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Yangsuri: Where Two Rivers Meet

Recent Posts, Posted by Matt in ALL DESTINATIONS,Gyeonggi,Nature, 10 Comments

Yangsuri: Where Two Rivers Meet


I’m always surprised by how quickly a metropolis like Seoul can transform into bucolic countryside, thanks to the city’s efficient rail network. In under an hour and for less than two dollars, one can step out of the hustle of Seoul and into rural Korea.

From Yangsuri (양수리)

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One of the best places within easy reach is Yangsuri (양수리). Located in Gyeonggi Province’s picturesque Yangseo Township, Seoulites know Yangsuri as a convenient and romantic getaway — the perfect place for a day-trip or weekend escape. Located at the confluence of the north and south forks of the Hangang river (한강) , the island-like Yangsuri is the kind of place that can put an urbanite back in sync with nature.


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In recent history, Yangsuri was a bustling port of commerce. But construction of the nearby Paldang Dam in the early 1970s moved most traffic over land. As the area’s economy declined, the government realized that the picturesque spot’s true potential was in restoring its natural habitat. To that end, shipping and commercial fishing were banned and the area was designated a greenbelt.

From Yangsuri (양수리)

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Yangsuri’s southern tip is called “Dumulmeori” (두물머리), literally meaning the “head of the two waters.” The starting point of the mighty Hangang affords beautiful views around the clock, but is said to be particularly spectacular at dawn. During crisp mornings in October and November, the temperature contrast between day and night creates think blankets of morning fog that linger above the river’s placid surface.

From Yangsuri (양수리)

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YangsuriUpon reaching a small gravel parking area located beneath National Road #6, we walked in the twilight along a riverside promenade flanked by a lotus pond on one side and an attractive tile wall on the other. After about 300 meters the path merged with an open area punctuated by a 400-year-old zelkova tree. Some Koreans still worship trees, and a simple altar at its base was for offerings. But that morning, several photographers had their lenses focused on a traditional skiff bearing a rectangular sail with a small island in the distance. As darkness gave way to dawn, a thin layer of fog softened every outline. Facing southwest, we didn’t watch the actual sun rise over the horizon. Instead, we waited as the subtle approach of daylight turned our surroundings from gray to blue.

As early morning walkers arrived and the photographers began to leave, my friend Uikwon and I realized it would be another hour or so before our second destination opened its doors. A nearby watering hole advertised lotus root-flavored beverages and snacks, but it, too, was shuttered. So we headed back to town in search of breakfast.

Yangsuri
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A favorite among early risers, Jinjisang (진지상) is best known for its olgaengi haejangguk (올갱이해장국), a high-protein stew of snails, vegetables and soybean paste said to be good for curing a number of ailments (especially hangovers). If recovery isn’t in order, spicy tofu and kimchi soups are also on the menu. Of course, several banchan—vegetable side dishes—accompany each meal.

From Yangsuri (양수리)

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By the time we paid our bill, just across the street our next destination was opening its gates. Also located near the confluence of the two lesser Han rivers, a narrow inlet separates Semiwon (세미원) from Dumulmeori. The large ecological garden’s name means, “A place where water and flowers live together,” and the park argues persuasively for the restoration of the Han River. In addition to its Environmental Training Center, just beyond the entry gate is a procession of flat stones set in the middle of a streambed. The path leads to fountains, manicured landscapes and expansive lotus ponds. In the latter, indigenous mud snails and shrimp consume phosphorus and nitrogen, thus naturally purifying the water.

From Yangsuri (양수리)

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During the summer, the park is in high demand, so traffic is limited to just 500 visitors. This makes sense, since beyond the soothing effects of a well-designed landscape, Semiwon is a contemplative space. Bamboo poles with box-shaped lanterns inscribed with poetry dot the grounds. Beyond elaborate fountains and the traditional Yoosanggoksu Garden, a sign resembling a traditional jangseung wooden totem used to ward off evil spirits announces your arrival at “Black Catfish Pond.”

From Yangsuri (양수리)

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According to local maps, a bridge linking Semiwon with Dumulmeori is in the works. I’ll be excited to revisit Yangsuri when these two examples of ecological restoration of the Hangang are connected.

From Yangsuri (양수리)

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After nearly two hours weaving our way through Semiwon, Uikwon and I were approaching the exit, when a staff member directed us into a small building. Inside, the 3,000 won ($2.40) we paid to enter the park granted us a choice of locally grown, organic produce. I selected two bunches of sweet purple grapes and he a generous bundle of cherry tomatoes – great snacks for the short subway ride home..
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For your information…

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Semiwon: Mar-Nov: 09:00-18:00; Dec-Feb: 10:00-16:00;Semiwon Admission: 3,000;
Dumulmeori Admission: Free
031-755-1834
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Gangwon-do Taebaek-si Taebul-lo 21Yangsu Station on Seoul Metro’s Jungang Line, Exit 1. Or, take bus #2228 from Seoul’s Cheongryangri Station on Line 1. Or, take bus #2000-1 from Seoul’s Gangbyeon Station to Yangpyeong on Line 2. website
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10 Comments

1 October 2009 01:56

seoulsuzy

Beautiful photos!
Especially like the first and the one of the Semiwon stream.
Cheers.

October 03 2009 13:32 pm

Matt Kelley

Hey there,
Thanks for the note. It's a very nice place and so easy to reach from Seoul. I hope you can visit sometime. Happy Chuseok! Best, Matt

18 August 2010 11:53

maria

Hi.
I found your blog by chance.Very informative and nicely organized.I want to go to Yangsuri on my own next week for a few days,but my Korean is limited.Do you think I will be able to find a home-stay or something like that which is not very expensive(im a student)? I hope you can answer me as soon as possible.I will be checking your blog daily. Have a nice summer.
Thank you
Maria

August 19 2010 15:46 pm

Matt

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your note. Hmmm... I'm not sure about a homestay, but there are a few hotels/love motels there that you should be able to rent no problem. Not sure if 50,000 won or so per night is in your budget, but I *think* that's what the rate was. My friend and I stayed in a white hotel right across from the Semiwon Garden, which may have been in the 80,000 range. Certainly nothing to write home about, but adequate and a good location. If you want to go really cheap, I imagine there are jjimjilbangs there where you could stay overnight in the 10,000 range. Anyhow, i envy that you'll be there for a couple of days. It's a relaxing place!

Best, Matt

26 August 2010 03:00

Clare

Hello

I might be moving to Yangsuri because I was offered an English teaching job in Yangpyeong. Do you know how far away Yangsuri is from Yangpyeong? I know very little about Yangsu but it seems like a very nice place from your post. Is there a lot of things for a tourist to do in the town or should I consider a place thats more urban?

Thank you, Clare

August 30 2010 15:17 pm

Sean O'Rourke

hey. I live in Yangsu-ri and work as an English teacher. The town is very small but quite nice. There isn't a lot to do there, but Seoul is very accessible; as are cities which are closer, such as Guri and Yangpyeong. Yangsu-ri is just 3 or 4 stops from Yangpyeong, which would take 10 minutes on the subway. There are about 6 other English teachers who live in the town. Do you think you will be coming here? all the best.

September 13 2010 15:40 pm

Clare

Hello Sean, yes I am pretty sure I will be moving there. I've been in contact with my potential employer and things are moving along, but I still have a bunch of questions. I tried to reach the teacher I will be replacing but I haven't heard back from her. Do you have a blog or an email address so I can contact you?

2 November 2011 15:48

Korea Photo Diary [Part 10] – Dumulmeori, Yangsuri | Love and Lemonade Photography Blog

[...] massive food post will be next.)On our 2nd to last day in Korea, one of our cousins took us to Dumulmeori/Yangsuri (두물머리/양수리). It was the perfect excursion – a much needed break from the city [...]

27 July 2012 23:25

Korea Photo Diary [Part 10] – Dumulmeori, Yangsuri | Love and Lemonade Photography

[...] our 2nd to last day in Korea, one of our cousins took us to Dumulmeori/Yangsuri (두물머리/양수리). It was the perfect excursion – a much needed break from the city [...]

4 December 2012 16:59

Day 4: Yangsuri + Deoksugung « another chapter

[...] learned about this place from Discovering Korea, one of my favorite Korea’s travel blog. So, do check it [...]

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