While Paris has the Seine River and London has the Thames, Seoul’s representative river is none other than the Hangang River. Running from the east to west of Seoul, Hangang River has been together with the people of Seoul through countless times of joys and perils. It is a river of culture and life that now serves as a healing spot for the busy Seoulites. A total of 11 parks were formed along the Hangang River, and every summer, the parks unfold unique events and a variety of performances. From day to night, there are seemingly endless things to see or do here. Read on to find out more about these exclusive experiences, not found in other attractions of Seoul!
Excitement in Hangang During the Day!
Explore Jabeolle (Ttukseom Observatory Culture Complex) at Ttukseom Hangang Park
Jabeolle (Credit: Ttukseom Observatory Culture Complex – Jabeolle; bottom)
Take a walk around Ttukseom Hangang Park and you can’t be helped but to be stopped by a uniquely shaped building that is highly eye-catching. This three-story building that seems to resemble a giant snake is called Jabeolle (J-Bug), Korean for inchworm, and serves as a public multi-culture complex.
The first floor is certainly worth exploring as art exhibitions and performances by amateur artists and performers there are always ongoing. The interior of the complex is mainly divided into its head, body and tail, with each area displaying characteristics of different concepts to offer various cultural and lifestyle experiences. Most visitors watch performances at the head section, while others visit the snack bar that at the body section. The tail, on the other hand, is an exhibition of masterpieces by various artists.
Escape from summer heat at Hangang outdoor swimming pools
Mangwon Hangang Outdoor Water Park (Credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government)
For visitors who are traveling to Korea in summer, the outdoor swimming pools and water playgrounds at Hangang River are one of the top recommendations for you. Only open during the summer season, this is probably one of the most attractive offers to enjoy cooling waters in downtown Seoul.
Among the 11 Hangang Parks - Yeouido Hangang Park, Mangwon Hangang Park, Ttukseom Hangang Park, Jamwon Hangang Park, Gwangnaru Hangang Park, Jamsil Hangang Park - six host outdoor public swimming pools. These pools include Outdoor Swimming Pools in Yeouido Hangang Park, Outdoor Swimming Pools in Mangwon Hangang Park, Outdoor Swimming Pools in Ttukseom Hangang Park, Outdoor Swimming Pools in Jamwon Hangang Park, Outdoor Swimming Pools in Gwangnaru Hangang Park, and Outdoor Swimming Pools in Jamsil Hangang Park. In addition, Nanji Hangang Park and Yanghwa Hangang Park have a water playground facility for visitors to enjoy the refreshing splashing waters. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy your summer with Hangang River right beside you!
☞ Operating hours: Hangang swimming pools and water playground 09:00-19:00
※ Hangang outdoor swimming pools and water playground will operate until Aug. 27, 2017.
Hangang Swimming Pool: Adults 5,000 won / Teenagers 4,000 won / Children 3,000 won
Hangang Water Playground: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 2,000 won / Children 1,000 won
※ Free admissions for children age 5 and under.
☞ Related news: Hangang Park Outdoor Swimming Pools Open
Enjoy everything Hangang has to offer! Hangang Summer Festival
Hangang Summer Festival 2016 (Credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government)
From March to October, a variety of festivals is held at Hangang River for all citizens. Flowers are the theme during spring, while water leisure sports and activities are the main focus in summer and fireworks are typically the theme for autumn season. Among the many summer festivals taking place in Seoul, Hangang Summer Festival is truly one of the best there is!
Hangang Summer Festival is the top summer festival in Seoul, and it is held for a total of 31 days from July 21 to August 20 this year. The theme for this year’s festival is "Find New Ways to Enjoy the Hangang River," and participants may choose their desired activities from about 80 programs divided into three themes such as "Cool Hangang (water leisure sports/competition)," "Touching Hangang (performances & movies)," and "Together Hangang (camping/ecological programs).”
☞ Operating period: July 21 - August 20, 2017
※ Programs and hours vary accordingly.
☞ Fee: Varies according to programs. Please refer to website for more information.
☞ Website: hangang.seoul.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish)
Meet the Crimson Sunset at Hangang River
Take a break and relax along the river
Great vista of Hangang River from Gureum Café (Credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government; bottom left)
If you are looking for a good view to go with your coffee, lookout cafés are be the best option. These spots offer the best views of Hangang River, especially at dusk or sunset. Presently, there are nine lookouts spread across the bridges along Hangang River, with eight operating as cafés for the public. Recommended cafés include Gyeonu Café and Jiknyeo Café at Hangang Bridge, and Gureum Café and Noeul Café at Donkjak Bridge as they offer magnificent views due to their location at the center of the bridges.
Gureum Café and Noeul Café located on Dongjak Bridge boast the finest views of all the lookout cafes on the Hangang River. The two cafes are very similar in size and serve coffee, juice, tea and other beverages. Furthermore, tourists who would like to satisfy their hunger can also enjoy a Western-style meal such as pasta or pizza, too. Above all, both cafés offer an outdoor terrace where you can take in the scent of the river while appreciating the breathtaking nightscapes.
- Gwangjingyo Bridge Riverview 8th Avenue: Gwangnaru Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 2. Walk for approx. 16 min.
- Dongjak Bridge Gureum Café: Dongjak Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 1. Walk for approx. 10 min.
- Dongjak Bridge Noeul Café: Dongjak Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 2. Walk for approx. 10 min.
- Hangang Bridge Gyeonu Café: Sinyongsan Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 2. Walk for approx. 15 min.
- Hangang Bridge Jingnyeo Café: Sinyongsan Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 3. Walk for approx. 16 min.
- Yanghwa Bridge Coffine Gurunaru (Seonyu Branch): Seonyudo Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 4. Walk for approx. 14 min.
- Yanghwa Bridge Coffine Gurunaru (Yanghwa Branch): Seonyudo Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 4. Walk for approx. 15 min.
- Jamsil Bridge Maruswimteo: Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 8), Exit 7. Walk for approx. 13 min.
- Mapo Bridge Café of Light: National Assembly Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 3. Walk for approx. 18 min. in the direction of Mapo Bridge.
☞ Operating hours
- Gwangjingyo Bridge Riverview 8th Avenue: 10:00-22:00 (Closed 2nd and 4th Mondays)
- Dongjak Bridge Gureum Café: 11:30-23:30
- Dongjak Bridge Noeul Café: 11:00-24:00 (Opens at noon on weekends)
- Hangang Bridge Gyeonu Café: 12:00-24:00
- Hangang Bridge Jingnyeo Café: 12:00-24:00
- Yanghwa Bridge Coffine Gurunaru (Seonyu Branch): 12:00~22:30
- Yanghwa Bridge Coffine Gurunaru (Yanghwa Branch): 12:00~24:00
- Jamsil Bridge Maruswimteo: 09:30-19:30 (Closed public holidays)
- Mapo Bridge Café of Light: 11:00-23:00
Enjoy a Romantic Evening at Hangang!
Get a closer view of Hangang River on a Hangang River Ferry Cruise
Nightscape of Yeouido from the ferry (Credit: E Land Cruise)
One of the most famous attractions for nightscapes at Hangang River is none other than the Hangang River ferry cruise! The cruise offers a splendid nightscape of Seoul, attracting numerous international visitors non-stop. It’s also popular among couples as a date course or a marriage proposal spot thanks to its romantic atmosphere. The programs offered by the Hangang River ferry cruise vary according to the time of day, from a regular tour cruise around Hangang River to a buffet lunch or dinner on board. It also offers a Music Cruise with live jazz music and Banpo Rainbow Fountain Show, a Moonlight Cruise with live guitar music in the background, and even a baking experience and performance called Pang Pang Cruise for some interactive fun! With the exception of the regular Hangang River tour cruise, special cruise programs are available only on fixed hours. Travelers who are interested in these programs are advised to check the schedule in advance before visiting.
☞ Dock address: 290, Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
※ Cruise boarding is currently available only at Yeouido Dock. Boarding and getting off the boat for Hangang River Cruise is available at designated docks for each course.
☞ Directions: Yeouinaru Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 3. Walk for approx. 15 min.
☞ Ferry schedule
- Story Cruise: Weekdays 11:30,13:00-17:00, 1 hour interval / Weekends 11:30-18:30, 30 min. interval
- Hangang Tour Cruise: Monday - Friday 14:30 (Route: Yeouido - Jamdubong – Seonyudo -Yanghwa – Sangam - Yeouido)
- Moonlight Cruise: Everyday 22:00
- Music Cruise: Sunday - Friday 19:30, Monday - Friday 20:30
- Fireworks Cruise / Fireworks Dinner Cruise: Saturdays 19:30
- Pang Pang Cruise: Everyday 17:40, 21:00
- Story / Hangang Tour Cruise: 15,000 wpm
- Buffet Cruise: Lunch 35,000 won (Monday - Thursday), 39,000 won (Friday - Sunday) / Dinner 75,000 won (Monday - Thursday), 79,000 won (Friday - Sunday)
- Moonlight Cruise: 19,000 won
- Music Cruise: 25,000 won
- Fireworks Cruise: 35,000 won / Fireworks Dinner Cruise: 89,000 won
- Pang Pang Cruise: 19,000 won (Separate fee required for baking experience)
☞ Website: www.elandcruise.com (Korean only)
A Nighttime only event! Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market
View of Banpo, Seoul (Credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government)
As night falls, a surprise late-night market appears at the Yeouido Hangang Park. Starting from the evening and operating until late at night on Fridays and Saturdays, the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market lives up to its name as it appears at night and disappears in the morning, just like a bamdokkaebi (night goblin). Since its opening in 2015, Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market has been attracting crowds of Seoulites as well as numerous tourists every week.
The biggest merit of this night market is that there is much to see and eat all in one place! Magic shows or DJ music performances can be found in every other corner of the market, and an assortment of international foods is also sold at reasonable prices in food trucks. With a cool evening breeze to help you cool down, this is undeniably one of the best places to enjoy the nightscape of Hangang River.
- Yeouido World Night Market: Yeouido Hangang Park Mulbit Square, 330, Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
- Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market: Banpo Hangang Park Dalbit Square, 40, Sinbanpo-ro 11-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
- Yeouido World Night Market: Yeouinaru Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 2. Walk for approx. 13 min.
- Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market: Express Bus Terminal (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7, 9), Exit 8-1. Walk for approx. 17 min.
☞ Operating hours: Fridays & Saturdays 18:00-23:00
※ Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market 2017 will operate until October 29, 2017.
Shining islands on Hangang River, Some Sevit
Scenery of Some Sevit
As the filming location of the movie "The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015),” Some Sevit rose in popularity among the public. Located near the southernmost part of Banpo Bridge, Some Sevit is a cluster of three artificial islands that appear to be afloat on the surface of Hangang River. The islands are known for their beautiful and colorful kaleidoscope of lights illuminated when night falls. Numerous flower decorations and LED lights are also installed along the bridge promenades towards the islets, making it even more vibrant and attractive especially at nighttime.
Some Sevit has risen to become the one of the most famous attractions for taking in night views of Seoul. Across from Some Sevit are Banpo Hangang Park Dalbit Square and its outdoor performance stage facing towards the islands, allowing visitors to be entertained with music performances while enjoying the summer evening breeze. Try taking a picnic at Some Sevit with chicken and beer for an unforgettable summer night by Hangang River.
☞ Adress: 683, Olympicdae-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul
☞ Directions: Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7, 9), Exit 8-1. Take a taxi for approx. 6 min.
☞ Operating hours: Vary according to stores. Please refer to the website for more information.
☞ Website: www.somesevit.com (Korean, English)
A majestic water performance, Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain Show
Banpo Bridge Moonlight Rainbow Fountain (Credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government)
In close proximity to Some Sevit, visitors can find the all-time favorite Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain! This bridge fountain was recorded in the Guinness World Records for being the world’s longest bridge fountain in 2008. The fountain runs 570 meters on both sides of Banpo Bridge with a total of 380 nozzles installed. Unlike a typical water fountain that spouts water from the bottom to the top, the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain shoots water from the top of the bridge, down into the Hangang River below. About 200 LED lights illuminate the bridge in an array of colors, along with exciting music in the background for a revitalizing and vivacious presentation.
☞ Address: Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
☞ Directions: Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7, 9), Exit 8-1. Take a taxi for about 6-min.
☞ Operating hours (Rainbow Fountain Showtime)
- April-June & September-October: Weekdays 4 times (12:00, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00) / Weekends & holidays 5 times (12:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00)
- July-August: Weekdays 5 times (12:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00) / Weekends & holidays 6 times (12:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30)