Korea

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

Earlier this month, the Wee Gypsy Boyfriend and I took a trip up North for a change of scenery from Southern life. After spending Saturday in Gapyeong, we spent Sunday playing tourists in Suwon, a charming historical city on the outskirts of Seoul.

I must admit that we weren’t too sure what to expect of the city. Our main motivations for visiting were based on the fact that the fortress wall is listed in Lonely Planet’s top 5 things to see in Korea (you’ve got to trust the oracle…) and the fact that there is a toilet museum! However, when we arrived to Suwon, we realised that there is so much more to the city than we had originally thought.

Unfortunately, we never got to visit that toilet museum, but we did manage to squeeze a lot of sights into that day. There’s so much to see in Suwon that I would actually recommend spending 2 days in the city. However, for those of you more pressed on time, here’s the perfect itinerary for a day in Suwon.

 

Padalmun Gate

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

While this isn’t the most impressive sight you’ll see in Suwon, it’s a good place to start the day. From here you’re within easy walking distance of the South Gate of the Fortress Wall- which is probably the reason you came to Suwon in the first place!

To get to Padalman Gate you can take a short taxi from the Bus Terminal or subway station. We came from the bus terminal and our journey was less than 5,000 KRW. The subway station is slightly closer so the fare would probably be less from there.

Suwon also has a fast and efficient public bus system which you should definitely take advantage of while you’re there!

Hwaseong Fortress Wall

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

Just a short walk away from Padalmun Gate you’ll reach the Hwaseong Fortress. You need to pay a 1,000 won entrance fee to access the wall. There are a few artefacts to look at along the way, but the highlight for me was the view of Suwon from the top. It’s not often that Korean cities have impressive skylines, but Suwon’s definitely stood out from other cities.

To learn more about the history of the fortress wall, you should visit the Hwaseong Fortress Museum. We didn’t have time but I’ve heard good things about it! The entry fee is included in the admission to the fortress wall.

Fortress Floodgates

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

The fortress floodgates is a great jump off point from the fortress. We decided to only walk this far (mixture of laziness, heat and time constraints) to check out a few attractions nearby. The floodgate itself is a really picturesque spot with a cute river and lots of wildflowers and birds. We even saw a crane there!

Padalmun Gate to the Fortress floodgates should take around 1 to 2 hours to hike, depending on your fitness level.

Suwon Art Village

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

Just a short walk down from the floodgate, you’ll stumble upon this charming art village. I love finding places like this in Korea but unfortunately they tend to be full of people. This one was really quiet so we could appreciate the murals around us without selfie sticks in our faces. I’m going to write a whole blog post about this place soon as I was really impressed by it! There are a few art galleries and independent coffee shops in the area which would be great to check out if you had a bit of extra time.

Lunch

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

The most famous dish of Suwon is beef galbi ribs. However, in this area you’ll be able to sample Suwon’s other famous dish- fried chicken. We didn’t realise that Suwon was famous for chicken, but when we noticed that there is a fried chicken street located between the art village and our next stop, we had to go!

I must say that the fried chicken was a bit disappointing. I’m not a huge fan of fried chicken at the best of times and this was an actual full chicken. I imagine a lot of people would love it but it wasn’t for me. The fried chicken street was a bit underwhelming compared to the Dalk Galbi street we had visited in Chuncheon the night before but it was still definitely a novelty!

Choose your lunch wisely! Next time I might just get kimbab….

Suwon Palace

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

Lolll, check out how chuffed Veeran is!

Play your cards right and try to get here in time to see the changing of the guards. This performance was actually much better than the one we saw at Gyongbukgong in Seoul- they even had archery battles and shot some blanks! At the end of the performance you can get your photo taken with the king and queen which is a good cheesy souvenir to have.

Take the Dragon Train to Yeonmudae Post for Archery!

How to Spend a Day in Suwon

Just up the hill from the palace, you’ll find the dragon train which transports passengers along the wall. The train costs 1,500 KRW and leaves every 15 minutes. While the train is super crowded, it saves you walking all the way along the wall, which is perfect if you’re pressed for time. Plus, it will take you to Yeonmudae Post where you can test out your Robin Hood skills! For just 2,000 won you’ll get 12 arrows to shoot. This was a really fun end to our day in Suwon. We particularly liked the interactive aspect of it- always good for someone like me with a super low attention span… From here, there are plenty of buses to take you back to the bus terminal or subway station. Bye bye Suwon!


I hope this post has inspired you to spend a day in Suwon. You’ll notice that most of the attractions that I mentioned have really low admission prices, or are completely free! I think that Suwon is the perfect weekend trip for budget travellers in Koreaespecially those who live in Seoul and can use the subway to get there. We had an amazing time and are seriously considering a second trip!

Let me know, have you ever been to Suwon?

If you’re looking for more weekend inspiration, don’t miss these posts:

And, of course, remember to share this post with your friends and to follow me on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss an update!

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    29th July 2016 at 2:10 pm

    You’ve nailed all the Suwon hotspots! We visited only once about 2 years ago and loved it! I really wish we would have visited one more time actually! We both really liked exploring the fortress walls and the art village. Did you know there’s a toilet museum in Suwon too? It’s pretty silly.
    Megan Indoe recently posted…Daily Life in Seoul: Screen Golf, 4 for 10’s, and some NoraebangMy Profile

  • Reply
    Emre
    29th July 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Hwaseong Fortress Wall is one of my favorite places to photograph. I live 40 minutes from Suwon so it is very easy for me to get to. I didn’t know about the art village! I’m looking forward to that post. I will share this post on my Facebook page/twitter account somewhere next week.
    Emre recently posted…Sanmotoonge CafeMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      31st July 2016 at 6:31 am

      Aw that’s lucky, there seems to be a lot of great things to do in the Gyeonggi provence! The art village was quite small but really nice, it’s only about 10 minutes from the floodgates by foot. 🙂

  • Reply
    melbtravel
    30th July 2016 at 6:19 pm

    This is definitely going on my bucklist., thanks for the great ideas.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      31st July 2016 at 6:29 am

      Great, thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Alla Ponomareva
    31st July 2016 at 3:03 am

    I’d like top try my skills at the Yeonmudae Post post! They seem to have these activities frequently near heritage sites or Fortresses. Sounds like a great destination for a weekend getaway. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      31st July 2016 at 6:29 am

      It’s really fun and such a great idea! I hope you get the chance to visit one day 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura Nalin
    31st July 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Great post! I used to frequent Suwon my first year as I lived quite close, but it was only to go to the bars to meet friends. I did visit the fortress, but there were a few things I didn’t do on this list. Looks like you and your love had a great day! How many more months/days/weeks/whatever until you leave K-town? It must be close at this rate!
    Laura Nalin recently posted…Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in KoreaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      1st August 2016 at 9:13 am

      Yeah, we had a fab day! I was really surprised at how much we liked it- I thought it had quite a different vibe to a lot of the cities that we have been to in Korea! It’s exactly 1 month and 4 days until I leave!! Sooo excited!!

  • Reply
    The Toronto Seoulcialite
    31st July 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I still haven’t made it to Suwon, but this post has definitely inspired me to get out there! I love visiting the old fortresses and gates. We will have to make it for the changing of the guards!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      1st August 2016 at 9:14 am

      The changing of the guards was so cool! I really enjoyed it. You’re so close to Suwon now- I would definitely recommend it for a day trip outside Seoul 🙂

  • Reply
    Jackie
    1st August 2016 at 1:27 am

    Archery! I wanna try that if I ever go to Suwon. I’ve seen a lot of people posts pics of their trips there, and I’ve always envied them (got tied down with raising babies, huhu!)
    Anyway, I’m glad I came by your post, at least I know what to look out for when I go! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      1st August 2016 at 9:15 am

      I hope you manage to get there some day! It’s a really cool city 🙂

  • Reply
    Izzy
    1st August 2016 at 10:25 am

    Did you not end up visiting the toilet museum?? Seems like the city of Suwon is such a gem. The fortress wall looks like great place to play around, I mean the walls are just massive! And I am really looking forward to reading your Suwon Art Village post. I’m such a fan of all these art villages. I would love to try my hand at archery, I just have no idea where to do it!
    Izzy recently posted…The ABCs of TravelMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      2nd August 2016 at 11:02 am

      We never made it! 🙁 Gutted!! Yeah, there seems to be so many cute art villages dotted all around the country- it’s such a treat to find them 🙂

  • Reply
    Roxy Hutton
    1st August 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Beef Galbi! One of my absolute favorite meals! We never made it Suwon, and now I’m sad that we missed out on all of those hot spots.
    Hwaseong Fortress would have been a dream to photograph!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      2nd August 2016 at 11:00 am

      Aw that’s a shame that you never made it! Maybe one day you’ll come back again and you can fill your boots with beef galbi 🙂

  • Reply
    Gina
    1st August 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Suwon is one of my favorite places! I love how adorable you look in the photo with everyone around in Hanbok. I’ve been to the fortress but I definitely want to try the archery. I went in the winter so it was freezing, but it looks like the best time to go is summer!
    Gina recently posted…What to Pack for Southeast AsiaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      2nd August 2016 at 11:00 am

      Thanks Gina, the archery is so fun! I would actually prefer to go in the winter- it was sooo sweaty trying to hike around that wall in the summer humidity!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    1st August 2016 at 6:19 pm

    The archery is a great deal for 2,000-won. You’re right, this is a good way to do budget travelling and sightseeing. Thanks for the photos. This fortress is a must-go-to place.
    Wendy recently posted…Iloilo: The Heritage Molo MansionMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      2nd August 2016 at 10:44 am

      It was such a steal, the whole city is really budget friendly 🙂

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Kim
    1st September 2016 at 4:35 pm

    So many cute hotspots! Thanks for sharing. You look so cute in those pictures.
    Kim recently posted…Etsy UK rooftop event – I was there!My Profile

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