One brisk February afternoon, Ski and Suzie journey to Suwon to hike along the walls of the Hwaseong Fortress. Built during the Joseon Dynasty, the 5.7 kilometer wall surrounds a large portion of the city center as it climbs up Mt. Paldalsan and descends back down to street level. Besides taking some time to hike around the wall, archery is open to the public giving people a chance to tune their medieval marksmanship is they desire.
The trek along the wall isn’t too difficult at all and can be completed in less than three hours. While hiking, we took some time to check out Jindong Market near the wall’s south gate of Paldalmun. Though some of the markets smells may deter you from spending too much time there, it is definitely worth the trip to see how a traditional Korean market is run. Inside the main market building, there are many restaurants serving food in traditional fashion.
Hwaseong’s history is actually a very interesting story. During the Joseon Dynasty, King Yeongjo’s son Prince Sado went on an alleged killing spree caused my his mental illness. He was reportedly brutal and erratic and caused much shame to his father. With his wife’s consent, the King locked Prince Sado in a rice chest where he slowly died over the course of eight days. His son King Jeongjo held that his grandfather and other high ranking officials had framed his father. King Jeongjo built Hwaseong Fortress in an effort to restore his father’s honor.
Since it surrounds the city center, finding the Hwaseong Fortress isn’t too hard at all once you get into Suwon. Whether you are in Seoul, Seongnam, Yongin, or many other cities nearby; there are a plethora of buses that go to Suwon and the wall isn’t hard to find at all from there.
If taking the subway, take the dark blue line 1 to Suwon Station. From there, you can take a number of green buses to the wall including the 2, 7, and 8. You can also walk there from the station as it is only about 2 kilometers to the fortress entrance from the subway.