There’s something about waterways that I enjoy – when I was in Europe, I made it a point to go on a cruise or boat ride in almost every city I visited, be it down the Seine in Paris, or through the canals in Venice and Amsterdam. Even recently, when I was bringing a friend around Singapore, I made sure to include the Singapore River in the itinerary.
Tip! For those not in the know, if you use an EZ-Link card you need only pay $3 to take the Singapore River Taxi down from Robertson Quay down to the Marina Bay Sands area. Pretty sure you can take it back too. The only difference from the usual tourist river taxis is the price, the lack of a running commentary, and that they do not open the back of the boat (where you can stand and feel the wind whipping in your hair). While it definitely is slower than taking a bus, the view of the Central Business District at night more than makes up for the time difference.
Now, back to river cruises. When I was back in Seoul last Spring, I visited the Banpo bridge’s rainbow fountain and was enthralled by it, and wondered how nice it would be if I could view the bridge directly from the waters instead? My thoughts were probably also brought on by the drama My Love from Another Star where the characters go on board a cruise party which takes them along the Hangang and somewhere along the way, fireworks burst into the night skies.
However, due to my somewhat-packed schedule for my trip this year, I found time to do only a day cruise down the Hangang. (Boo, no fireworks!) This is a 30-minute ride that would take you down from Yeouinaru (where 63 Building stands) to the National Assembly building area.
Booking the Hangang River Ferry cruise is super easy and fuss-free with travel site Trazy. Depending on your schedule you can select what cruise you’d like, a standard 30-minute day cruises, the live night ones with fireworks and the Banpo bridge fountain show, or those that come with a lunch buffet spread. The cruise I went on can be found and booked on Trazy here – Han River Cruise .
Once you make your booking, the Trazy team e-mails you detailed instructions on how to get to the ticket counter and how to retrieve your ticket. Getting there is straightforward. Take the subway line to Yeoinaru station, get out at Exit #3 and then walk straight.
You should see this sign when you come out from the station!
While walking, you should always see 63 Building right in front of you. Then once you hit Yeouido Middle School, make a left turn into the Hangang Park and you should see a while E-Land building in the distance. This is the Ferry Terminal but you should not go straight there! Make a stop at the Ticket Counter which is to the right of the Ferry Terminals to collect your tickets first.
The ticket counter is where the white tent is. Don’t make my mistake of running down the flight of stairs towards the ferry terminal first!
One of the two ferry terminals there!
To collect your tickets, just remember to flash the e-mail confirmation that you’ve gotten from Trazy. Just a word of advice, remember to check and check again the timing of the ticket that the counter staff gives you. By some weird error, I got a ticket for 7.00pm though I had booked a 3.30pm cruise. Unfortunately, I only realised this when I got to the dock (which is about 200m away). As my cruise was about to set off, and they refused to accept my 7.00pm ticket (the language barrier did not help one bit too) I ran all the way back to the counter, up two flights of stairs, to exchange my ticket for the correct timing.
If you’re early enough, the entrance to the ferry terminal makes for a good photo!
When I finally got on board with the right ticket (heaving and panting from all that rushing and running), I headed straight up to the upper deck to get some wind because I was so warm from all that running. It helped that it was summer so it was windy but not too cold. However because I boarded late, most of the other tourists had gotten themselves chairs and lined the upper-deck. Me? I decided to wing it and sat on top a table since I had no more chairs.
The upper deck. A lot of tourists were in masks because of the Mers fears.
And the lower deck. Advisable only if you are motion-sick-ness prone. Else please head straight for the upper deck for a full experience!
The cruise was a smooth and breezy one. Maybe because I was too familiar with the Yeouido area (which I used to visit a lot for the Spring blooms), I found the cruise a little lacking. But for those completely new to Seoul, this is a great way to see the sights that line the Hangang. You can see the 63 Building, the National Assembly Building, the Yeouido Gospel Church (went here for services before) and even the Namsan Tower in the far distance!
I will go to the 63 building someday!
Hello Namsan Tower! (You can seriously see it from almost anywhere in Seoul!)
To complete your experience, you can even opt to have a short picnic by the Hangang once your cruise is done. Just a word of advice, grab food from the convenience store at the Yeouinaru station exit before you walk to the park, because from what I saw, that was probably one of the only stores in the area. There is also a snack store there that sells Kimbap, Ddeokbokki and Soondae and a café.
Alternatively, you can also call for delivery. If you laze there long enough, people will come by with flyers and you can place orders with them or call the number on the flyers. How they find you in the sea of picnicking people though, remains a mystery to me. I only sat there long enough to enjoy some chips and beer, but I sure wouldn’t mind having some Chicken and Beer or ChiMaek there when I head back next time!
This is me signing off with a selfie/outfit shot! Jeans were from Express Bus Terminal and only cost me 15,000krw!
Thanks again to Trazy for the Hangang river cruise experience!