Art South Korea

Seoul, South Korea: I wish I had a river

One of the places I am often envious of are those with greatly maintained waterways. Having been living in Manila, which is home to the Pasig River, one of the most polluted rivers I have seen in my lifetime (*sigh*), I’ve always yearned to see the day when we would have less shopping malls and more parks located by the river.

I’ve always had an affinity for huge bodies of water. Staring out into the sea/river soothes my soul. My grandmother’s ancestral home in Paranaque used to be a beachfront property along Manila Bay before the government’s massive reclamation project, and I remember afternoons spent crossing the highway (there weren’t a lot of cars back then) to get to breakwater. One of my favorite memories as a child was spent in that tiny place where the river flowed toward Manila Bay. We’d go there every afternoon to catch the sunset. I still come back from time to time, but with the river now so polluted, the effect just isn’t the same.

When I went to South Korea for a journalism forum, our host took us on a tour by Seoul’s Hangang River and I was truly in awe of how beautifully the riverside is maintained.

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

You can tell that it’s a young park because the trees aren’t as fully grown as those I saw in the city.

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

If I had stayed longer in Seoul, I would probably come to this area for my morning/afternoon runs and just people-watch when I’m done.

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

One of the things I love about the city is its public art (more of this in a different post!). I swear, so much creativity in that side of the planet. Check out this park “bench”:

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

On our tour, we were taken to one of the city’s tallest buildings for a panoramic view of Seoul:

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

I loved how the sun’s rays hitting the windows of these buildings are reflected in the water.

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Another river scene, this time at night in Incheon where the convention was held:

Incheon, South Korea

This one’s actually man-made. Incheon’s Songdo district is young at 10 years old—it’s said to be the most expensive residential area outside of Seoul—and they’ve created a number of parks here. This is the one near the hotel I was billeted in and it’s pretty peaceful here at night because not a lot of people go out. At the moment, Songdo seems like a ghost town to me, but more traffic is expected after next year’s Asian Games which will be held here. :P

Definitely one of the highlights of our trip is seeing Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon Stream. We went here for a nighttime stroll after our long day in Nami Island. We were lucky to have been there in time for Seoul’s Lantern Festival, which made walking along the stream at night even more special because of the hundreds of colorful lanterns illuminating the place. :D

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

So pretty! :)

If I stayed in Seoul for longer than I did, you would most probably see me reading a book or just spacing out by its many waterways. :P

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6 comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. The favourite part of my travels to cities like London, Paris, or even Istanbul was enjoying the beauty of the rivers. New Delhi has a river flowing through it as well, but it’s filthy. It’s heartbreaking. So much potential, and all going to waste. :(

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    1. The same is true for Manila. While there are cleaner areas of the rivers here (mostly the ones near the main districts), if you go to the older areas of the city, the rivers have become dumping grounds for garbage. It’s a devastating sight and is also among the reasons why we’re flood-prone. :/

      There have been rehabilitation efforts but it’s going to take a lot of time to really clean it. Oh well, the little steps, I guess…

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      1. By the way, India has been getting a lot of bad publicity lately—particularly the stories about rape being quite rampant there. Is this all just sensationalized news? How safe is it there for women travelers? Hope you can shed some light on the matter. I’ve always wanted to visit India :)

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    1. It was really nice walking by the stream for the festival. :) It usually happens during autumn, which they say is the best time to visit Korea—I think the lantern festival, as well as the culture festival we happened to catch that same week, really added to our overall enjoyment of the city! Definitely recommend coming here on November :)

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