This was a real treat and an unexpected find. I originally wanted to go to Umyeonsan and couldn’t quite figure out how best to get there. I just took the subway station that seemed like the closest fit, Bangbae station.
I’ll refrain from making any terrible jokes.
Bangbae seems like your typical busy Seoul district, except when you turn around and notice a big shrine right across the street.
The shrine was built in the 18th century to commemorate 14th century Royal Prince Hyoryong and his wife Princess Jeong.
The area includes tombs and shrines and is enclosed by a wall. This is very fitting, as this place (similarly to the National Cemetery) feels a bit like an oasis right in the middle of Seoul. Wandering around, you could easily forget that you are right in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. Rather, it feels like you’re walking around in a small park in the middle of nowhere. It’s a very relaxing and peaceful place that allows you to take a break from the constant activity you are sorrounded with otherwise.
The shrine is basically like a small park that you can stroll around in. You can climb up a small hill which gives you a great view of the sorrounding area. Once again, the contrast between these historic buildings and the modern skyscrapers on the other side of the street is quite jarring and very charming.
Overall, I’d give a glowing recommendation for this place. I have no idea how famous or historically important it is, and there very well might be dozens of bigger shrines around in Seoul, but the visit was definitely well worth my time. Especially considering that i just stumbled upon this place with no prior knowledge. You can enter for free, and this is definitely a cool place to do some sightseeing and to relax.