Suwon (수원,水原) is the capital of Gyeonggi province.
Suwon is the provincial capital and largest city in Gyeonggi-do and has a population of just over one million. It is about 30 km from Seoul.
- Take Seoul subway line 1 (blue) south - Cheonan line. Ensure that you are on the correct section of the train as it later splits and travels on two separate lines: the Incheon line (west) and Cheonan line (south).
- It is also possible to take a commuter train from Seoul station. This is much faster (30-45 min.) and costs about 3200 Won, but runs more infrequently.
- From Gangnam station in Seoul there is bus 5100 to Yeongtong area in Suwon.
- From Sadang station in Seoul there is bus 7000 to Suwon.
- There is a bus service connecting Castle Hotel in Suwon with Incheon Intl. Airport, which takes 60-90 minutes. The service runs from 06:20 to 22:30 to the hotel, and from 04:50 to 20:30 to the airport, every 20-30 minutes, and costs 12.000 Won.
The bus lines in Suwon are reliable and cheap. Most major stops have a listing of available bus lines with route information. Green buses typically run around the cities, and larger red buses take passengers to Seoul and neighboring cities. While mainly listed in Korean, most major stops and points of interest are also listed in English.
Taxis are prevalent in Suwon, and easy to use. Several offer "free translation" services. You should know a major feature near your destination as the Taxi drivers may not know specific addresses or minor building names, however with a little patience and understanding you will find a taxi willing to get you near your destination. Some will even call "English speaking" friends or relatives to help. Taxis are easily identified, mainly gray, white or black with lit signs on top and in the front windows. Black taxis are "luxury" taxis, tend to be more comfortable/larger cars, go slower, and cost more. The gray or white taxis tend to get you there faster and cheaper, but may drive more recklessly.
There are currently four stops on Seoul subway Line 1 that service the Suwon area. Suwon Station is the central, and largest in Suwon, and the second largest in the country, and also houses the train station proper, where you can catch a train to nearly anywhere else in the country. Seryu, Hwaseo, and Sungkyunkwan University are the others. There is currently another subway line under construction to service other parts of the city.
Cycling in Suwon is easy as the sidewalks are wide and many are combination sidewalk and bike path. There are only a few challenging hills in Suwon and pedestrian traffic is not congestive in most areas.
Suwon is a large city, but walking can be a nice alternative to driving around downtown, the markets and the fortress proper. Whilst the walk between Suwon train station and the fotress is doable at a stretch, the Intercity Bus Terminal on the south side is well too far away, via a polluted mess of urban sprawl.
- Hwaseong Fortress (sometimes referred to as simply Suwon Fortress) - a stunning fortress constructed between 1794 to 1796 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - a 2-3 hour walk to complete the circumference. Visitors can try out archery at Hwaseong fortress.
- Manseok Park, Jangan-gu - a large park with lake and recreational facilities.
- World Cup Stadium - also known as the Big Bird, Suwon's World Cup Stadium hosted one of the quarter-finals for the 2002 FIFA World Cup and is now home to the Suwon Blue Wings of the K-League.
- Suwon First Church (수원제일교회 Suwom Jeil Kyohwi) - Very striking church that dominates the Suwon skyline. Humongous 10-storey complex atop a hill and built entirely of black bricks (and being Korean, inexplicably trimmed with neon), it makes for an interesting sight, and a Korean architectural oddity.
- Mount Gwanggyo, in the north end of Suwon, . Mount Gwanggyo is in the north end of Suwon and offers an excellent of view of Suwon and the surrounding area. There are a number of peaks as well as a number of trails of varying difficulty. After a hike, try eating at one of the many farm restaurants at the base of the mountain. There are plenty of options for vegetarians here, and the tofu and dong-dong ju are as fresh as you can get it.
You can find many cloth and jewellery retail outlets near Paldalmun(Nammun). It is a part of Hwaseong Fortress.You can shop for brands like Chanel, Boss, Diesel and other international fashion chains at Galleria or the Suwon station mall
Paldalmun is a famous place in Suwon for buying winter clothes, apparels and cosmetics
The food court in the mall at the train/metro station offers an excellent quality Korean meal- for a very nice price. One can get a fantastic meal for 4500 (about $5) One may select from many choices; there is a showcase displaying them.
Besides plentiful traditional Korean restaurants there are many places which serve other cuisines and fast food.
Vegetarian food is difficult to find without a Korean speaker in your party. Korean food is very tasty, and does have vegetarian dishes, you just need to know how to ask for them. At a pinch, there are always Western options such as baguette sandwiches, Pizzas, burgers etc. where you can point and show how many you want. If all else fails, a big smile and a "ch'e-shik-chuui-jah" (a Vegetarian person) will earn you a selection of veggie side dishes in most of the very many korean restaurants. Korean hosts are very keen to please. Be prepared that it may contain a couple of shellfish thrown in here and there, which you may prefer to leave on the side. Christianity is more widespread than Buddhism, so the usual gambit of claiming to be Buddhist may not help as much as in, say, China, Tibet, Japan, etc. There is at least one Vegetarian restaurant in Suwon, which has changed names a couple of times, is generally very busy, and quite a way from the central area. There is also a chain veggie restaurant in Seoul.
Suwon is famous for its "Galbi". Restaurants near the Yeongtong Square(Sagori) serve Galbi.
There is also an excellent Galbi restaurant right across the street from the World Cup Soccer stadium.
Gyeongbokgung - pricey
Bon suwon Galbi - 50 years history, newly renovated
Kabojung - nice panchans, nice Korean traditional decoration, meat from various countries available
Major nightlife seems to revolve around three areas: Ingyedong, Yeongtong, and Nammun (Paldamun).
In Ingyedong you will find an amazing number of hofs, bars, restaurants, hostess bars etc. There's also several Korean nightclubs such as Juliana, Boss etc.
- Club Loop. New "afterparty" club opened in 2012. Mainly electronic music (house, dance) and very large dance floor, which is packed on the weekends. Probably the most popular big club in Suwon right now, open until 10 am. Incredibly loud. Cover charge around 15 000 won.
- Crazy Duck. Cheap drinks, darts and music. Popular among westerners and students.
Nammun is big among the university students of Suwon. It has a fashion street and the majority of nightlife is centered on Rodeo Street which is behind the main street to the left of Nammun Gate.
- 911 Club. Famous for "drunken" tequila parties that it holds on Friday and Saturday night. It's a relaxed hip hop club with a bit of skate style.
- Rodeo nightclub
- The Big Chill (Big Chill), Namun Suwon Gyeonggido South Korea (Namun, Rodeo Gil (St.) - 중동사거리 directly in front of Hotel Central/Central Hotel on the 3rd floor, Suwon, South Korea), ☎ 010-7600-2574, . A really great bar that attracts plenty of foreigners and Koreans alike. A GREAT atmosphere and staff. Pool table, darts, cheap drinks, and great company. Request your own music and chill with friends. It's also close to all of the other big areas to party such as Suwon Station and downtown Ingyedong.
Other areas that offer some nightlife options include the Ajou University area and the Suwon Station area. Where you will find
- Bulldog Bar, Suwon Station and Ingyedong (Suwon Station: near Exit 1, Ingyedong: Main strip near homeplus), . A popular spot in Suwon because of the close friendly staff who create a good atmosphere and fireshows! A new branch in Ingyedong opened in 2012. Cheap beers on draft, pool table and darts.
- Plan B, currently the most popular place among Ajou students, Aju-ro, Woncheon-dong.
- Club Tao, large Korean-style dance club, near Suwon Station.
- Team Bar, near Suwon Station. Does bar shows.
- S bar, near Suwon Station.
- Ho rock, near Suwon Station. Good food(pasta, steak, etc...), wine, and cocktails.
- Sam Ryan's Sports Bar& Grill, (Near Suwon Station), . The Suwon branch of the popular Itaewon bar, opened Dec. 16, 2011. Many beers on tap, good food, and plenty of sports on the big screen.
Yeongtong is the one of the major concentration of foreigners in Suwon city. Most of them are employees of Samsung Co. and the second dominant group are the English teachers.
- Now Bar, near the Kinex cinema, on the second floor. Popular hangout for expat English teachers and foreign students because of its cheap beer, fun atmosphere and friendly owner and staff.
- Ho rock, in the big Bobos plaza building on the first floor. More of a bar than the Ho rock at Suwon station, it offers a lot of beers and cocktails. Good atmosphere if you want something a little less crowded than Now bar.
- Tinpan. just up the street from KFC. Popular with Students from the local university and teachers, plays mainly urban music. However has a wide range of cheap beers and cocktails. -Reopened Oct 2012 as a winebar-
- Nammun, ☎ 031-254-5555, . right beside Hwaseong Palace, this is an inexpensive option in the perfect location. Friendly staff and a nice view from the roof. 30,000+.
There are also dozens of love-hotel style motels (모텔) in Suwon, starting from 25 000 won for a double room. They can be found in clusters, e.g. near Suwon Station, in the Ingyedong party area and behind Ramada Hotel. Another cheap option is a jjimjilbang (찜질방). They are all over Suwon.
- 1031-9, Ingye-Dong, Paldal-Ku, Suwon, ☎ +82-31-898-5055 ([email protected]), . Hotel offering free pick-up service, high speed internet and DVD movies.
- Silkroad Hotel, 1022-1, Ingye-Dong, Paldal-Ku, Suwon, ☎ +82-31-232-9981 ([email protected]), . Hotel offering free pick-up service, high speed internet and DVD movies.
- Yeongtong Plaza Hotel (YT). 155,000 won a night.
Mate Hotel Suwon www.matehotel.co.kr . Luxury & Business Hotel. [email protected]
Head up to Seoul via Anyang or Uiwang or down south to the hot springs resort of Asan and neighbouring Cheonan, hosting Korea's independence hall.