Photo: Street of Craft Shops Nearby Hwaseong Haenggung Palace
Located in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do just south of Seoul, is the famous Hwaseong Fortress, an iconic wall that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although only a fifth the size of Seoul, since the provincial legislative building for Gyeonggi-do is located here, the city is a hub of politics, economy, policy, and administration. It is also full of popular tourist attractions. Places like streets, museums, and other unique destinations are all nearby, making the city great for day trips to enjoy one's vacation. Let's take a look at some of the enticing attractions of Suwon, a city filled to the brim with both old and new.
Cozy neighborhood of Haenggung-dong Mural Village & Janganmun Gate's old street
Photo: Haenggung-dong Mural Village (left) / Janganmun Gate's old street (right)
Suwon contains many residential alleys ornate with gorgeous murals, and of those, the area of Haenggung-dong Mural Village and the old street at Janganmun Gate are particularly worth a visit. Haenggung-dong, which is composed of 12 neighborhoods – nine inside Hwaseong Fortress's walls and three on the outside – is known as the old section of Suwon, as the alleys and streets of these areas have been left exactly the way they were built in the 1980s and 1990s. One must-see place to see murals is Buksu-dong near Honghwamun Gate. The easiest way to get there is to follow the directions on the information board next to Honghwamun Gate. Haenggung-dong Mural Village may not be as well-known as other famous mural villages, but it's quiet, cozy atmosphere is a good reason to pay it a visit, and all the murals can be observed in no more than an hour.
The mural village at Janganmun Gate's old street, located in Jangan-dong of Paldal-gu, starts from Sinpung Elementary School and extending about 500 meters all the way to Hwaseomun Gate, the area's network of small and large alleyways is riddled with beautiful, artistic murals that attract many visitors throughout the year. The artworks here were created using recycled waste materials, and there is a little garden installed at almost every corner. The murals, which are rather simple and plain, express the simple livelihoods of the many residents in this part of Suwon.
- Haenggung-dong Mural Street
- ☞ Address: Areas of Buksu-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- ☞ Directions: Take a taxi and get off near the Hwaseong Temporary Palace or Hwaseong Fortress Museum.
Walk for about 5 to 10 minutes to reach the destination.
- Janganmun Gate Road
- ☞ Address: Areas of 42beon-gil, Hwaseomun-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- *Area from Haenggung Palace's parking lots to rear end of the Janganmun Gate road.
The one and only of its kind in the world: Bathroom museum Haewoojae (Mr. Toilet House)
Suwon has a very unique place that cannot be found elsewhere: Haewoojae, a toilet that was transformed into a cultural space and a museum. Haewoojae literally means "form that solves problems," which is derived from the word haeuso, a toilet in a temple that waves concerns and worries away. Haewoojae presents its uniqueness from the building facade, which resembles the shape of a toilet. The exotic museum exhibits the history of toilets around the world and also introduces toilet culture.
The two-story building has exhibition halls that display pictures of excrement and toilets, along with an outdoor park, called the Toilet Culture Park, which displays a variety of sculptures and toilets from the Goryeo Dynasty, tracing the history of toilets at a glance.
- ☞ Address: 9, Jangan-ro 458 beon-gil, Jangan-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- ☞ Directions:
Get off at Sungkyunkwan Univ. Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 1.
Go to Yuljeon Church (율전성당) Bus Stop and board bus no. 5, 39, 63, 64, 65, 92, or 98.
After passing 3 to 4 stops, get off at the entrance to Dongwon High School and go 500 m following the main street of Jangan-ro (장안로). (Total walking time: approx. 10 min.)
- ☞ Admission: Free
- ☞ Operating hours: Mar-Oct 10:00-18:00 / Nov-Feb 10:00-17:00 (Closed on New Year's Day, Seollal (Lunar New Year) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)
- ☞ Website: www.haewoojae.com (Korean, English)
Take a unique ride on Hwaseong Train
Photo: Hwaseong Train (top & right) / Hwaseong Fortress
Hwaseong Train is something that you do not want to miss out on when visiting Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. Walking along the trails in the fortress is uplifting enough, but riding on the train delivers a much more interesting experience, where one can appreciate the fortress from a different perspective. The train travels from Paldalsan Mountain to Yeonmudae Post (a total of 3.2 km) and takes about 30 minutes. The front is decorated with brave a dragon, a symbol of King Jeongjo, and the cars resemble a palanquin that the king used to ride on in the past.
- ☞ Address for ticket office (Bus stop)
- Paldalsan Mountain Ticket office: 16 Jeongjo-ro 777 beon-gil, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- Yeonmudae Ticket Office: 3-14, Maehyang-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- ☞ Operating hours: 10:00 to 17:50 Daily
- ☞ Routes
- Yeonmudae → Paldalsan: 12 times per day / Runs 11 times daily from November to February
- Paldalsan → Yeonmudae: 12 times per day / Runs 11 times daily from November to February
- ☞ Fee: 1,500 won
- ☞ Travel time: Approx. 30 minutes for one-way
- ☞ Website: Suwon Cultural Foundation www.swcf.or.kr (Korean only)
Suwon's Gongbang Golmok, an eye-catching workshop alley
Photo: Pretty handicrafts seen at the street of craft shops
The road between Hwaseong Haenggung Palace and Paldalmun Gate ticket booth offers a variety of experiential programs through the many old studio shops located here. Called Gongbang Golmok (literally translated as "craft shops street"), it will remind you of Insa-dong in Seoul once you set foot here. The area is full of cozy shops, galleries and restaurants. If you plan ahead before you go, you can even watch traditional performances held right on the street. There are big and small shops where you can make bracelets, sotdaes (traditional poles made for folk religion or to celebrate happy occasions), and ceramics. As there are also many murals scattered throughout the area, after taking in the sights and many shops of this workshop alley, you can simply pick a shop you like and take part in a craft shop that allows you to really delve in to traditional Korean culture with your own hands.
- ☞ Address: Areas around Haenggung-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- ☞ Directions: Get off at Suwon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, Bundang Line).
Then go to AK Plaza Bus Stop.
Take bus no. 11, 13, 36, or 39 and get off at Paldalmun Bus Stop.
Time travel from the past to future of the electronics industry at Samsung Innovation Museum
Photo credit: Samsung Innovation Museum
Samsung Innovation Museum is not only the largest electronics industry museum, but it allows visitors to learn about the incredible transformation of Samsung Electronics from a local small business into a global tech giant. Also, it is located in Suwon's Digital City area, the birthplace of Samsung Electronics 47 years ago. The museum outlines the whole history of electronics, as well as its present condition and where electronics is headed into the future.
The museum is composed of exhibits highlighting the major inventions of electronics, such as Thomas Edison's light bulb, the Leyden jar, tube-style radio and TVs, and the first cellular telephone. Not only that, but visitors can see the history and current technology of Samsung Electronics as well, especially the Smart Home theater, where one can see a video showing a futuristic world where humans are using advanced technology of the not-so-distant future. Samsung Innovation Museum is geared towards people and families of all ages, and has a wide-range of experiential programs that are offered free of charge.
- ☞ Address: 129 Samsung-ro, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- ☞ Directions: Get off at Mangpo Station (Bundang Line), Exit 4.
Go to Mangpo Station Bus Stop and take bus no. 15-1.
Get off at Samsung Digital City Main Gate Bus Stop after passing 5 stations (approx. 6 min.).
Walk for 5 minutes to reach the destination.
- ☞ Admission: Free
- ☞ Operating hours:
- *Weekdays: 10:00-18:00 (reservation required) / Guided tour available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish
*Saturdays: 09:00-17:00 (last admission at 16:30) / No guided tour offered
*Closed on Sundays, Public Holidays, Labor Day (May 1) & December 31
- ☞ Reservation: Online reservation
www.samsunginnovationmuseum.com (Korean, English)
- ☞ Inquiries: +82-31-200-3113 (Korean, English)
*Choose preferred language when connected with automatic answering machine
- ☞ E-mail: email@example.com
- More info
- ☞ Website:
- Suwon City www.suwon.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Suwon Cultural Foundation www.swcf.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
*This column was last updated on April 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official website before visiting.
<Last updated in April 19, 2016>