Best things to do in Suwon
Find out more about those top places in Suwon
All but swallowed up by Seoul, the city of Suwon now forms part of one of the world’s largest urban agglomerations. However, despite its proximity to South Korea’s futuristic capital and its compact UNESCO World Heritage Listed historic core, Suwon remains a hidden gem overlooked by most visitors to the country. Suwon’s star attraction is the vast Hwaseong Fortress, which encircles the city center. Built as late as 1796, the fortresses’ awe-inspiring walls are marked with ornate sentry posts and imposing gates and can be walked year round. Beyond the fortress, Suwon is best known for ‘Mr Toilet’, a scheme that has seen hundreds of individually designed quirky public restrooms built across the city.
The UNESCO listed fortress of Hwaseong is what brings most visitors to the sprawling city of Suwon. Built by King Jeongjo preparing for moving the dynastic capital from Seoul to the city, the vast fortifications were completed in 1786 and remain one of South Korea’s most awe-inspiring sights. The walls alone stretch for nearly 6 kilometers and encompass four grandiose gates, numerous royal pavilions and watchtowers. The interior of the fortress is now given over to the fascinating Suwon Hwaseong Museum, where guided tours of the complex begin.
While much of the ornate Haenggung Palace was destroyed during the Japanese colonial period, careful reconstruction has seen it return to its former glory. Comprised of multiple colorful pagodas, landscaped gardens and the tomb of King Jeongjo’s father, the sheer scale of the palace has to be seen to be believed. The best time to visit is during the summer months when traditional Korean performances are held in the courtyard.
To get a feel for what Suwon would have been like during its heyday as the capital in waiting for the Joseon Dynasty head to the Korean Folk Village. Set in a vast park, the village is a series of historical buildings that have been relocated from across Korea and guides in period costumes conduct tours.
If you are looking for a wacky change from the serious history of Hwaseong then look no further than Mr. Toilet House – a poo-themed museum. While it may be one of Korea’s most odd attractions, the museum does have a meaningful side as all proceeds go towards NGOs helping improve sanitation across the world. To cap it all off, it is housed in a building shaped as a toilet.
This gallery is home to the groundbreaking work of one of Korea’s most famous modern artists, Name June Paik. Housed in a sleek futuristic building, the collection spans the entirety of Paik’s career with a particular emphasis on her avant-garde installations.
Not far from the Nam June Paik Art Center is the fascinating Gyeonggi Provincial Museum, which houses an astounding collection of historical artifacts found in the province dating from prehistory to the Japanese colonial era. Guided tours of the complex are available that cherry pick the best of the museum’s enormous collection.
To experience South Korea’s neon-lit equivalent of Disneyland head to Everland, which is located just on the outskirts of Suwon. Encompassing world-class roller coasters, gorgeous landscaped gardens and a thrilling water park, the resort has something for everyone – particularly young children.