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Have you heard of Haneul Park? I have many friends who have been to Seoul (once or even more than 3 times in the last 5 years) but only a couple has actually heard of this green space in the city. Surprisingly, none of them have visited it before! It is one of my favourite hangout spots in Seoul yet its beauty remains unknown to only a few?! Come, let me introduce Haneul Park to you!
Haneul Park translates to “Sky Park”. And its no surprise why its a vast garden which offers a spectacular view of Seoul from its height. The park is located on the highest park of the World Cup Park and overlooks the city. On a clear summer day, one can enjoy breathtaking views of the World Cup Stadium, Hangang River and even across to Bukhasan.
Do note that because of its height, one would first have to conquer 291 steps up to reach Haneul Park. Alternatively, one can look out for the electric tram which offers ticketed rides up and down the hill.
However, the most attractive feature of the park is its changing foliage according to 4 seasons.
Starting with spring and summer, the garden presents a sea of lush greenery as wild flowers decorated the picture with specks of red, pink, white and yellow colours. And under the vast blue sky, every sight is a beauty. In fact, summer is quite the appropriate time for one to capture some Insta-worthy shots with the little photo corners all around the garden.
Pick a spot and let nature form the backdrop of your pictures.
And on the opposite end of the park, take a seat on the swing for a picnic and watch the clouds go by over Hangang River.
Summer is probably the time to enjoy this scenery with minimal disturbances from overcrowding of visitors. Because when fall comes…
In September and October, Haneul park is teemed with visitors, especially locals, who are here to catch a glimpse of the sea of silver grasses.
Isnt the view completely different than it was in summer? Now the summer foliage is taken over with the crisp silver grasses dancing in the wind~
A photo in Haneul Park with the silver grasses is probably THE photo to signal for autumn. Check out this comparison of summer and autumn:
And when the snow falls on Haneul Park, it covers the field white as the grasses turns golden and dries up in the cold. It is no surprise that many Korean couples do visit Haneul Park in the winter for couple or even wedding photo-shoot!
For frequent visitors to Seoul who have yet to check out this place, do have it added to your list when you make your next visit!
Address: 487-48 Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
How to get there: World Cup Stadium (Line 6, Exit 1). Cross the carpark and road over towards the park area and continue walking till one come across a blue overhead bridge. One should notice the zig-zag stairs leading up to Haneul Park.
In the past when I travelled around Jeju by public transport, I missed out these attraction sites as one could not access them conveniently by bus. Perhaps you did too?
This time, with a friend to drive us around the island, I could instead enjoy cafe-hopping and even have a go at some of Jeju’s natural walks and trails.
Here, I shall bring you to visit Jeju’s Mazeland and one of the many Olle trails, Olle Trail 5 by the coast. The former has appeared in many Korean TV shows like Running Man while the latter was recently featured in the Netflix original Korean series Busted as the final mysterious destination in Episode 2’s Treasure Island.
Step right into one of Jeju’s most visited attraction sites, The Mazeland. The themed park presents the three elements which Jeju prides in: Rocks, Wind, and Women. This is reflected in the three mazes as each is shaped, and thus named, after the individual element. There is the Wind Maze, Stone Maze and Woman Maze.
Take a quick look at the map of Mazeland and you will realise that the mazes take on each form of the elements. Here, one can probably spend a few hours navigating through the mazes on their own. After all, what fun is there if you do not get lost in them!
For those yearning for a unique shot to make it as your photo-of-the-day, do allow yourself to explore the mazes. There are a few unique photo locations which may turn out to be a delight.
At the end of the mazes, do not hesitate to leave Mazeland just yet. There is something magical hidden right behind the mazes, especially during the summer season!
Follow your way towards the rose garden and viola, one would find oneself surrounded by beds of blossoming roses, each adding a vibrant colour to one’s summer photos.
During the hydrangea season in summer, continue the path which will bring you to a sea of blooming hydrangea. While some may prefer skipping Mazeland after a visit to Gimnyeong Maze Park, I believe that Mazeland is worth a visit for more than just the mazes.
As one tour around the flower gardens, be sure to catch these boards. Written on them are beautiful quotes which would brighten your day, including the above which says of “I still worry about myself yet hope for the best” and others like “I am the prettiest today” (below) or “Happiness is felt when you are with me”. Along the way, one can even read about the folk myths in Jeju, illustrated by the stone statues on the paths.
Further down, one can trail into the bamboo woods and the wood forest which makes a great resting place for a picnic. Fairy lights hang from the branches, transforming it to a beautiful fairytale-like location for families and couples to relax and appreciate each other’s company. There is even a mini wooden maze there to excite the kids.
At the end of the long exploration, head back into the cooling gallery which shows of exhibitions of mazes, puzzles and other brain-stimulating challenges to occupy everyone in the family.
During the summer, visitors to Jeju must visit the Olle trails. These trails bring one through the woods, past the flower fields and even to the beaches of Jeju. The Olle trails will lead one to all of Jeju’s natural scenery there is offer on the island, including the attractions sites like Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Information to get there by public transport can be found here).
However, I shall bring our readers to a unique place where one can view the whole of Korea. It was also featured in the Netflix original Korean series Busted. Puzzled by what I mean? Let me show you!
Introducing Jeju’s Olle Trail #5 around Namwon Keuneung Coast. This Olle trail is located in the south of Jeju, a short drive from Seogwipo City.
The trail takes one around the coast to appreciate Jeju’s rocky coasts and let one’s hair loose in the cooling ocean breeze. The trail is ideal in the late afternoons of summer to avoid the warm temperatures.
The trail begins here at the pavillion and around the corner, there is a cafe which was featured in my other travel post on cafe-hopping in Jeju. Then, begin your walking journey through the bushes around the coast.
Here, one can access many scenic points of the coastal areas. The trail is really long with few paths leading out of the trail. As such, I would suggest for visitors to prepare their own snacks and water for the journey ahead. Do ensure sufficient time to finish the trail before the sky darkens.
However, you must be wondering what i meant by “a unique place where one can view the whole of Korea”. Check it out yourself!
Located in the middle of the Olle trail #5, there is a spot called the Korean Peninsula 한반도 where the bushes of the trail form the outline of the entire Korean Peninsula. This phenomenon is so famous that even Koreans would specially make a trip down to observe it and take a photo.
For the less adventurous who wish to only visit this location, you can skip the Olle trail #5 and head straight down to Kumho Jeju Resort. Facing the ocean, take the small path down which would lead you straight onto the Olle trail. Make a right turn onto the path and you will see the Korean Peninsula outline.
The same location was featured in Busted when they discovered the last treasure hidden near the bushes.
These locations are best accessed by private transport. Hopefully, my introduction to these places will encourage you to discover more hidden places in Jeju! This has been my third visit to the island yet I cannot wait to explore many other sites. In fact, there are numerous Olle trails available. I only had the time to pick this meaningful location during my visit.
Are there any other trails our readers would like to recommend?