Seoul forest was always on my list of places to visit in Seoul, but somehow we never got around to it until our last week in Korea! Although I thought it was far outside of the city, it was just on the north side of the Han and east of downtown. Built in 2005 to be Seoul’s version of NYC’s Central Park, our main reason to visit Seoul forest is to visit and feed the deer, but there are multiple playgrounds, splash pads, and so many walking/hiking paths! We visited in early November- the perfect time to see the fall leaves.
We drove to the forest, but there are ways to get there using the subway and bus systems. We had trouble figuring out where to park, ended up in the handicap parking, but finally found the regular parking area. Parking costs 300 won/10 minutes, parking fee kiosks are located at the entrance to the parking lot, so make sure to stop and pay for parking on the way out! Admission is free, and there is so much to do within the park! Landon was very interested in going to the children’s woodland park, so we stopped there for lunch before moving on to visit the deer. For most of the time we were there, Landon was the only kid, but he still had fun climbing these wooden climbing walls with the rope, and then sliding down the long, fast slide.
Owen wanted to get in on the fun, but he had a hard time walking so he crawled around the play structure and Landon helped him go down little slides. Owen is so happy to play with his big brother! Scattered among the paths and trees of Seoul Forest were interesting sculptures and works of art. Even though we were surrounded by city, it genuinely felt like an oasis far away from the crowds and traffic. There was plenty of space for my energetic boy to run and play!
After a long walk, we finally made it to the deer enclosure! We found out once we reached the enclosure that the deer food cost 1,000 won, and the deer food vending machine only took 1,000 won notes. I had bigger bills and coins, but not exactly 1,000 won, so Landon was a very sad boy for awhile. I felt like a bad mom- driving all the way there promising Landon that he could feed deer, and then not being about to do so. Luckily for us, some tourists bought a bunch of deer food and shared with us. Thanks, American tourists!
From the deer enclosure, we took a path around the bend up and onto a sky bridge that overlooked the enclosure. We realized then that there were a ton more deer than we originally thought. The herds were separated by fences, and the male deer from different herds were bellowing and challenging each other from across the fence. It was fascinating to watch! The sky bridge led to an overlook of the Han River. Nice Korean ladies from a local church were canvassing the park and gave us little packets with a special message and snacks! Yay snacks!
If you’re planning a visit to Seoul Forest, look at the website and map beforehand to get a feel for where you want to go within the park. It was a long walk from the parking lot we found to the deer pen, and I would definitely look for closer parking if we visit again. Bring snacks and drinks for the family because the park is huge and there were not many drink or snack options throughout the park, at least on the late fall day that we visited. Come to Seoul Forest to experience nature and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city!