Ultimate Guide to Banpo Hangang Park in Seoul
Banpo Hangang Park is one of Seoul’s most popular local attractions, for residents and visitors alike. There’s so much to do there, I’ve personally spent many days and evenings happily exploring, without getting bored. And it’s at the top of my list of places to take friends and family when they come to visit me in Seoul.
During summer in Korea, and especially on weekends, it’s a huge hub of activity with literally thousands of people converging around Banpo Bridge. You can picnic with friends, visit the Seoul night market, watch the Banpodaegyo Bridge Rainbow Fountain or take in stunning sunset views. All in one single location.
In this ultimate guide, you’ll learn about EVERYTHING there is to see, do and eat in the area.
BANPO BRIDGE / BANPO HANGANG PARK
The Banpo Bridge (also know as the Banpodaegyo Bridge) is a true landmark in Seoul and one of my top travel recommends here. This iconic bridge is located almost right in the middle of the city, and spans across the mighty Han River, connecting Seocho-gu in the south, to Yongsan-gu in the north.
The Banpo Bridge is the top half of the first double-decker bridge built in Korea. During monsoon season, the lower half – Jamsu Bridge – is often completely submerged under water and impossible to cross. My first year in Korea, I was totally shocked by the tops of very tall trees peeking out from underneath all that water. Look out for it. It’s not something you see everyday.
The green space that surrounds the southern side of the Banpo Bridge is known as Banpo Hangang Park. It stretches 7.2 kilometres, all the way from Hannam Bridge to Dongjak Bridge, and covers a huge total area of 567,600m2. It’s one of the best places to get panoramic views of Namsan and the North Seoul Tower across the Han River.
Aside from special attractions like the Banpodaegyo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, Some Sevit floating islands and Bamdokkaebi Seoul night market, there’s a bubble playground, in-line skating track, soccer field, and basketball court.
If you love coffee like I do, you can take in great views of the Han River and surrounding skyscrapers from the the edge of Banpo Hangang Park, in cafes Gureum and Noeul. Head over to the south end of Dongjak Bridge, and take the elevator to the cafes that are built atop the bridge. During summer in Korea, get there at Seoul sunset time between 6:30 and 7:30 for incredible pictures of the sun setting over the Han River.
BANPO BRIDGE RAINBOW FOUNTAIN (반포대교 무지개 분수)
The Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain is a Hangang River light show that should not be missed. Installed along both sides of the Banpodaegyo Bridge, it’s a total of 570 metres long. It’s the longest bridge fountain in the world.
A total of 380 nozzles spray water suctioned up from the Han River below, out into a dancing show of music and movement. With 200 lights illuminating rainbow-coloured jets of water synchronized to music, the fountain is one of best things to do in Seoul at night. And it’s free!
The Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain operates every day from April to October, four to six times a day. Each show lasts approximately 20 minutes. Check this website for showtimes and further information.
HANGANG RIVER CRUISE
If you really want to amp up your view of the Banpo Bridge and Rainbow Fountain, consider taking a Hangang River Cruise.
Eland Cruise runs several different routes along the Han River, but if you want to catch a Hangang River Cruise timed to the Banpo Bridge Fountain Show, check out their “Music Cruise.” Running from the Yeouido Ferry Dock to Banpodaegyo Bridge and back again, the cruise is 70 minutes long and departs at 7:30PM.
On board, you’ll be treated to live music, a cold brew coffee, a hot pack to keep you warm, and views of the Han River at night. To make a reservation and see the Hangang River Cruise price, check out their website.
BAMDOKKAEBI: A Seoul Night Market
Bamdokkaebi is a Seoul night market that combines a food truck festival with an artist’s flea market. Called the “Romantic Moonlight Market,” it’s one of the best things to do in Seoul at night, and a favourite event for foreigners visiting the city.
The stalls at this Korean Night Market are independently rented by artists and vendors, so it’s a great place to get a feel for what’s trendy in the city at the moment. It’s also the perfect place to shop for unique and affordable souvenirs to take back home.
The food truck festival that takes over the area each night is one of Seoul’s most popular events. With both international and Korean food offerings on hand, you’re sure to find something to please your palette.
I indulged in a Cubano sandwich (what can I say? I loved the movie, Chef!) while at the Seoul night market. The only downer at the food truck festival are the super long lines. Make sure you don’t go there starving, and be prepared to wait for whatever you choose to eat.
Bamdokkaebi Seoul night market is held every Friday and Saturday night from 6:00PM – 11:00PM, from April to October. Like the “night demon,” it’s named after, it literally comes out at night and disappears by morning.
SOME SEVIT (세빛섬): Seoul’s Floating Islands
If you’ve passed by the southern end of Banpo Bridge in any way, shape or form, you’ve no doubt seen “Some Sevit.” These eye-catching floating buildings are surrounded by LED lights and completely illuminated at night.
The Some Sevit floating islands represent flowers in different stages of life. Some Gavit is the largest building, and symbolizes a flower in full bloom. Some Chavit looks like a flower bud, and Some Solvit, the smallest building, is the seed from which flowers come.
These futuristic buildings are so marvellous from the outside that I’ve never actually ventured inside, but if you do, highlights include:
- P.I.M Play in Museum in Some Solvit – a kids cafe with a breathtaking view and an infinity ball pool cool enough to please both children and parents alike
- Tubester in Some Gavit – the perfect place to be during Seoul sunset time, where you can float out onto the Han River with your friends on 6 seater party boats
BANPO SEORAESEOM ISLAND (반포 서래섬)
Seoraeseom is an artificial island, located to the west of Banpo Bridge on the south side of the Han River. It was constructed in the mid-1980s and can be accessed by 3 separate bridges that are connected to Banpo Hangang Park.
Seorae Island is one of the few places in the city where you can find bright yellow rapeseed flowers. However, if you’re looking for a peaceful environment in which to explore the island’s weeping willows, migratory birds and flower gardens, it’s best not to visit during the island’s annual Rapeseed/Canola Festival in May.
OTHER ACTIVITIES AT BANPO BRIDGE / BANPO HANGANG PARK?
There’s so many special local attractions and events at Banpo Hangang Park, it’d be easy to forget that it’s also just a park. You can also:
- Find a great spot for a picnic, and partake in the Korean tradition of having chimaek (fried chicken and beer) delivered to you by speedy scooter drivers.
- Watch skateboarders practicing tricks around cones and on ramps.
- Watch Korean b-boys and b-girls perform moves that defy gravity
- Take a ride along the beautiful bike trails that line both sides of Banpo Hangang Park and the Banpodaegyo Bridge. Han River bike rental is available in multiple locations, including near Banpo Bridge. You can check for alternative Seoul bicycle rental areas here.
HOW TO GO TO BANPO HANGANG PARK
The best way to go to Banpo Hangang Park, Banpo Bridge, the Rainbow Fountain, Seoul Night Market and Some Sevit is by public transportation.
By Seoul Subway
It’s possible to access Banpo Bridge from multiple Seoul subway lines. It’s best to consult a Seoul subway map, using an app like Jihachul to see which line would be most convenient for you.
If you’re on Seoul Subway line 3, 7 or 9: Get off at Express Bus Terminal Station and take Exit 8-1 or 8-2. Walk straight for 250 metres, turning right at the Express Bus Terminal intersection. Walk straight for another 400 metres and cross the road, and through the underpass to arrive at Banpo Hangang Park.
If you’re on Seoul subway line 2: Get off at Sinbanpo Station and take exit 2. Walk straight for 400 metres until you reach Banpodaero intersection, and then turn left. Walk straight for another 500 metres, straight through the underpass and then make an immediate left.
If you’re on Seoul subway line 4: Get off at Dongjak Station and take Exit 1. Walk straight for 20 metres until the reach the Banpo Jugong Apartments, make a left turn and walk straight for 900 metres until you reach Banpo Hangang Park.
Blue Buses number 405 and 740 arrive and depart from the Express Bus Terminal Bus Stop in front of subway station Exits 8-1 or 8-2.
If you have a car, you can drive to Banpo Bridge. However, I’d recommend you don’t. You’ll spend half your time at Banpo Hangang Park waiting in a super long line-up of cars for a parking spot. It’s chaotic and frustrating, and definitely not how you want to spend your night.
Parking is limited to 823 spaces and costs 1,000 won for the first 30 minutes, 200 won for each additional 10 minutes and 10,000 won for a one-day parking pass.
Have you been to one of Seoul’s best local attractions? What’s YOUR favourite thing to do at Banpo Bridge and Banpo Hangang Park? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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