This afternoon, my co-worker asked if I could recommend places that she could visit this fall. I immediately thought of four that I’d like to go to again: Buyeo, Buan, Mungyeong and Suncheon. I’ve been to all four places and during the past nine months, we’ve visited Buyeo three times. The quiet city is in Chungcheongbuk-do. It’s about a two hour drive from Seoul.
Most memorable on our visits to Buyeo is Gungnamji (“gung” means palace; “nam” is south and “ji” is pond). It is an artificial pond created during the reign of King Mu in the Baekje dynasty (18 BCE-660 CE). It is located in Seoodong Park.
The first thing that I loved about Gungnamji is that it is surrounded by smaller ponds. In the summer, these ponds are filled with lotus blossoms. Too bad that when we were there last July, it was raining heavily.
In one of the lotus ponds is a traditional Korean water wheel.
Here’s what will greet you from the parking lot. Sandy promenade, trees, flowering plants and a pavilion.
The pavilion is located in the middle of the pond, connected by a wooden footbridge.
Willow trees are planted along the bank of the pond. On one side, there is a traditional Korean boat.
Gungnamji is not only a beautiful pond. In the summer, a lotus festival is held here when the ponds are filled with the delicate blossoms. It is also the first artificial pond in Korea, built hundreds of years ago. Of course, the love story of Seodong and Princess Seonhwa adds to its charm.
There is no admission fee to Gungnamji. To visit the place, take the bus to Buyeo at Dong Seoul terminal (subway line 2 – Gangbyeon station). It’s only a 10-minute walk from the Buyeo bus terminal (or take a taxi!)