The South Korean city of Suwon is situated in the northerly region of the Gyeonggi Plain to the South of the Korean capital Seoul about 19 miles away. The city is bordered on the Northwest by Uwang, to the East by Yongin, to the Southwest by Hwaseong and directly west shares a common border with Ansan.
There are a number of mountains in the Suwon region the highest being the Gwanggyosa on the border with Yongin standing more than 1,900ft above sea level. The streams which pass through Suwon, especially the Suwoncheon, originate in the mountains and on passing through the city eventually flow out to the Yellow River.
Suwon is now recognized as being the capital and biggest Metropolis of Gyeonggi-do located in the Sudugwan region with its population of about 1.2 million people being administered by the Suwon City Council.
Traditionally being referred to as the ‘Filial City’ Suwon has developed from a small tribal settlement into the major industrial and cultural center which we see today.
Suwon is the only city in S.Korea to be completely enclosed by walls which prove to be a major attraction for visitors to Gyeonggi Province. The city is also home to the Samsung Electronics research and development center, and is served by two motorways, an excellent National Rail Network, with transport provided for the many daily commuters from Suwon to Seoul provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Subway.
Getting around Suwon
Foreign visitors will obviously arrive at Seoul’s International Airport and then make their way to Suwon with the best way being to use the train. Use the Cheonan line and make sure you are in the correct section since the train splits at a later stage.
A faster method is to use the commuter train between Seoul and Suwon; it only takes 35 minutes at a cost of 3,200 Won, but runs less frequently than the Cheonan line. And there is a regular bus service operating from the Seoul Gangnam Bus station which will get you to Suwon, take the number 3000 bus and you will be dropped at the Hwasung Fortress in Suwon.
Most of the bus lines in Suwon are efficient and inexpensive, The Green buses typically run around the city and the bigger Red buses carry passengers to Seoul and other outlying cities, pretty well all of the important stopping points carry instructions in both Korean and English.
There are many taxis available in Suwon, and most will be more than willing to get you as close to your destination as possible. Black taxis are large and comfortable but tend to be slower than the Gray colored taxis which travel at a faster rate, though sometimes the driving standard can border on recklessness.
The Seoul Subway has four stops which service the Suwon area so you may find this a convenient mode of getting around, though many locals are happy to ride bicycles on the wide walkways.
Things to see
Take a trip to Mount Gwanggyo at the Northern side of the city, it offers an excellent view of Suwon and the surrounding areas. There are a number of trails to climb, following which you can sit and eat at one of the Farmhouse restaurants located at the foot of the mountain.
Visit the Suwon First Church which adorns the Suwon skyline, the architecture is unique comprising a 10 storey structure constructed from black colored bricks decorated with Neon light trims.
The Suwon Fortress otherwise known as the Hwaseong Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 1794-1796. It takes 2/3 hours to walk around the attraction, but you get a chance to put in some Archery practice of bows and arrows of the period interest you.