DSC_3462Yeouido Island has been described as the “Manhattan” district of Seoul, home to many of its largest business, finance, and media centers. But it’s not all work and no play — the busy skyscrapers are complemented by beautiful parks stretching throughout the island. The scenery is so diverse that we found Yeouido quite interesting to explore on foot, and it would be easy to spend two full days touring this unique district of Seoul.

It’s easy to access Yeouido via several subway lines that run to it. Although the bridges leading to it from the north do offer footpaths, we found crossing 3/4-mile on foot alongside busy traffic to be quite tiresome.

Seasons and Festivals

  • Yeouido Island is known for its Spring Flower Festival, when over a thousand Korean Cherry trees (and many other native flowers) surrounding many roads and landmarks are in full bloom. At night, they’re lit by colored lights, and various entertainers and other artists come to offer performances.
  • Yeouido is also home to Seoul’s International Fireworks Festival every October, with expansive views over the river as it’s lit by professional fireworks teams.

Parks

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  • The central Yeouido Park runs north-south, bisecting the entire island with paths that are great for walking or cycling. There’s lots to enjoy along the way, including beautiful landscaping and many water features, playgrounds, natural areas, forests, and various monuments and statues. You’ll find occasional street vendors, and plenty of folks out for a brisk walk or relaxing in the sun.
  • The Hangang Riverside Park borders the norther side of the island, with amphitheaters, boating tours, public pools, and walking paths with great river views.
  • The Saetgang Ecological Park borders the southern side of the island, and has a variety of natural fauna and plant species surrounding the 3.7-mile promenade.

Sights and Attractions

The IFC Mall in the center of the island is a 3-story above- and below-ground complex with a huge variety of the best retail offerings to be found. Its architecture and design are stunning as well (both indoors and outdoors), and there are lots of great restaurants to enjoy as well.

63 Building dwarfs the surrounding skyscrapers, as it was the tallest building in Asia when it was completed (in 1985). Even though many taller buildings have been constructed in the last 30 years, it’s still an impressive edifice. 63 Building offers everything from an IMAX theater to business suites and conference areas, a full-size aquarium, a wax museum, and an art gallery (recognized as having the tallest gallery ceilings in the world). Of course, the observation deck at the top features spectacular views of the city.

The Korean National Assembly is an imposing government building that dwarfs other architecture on the western side of the island with 24 granite pillars and capped by a glistening blue dome. It’s surrounded by parks, natural areas, and monuments like this one:

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Yeouido offers no shortage of sights, big and small, making the island especially enjoyable to explore on foot where you don’t have to miss any of its unique details. It has a cultural feel all to its own and stands out against the backdrop of Seoul, South Korea, as a destination not to miss!