Suwon: The Traditional Stuff

Like numerous areas in South Korea, Suwon is chock-full of historical sites.

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Suwon

For example, there’s Paldalmun Gate: the southern gate of Hwaseong Fortress. It’s unique because it’s the only gate that is detached from the other three gates. It sits in the middle of a busy intersection, surrounded by various shops and restaurants. It’s simultaneously jarring and hilarious to sit there and watch the cars whizz around this ancient structure.

From Paldalmun, it’s a short walk up the hill to Hwaseong Fortress Wall. There’s a gate for each of the cardinal directions: Janganmun (north), Paldalmun (south), Changnyongmun (east), and Hwaseomun (west). Dave and I approached the wall from the eastern side.

Of course, now that I’m sitting here at home, I’m able to say that it was a “short walk.” But that walk was all uphill. Wear good shoes!!

When you reach the top and decide to head north, you’ll see an area devoted to a couple of Korean monuments. If you take a peek over the wall near there, you’ll find a handy convenience shop (and bathrooms). A lovely lady named Kim works there. Stop by and say hello! (And thanks again for the grapes, Kim. They were delicious.)

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Taking a break by this intriguing monument

We actually didn’t make it to the fortress itself because Kim offered to take us to Hawseong Haenggung Palace instead. After a short stroll through the trees (steadily heading down the slope again), we were there!

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Hawseong Haenggung Palace’s main gate

The palace is a maze of interconnected buildings and courtyards. It was a hot, sunny day, but there was plenty of shade to be found here.

Near the entrance, you can also pick up a piece of paper that makes the perfect souvenir. It has ten boxes that match the ten rubber stamping stations located around the palace. It also has a map to help you find them (…speaking from experience, don’t be too proud to use the map!)

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While you’re looking for more stamps, be sure to take in all of the historical displays, too. There are so many of them to see! The mannequins are pretty lifelike at a first glance, and it’s fascinating to see what the palace rooms looked like back then.

Thanks for a wonderful couple of days, Suwon. I’ll be back soon!

And thanks for reading,

Emme

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