS, LET’S GO” if I remember correctly haha.
홍제천 is a downward streaming river that starts from 북한산 Bukhan Mountain and goes through the Jongro, Seodaemun, and Mapo areas where it eventually meets with the Han River (aka Han Kang).
Recently the walking path was redeveloped along this river with plenty of seating, facilities, and a really nice bike route! We saw lots of people enjoying the view and enjoying the cool fresh air before fall comes at us full force *_*
Walking areas underneath bridges are very common and often very busy here in Korea~ this one was particularly lovely though! The pavement was nice and smooth, when I read more about the location online it seemed to be a very popular place to bike and I can see why~ look at all the smooth space you have.
You can stick to the walkway and have a nice scenic jog, but it is a lot more fun to cross the river!
Obviously I was not exactly dressed for trailblazing, but whatever! MAKE IT WORK!
Who wants to see Elle fall in the water? Not today
Taking the stone path does require a little bit of commitment haha.
One thing that is interesting about this area is the replica waterwheel, boat, and connected shack they have set up on the other side of the river.
Thankfully they had a bit of posted information on the building, but it was only in Korean so I had to pester Nara to translate it for me since I could not exactly understand! ^^ haha! Apparently waterwheels like this replica have been used throughout Korea’s history to help water fields of crops and such. The shack they have is based on a 100 year-old design which was pictured on the sign above.
very interesting to see in person~sadly the water was not flowing hard enough that day to turn the wheel very much though!
On the side hill by the shack they had an area set up showing how Kimchi used to be stored outside in clay pots where the cabbage and ingredients were allowed to ferment for several months. You can still find these pots today in some homes (our eldest auntie has one on her patio!) and being sold in the traditional markets. If you live in a very tall building you can even see these being stored on the rooftops of nearby apartments, but seeing them outside a replica traditional building was still very interesting for me.
They also had a 연자방아 Yunjabang-ah replica set up in front of the shack. This stone tool is normally attached to cattle and pulled around by the farmer in a circle over and over in order to help grind grains and such. Totally looks like something out of the Flintstones, doesn’t it??
Inside the building we saw these connected and seemingly powered by the turning of the waterwheel~ The sign did not say what exactly it was used for, but we guessed it was for crushing herbs or pounding rice into rice cake maybe? It seems to look a bit like that!
Along the side of the house they also had a large replica Korean boat! It did not seem to be a fishing boat, perhaps used to transport things up the river?
This river has a lot of wildlife which was nice since we live in the city and do not see that much at our nearby park! Butterflies, dragonflies, ducks, fish, crabs etc all over the area ♥ This little guy was so red!! I grew up in Florida and only ever saw green dragonflies, but Nara said red ones are quite common here so he was surprised I was so impressed by it haha ^^;
On the other side of the river they also had some hiking paths uphill which Korean’s always seem to love~ We decided to be lazy and opt out of that adventure though!
photo time with the pretty scenery! It was all very peaceful ♥ If you are looking for a nice small spot to visit just outside the crowded areas, this is a great little location to walk, ride bikes, or just relax! Really glad we discovered it ^^
홍제천 Hongjae-chun River (walking route area)
서울특별시 서대문구 연희동
Since this was a random adventure I can not give the best directions from the metro, the closest station is Hongjae Station on the Orange Line but it is quite far though so I would opt for a taxi, car, or bus. We arrived using the Blue #153 bus that runs around the city and dropped us off right in front of the area, but I am sure other buses use the nearby stops ♥