Sometimes it’s frustrating to see how few calories have been burnt after feeling hot in face and sweating a lot. To mitigate this feeling, I like to travel into nature and appreciate some fun stuff out there in the middle of the city.
Through my fitness break itinerary, I wanted to show my neighborhood and its great workout environment. There is Han River that runs right through the middle of Seoul and there are well-paved roads in the riverside, which is one the most famous places to enjoy (especially chicken and beer at night, but I would not tell you that in this post and will focus on healthy content). My itinerary covers the upper western part of Seoul, which is only a fourth of it, but I hope this could give you a glimpse of the vibe of the city!
First of all, say hi to my green and eco-friendly baby for today’s ride—and my Expedia messenger bag!
I completed this itinerary thanks to Seoul Bike system that provides a very cheap one-day voucher for less than a dollar. For those who are traveling Seoul for quite a while, there is a seven-day voucher for US$3 (3,000 KRW).
After renting a Seoul Bike from the nearby station from my home, I headed towards the World Cup stadium. If you are lucky enough, while driving to the destination you can see some cranes and mallards swimming in the stream. There are four distinct seasons in Korea, but I love working out in the spring and fall, which provides moderate—and the best—temperatures.
Along the stream, through this road, you can move from end to end of Seoul!
For those who are interested in running, I would recommend you join the below clubs run by sports companies like Nike and Adidas, or a famous international marathon arranged by Dong-A Daily.
Since it is a pleasant runway with a bit of cushion in the ground, made out of tire waste, running clubs are popular. It’s also beautiful at night beside the river and makes me want to go out and enjoy the city.
I arrived at the stadium in the middle of preparation for another soccer game. When the game day comes, food trucks and souvenir vendors gather around to entice soccer lovers. Even after the Korea-Japan joint World Cup in 2002, the stadium is currently being used as a sports complex including spa, sauna, swimming pool, and Homeplus, a large discount supermarket where you can enjoy a food court.
Feeling a bit hungry, I had Bibim-guksu (spicy noodles) and headed to Haneul (sky) park.
World Cup Park consists of five different parks and Haneul Park is one of them. This is my go-to place because I can look around a puppy park (love this park!), river, and eight-lane car road and feel the excitement when cars speed below my feet when you are crossing a bridge to access the park.
Don’t be shocked when you meet the “Attention!” sign that means the place is now being used for collecting land gas. The park is built upon a huge mountain of trash (literally it was a huge pile of litter), and we used to dump garbage in this area. Seoul government decided to turn this gross place into a beautiful park to prepare for 2002 FIFA World Cup. The gas from the underground is used as an energy source in operating the World Cup Stadium and Parks.
If you have some time to visit the nearby neighborhood, I recommend visiting Digital Media City, where Iron Man, Captain America, and The Hulk visited to film Avengers: Age of Ultron. There are major broadcasting companies and decent restaurants. Take a photoshoot with the iconic artwork in front of MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation) building.
For a balanced lunch, I visited Cafe’ Mamas. My guess is that the mushroom panini—with its juicy texture, crispy baked bread and the flavor of basil—is the reason why this place has successful business. It also serves fresh juice that goes well with panini menus or the healthy salad menu. The deep and creamy flavored ricotta cheese salad is also my favorite one.
After about a 20-minute ride is Mang-won river park where citizens spend their pastime playing basketball, cycling, or taking a walk with their pets. Come here in the summer when the city government operates outdoor pools at a very reasonable price! I felt like cycling and continued pedaling to Hapjeong station. There are lots of fancy cafés and decent restaurants here. I ordered a blueberry-banana juice from Jamba Juice.
In Hapjeong station, there are two options to enjoy your precious evening.
- Take subway number six and move to Hangangjin station. Find a place called Homer that makes great truffle pizza and has a decent selection of bottle beer. The area where this restaurant is located in is Hannam-dong district and it is well-known for its hip atmosphere. You can listen to some vinyls for free at Hyundai card library whose main concept is music. After that, you can walk down to Itaewon if you want to mingle with friends from all over the world!
- The second option is to dive into the young vibe in the University area and get to know its two attractive areas. It is about a 5-minute bike ride and a 10-15 minute walk from Hapjeong station to Hongik University—the most famous school in Korea for art. Historically, the nearby area is called Hongdae, which is a shorter version of Hongik Daehakgyo. (Daehakgyo means University in Korean.) Hongdae is famous for its hot and young bars; but if you visit Yeonnam-dong area, there are more modern shops, cafés, and restaurants. A must-go place in Yeonnam-dong is a tiny park whenever the weather allows. Just prepare a picnic mat or newspapers to sit on the grass. Grab some beer from nearby take-out steakhouse and listen to the street singers busking! It’s the best place to run around the park and the neighborhood and take a rest. You can find a metal railway that was in use back in the 1920s, which made the name of the neighborhood Gyeongui-seon Line Forest road.
Workout Result Summary
|1||Home-> World Cup stadium||1,439||153||1.53||21|
|2||World Cup stadium -> Haneul Park||3,844||293||–||–|
|3||Haneul Park -> Hapjung station||6,000||432||4.31||115|
|4||Hapjung station -> Hong-ik Univ. -> Home||2,691||194||–||–|
What would be on your fitness itinerary in Seoul?
This article was written by Yiji Lim, currently working at Expedia Inc., in South Korea. She wants to get to know new things and hates getting bored. She works out to eat. Lately, Yiji fell in love with Thailand and likes to make friends when traveling. Reading books, water activities, and networking with friends make up her lifestyle.