‘Yeontral Park’ is the name used amongst many young Koreans to describe the Gyeongui Line Forest Park located in the neighborhood of Yeonnamdong. Coined as a play on words and in homage to Central Park in New York, it may not be as vast or as famous as its American cousin, but it is a pleasant green space among the large concrete jungle that is Seoul. As well as being a pleasant place to take a stroll, this neighborhood is in the middle of a boom of new businesses including craft stores, countless coffee shops and unique new restaurants.
Located straight out of Exit 3 at Hongik University station, it’s easy to reach and often missed by many expats who take the standard exit 9 route into Hongdae with a b-line for the playground area, where for a long time many foreigners have congregated to socialize. But this park area just on the border of Hongdae offers a new side and a much more relaxed environment to hangout with friends.
As you walk down the park the first port of call should be the bottle shop ‘Beer Super’ on your left hand side. With two wooden barrels outside a brown exterior you can’t miss it, and you’ll find a great range of imported beers from all around the world. Here you can enjoy of one the many perks of Seoul which is drinking in public! If alcohol isn’t for you don’t be perturbed as there are many other types of drinks available further down the park.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat around the park look no further than Jil’Hal Bros. Quite well known within the expat community this small yellow and red hole in the wall offers the best chicken and lamb over rice in Seoul. Really easy to find, just keep walking down the park and take a left at the GS25 and you’ll see it just in front of you on the right. The park is a great place to enjoy food, beers and great company during the evenings or a place to settle down with a picnic for a lazy Sunday brunch.
The park is a 1.3km long green belt of urban forest, with the rusted remains of the old railway tracks sprouting up as you meander down the well kept grass area and flowing stream. Flanked with many restaurants and cafes, this neighborhood is also home to a large community of hostels which gives a real holiday vibe. Halfway down the park you’ll see a GS25 on your right, if you take that road and then a left onto the road running parallel to the park you will find a street lined with an array of ground floor stores offering an eclectic range of goods and services.
At the top of the park is the head of the stream and a small seating area, if you take a right up a small side street you’ll see small buildings covered in newly painted graffiti, hidden amongst the colourful buildings is a real diamond in the rough, only opening last week Dalsang coffee shop offers a great range of hand dripped coffees, with a great peaceful roof terrace on a sunny spring day…a real Seoul Secret!
Check out Yeontral Park now while the cool spring weather is still here.
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