Famed for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Joseon Dynasty fortress, Hwaseong is a largely rural city in Gyeonggi-do. It lies on the outskirts of the urban sprawl that surrounds Seoul and is on the doorstep of the popular Korean Folk Village.
Things to do in Hwaseong
Visit the Hwaseong Fortress, which was built during the late-18th century as the official fortress of Suwon-Si. Explore the four impressive gates facing each of the cardinal directions and the Hwahongmun pavilion, as well as Hyowon’s Bell, created in honour of King Joengjo’s devotion to his father.
Inspired by the royal vehicle used by Emperor Gwangmu, the Hwaseong Fortress Tourist Trolley is the most atmospheric way to tour the complex. It offers a hop-on/hop-off service stopping at the Yeonmudae Post, Paldalsan Mountain and Hwaseong Haenggung Palace.
Take time to visit the Confucian temple of Suwon Hyanggyo, which houses the memorial tablet of Confucius and Mencius, as well as the writings of notable Korean figures from throughout history. It dates back to the Goryeo era when it was built by King Wonjong and was moved to its current location following the construction of Hwaseong Fortress.
A short drive east of Hwaseong takes you to the Korean Folk Village, which has been created around replica streets featuring traditional houses and workshops. Learn about religious traditions at the Confucian academy, attend one of the cultural dance performances, then sample local Korean specialties at the local restaurants.
Getting around Hwaseong
Hwaseong is a one-hour drive south of Seoul and around two hours by train from Incheon International Airport. Buses connect to the surrounding towns, while Hwaseong city centre is small enough to explore on foot.