Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hwaseong Fortress, Suwon

To get away from the busy city life and set foot in a piece of history in Korea, Hwaseong Fortress is a destination that you can include in your Korea itinerary. Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon is actually very popular given that it is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1997 and there has been several Korean TV Shows such as 1 day 2 nights who had showcased this venue in one of their shows. The Fortress consists of historical walls and temples that surround the city which used to be one of the temporary locations of King Jeongjo when he stayed in Hwaseong Palace in Suwon.
How to get there?
Ride the subway line # 1 (Blue Line) and alight at Suwon Station. It would take you around 45 minutes from the central Seoul Station to arrive there. Upon reaching the station, take bus 2, 7, 7-2, 8 or 13 and get off at Jongno 4-geori and walk 5 minutes to the fortress. Or you can decide to take the Taxi instead as it will cost a few thousand Korean Won only.
What to do?
Admission Fee is KWN 1,500 for the palace, KWN 1,000 for the fortress, and KWN 1,500 for the Trolley Ride. However, if you just intend to just take a lot of the fortress and go around the walls no need for you to pay the entrance fee. We paid the entrance fee but no one collected the ticket from us and we did not enter the palace anymore given that we did not stay long in the fortress. 
The trolley ride is an option you can take if you want to go around the entire fortress but we decided to skip this given that we wanted to walk around to enjoy the scenery from the top. The entire trip around the fortress will take you around 1-2 hours by walking but will take longer depending on your pace.
What we were not able to do but I would recommend is to try the Archery. It’s a unique opportunity to fire real arrows in an open field. However, you need to watch-out for the time as it is only open from 9:30am to 5:30pm and session takes place every 30 minutes. We were not able to do this since there were so many people lining up for this and the next open slot was around 2 hours from the time we went there. Cost is KWN 2,000 or around Php 80 for 1 session (10 arrows).
When you're there during cherry blossoms season, don't forget to take lots of pictures of these pretty pink trees :) it looks very romantic and precious! Too bad the trees are not at it's peak but at least we were able to see some of it. 

Overall Verdict:
If you want to take a look at Korean history near Seoul, then this is a place for you as there are a lot of photo site of temples, walls, ponds, etc. and you can read through some of the highlights of Korean history at the venue. However, if you’re not a big fan of Korean History, then it is okay to skip this as you won’t miss out on a lot. 
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