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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.

Banpo Bridge and Banpo Hangang Park

Banpo Bridge aka Banpodaegyo Bridge

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.

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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!

Banpodaegyo Bridge Rainbow Fountain at Banpo Hangang Park

The Rainbow Fountain on Banpodaegyo Bridge is one of the best things do in Seoul at night

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.

Hangang River cruise, Banpo Hangang Park, Banpo Bridge Seoul blog, Korea blog

Take a Hangang River Cruise for an incredible view of Banpodaegyo bridge, especially at Seoul sunset time

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.

seoul at night

Watch out for the Bamdokkaebi – the monster only comes out at night!

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.

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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.

Some Sevit at Banpo Hangang Park

Some Sevit Floating Islands at Banpo Hangang Park

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
Some Sevit at Banpo Hangang Park

Tubester and Some Sevit at Banpo Hangang Park: Photo by Oleksii Khodakivskiy on Unsplash

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.

Seoraeseom Banpo Hangang Park

Canola / Rapeseed flowers

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.

Stopping for a rest while biking in Banpo Hangang Park

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.

How to go to Banpo Bridge by Seoul subway

Banpo Bridge by Seoul subway

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.

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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.

By Bus

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.

By Car

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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13 Comments Post a comment
  1. The last photo – the one with the train – reminded me too much of those Japanese downtempo artists. I can almost imagine being there, watching the trains go by at the end of the day, listening to “Mu-getsu” by DJ Krush… loved it!

    June 20, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      Ha! I totally get what you’re saying…it does have that feeling. (also had no idea that Krush was Japanese!)

      June 21, 2018
  2. What an amazing, wide-ranging area! You could go for years and not see or do everything. Your photos are great, especially the night ones with all the glowing lights. Are you missing any of the bright, crowded, huge aspects of Seoul there in Canada?!

    June 20, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      The great thing is that they’re constantly adding new events and venues to the area, so it’s always fresh! You really can go over and over again and never get bored. 🙂 Hmmm Calgary, what to say? The pace is definitely a lot slower, and I don’t remember it ever being so small, but it’s great to be breathing in fresh air all the time. And the sunsets and sky are just so incredibly beautiful. PS: Wish I could take credit for those pics, but they’re mostly sourced (momlife, what can ya do?)

      June 21, 2018
  3. looks so gorgeous! what amazingly pretty photos!

    June 20, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      It’s definitely a draw in Seoul for good reason! 🙂 Haha I wish I took those pics, but alas I am not that talented. 😉

      June 21, 2018
  4. It looks like there’s so much to do in Banpo Hangang Park as you said. From the looks of it, it seems to be near the water. Being near the water, I was wondering if it was windy all the time, or cool for most part? Usually I like walking by the water in more metropolitan areas; walking by the water along the beach that is usually definitely blowy to some degree lol. Good views all round. So lovely you can find rapeseed flowers on the island near the city. Such a pretty sight!

    June 22, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      The great thing is that they’re constantly updating and adding to the area too, so it never gets boring. The park is on the banks of the Han River (Hangang actually means Han River), but the river is so wide, it can seem like a lake I think. In Seoul, the climate changes with the season – winter is really, really cold and windy, and summer is really, really hot and humid. Spring and fall are definitely the best times to visit! 🙂

      June 23, 2018
  5. What a cool park, there looks like there’s a lot to see! The floating islands look really cool, a bit different than the ones in Peru I imagine hahah

    June 23, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      Haha, yeah, quite a bit different than the ones in Peru. 😉 There’s definitely a lot to see and do there – you really never get bored.

      June 23, 2018

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