Saturday, September 8, 2018

Travel Guide: Suwon Fortress, South Korea

Suwon is a destination you can visit as a day tour from Seoul. I was deciding between this place and Nami Island, and ended up going to the former instead.


Guide


It was an uneventful but long ride from Seoul to Suwon. The latter is already a developed city, but not as big as Seoul; it still has some of that rural vibe I notice whenever I leave the capital of the countries I've been to. It was easy to get around because of all the city buses going around. I got on one and waited until I was within walking distance of the gate to the fortress.



Suwon Fortress or also known as Hwaseong Fortress was built during the Joseon Dynasty. Construction took place from 1794 to 1796. King Jeongjo had this imposing structure built as a show of filial piety to his father and to build a booming city that can flex its own economic power and influence.


During my trip, there weren't a lot of tourists, I ended up walking on my own for stretches until I occasionally ran into others. I could only imagine the battles that this fortress experienced; the sieges, the soldiers trying to scale its walls and the cannons smashing on its surface.





To add ambiance, there were some people walking around (acting like sentries it seems) dressed in full traditional clothing.


The wall stretches for kilometers and surrounds the city within it. There were also good viewpoints to get a overlooking view of the surroundings.








The fortress may take a while to reach, but for me it was worth the effort. You can read my Seoul itinerary and expenses post here: Seoul Guide.

How to Get to Suwon Fortress

ENTRANCE FEE: KRW (Korean Won) 1000

It may take a while to reach this destination by public transportation, but it is possible and easy.

  1. Take Subway Line 1 going to Suwon Station. REMINDER: you might have to change trains; listen to announcements so you'll know if you have to switch. The fare is approximately KRW 1300 from Seoul Station.
  2. Once you reach Suwon Station, take the exit that directs you to Suwon Tourist Info Center.
  3. Once you reach the information center, there are a handful of buses that go to the fort; these are 11, 13, 36 or 39. The fare is about KRW1300 and the ride is around 15 minutes. Pay the exact amount or just use your T-Money Card. Alight at Paldamun Gate.
Alternatively, you can take the KORAIL train from Seoul Station to Suwon, which costs around KRW2700. This may cost slightly more but still affordable AND it doesn't make any stops or would require changing trains in between. Another option is to take the KTX train which is more expensive at KRW8400 (approximately).


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