Strolling along the winding, dusty paths of Yangsu-ri feels a little bit like being painted into a Claude Monet masterpiece. Clusters of lily pads float on placid water, sun-drunk daisies sway in the wind among tall grass, and friends traverse the lake, umbrellas in hand.
Yangsu-ri is located where the north and south branches of the Hangang river come together and is still under the radar for most people, despite its proximity from Seoul and its accessibility by subway. The whimsical lakeside town is pure countryside and the perfect spot for a picnic, bike ride, or just a bit of meandering.
A friend and I recently left Seoul’s chaos and concrete only to emerge shortly over an hour later in a place of sloping hills, dragonflies and flowers. We wandered through Semiwon, a lush garden filled with lotus ponds and daffodils, buttercups and poppies. From there we followed a path to Yangsu-ri’s southern tip, called Dumulmeori, for views of endless water fringed in reeds.
Sturdy boats with papery sails dotted the water. We joked about swiping one and rowing it around lake, but settled for a few photos. We planted ourselves on a giant fallen tree trunk and ate green tea ice cream cones and later said hello to a few beautiful roosters who were looking for company.
As the afternoon wore on and gray clouds began to materialize in thin, wispy sheets, the hazy outlines of mountains were barely visible in the distance, perpetuating the dream-like quality of the spot. With dusty feet and sunburned noses, we caught the subway home and resumed our daily lives as city folk.
How to get there: From Seoul, take the Jungang line to Yangsu Station. From Seoul Station, the journey takes approximately one hour and six minutes. When you arrive, head to exit two. There you’ll find bike rentals and a few cafes. Make your way down the hill toward the lake and simply follow the path.
Words and photos by Jenna Davis. This is her blog. Stop by and say hello!