It was light and breezy trips for 2 days to rest our exhausted feet only to get lost in finding Hwaseong fortress and left with no choice but to trail the long wall stretch from Southern gate to Northern gate. We planned going to Everland but since we woke up and prepared late, we decided to do it another day.
Hwaseong Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built from 1794 to 1796 by King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty to house and honour the remains of his father Prince Sado, who had been executed by being locked alive inside a rice chest by his own father King Yeongjo after failing to obey the command to commit suicide. Hence it is also called the walled city of filial love.
It was a blessing that we visited the fortress because we had a glimpse of what will happen to us if we proceeded with our plan to climb Mt. Seorak. It will be very gloomy for our already traumatized feet. *chuckles Prepare for long treks and some hints of steep ways and uphill efforts.
It may be just an old wall, but my old soul wandered to thoughts of how centuries ago brave soldiers marched on the fortress’ pathways to defend their beautiful country.
On a bonus note, a pretty resting palace nestled near the fortress which used to be King Jeong Jo’s residence when he’s not in Seoul and also cradled Prince Sado’s remains.
There you get to have a photo opportunity with costumed people from Joseon era and see performances from Joseon fighters. You can also dress up hanboks and play archery. There’s also a 350+ year old tree in front of the palace and a nearby museum chronicling the city’s major historical artifacts.
Suwon is a very nice destination if you want an enriching cultural experience outside the main palaces in Seoul. If you have fast paces you can finish Suwon fortress in the morning, eat an early lunch and head to Korean Folk Village in the remainder of the day.
P.S Suwon is famous for buffet restaurants so we feasted on Samgyupsal which was a treat of my eonni’s sister and husband.