Started the day early again for our 6th day in South Korea because we headed for the neighboring city, Suwon. Suwon is the capital and largest metro of the Gyeonggi-do province, which surrounds Seoul. From general knowledge, this city is not usually part of the top destinations for first-time visitors of South Korea, since you can already do a lot in Seoul.
So, what did I came here for? I first found out about Suwon in Running Man Episode two, where they visited the Hwaseong Fortress, Suwon World Cup Stadium, and World Cup Memorial. Suwon being a Running Man location was already enough reason for me to go, but I was even more convinced when I found out the location set for Jewel in the Palace and Love in the Moonlight (Moonlight Drawn by Clouds) was also found here.
Suwon’s cultural sites are pretty easy to visit as they are within the vicinity of the Hwaseong Fortress. Since we only had a day to spend here, I had to prioritize certain sites visit and took out museum stops. Before your trip to Suwon, I suggest to pin the sites you’d like to see. Then, get a map from the Tourist Information center near Exit 4 of Suwon Station that would help you get around the area.
Our first stop was the Padalmun Gate, the southern gate of Hwaseong Fortress. This is the entrance used to get inside the Fortress. You have to pass-by this area since this is also the bus stop to Hwasong Palace.
Next is the Hwaseong Haenggung (Hwaseong Palace). I wasn’t used to the word “haenggung” as all the palaces in Seoul were called “gung”, so I looked it up. Apparently, a “haenggung” is a temporary palace where the king and royal family retreated to during a war. Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is the largest one of these that was used during the Joseon times.
We were lucky because we visited Hwasong Haenggung during their spring break season. We just found out that during this time, a lot of cultural places have promos or discounts for entrances to encourage people to visit. So we got in for free. Yehey!
NOTE: Our trip was from May 6-13. I guess if you want to have free entrances as well, you should go at this time. The downside of this schedule is that most likely there won’t be any cherry blossoms anymore as spring is already transitioning to summer.
Hwaseong Haenggung might be familiar for K-drama fans, as it is the filming location for the popular Korean period drama, “Jewel in the Palace”. Recently, it was also used by KBS to film the promotional video of “Love in the Moonlight” (also known as “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds”). It’s the one where Park Bo Gum was dancing to tune of “Boombastic”.
Next, we visited the Yeonmudae Post at the edge of Hwaseong Fortress. It’s another Running Man location (hahaha), but aside from that, I wanted to go here because they had the Korean archery experience (Gakgung).
I recently watched the Korean drama, Hwarang, so this attraction is something I really wanted to try. I was really excited because the you only need to pay 2,000 KRW (Php 90-100) for a 30 minute lesson. You’ll have to set a schedule on-site. They only have a few slots per session. The lesson was short and after which, you get to shoot 10 arrows. I hit the target 3 times! (Yeah!)
Before going home, we stopped by Suwon Stadium. This is also a Running Man location, a very famous one. Got to go inside as the entrance was open. There were staff cleaning the stadium and setting up goal posts. Preparations were being done for the FIFA U-20 World Cup that’s being hosted by South Korea this year from May 20 – June 11, 2017. Suwon Stadium is their largest stadium with a capacity of 42 thousand.
That’s it for day 6. Annyeong! 🙂