With a long Chuseok holiday starting this Saturday, it’s almost certain that roads and highways will be jam-packed with honking cars. Rather than stress out sitting in crawling traffic, there is another option for a getaway: Hop on the subway, roam around Seoul and visit places you’ve never been. For your convenience, The Korea Herald has sorted Seoul attractions that are reachable by subway.
K-pop hot spots
K-Live (Korea Tourism Organization)
For fans of K-pop, there are spots around Seoul where you can find traces of your favorite stars; or even get a glimpse of them if you are really lucky. Located inside the MBC headquarters in Sangam-dong, Seoul, near Digital Media City Station, MBC world is Korea’s first broadcasting theme park. It offers hands-on programs related to K-pop or K-dramas, such as hologram theaters, dance programs, a be-a-news-anchor program and various-themed photo zones. Outside the building is Star Street, where handprints of the hottest K-celebrities can be found.
MBC World (Hong Dam-young / The Korea Herald)
S.M. Town Coex Artium, reached by Samseong Station, is a six-floor compound holding nearly everything related to S.M. Entertainment, one of K-pop’s biggest agencies. Celebrity shop “Sum” is located on the second floor, where visitors can purchase T-shirts, hats and other licensed products along with signed photos. There is also a cafe that offers celebrity-themed snacks and drinks, and SM Town Theater on the sixth floor where hologram musicals and other performances are regularly hosted. Coex Artium is open throughout the year.
If you would like to enjoy performances and concerts by K-pop stars such as Big Bang, Psy and 2PM through high-definition hologram videos, the virtual theater of K-Live is located in the middle of the Dongdaemun shopping district, near Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station. It is closed on Mondays and on Wednesday during the Chuseok holidays.
Walking in Seoul
Its a great time to enjoy a nice walk and find peace in nature, when masses of people have left Seoul. Ttukseom Hangang Park near Ttukseom Station, is a riverside venue with attractions and activities, including music fountains, rose garden, playground and art exhibitions. One of its main attractions is the “water screen” -- installed on the main stage -- which shows movies and cartoons during the holiday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. It also houses a rock-climbing wall, along with docks for ferries and flea markets.
Bukhansan Dullegil (Korea Herald DB)
Originally a landfill, World Cup Park near World Cup Stadium Station, Line No. 6, also has several parks suitable for a stroll. Among them are Nanji Park, which has camping grounds, sports facilities and yachting dock and Haneul Park featuring vast field of grass and rich nature.
For hikers, Bukhansan National Park near Gupabal Station, Line No.3 is another option, where visitors can either go hard-mode or easy-mode when climbing the mountain. One can either hike up to the 836-meter-high Baegundae Terrace -- which offers a panoramic view of Seoul -- or just take a casual stroll across the mountain-side trail of Dullegil.
Tracing history with Chuseok festivals
Those looking for an entertaining and educational holiday can visit Amsa Neolithic settlement site in Amsa-dong, eastern Seoul near Amsa Station, Line No. 8, which gives visitors a peek at the lifestyle in pre-historic Korea during the Neolithic era (7,000-1,000 BC).
Amsa Neolithic settlement site (Amsadong site)
The site features a pre-historic housing site that takes a form of a dugout hut, as well as exhibitions of various relics, including diagonal-line patterned earthenware. (The exhibition buildings are temporarily closed due to re-modeling construction that runs until March next year.) Amsa Neolithic settlement site is open Tuesday to Sunday, though during the Chuseok holiday, the site will close on Oct. 2 and 10. In celebration of Chuseok, the place will also hold Korean traditional festival on Oct. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the square in front of the exhibition buildings. The festival includes Korean traditional music performances and programs where visitors can experience Korean traditional games such as “yutnori” and top-spinning for free.
Namsangol Hanok Village (Korea Tourism Organization)
For those who want to experience the Chuseok vibe, a three-day festival will be held at Namsangol Hanok Village near Chungmuro Station, Line No. 3 or 4, from Oct. 3 to 5. The festival involves Chuseok-themed programs where visitors can make and taste Chuseok food together, play Korean traditional games and enjoy Korean traditional music. For more information, visit www.hanokmaeul.or.kr
By Hong Dam-young (firstname.lastname@example.org