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Arts & Cultur A Small but Certain Happiness in Hwaseong

WriterAdministratorDate12/13/2018

That Road in Hwaseong, Between Romance and Childhood Innocence


The autumn wind is blowing gently. For those of you who are exhausted in both mind and body by the summer heat wave, there’s an excellent path for strolling with the cool breeze in your face in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do. It’s not an endless trekking trail but a good path where you can rest and take a look around whenever you want. If you stand in a forest, you will feel the clean wind carrying the fragrance of the trees and if you stand on the coast, the refreshing breeze saturated with the scent of the sea will hit you. It is a good autumn day to reminisce about your happy childhood as you walk in the forest or on the white sandy beach.

 

Travel Course

Bibong Wetland Park → 22km, 38 min by car → Dinosaur Egg Fossil Site → 17km, 33 min by car → Baekmiri Fishing Village Experiencing Town → 6km, 15 min by car → Gungpyeong Harbor&Cafe Melting



1. Bibong Wetland Park, Lightly Buoyant Wild Flowers Growing On the Wetland


 

 

Opened in June 2015, the Bibong Wetland Park took ten years to develop, during which time the wetland area remained closed to the public. This large-scale project was carried out to improve the water quality of the streams that flow into Shihwa Lake. Still, only about half of the park is open to the public today, while the rest of the area is undergoing natural purification. The section open to the public begins with the wetland observation deck. A quiet walk along the forest road next to the wetland is pleasant, but you should stop at the wetland observation deck to listen to the guide’s commentary. Afterwards, every step you take will be more interesting and more fun. On the second floor of the wetland observation deck there’s an information desk with a full-time guide, and there’s a telescope on the third floor. The observation deck also features an informative exhibition on the diverse plant and animal species that inhabit the wetlands.

The promenade consists of three courses, A, B, and C, each about 1~2 kilometers long. Course A is best for walking if you want to feel the cool breeze. Stand in the middle of the road and take a photo – it will be almost as good as a professionally shot photo. The part of the promenade populated by willow trees against the backdrop of vast stretches of the wetland is splendid. Along the way, wild flowers beam at you from different places. I am grateful to the wild flowers for growing delightfully to their right sizes. In autumn, dwarf false indigo welcomes the visitors first, and blackberry lilies that have endured the heat of the summer will also greet you. Gorgeously blossoming big blue lilyturf also attracts travelers to the autumn landscape. This trip you make with nature is romantic.

Bibong Wetland Park can be toured with a guide. This guided tour is available twice a day (10:30, 14:00) and starts at the wetland observation desk. Groups of ten people or more should book a tour in advance at their preferred time.
 

 

Address: 619, Yupo-ri, Bibong-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-369-6231(Hwaseong City Hall Parks Department)

Opening Hours: Winter (Nov~Feb) 10:00~16:30, Summer (Mar~Oct) 10:00~17:30, Closed on Mondays, Lunar New Year’s Day, and Chuseok

Admission: Free

Website: http://tour.hscity.go.kr/NEW/1tour/nature10.jsp

 


 




2. Fossil Site of Dinosaur Eggs, Coming Face to Face with 10Billion Years Ago of History
 


 

 


The fossil site of dinosaur eggs contains the vestiges of a distant past estimated to be 100 million years ago, which coincides with the time when Siwha Lake was formed. As the seas receded, the land that is now the site of these ancient fossils was formed. These dinosaur egg nests and fossils were discovered during a survey launched to investigate How the ecosystem and the local geology changed when Sihwa Lake was turned into a land. So far, some 30 nests and about 200 dinosaur eggs have been found at twelve separate sites. If the yet-to-be discovered fossil remains beneath the tidal flat are confirmed, this site will be the largest known dinosaur egg fossil site in the world.

The lake bottom that was revealed as the sea receded contains evidence of how marine life changed over time. As salt disappeared, the halophyte gradually died out and land plants started growing. The speed of change has been and remains so slow that we can still see marine and land organisms at the same time. Tall silver grass grows among such halophytes as sea-blites, wood small reeds, and East Asian seep weed. On the bare ground that once formed the bed of the lake, excreta and footprints left by elks and raccoons are visible.

The distance from the site entrance to Mumyeong Island, where the dinosaur egg fossils can be seen, is about 1.6km. About half way along the walking trail there’s a photo zone where you can take selfies against the backdrop formed by the landed islands. The red-hued halophytes interspersed with the brown soil create a mysterious and serene landscape. Due to the unique scenery, the photo zone is popular as a photo shoot for weddings. At the end of the trail, the “Nude Rock” and Mumyeong Island sit immobile amid the flow of time. The Visitors Center is located at the entrance of the fossil site. The center’s tour guide provides a narration service twice a day (10:30, 14:00) for about 1 hour. It’s advisable to make an advance reservation at weekends due to the large number of visitors.
 

 

Address: 659, Gongnyong-ro Songsan-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-357-3951

Opening Hours: Visitors Center 09:00~17:00 (The fossil site closes at 16:30), The fossil site is closed in the event of rain (but the Visitors Center remains open)/ Closed on Mondays, January 1, Lunar New Year’s Day and Chuseok.

Admission: Free

Website: http://dinopia.hscity.go.kr


 




3. Baekmiri Fishing Village, Seize Small Nature in Your Hands


 

 

If you’re dissatisfied with seeing the sea with your eyes, how about feeling it with all five senses at the Baekmiri Fishing Village Experience Town, one of the best towns of its kind in South Korea. Visitors can experience catching or fishing for marine produce, including gastropods, crabs, oysters, and octopus, with their own hands. They can also participate in catching sea fish with fishing rods, fishing nets and experience Sadujil, the traditional fishing method using landing nets. Vehicle rides such as kayaking at sea, riding ATV carts on country roads, and driving in wagons that traverse the tidal flat are also available.

At low tide, the sea recedes to reveal a trail that heads towards the sea. This is the entrance to the fishery that leads to the tidal flat experience center. The trail runs in the direction of the sunset, so the backlighting scenery is mesmerizing. The huge rock standing in solitude by the side of the trail is called Gamtu Island. In the old days, this was the island fishermen prayed to for safety before setting out to sea. It’s also a good idea to say a silent prayer to the sea as you pass by Gamtu Island. For your reference, the daily times of the low and high tides for the next two-month period are posted on the village website.

The tidal-flat experience is always popular because nobody goes home empty- handed, and you don’t have to bring any equipment as the village supplies you with a hoe, waterproof boots, and a net to hold any shellfish you might catch. The village also supplies you with plastic bags filled with seawater in which you can keep your catch, which will be cleansed by the water on your way home. It’s okay if you don’t know how to catch shellfish as the village elders will come out to the tidal flat to kindly tell you where the shellfish are hiding and how to dig for them. After hours of focused digging with your hoe your body will be covered in mud but you’ll be happy with the handful of clams and conches you’ve caught.
 

 

Address: 210-35, Baengmi-gil Seosin-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-357-3379

Fee:
Shellfish hunting: Adults KRW 8,000, Children KRW 5,000 / Oyster picking: Adults KRW 10,000, Children KRW 3,000 / Goby Fishing: Adults KRW 4,000, Children KRW 3,000 / Tidal Flat Wagon KRW 1,000 per person

Website: http://baekmiri.invil.org

 


 




4. Gungpyeong Harbor & Café Melting, Red Glow of the Setting Sun and Pink Cafe


 


To visit the Yellow Sea and not see the sunset is like eating a dumpling without the filling. In Gungpyeong Harbor there is a breakwater you can walk along towards the setting sun, and there’s an octagonal pavilion on the breakwater from which you can observe the beautiful open view of setting sun. At the harbor entrance there’s a boardwalk that takes you to Gungpyeong Harbor and Gungpyeong Beach. The boardwalk was built to zigzag its way to the beach so that when the water level rises you can walk above the water and, when the level falls, you can walk across the tidal flat. Every day from sunset to 10 pm, when the outdoor lights are turned on, the lights combine with the setting sun to produce a dazzling effect.

Watching the sunset while sitting in a café in Gungpyeong Harbor can also be a memorable experience. Café Melting, which opened in Gungpyeong Harbor in May 2018, can be hard to find for first-time visitors because it’s located on the 2nd floor of a building with a sashimi restaurant and a karaoke, but when you climb up the stairs and open its doors, you’ll be delighted by the café’s atmosphere. It’s a world of pink which feels bright, clear and cheerful. The café’s terrace is a green lawn that seems to be filled with gratitude for life. The café truly deserves its name, which has the connotation of ‘melting your heart’, thanks to its special atmosphere. The owner also keeps a woodpecker in a cage tucked away in one corner of the grass terrace. The owner says he found the injured woodpecker lying in the grass last August and decided to care for it. Thanks to this bird, who is nicknamed Ddakguri, the owner appeared on a TV show.

 

At the end of a day that offered me a chance to stand in front of the sunset while observing the natural environment, an activity that helped clear my body and mind, I was grateful at having discovered Café Melting. My bruises were healed and I found happiness. This was a small but invaluable strength I gained on this trip.

Gungpyeong Harbor

Address: 1049-24 Gungpyeonghang-ro, Seosin-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-1577-4200 (Hwaseong City Culture and Tourism Department)

 

Cafe Melting

Address: 1069-6, Gungpyeonghang-ro Seosin-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-10-9482-9118

Opening Hours: 11:00~20:00, Closed on Mondays, January 1, Lunar New Year’s Day, and Chuseok

Price: Americano KRW 3,500, Ogok Latte KRW 5,000, Grapefruit Aid KRW 5,000, Smoothie KRW 5,500, Croissant KRW 6,000, Madeleine KRW 3,000

 

 

 

 




  1. 1. It’s such a shame not to eat seafood in the fall because this is the season when seafood is at its most abundant. There’s a wholesale seafood market in Gunpyeong Harbor where you can sample different kinds of seafood while enjoying the view of the sunset. While buying seafood at the market to take home is an option, you can have an excellent dish of seafood cooked right at your table.
     

  2. 2. If you want to see how expansive the dinosaur fossil site is and how close it is to Lake Sihwa, you should climb up to the Songsan Green City Observation Deck, which is located about 3.5 km from the fossil site. Once you’re there you’ll have a panoramic view of the entire fossil site as well as Sihwa Lake and the Yellow Sea coastal area. The observation deck is open from 10:00~17:00.

     

    Public Transportation Information

    [Bus] Take bus no. 50-2 from the 5th passenger platform at the Suwon Station Transit Center, get off at Samhwa1-ri Bus Station, and walk for 950m to the Bibong Wetland Park Parking Lot.

     

    Driving Information

    Bibong Maesong City Expressway → Head towards Ansan at the Yangno IC → Turn right at Samhwa 2 Intersection → Turn left at Samhwa Intersection → Bibong Wetland Park