Destination: Misari Motorboat Racing (Hanam city, Gyeonggi-do)
I love living in Seoul, but every now and then it's nice to get out of the city that holds more than ten million people. Ten. Million. People. To put it in a way the Americans can understand, there are more people living in One City than there are in 43 different states. Include the area connected via the Seoul subway system (what Wikipedia calls the Seoul National Capital Area), and you get more people than live in New York City - albeit in less a third of the area. Needless to say, it's nice to stretch your arms and not hit 10 Koreans along the way.
Enter Misari Public Park, AKA Misari Motorboat Racing Park (미사리근린공원 is the park in Korean, while the stadium is called 미사리 조정경기장). Located east of Seoul in Hanam city, it was used for boat and canoe races during Seoul's 1988 Summer Olympics. These days, the rectangular lake and facilities are used by the locals to either paddle away or watch some motorboat racing. Most days and times, you're far more likely to see the former than the latter.
There isn't much that's 'natural' about this area, but it's nice all the same.
One of several permanent art fixtures, not unlike Seoul's Olympic Park in its style.
The website affiliated with the motorboat racing has some decent information about the facilities and how to bet - but nothing on the schedule of racing. Even without that attraction, the park is still a wonderful place to picnic, paddle, and relax. It's easily reached for a daytrip from anywhere in Seoul, but if you're closer to Incheon than Seoul Station, be aware you'll be taking the subway the whole way across the city.
Ratings (out of 5 taeguks):
Ease to arrive:
Worth the visit:
Directions to Misan Public Park / Motorboat Racing Stadium: Take line 5 or 8 of the Seoul subway system to the Myeongil station. Take exit 1 to street level, cross the street, then turn right. Walk to the bus stop 10 meters from the intersection you just crossed. Get on bus #16 and keep your eyes open during the 20-minute bus ride. There isn't a huge sign saying 'you are here', but a rectangular lake is hard to miss. Alternatively, tell the bus driver you're going to 미사리경정경기장 or 미사리조정호.
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