October 9, 2012

South Korea : Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul

Have you ever thought of taking a stroll along the Klang River? Nahhh.. I don't think you would ever want to do that. It's dirty, and not to forget, smells so bad! Instead of feeling good, I guess you would leave feeling angry, seeing the poor state of our river.  

It's totally a different feeling when I walked along Cheonggyecheon Stream in downtown Seoul. I felt so relaxed. A walk along this 8.4km stream is almost as good as going to a spa. Though it flows through the busiest part of Seoul, you really don't feel like you're in the city. It's as if you're walking in some rural areas because it is remarkably quiet along the stream. 

Cheonggyecheon Stream begins at Cheonggye Plaza, near the Seoul Finance Center. Just look for this upside down ice cream cone / seashell / I-don't-know-what-it-is sculpture. 

Back in the 50s, the stream used to be dirty and smelly too, as people settled down along the stream. It didn't take long before the stream became an eyesore in the city, so much so that the government decided to cover it up with concrete, by building an elevated highway on it. 

However, they then decided to restore the stream as a move to reintroduce nature to the city and promote a more eco-friendly urban design. It underwent a major restoration project in 2003 which cost billions, and thus, became the target of public criticism. The restoration was completed in 2005 and since then, the stream has become a beautiful recreational area and places for Seoulites to unwind. 

The stream passes through various attractions around the city; such as Changdeokgung Palace, Jongmyo Shrine, Dongdaemun, and Insadong. 

Even if you're coming from those attractions, you don't have to go all the way to Cheonggye Plaza to start the walk. There are many entry points from the upper level street, mostly near the numerous bridges. 

You can also cross the stream and walk on whichever side you prefer. 

Occasionally you may find buskers along the stream. It creates a very lovely atmosphere, I must say. There's also murals and carvings along the walls. They tell the history of the stream and history of Korea in general. 

I saw pictures of the stream at night and they were beautiful. So I decided to come again a few days later. Not sure what was happening with the posters and balloons, I guess it was some kind of campaign promotion.

Direction: Take subway Line 1 or 2 to City Hall Station and proceed to Exit 4. Walk 250m north to Cheonggye Plaza.

Whether you're taking a stroll along the paved path, viewing the stream from the bridges above, or dipping your feet into the clear water; Cheonggyecheon is indeed a perfect blend of nature and history. And the best place to relax after sightseeing around the city.


BibiErr Karim said...

I bergambar kat 1 of the bridge in Dongdaemun but not knowing its the stream yang orang duk cerita. Rugi!

rara said...

BibiErr: hehe.. rasanya kalau tak start from Cheonggye Plaza tu mmg ramai yg tak perasan it's the stream. Next time mesti pegi!