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Arts & Cultur A Small but Certain Happiness in Namyangju


 A Glittering Day in Namyangju: Thrilling Horseback Riding and Byeollae Café Tour

It is an autumn of azure sky and glittering yellow leaves on ginkgo trees. In a season when even your mind becomes enriched, let’s take a trip to Namyangju, a sentimental place that looks great in autumn. After I am done with horseback riding at the equestrian club -- an experience that straightened my back -- I head toward the sweet desserts of Byeollae-dong Café Street, a café neighborhood with a European atmosphere. The idyllic and lonely autumn atmosphere can be best enjoyed in Sareung Royal Tomb, a mausoleum with a sad history. This kind of luxury on an autumn day must be enjoyed once in a while as a special present that I could give myself.


Travel Schedule

H-ASIA Horse Riding Club → 6.39, 10 min by car → Byeollae-dong Café Street → 8.96, 12 min by car → Namyangju Sareung Royal Tomb

1. H-ASIA Horse Riding Club: A Thrilling Horseback Riding Experience That Will Lift Your Spirits
tired of living


It has been a long time since I last walked with a straight back, as I often slouched owing to the hectic lifestyle I lead. If you want to face the world with a straight posture, I recommend horseback riding. It’s a sport that helps you straighten back and shoulders and improves balance and flexibility in your body. It’s a magical exercise that straightens your bent shoulders as soon as you sit on the saddle and a sufficiently strenuous exercise that leaves you all in sweat after only an hour of riding. Apart from the side of posture correction, it’s great for developing your concentration powers, improving the functions of your organs, and increasing your lung capacity.

The H-ASIA Horse Riding Club where you can interact with horses is in Namyangju, not very far from Seoul. In Europe, horseback riding is a sport enjoyed by the aristocracy; in South Korea, too, it is widely viewed as a leisure sport for the posh people. This is true to some extent, but not necessarily the case. With the increasing number of horseback riding clubs in South Korea, anyone can learn to ride without paying tremendous money.

Opened in the fall of 2017, H-ASIA Horse Riding Club is one such club. Anyone over 6 years of age can sign up for horseback riding lessons. You can learn how to ride horses safely, beginning with basic lessons taught by resident instructors with extensive experiences. This is why an increasing number of couples, friends, and family who love animals are coming to the club these days.

The two types of horses you can ride at H-ASIA Horse Riding Club are Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods. Thoroughbreds have long legs, slim body, and long neck; they are what come to mind when we imagine horses. Thoroughbreds are bred to become racehorses; when they retire, they are bought by horseback riding clubs where they spend the rest of their lives serving the general public. Warmbloods are larger, physically stronger, and meeker than Thoroughbreds. As they are not easy to handle, however, beginners find them difficult. Warmbloods are meant to be ridden by people who are experienced enough.

When you sign up for the horseback riding experience program, you get to ride a Thoroughbred for 20 minutes. This may seem like a very short time, but once you mount the horse, owing to quite a rough movement of horseback riding, the 20 minutes do not go by quickly. If you want to spend more time with your horse, you should check out the promotional program held at H-ASIA Horse Riding Club to commemorate its first anniversary. There is a basic 20-minute horseback riding time followed by a choice of horse snack feeding experience or horse mane combing experience. In the final part of this 1-hour program, you can either watch from the 2nd floor the equestrian center horses being trained for the races or take pictures with your favorite horse.

The program is exclusively for members and reservation is necessary, so you have to sign up for membership and make a reservation. The club does not require a membership fee. After consulting by phone, you must make a reservation for a visit. To submit a membership application, you must visit the club in person. If you bring some fresh carrots with you, you will be welcomed by 8 race horses who will gladly feed on the carrots.


Address 34-13, Cheonghak-ro 8beon-gil Byeollae-myeon, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-572-7951, 1644-7951

Opening hours 09:00~18:00, Closed on Mondays


Thoroughbred (20-min riding time): weekdays KRW 45,000, weekends KRW 50,000; Warmblood (45-min riding time): weekdays KRW 100,000, weekends KRW 120,000; promotional event program: weekdays KRW 20,000, weekends KRW 30,000



2. Byeollae-dong Café Street, A Different World Where Delicious Brunch Meets Sweet Desserts



The township of Byeollae-myeon in Namyangju-si was named by taking the character “Byeol” from Byeolbi-myeon -- which was once part of Yangju-gun (today’s Yangju-si) -- and putting it together with the character “Nae” from Naedong-myeon. As a new city began to rise here, resting zones for the residents began to form one after another. Known as the “Town Where Stars Rain Down,” the popular Byeollae-dong Café Street is one such zone. Over 40 different cafes can be found on this street, which is bisected along its length by the 80-meter wide Yongamcheon Stream. At night, lights from the cafes light up the street and turn it into a nightless neighborhood; this is apparently the reason it’s called the “Town Where Stars Rain Down.” Byeollae-dong Café Street became instantly famous through SNS and word-of-mouth. There is a promenade under the cafe street, and a light stroll with the wind blowing on your face can be a pleasant outing. On weekends, you can bring your car and park it on the sides of the street.


After walking through Byeollae-dong Café Street, you will be agonizing over where to drink coffee and eat dessert because of the many beautifully decorated cafes, with appetizing desserts tempting you from every corner. Café 947 is crowded all day with people wanting to eat brunch. On a sunny noon, my brunch outside on the terrace looks overwhelmingly appetizing. The brunch I ordered is a feast; I am not exaggerating -- it’s the most popular menu recommended by everyone on SNS. The owner, who loves healthy organic food, developed the café menu based on healthy ingredients and wheatgrass juice (Wheatgrass Detox and Wheatgrass Softpower) that he used to drink. Wheatgrass detox is a health juice that removes toxins and relieves fatigue and is made by mixing wheatgrass, carrots, apples, kale, and lemon. Wheatgrass Softpower adds fruit instead of syrup, producing a natural-tasting sweetness that works well with wheatgrass.

Madame Pie is the shop that turned Byeollae-dong Café Street into a hot commercial property. In an area where trendy cafes line both sides of Yongamcheon Stream, Madame Pie is a dessert café that is unrivaled among its peers. The interior, which looks like a small café in Europe, has an ambience that is foreign and pretty. The visual appearance of the pies displayed in the showcase will leave you salivating. There are so many different varieties of pies here, from classic pies to pies that will appeal to the younger crowd. Female guests will love the dessert plates and the teacups. If you sit on the outdoor terrace and take a bite of the sweet lemon meringue pie with the soft breeze on your face, the experience will ease the pain of saying goodbye to the soon-to-be-missed autumn.

Sweet Hour is a paradise for lovers of sweet cakes. On weekdays, its customers are mostly local residents; on weekends, many of its customers are people who drop by on country excursions. Sweet Hour is owned by a patisserie chef who, at a late age, learned to make cakes from Le Cordon Bleu, one of the world's top three culinary schools. He went to Japan to learn confectionery making skills. With the hard efforts and the owner’s own sense Sweet Hour has won the hearts of dessert aficionados. The handmade cake, baked with great care, uses only ingredients that are good for your health: organic flour, milk butter, and whipped cream

containing milk fat. Healthy ingredients are used not just in the cake but also in beverages like red bean latte, green tea latte, and sweet pumpkin latte. No wonder, there are so many patrons who come here from afar.

Café 947

Address: 38-16, Dumul-ro 27beon-gil, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-70-8849-9474

Opening Hours: 10:00~23:00 (brunch 10:00~19:00), Closed on Lunar New Year and Chuseok

Price: Bulgogi Mushroom Panini Set KRW 17,800, Wheatgrass Detox KRW 7,300

Website: None


Madame Pie

Address: 21, Dumul-ro 39beon-gil, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-529-4457

Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00, Open all year round

Price: Apple Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie KRW 9,000, Mocha Blend Coffee KRW 6,500, Apple Mint Ade KRW 7,000

Website: None


Sweet Hour




Address: 16, Dumul-ro 39beon-gil, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-70-8722-0602

Opening Hours: 12:00~22:00, Closed on Lunar New Year and Chuseok

Price: Jamon Shortcake KRW 5,500, Mango Shortcake KRW 5,500, Americano KRW 3,000





3. Namyangju Sareung Royal Tomb -- Tragic Queen Jeongsun’s Affection for King Danjong is Intense and Eternal



Namyangju Sareung Royal Tomb is the tomb of Queen Jeongsun, Queen consort of King Danjong of Joseon, the 6th monarch of the Joseon Dynasty. Like Gwangneung Royal Tombs, Hongneung Royal Tomb, and Yureung Royal Tomb, Sareung Royal Tomb is a royal tomb of the Joseon Dynasty located in Namyangju. Sareung remained closed to the public until 2014 when it was opened to visitors.

The green verdure can still be seen in Sareung Royal Tomb in autumn. Grass fields in hunter green stretch all the way to the far burial mound. The tomb in Sareung Royal Tomb is lacking the usual byeongpoong stones and nangan stones. The number of stone sheep sculptures and stone tiger sculptures is smaller than what is normal for a royal tomb, and the stone warrior was never erected. Based on the royal tomb building design applied to Hureung Royal Tomb(royal tomb of King Jeongjo), the stone figure of civil official and stone horse, stone lanterns, stone altar table, and stone posts were made intentionally small.

The size of stone structures found in Sareung Royal Tomb is not only small; there is also something sorrowful about them. This is probably because the tomb hides the tragic story of the lives of King Danjong and his Queen consort. He was forced to abdicate by his uncle, Suyang daegun (later King Sejo), who usurped the throne and exiled Danjong to far away Yeongwol only to order later that he be put to death. King Danjong’s wife, Queen Jeongsun, got selected as his wife and entered the royal court, but her happy marriage did not last long. When Danjong was demoted to the title of Prince Nosan and exiled to Yeongwol, she was also demoted to a princess and banished from the palace. She was 18 years old at that time. Her tribulations did not end here. When a conspiracy led by Geumseong daegun, the sixth son of King Sejong, to restore Danjong to the throne failed, she was stripped of her title and forced to become a slave. Her family was also punished. She built a thatched cottage near Cheongnyongsa Temple outside Dongdaemun Gate and earned a living as a dyer. She became a royal figure at the age of 15 but was banished from the court at the age of 18; until she passed away at age 82, she had to spend the rest of her life in solitude. She longed for her husband until the day she died. Her tomb came to be called Sareung; to this day, her longing for her dead husband can be felt in Sareung Royal Tomb.



180, Sareung-ro Jingeon-eup, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do



Opening Hours:

Feb.~May, Sep.~Oct. 09:00~18:00, Jun.~Aug. 09:00~18:30, Nov.~Jan. 09:00~17:30, Closed on Mondays


Adults (ages 25~64) KRW 1,000





1. You must pay attention to safety during the horseback riding experience. Don’t switch horses or stray from the path without specific instructions from the trainer. Do not act in a way that could anger the horse. When approaching a horse, do so from the rear on the left side. Playful behaviors such as letting go of the reins or removing your feet from the stirrup can be dangerous.




Public Transportation Information

[Subway] Exit 1 of Seoul Subway Line 4 Danggogae Station. Cross the crosswalk and get on bus 33-1 at the bus station. Get off at Byeollae-myeon Community Office. Follow Cheonghak-ro 8beon-gil on foot for about 200m.

Driving Information
Bukbu Expressway → Seoul Outer Circular Expressway → Songsan-ro → Turn right toward Eco-land Byeollae-myeon Administrative Town → Walk for about 200m on Cheonghak-ro 8beon-gil → H-ASIA Horse Riding Club