THE MECCA of greenery surrounding the World Cup Parks was once a mountain of trash. The parks were built on a place previously called Nanji-do, which served as Seoul’s trash landfill site since 1978. Before long, the once fertile land became polluted with gas and leachate. The citizens decided to revive the dying land in 1996 and started to care for the surrounding environment. As a result, Nanji-do was reborn as the World Cup Parks - the land of nature and life. Only 25 minutes away by subway from Sinchon station, the three World Cup Parks are Pyeong-hwa Park, Ha-neul Park, and No-eul Park, which offer people the golden ambience of autumn.
*Pyeong-hwa* Park, a symbol of peace
From Sinchon subway station, take Line 2 (green line) to Hapjeong station. Then transfer to Line 6 and get off at World Cup Stadium station. A short five minute walk will direct you to Pyeong-hwa Park, where the refreshing water fountains in Nanji pond will welcome you. Several ducks leisurely swim through the spouts of water, keeping a safe distance from the curious hands of children. A number of families can be seen enjoying a picnic in the UNICEF Plaza, which surrounds the Nanji pond. The UNICEF Plaza was dedicated to the world’s children by FIFA and UNICEF, in hopes of building a better world where children can pursue their dreams to the fullest extent. Furthermore, people of all ages can relish in the peaceful atmosphere, complete with the sounds of the stream and children’s laughter. Many facilities, including a large square for children to play in, make Pyeong-hwa Park an ideal place for families as well as friends to relax during weekends.
Ha-neul Park, where the land meets the sky
After crossing the suspension bridge connecting Pyeong-hwa Park and Ha-neul Park, you will come across the beautiful Metasequoia Road. Here, an endless tree-lined road stretches far into the distance, creating a mysterious, yet romantic atmosphere. As you walk through the Metasequoia trees, you will feel like the hero or the heroine of a romance movie.
Another wayto reach Ha-neul Park is to walk up the Ha-neul stairs, consisting of a total of 291 staircases. Climbing the Ha-neul stairs can be a special experience in itself. You can admire the magnificent view of Seoul and the lovely autumn flowers in full bloom on the hillside as you walk up. In addition, you can entertain your mind by counting the stairs as you slowly reach the top.
When you arrive at the summit, you will be greeted with a picturesque scene where the land meets the sky. Ha-neul Park is located at World Cup Parks’ highest point, hence its name “Sky Park.” The park is also characterized by its endless stretches of silver grass. Silver grass gives bloom to golden flowers with a hint of purple at the beginning of September. You can savor the expanses of lovely silver grass gently swaying to the autumn wind. In the distance, a couple of wind generators spin slowly with the blue sky in the background. As you walk through the ceaseless waves of silver grass as tall as you or taller, you will fall under the impression of having shrunk to an abnormal size after entering a strange world like Alice in Wonderland. .
A terrestrial heaven, No-eul Park
No-eul Park, meaning “Sunset Park,” derived its name from the beautiful dusk you can see from the park. You can hike up to No-eul Park either by walking up the hill or by riding the Maeng-kkong-yi, an electric vehicle. As you go up, you will once again be able to appreciate the beauty and splendor of Seoul’s scenery. No-eul Park is separated into sections of large grassplots, which display splendid artworks and sculptures for people to admire. As the season changes to fall, you can admire the cosmos flowers of various hues in full bloom alongside the paths through the fields. The meadows are filled with snowy white dandelion clocks and various petite flowers that bloom during this time of the year. With only a few people in sight, No-eul Park is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the solitude. If you lie down in the makeshift hut, bury your feet into the cool green grass, and fade into the silence, the park will feel like heaven on earth.
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Autumn is evident everywhere. As a gentle breeze sweeps through the air, the reddening leaves rustle as cosmos flowers sway alongside the golden fields. The enchanting colors, the smell, the noise, everything allures you to come out and enjoy the autumn ambiance. A day’s stroll at World Cup Parks will surely add to the charms and satisfaction that the fall season brings.