There are many ways to reach Seoul Forest. It’s a sprawling spread of green cover that can be accessed by Seoul Forest Subway Station (Bundang Line/Yellow Line) and Ttukseom Station (Line 7). Ttukseom Station may be a better bet if you don’t want to walk the entire length of the forest and prefer the cherry blossom viewing bridge.
We took Bus No. 463 (can be boarded from Seoul Station or Myeongdong) because it didn’t involve any transfers. As we approached Seoul Forest, we crossed an offshoot of the River Han and spotted a small mountain bursting with spring flowers. It seemed accessible from Seoul Forest, but we’d have to get there and figure the way. Our bus stopped next to Gate 11 of Seoul Forest. It’s important to know the exact gate number if you don’t have time to spare.
Pathway to the Blooms
We’ve visited Seoul Forest in different seasons. You can compare how the cherry blossoms looked last year over here and how different the cherry trees look in autumn over here. Basil had never seen cherry blossoms in Seoul Forest and that’s why we chose to make a quick stop before heading to another part of the city.
It’s hard to miss those spring blooms once you’re on the white bridge. Do I ever get bored of cherry blossoms? Absolutely not! Korean winters are getting colder and harsher over the years. And we’ve been here for 3 years. I wait for this brief interlude, when nature softens — before getting ready to hit us with the heat wave. Besides, cherry blossoms last for a week (in the city) and then they’re gone. It’s like a dream that quickly slipped by.
The weather in March and April is iffy. There’s bad air, clouds, spring showers, and fluctuating temperatures. We were lucky on this last Saturday on the second week of April. It was a bright and sunny day. It was also perfect to click those blossoms.
Initially, we thought of visiting another location or park in the city. Eungbongsan looked tempting with its bursts of yellow and pink/purple. We changed our plan and decided to find a route to this mountain.
The white bridge connects Seoul Forest to the Han River. But we weren’t sure if the end point would connect to a path to Eunbongsan.
Under the bridge
There are two paths under the bridge. We explored the path that lead to a small stream. Petals had littered the water and mud. The long pathway continued further, but we stopped, and decided to walk on the other side.
Love is in the Air
It’s hard not to be happy in spring, when the cherry trees are bursting with pink flowers. Even I turn into a person who smiles a lot and forgets about existential issues or the fate of the world. It doesn’t matter when nature’s put on a show for us. Quite naturally, these places are visited by young couples. But love covers a wide spectrum. So, you’d find friends and families huddling with the trees — to get that perfect picture.
Cherry Blossom Rain
When nature puts on a show, she makes sure it’s the best. So, occasionally there’d be a gust of wind that would send of flurry of petals all over us. Again, these pictures don’t do it justice. Take my word for it.
Birds on Trees
What do the birds think about this fuss? Are they as happy too?
Until Next Year…
Walking away from love is the hardest thing to do. It’s no different here. I wanted to stay longer, but there was nothing to eat here, and I was getting quite hungry.
Walking towards Eungbongsan
We didn’t know how to reach Eungbongsan. We followed the arrow and reached a crossroad. From there, we walked back to Eunbonggyo Bridge and retraced the path taken by the bus.
We found an entrance to Eungbong Subway Station (Gyeongui-Jungang Line) and the exit lead us to the board below. Clearly, you need to take this station if you want to reach Eungbongsan directly. There’s a dense collection of apartments all around. We also got a sneak peek of a local football match.
Now that we figured the route to the mountain, we could look for a place to eat. Surprisingly, all eateries were shut and we had to eat a sandwich at a local coffee shop. The board has instructions in Korean only, but it’s a straight route from here.
Villas are quite charming and are mostly built on steep hills. They’re quite the contrast to Seoul’s swanky high-rises or dense apartment complexes. Basil always wanted to trade our apartment (and its city views) for a laid-back life in an old villa. It’s tempting, but I find it hard to give up the connectivity our current location offers.
Eungbongsan is more hill and less mountain. I didn’t complain. My fitness was at an all-time low because of the seasonal cold that I was prone to. I was happy to see an easy wooden staircase leading up to the mountain/hill top.
It’s so easy to leave the city behind and find a slice of heaven in Seoul. After 3 years, there’s still so much left to uncover and explore.
Eungbongsan is famous for its Forsythia Festival in the last week of March. We had missed the peek by 2 weeks. The mountain still looked gorgeous and I could imagine how ‘yellow’ it would have looked in March.
First Observation Point
It’s a short climb to this point. The view was getting better and we could see the city more clearly now.
I’ve reached a stalemate situation in my Korean now. I can read Hangeul (Korean script) with some difficulty. But that doesn’t mean I can understand what’s written. And I wonder: why would they not have any information about the historical importance of this location in English?
Forsythia & Azalea
Azaleas start blooming in the mountains after cherry blossoms. The rocky face of the mountain was covered with azaleas and forsythia giving it a pinkish-yellow hue. The afternoon sun hit the right tones.
This pathway had a mix of yellow flowers and cherry blossoms. It looked stunning in the afternoon light.
I thought these flowers were forsythia. When I look at them now, they look like something else. It’s possible there are different spring flowers blooming at different intervals or I’m just confused. I couldn’t find the name for these.
Other Spring Flowers
I wish I had taken a keen interest in biology when I was in high school. I’m bad with names of flowers and it’s hard to keep track of them. These white ones looked amazing and bloom in April.
There’s another observation point before you reach the top. Once again, the board has only Korean text.
At the Top
Cycling is one of the top activities to pursue along the Han River as well as Seoul Forest. We weren’t surprised to see few cyclists carry their bike up the stairs. There’s a pavilion on the top of the mountain. Some of the paths lead to another walking trail that joins Namsan.
A Bird’s-Eye View of Seoul City
The views are fantastic from here. The Han River snaked around the belly of the city and bridges coiled around it. We could spot the cherry blossom path of Seoul Forest. It was worth the effort to get here.
Entering the Pavilion
The pavilion is a nice place to sit and take cover from the sun. The view is a sight for sore eyes.
More Cherry Blossoms
These cherry blossoms were different from the blossoms that we saw in Seoul Forest. They’re dark pink in colour and aren’t dense.
Going down was quite easy and quick. It also gives quite a view of the forsythia flowers.
Back Alleys of Eungbongsan
We broke away from the trail and discovered a back-alley. These places take me to another world. Seoul’s duality is probably its best trait.