Koreans are always in a rush. One of the things that can be shocking to foreigners when they come here is just how fast paced the city life is and how personal space definitely has a different definition. I suppose it is a little similar to New York. Seoul is always hustling and bustling with people going to work, school and other activities. The pressure is too real to succeed.
You definitely won’t find many people opening doors here. There is a whole lot of pushing and shoving and some days it’s hard to handle. I hate getting stuffed into a subway car during rush hour or getting knocked out by someone pushing themselves onto the bus, the train or to get wherever the heck they are in a hurry to.
I have to remind myself how much pressure they are under though. Kids here study from the crack of dawn to sometimes even midnight. They spend so much money on private schools, tutoring and extra activities that I worried about my own students getting enough sleep at night! I mean, I was teaching 5 year olds who would spend almost their entire day with my. Afterwards, their parents had them go to various tutors for other subjects and things like taekwondo. All day every day.
Although life in Seoul is busy, they do know how to get down with nature. Hiking is a serious thing here, and companies just selling hiking gear are big businesses in Korea. Parks are beautiful spaces away from the hustle of city life, even when you are still inside of the city. And they are well used and loved by all. As much as the city is busy, they do put a lot of effort into their parks so they can enjoy the outdoors.
The Han River parks are always a huge hit, but one of my absolute favorite parks in Seoul is Seoul Forest. It has it’s own subway station, and boy is it worth the trip! It’s huge and filled with lots of space to just walk around, enjoy and do your own thing. It’s hard to explain, so I hope the pictures do it justice! It’s just so inviting and the perfect place to hang out and just eat some ramen.
Speaking of ramen, I ate the MOST DELICIOUS peanut butter squid EVER from the CU in Seoul Forest. I’ve never had it before, but you buy the little bag of squid and the guy grills it for you right there! I don’t even like squid but this tasted AMAZING. Korean food man. Always surprising me with things that shouldn’t work together but definitely, DEFINITELY do. I’m still dreaming about that squid!
There are lots of options for eating here that are cheap and delicious. You can get your normal convenience store fare from the CU or there are always street vendors ready to serve up some piping hot street food! It’s a big secluded area so there aren’t many restaurants or cafes nearby. You can fully enjoy your time off in nature. 😉
There are a lot of different parts of Seoul Forest, including a very large children’s playground. There was even an area where you could watch the deer and even feed them if you wanted to! It was pretty popular with adults and kids alike. Korean’s can’t resist a cute selfie with an animal! 😉
This park is an eco-park too which is a really awesome Seoul initiative! There is an ecological playground, an outdoor nature classroom, a bird observatory, a wetlands flower garden and a botanical garden fed with local, clear waters. You can rent bikes and roller blades so there are so many families here with their children. It’s a beautiful thing to see. 🙂
To get to Seoul Forest, take the Subway to Ttukseom Station 뚝섬역 (Line 2), Exit 8 or Seoul Forest Station 서울숲역 (Bundang Line), Exit 3.