Things To Do In Suwon | Suwon Day Trip From Seoul
When you come to Korea, you probably have your itinerary planned around Seoul. Have you considered going to Suwon? If you miss this place you’ll miss a dramatic yet golden sequence of Korean history. You’ll find Suwon a historical town that has grown into a multicultural city, a place to remember the old and enjoy the new. Even better, Suwon city is just a subway ride away from Seoul and easy to get to. Read on to find out all the things to do in Suwon in this Suwon travel guide.
- Things To Know About Suwon
- Things To Do In Suwon
- How To Go From Seoul To Suwon
- Where To Stay In Suwon
- Frequently Asked Questions
Things To Know About Suwon
- What To Wear – picking what to wear in Korea really comes do comes down to the season you will be visiting Korea in. In summer wear light clothes that protect your skin against the sun and in winter layer up and be prepared for temperatures under 0°C.
- Foreigner Discounts – Companies like Klook or Trazy often offer big discounts to foreigners visiting Korea. You can buy entrance tickets and transportation through these booking platforms.
- Tips – tipping in Korea is usually not a custom and many local restaurants won’t accept any kind of tip. If you have booked a tour guide who has lots of experience with foreign tourists, then your tip might be accepted.
- Itinerary – visiting the Suwon is a must when looking to learn more about Korea’s history or just to escape the Seoul metropolitan city. Check the best 4 day, 5 day and 7 day itineraries for South Korea here.
- Suwon Day Trip – Going to Suwon could a very easy day trip from Seoul. You can take public transportation or book a package tour.
Things To Do In Suwon
Now let’s dive into a selection of things to do in Suwon. Suwon has a lot to offer, so while choosing activities to introduce we decided to keep a balance between historical and modern sites. Read on to find out what to do in Suwon.
1. Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
Hwaseong Fortress is the most famous location in Suwon city. Constructed in 1796, Hwassong Fortress has a sad yet dramatic historical background that has become the subject of many Korean dramas and films. If you are a fan of historical films and dramas there is a good chance you are familiar with this story.
The fortress was built by King Jeongjo in honor of his father, Prince Sado, who was accused of treason and madness and tragically killed at the age of 27. Nowadays many scholars believe that he was the victim of political divisions, making his death more heartbreaking.
King Jeongju built Hwaseong while planning to move the capital city to Suwon. He was hoping to put behind the political divisions and fights that killed his father and held back positive development in the country. King Jeongjo was hoping to bring about reforms to benefit his citizens.
The fortress walls stretch for 5.74 kilometers long, expanding over hills and surround a portion of Suwon city. It’s not just a historical attraction, it’s a great walking course in a scenic location.
The vast expanse of the wall allows the sky to be visible throughout so on a sunny day you’ll get to snap bragworthy photos — the Korean autumn sky is very beautiful.
1.1 Flying Suwon
Next to the parking lot of the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress you’ll find the Flying Suwon experience. Here you can go up in a big balloon and see Suwon from above. It’s a bit pricey but the views are amazing, especially on a clear day. This is one of the coolest things to do in Suwon.
1.2 Hwaseong Haenggung Palace
There is also a place located in Suwon Palace and it’s about a 10 minute walk from the parking lot of Hwaseong Fortress. If you have visited the palaces in Seoul, you might not really be impressed by this place but if you haven’t then go for it. What’s especially nice is to go all the way to the end of the palace grounds and hike up the mountain. It offers a nice view of the whole palace. Quite pretty and one of the must places to visit in Suwon.
TIP! Just next to the palace lies an art museum with a roof top. From that rooftop you can have a great view overlooking the Joseon Palace.
2. Paldalmun Gate
Moving on, you can continue walking from the fortress to Paldalmun, the southernmost gate of the Hwaseong Fortress and a registered a National Treasure.
Crescent walls stretch around the beautiful two-story pagoda in the middle, the gate’s structure is influenced by Chinese and western architecture. Because of the city development, the gate is no longer connected to the fortress but it is one of the most beautiful structures that were built on it.
King Jeongjo, as part of his reform strategies, supported Silhak scholars who encouraged the study and use of science and exchanging knowledge with foreign countries for the benefit of the Korean people. This fine structure is a display of their success in using Korean architecture in tandem with foreign ones to come up with an improved way to defend the city.
3. Suwon Nammun Market
Continue your walk from Paldalmun to Nammun market which is just an alley away. Nammun Market is a traditional Korean market. The stories say that after the Hwaseong Fortress was built Nammun Market was a place people used to trade Ginseng.
Nowadays it has turned into a full-scale market where you can find everything. But it hasn’t lost the significant item, you can still have street food prepared with Ginseng and drink Makgeolli( Korean rice wine) together with it. As is usual for Korean traditional markets, there are lots of delicious Korean foods you can try, ranging from street food to more usual meals.
Because Nammun Market has become a tourist location, on weekends and public holidays there is usually some type of fun event going on.
4. Suwon Art Village
How dull would a city be without art that softens the human soul? You have experienced it yourself; we have a natural desire for beauty. Korean cities understand this penchant for the delicate and in several cities art students are commissioned to transform some of the older neighborhoods with colorful drawings. That is why there are many mural villages around the country.
Suwon art village is in a neighborhood called haenggungdong which is mainly famous for its dainty cafes and houses decorated with beautiful murals. If you are taking a trip around Suwon on foot, make sure you include this area in your walking course.
The neighborhood has many old houses; the district is barred from building high rising ones to protect the Hwaseong Fortress as a historical asset. This has been a blessing in disguise; the houses are being repurposed and renovated in creative ways which give the neighborhood a unique soul.
5. Suwon Hwaseong Museum
But why did the King choose to move the capital to Hwaseong? Or how did it happen? Your curious mind must be full of questions. As was mentioned earlier, the construction of the Hwaseong Fortress is a significant historical event. There are many interesting stories related to the events before during and after the prince Sado’s death, there are also an impressive amount of detailed records from the era that survived the passage of time. If you’re interested to learn more about this intriguing slice of Korean history, the Hwaseong museum will have enough to offer to satisfy your intellectual itch.
The museum houses many artifacts and records, including confidential letters written by King Jeongjo himself. The museum was built in 2009 to foster education about this specific point in history. Here you can learn about the people who ushered Korea into a new golden age.
6. Korean Folk Village Suwon
If you want to walk down the halls of history, in a scenic location, give Korean Folk Village a try. Here is a chance to reimagine yourself in the familiar alleys of a Joseon era city and have your very own adventures.
The village is brimming with buildings representing the structures from the Joseon era. Unlike the palaces as well as other historical locations, here you can also see the thatched-roof houses that belonged to the middle and lower class. Many traditional performances are going on throughout the day, including a Korean traditional wedding.
There are also a variety of experiences you can participate in such as wood painting, folk games, Korean traditional herbs, etc. (pro-tip, try to rent a Hanbok). Several dramas and movies have also been filmed in this folk village. We went there on a sunny autumn day, and we cannot emphasize how beautiful it was; our photos barely needed any filters!
Korean Folk Village is technically not in Suwon, but it is very close so we thought it might be good to keep in mind when planning your Suwon trip. It’s located on the outskirts of Yongin city, in a very scenic location. It was first opened in 1974 as a place to preserve Korean culture and bring the image of Korea’s past to the present.
7. Toilet Museum
There are also some fun miscellaneous activities you can do in Suwon. The city may be famous for its historical significance but that’s not all it has to offer as there are also some truly weird and unique things to do in Suwon. And we all enjoy the juxtaposition of the old and the new.
You have the unique chance to visit this unusual museum in Suwon only! The toilet museum, or Haeuje, was constructed to celebrate toilet culture and history. The museum is in a building shaped like a toilet bowl where you can see several art installations related to the human bodily functions. There are also exhibits on how people used the toilet before modern times.
Are you intrigued? Well, there is even more to the museum; if you are traveling with children it is also a great place to teach them about the human digestive system. The museum offers educational activities for the minors about human body and waste. Haeuje will make a fun and funny stop on your Suwon trip and adds diversity to the type of activities you’ll be doing.
How To Go From Seoul To Suwon
Now that you have your Suwon trip planned, let’s look into the ways you can get there. Suwon is very easily and affordably accessible from Seoul. There are many options, varying in comfort, price, and schedule. You will be able to fully customize your transportation to match your other plans and personal preferences. The same goes for the other way around, Suwon to Seoul.
1. By Bus
There are quite a few buses going to Suwon from Seoul. It’s best to check Kakao maps to find the right bus for your location. But to give an example, the 3000 bus leaving from Gangnam Station to Suwon Station takes around 1 hours and costs 3000 krw.
You can also take a bus to Suwon bus terminal, which is an express and intercity bus terminal located in the west of the city.
2. By Subway
You can take the subway line 1 all the way down to Suwon. It will take a tad longer than an hour from Seoul station to Suwon station. The subway gets more crowded as the train moves south, so getting a seat might get difficult in the later stops.
3. Package Tours
There are many package tours you can book that are leaving from Seoul and bring you to all the hot spots of Suwon. Listed below are the different tours you can take.
- Korea Folk Village & Everland Day Tour from Seoul
- History of Joseon Dynasty with Palaces, Korean Folk Village, Namsan Hanok Village, and N Seoul Tower Day Tour
- Yongin Korean Folk Village and Everland Day Trip from Seoul
- Suwon Hwaseong Fortress & Korean Folk Village Private Van Tour
- Seoul Vicinity: Suwon Hwaseong Fortress + Korean Folk Village + Uiwang Rail Bike 1 Day Tour
- Spring Special: Suwon Hwaseong Hot Air Balloon Cherry Blossom 1 Day Tour (Apr 2~11)
- Seoul: Suwon Hwaseong Fortress Tour
4. By KTX
You can get on the KTX train at Seoul station. This is the fastest most convenient way to get to Suwon train station. If you are going with children or elderly this might be the best option. The trip will take around 30 minutes. Check the KTX timetable here.
There is another train running between Suwon and Seoul, namely the Mugunghwa train. This is an all stop train which takes around 50 minutes and a ticket is half the price than the KTX.
Where To Stay In Suwon
There are quite a few nice hotels and accommodations in Suwon. It is recommended to pick a hotel that is reasonably close to Suwon KTX station and subway station. Listed below is just a small selection.
- Novotel Suwon – $$$ – The contemporary designed hotel lies conveniently located just next to the subway line 1 which connects Suwon with Seoul. Check latest prices here.
- Ibis Ambassador Suwon – $$ – A four star hotel for a very affordable price (starting at 72 000 KRW per night). The hotels lies in the city center, a 2 minutes walk from the City Hall. Check latest prices here.
- Ivy Stay – $ – The three star hotel lies 2 kilometers from the city center. All rooms are equipped with flat-screen TV with cable channels, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a desk. Some rooms even have a small kitchen. Check latest prices here.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: From Seoul to Suwon it’s about 34 kilometers.
A: It takes around 1 hour to go from Seoul to Suwon (depending on traffic).
A: Flying Suwon is a very unique thing to do. With a balloon you can go up 150 meters and see the fortress from above.
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Do you have questions about the things to do in Suwon? Have any recommendations on things to add to this list? Have you been to Suwon? Let me know in the comment section below.
Written By Nahid Taheri